USAID-Supported SME Centers Creating More Jobs

Iraq’s Ministry of Youth Monitoring and Coordination Director General Adnan Al-Sarraj recently praised USAID-Tijara’s network of eight Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) for helping Iraqis find employment and start new businesses. The compliment came in a SBDC strategy workshop last week in Erbil at which government officials, NGOs and UN agencies joined USAID-Tijara to discuss ways to further stimulate economic growth.

Meeting participants singled out the Iraqi Youth Initiative, a youth employment program that uses SBDCs to impart business skills training to aspiring entrepreneurs. The Ministry of Youth requested the Youth Initiative and the SBDC network continue to work with the ministry to create jobs and establish small businesses for Iraq’s youth.

United Nations Development Program regional representative Rami Samain applauded the Erbil-based SBDC, the Women Empowerment Organization, for its ability to conceive and implement UNDP programs and encouraged other SBDCs to follow-up regarding additional UNDP program needs in other parts of the country.

Since 2008, Small Business Development Centers supported by the USAID-Tijara Provincial Economic Development Program have provided business management training and consulting to more than 16,700 entrepreneurs and conducted over 1,300 courses and workshops, in which 26% of the participants were women.

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