Second Cross-border Microfinance Forum to support business creation

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As part of the [email protected] cooperation project initiated by the European Union ENI CBC Med Program 2014-2020, which funded it with 2.5 million euros (i.e. 90% of its total budget which is 2.8 million euros), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sfax has just organized the 2 nd Cross-border Microfinance Forum.

The event, which took place face-to-face at the Borj Dhiafa hotel in Sfax in the presence of Chamber officials, as well as [email protected] partners, beneficiaries and actors, represented an opportunity to unveil the first results of the project at mid-term.

During her opening speech, the Director General of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sfax, Ikram Makni, recalled that the objective of the [email protected] project is to support Microfinance to facilitate the launch of new startups. Mediterranean countries. She added that the project, which has reached an advanced stage, aims to create 75 new innovative startups, 15 in each country concerned.

Ms Alessandra Feola of the Fondazione di Sardegna (Italy), leader of the [email protected] project, represented the other partners of this project which are respectively: SFIRS (Italy), the Chamber of Italo-Arab Cooperation (Italy), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sfax (Tunisia), the Chamber of Commerce of ACHAIA (Greece), the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Sidon and South Lebanon (Lebanon) and LEADERS International (Palestine ).

She indicated that the project aims to support young unbankable promoters in the five countries concerned, namely Tunisia, Italy, Palestine, Lebanon and Greece to launch their businesses.

The inaugural session also saw the intervention of Mr. Fabrizio Paloni (coordinator of the Joint Technical Secretariat of the ENI CBC Med Program 2014-2020) and Mrs. Samira Rafrafi, national contact of the Program in Tunisia, who underlined the importance of this project to support young people in the creation of their businesses.

The second session was devoted to the presentation of the results of the first Cross-Border Microfinance Forum.

Interventions by Ms. Rasha Hasoush from the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Sidon and South Lebanon (Lebanon), Ms. Sally Mushrara from LEADERS International (Palestine) and Mr. Riccardo Contu from the Chamber of Italian- Arabic, made it possible to compare the first results obtained in each country and to participate in the development of a common strategy for a Mediterranean microfinance programme, based on instruments and support services for new and innovative businesses.

The first panel addressed the theme of Digital Transformation in Microfinance, while the second addressed the theme of Crowdfunding.

The debates that followed made it possible to reveal the testimonies of some beneficiaries of the project among the nine young Tunisians who have so far benefited from funding of 10,000 euros.

The latter returned to the obstacles they faced in accessing financing for their project due to the fact that they could not obtain a bank loan and that it was impossible for them to collect the sums necessary to start it.

The speakers welcomed the initiative of the [email protected] project, which has made it possible to develop an innovative support model to facilitate access to financing for people who cannot obtain a bank loan.

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