Gender and Youth Unit

As part of USAID SEED’s continuing effort to support MSMEs’ growth and promote entrepreneurship for women and youth, the Gender and Youth Unit works toward closing the gender gaps, promoting women’s empowerment, and supporting inclusive opportunities for all to pursue entrepreneurship and business ownership. The Gender and Youth Unit aims to increase awareness of the needs of women and young entrepreneurs and enhance the efficiency of service providers for an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The Unit focuses on an array of interventions such as providing technical assistance to women-focused organizations, and building their capacities to enhance their services including the National Council for Women, the Federation of Egyptian Industries Women in Business Unit, the Alexandria Businesswomen Association, and the Business Women Of Egypt 21 Organization. Moreover, it has been exerting efforts to create a women-focused BDS for the handicrafts sector, as well as promote financial inclusion for women and youth through different gender-sensitive products.

The Gender and Youth Unit has also formulated the first network for women entrepreneurs, The Women Entrepreneurs Network (WEN), to support aspiring and established women entrepreneurs, and increase their access to several entrepreneurial services. WEN will allow women entrepreneurs to grow their business and create employment opportunities, as well as allow the network’s members to educate and learn from each other’s experiences, coordinate the scattered efforts, and promote a healthier, more supportive ecosystem.

The Gender and Youth Unit works to ensure that gender is mainstreamed throughout SEED’s different activities by providing capacity building and technical assistance to SEED staff, as well as coordinating different initiatives that are gender-sensitive among the different components.

Accomplishments

  • We reached out to 12058 women (36% of all SEED beneficiaries) through training and entrepreneurship events; 61 of these women established new businesses and 3915 were able to access finance.
  • Gender: SEED succeeded at establishing the nation’s first Women’s Entrepreneur Network through building the capacity of a number of organizations that support women entrepreneurs. The network is now functioning, offering its members mentorship, marketing, exporting, access to finance, strong incentives and benefits to joining such a group.
  • WEN “Women Entrepreneurs Network”: Launched the WEN on November 18th 2018 at The Greek Campus as part of SEED’s continuing effort to support MSMEs’ growth and promote entrepreneurship for Gender and Youth (G&Y).  In addition, a Steering Committee of five core gender-focused organizations was established (National Council of Women (NCW), Business Women of Egypt 21 (BWE21), Alexandria Businesswomen Association (ABWA), FEI’s Women in Business Unit, Entreprenelle). The network comprises a group of interconnected entrepreneurs, business service providers, financial service providers, business mentors, and various other relevant actors and leaders.
  • Developed the first Women to Women Mentorship Program by training 25 businesswomen in order to cascade their experience and knowledge and provide women entrepreneurs with business/life advice to scale up their business.
  • Financial literacy training for women SMEs’ owners/managers: Delivered eight two-day financial literacy workshops to over 205 participants (162 women), including business and start-up owners, business women assistants, and students across a variety of sectors such as handicrafts, events management, clothing manufacturing, and information and communications technology (ICT). The workshops, which were held in cooperation with Corporate Housing Foundation/Overseas Private Investment Corp (CHF/OPIC), provided business women with the opportunity to interact with bank representatives and to network with like-minded peers.
  • Built the first Women Angel Investment Network in order to provide women entrepreneurs with the much needed Non-banking Financial Services and to increase the number of Women Angel Investors in the Ecosystem.
  • Conducted a financial literacy workshop for the participants of the Heya Raeda program, which is under the technology Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC), to improve their financial and banking knowledge.
  • Handicrafts network: Continued the support to develop the handicrafts network through delivering capacity building to the NCW’s staff, developing a plan to initiate a handicrafts BDS within the NCW, and building on previous efforts to map out the service providers and key stakeholders in the handicrafts VC sector.

The Team

Nashwa Habib, Gender &Youth Senior Advisor

Nashwa is an experienced development Specialist and social services professional with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management industry. She is Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Humanitarian, Conflict Resolution, Facilitation, and Gender Mainstreaming. She has extensive experience working with international, national, and civil society organizations in Egypt and other countries in Africa and Middle East. She earned a Diploma that focuses on Ethnic, Cultural Minority, Gender, and Group Studies from The American University in Cairo.

Habiba Mostafa Kamal – Gender & Youth Program Assistant

Habiba holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a minor in Economics from the Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University. She has a passion for development and gender studies and is working with USAID’s SEED on developing and supporting aspiring women entrepreneurs and businesswomen through increasing their access to several entrepreneurial services.