For Immediate Release
BAGHDAD–Business training offered in Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), supported by the U.S. Government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is helping shape a new generation of Iraqi entrepreneurs.
Sponsored by the USAID-Tijara Provincial Economic Growth Program, Iraq’s network of 17 SBDCs provides training that emphasizes vocational skills, English literacy, computer and accounting proficiency. The success of this program is an example of US-Iraqi cooperation, under the auspices of the Strategic Framework Agreement, to support private sector development and economic growth in Iraq.
According to approximately 1,200 responses to a survey of the 4,329 trainees who graduated this year from SBDC programs, most had signed up for the two most popular courses, “How to Start a Business” and “How to Improve a Business.” The major reason for their interest was unemployment. A full 50% of those taking the two business courses lacked a job when they signed up.
Respondents to the survey who wanted to start their own business established 234 new enterprises, producing 834 new direct and indirect jobs throughout Iraq between March 2010 and June 2011. Another 135 participants, or over 12 percent of the survey respondents, said they had not yet started a business but fully planned to do so. Of participants wanting to improve their existing business, nearly 90 percent reported improved sales revenues within six months of graduation, attributing this growth in sales to the new techniques and methodologies they had learned.
Small Business Development Centers supported by USAID provide services in addition to business training, including supporting business conferences, trade fairs and local business exhibitions, and assisting international trade delegations and preparing municipal business directories. Recently, SBDCs in nine provinces sponsored market assessment conferences that brought together local government and private business leaders to discuss investment opportunities and constraints to future business growth. SBDCs also play a vital role in communicating the concerns of small and medium enterprises to government regulators and policy makers.
Last updated: April 24, 2012