29th of April 2022, Erbil
GroFin Iraq partners with Orange Corners Erbil to offer training and finance to young, local entrepreneurs
GroFin and Orange Corners Erbil are excited to announce a new partnership to provide coaching, mentoring and financial assistance, in the form of the Orange Corners Innovation Fund (OCIF), to local startups as part of the Orange Corners programme in Kurdistan, northern Iraq.
GroFin Iraq will offer skills workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions to nearly 100 entrepreneurs, participating in the Orange Corners incubation programme in Erbil. After completing the six-month programme, incubatees will be selected to receive additional financial assistance from OCIF and continued business support over the next three years.
OCIF is an additional programme to Orange Corners. It aims to stimulate innovation and improve access to finance for entrepreneurs in Africa and the Middle East. Maaike Keizer, Deputy Consul General of the Netherlands in Erbil, says: “We see a lot of potential in the young Kurdish entrepreneurs and therefore we are very eager to support this Orange Corners Innovation Fund. We believe this fund encourage their initiatives and enthousiam to develop a sustainable entrepreneurial enviroment in the KRI”.
GroFin’s activities will be carried out in collaboration with the Orange Corners incubation programme, initiated by the Netherlands Consulate General in Erbil, implemented by Mselect and supported by funding from AsiaCell and in-kind contributions from Rwanga Foundation, Babylon Group, Mena Associate, and Field Ready.
Ashraf Esmael, Chief Investment Officer, Middle East at GroFin, says: GroFin is excited to broaden its impact in Iraq through working with partners to administer the Orange Corners Innovation Fund. “GroFin was founded based on the belief that entrepreneurs need more than money to successfully grow their businesses. We are proud to be part of a project that recognises this and will enable us to advise and guide an even greater number of young Iraqi entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses, so they create sustainable livelihoods for Iraqis.”
GroFin is an impact-driven SME financier providing not only business loans but continuous advice and guidance to the entrepreneurs it finances across Africa and the Middle East. Since launching its operations in Iraq in 2013, GroFin Iraq has facilitated nearly USD14.5 million in financing to 39 Iraqi SMEs to help sustain nearly 1,500 direct and indirect jobs.
Raed Badran, Investment Executive at GroFin Iraq, says: The training and mentorship offered to Orange Corners incubatees will help to ensure that they are equipped to turn their business ideas into viable businesses. “Business skills and knowledge are crucial in helping Iraqi startups to succeed in a very challenging operating environment. GroFin’s experience in supporting small businesses in Iraq has given us valuable insight into the real challenges entrepreneurs face on the ground and the skills they need to overcome them.”
David Tannourji, Business Communication manager at MSELECT and Programme Manager for Orange Corners Erbil, says: “We are thrilled to have such a great partnership with GroFin and we look forward to a fruitful collaboration that will support the programme and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region”.
GroFin is a specialist, impact-driven SME financier and fund manager. We help entrepreneurs succeed by providing them with expert advice, continuous guidance, and finance to grow their businesses. We believe that growing a small business sector that can create sustainable jobs is the most powerful driver of social and economic development that truly improves people’s lives.
About Orange Corners
Orange Corners (OC) aims to improve job prospects for youth between the ages of 18 and 35, in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. OC is a public-private initiative, active in 14 countries, with 17 hubs and counting. The programme strengthens ecosystems for youth entrepreneurship and youth employment. Furthermore, Orange Corners stimulates the entrepreneurial mindset of young people. It offers incubation, acceleration, access to finance, education and training, better policies and business challenges, with a strong involvement of the Embassies or Consulates General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and partners from the private sector. Herewith, Orange Corners actively contributes to creating sustainable and inclusive economic growth and decent work for all (SDG8).
Orange Corners is managed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) at the request of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.