Microenterprise

Why Microenterprise?

There simply aren’t enough jobs for young people looking for work in the Arab world. Public sector jobs are no longer a guarantee for graduates, and the private sector is unable to grow fast enough. For example, in Egypt 600,000 young people enter the labor market each year, but only about 250,000 of them find a job.

The result—millions of young adults are forced to make a living by starting their own very small enterprises, or “microenterprises,” despite the low incomes that these businesses often provide. For many of these young “micro-entrepreneurs,” only thing standing between a subsistence level income and thriving, sustainable businesses is a lack of reliable, affordable capital. Unfortunately, too many financial institutions see young people as a risk when it comes to loaning money.

Silatech works to bridge this gap, connecting young micro-entrepreneurs with financing and complementary business support services to help them start and grow their own businesses.


Scope and Results

Through our partnerships with financial institutions (FIs), NGOs, businesses, and various youth-serving organizations, including educational institutions, Silatech now has operations in Yemen, Palestine, Morocco, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria (currently on hold).

Together, these operations have benefited more than 45,000 young people and more than 16,000 businesses since programming began in late 2009. In the process, Silatech has raised more than US$ 35 million of co-funding for its microenterprise programs, making us the largest provider of youth-focused microenterprise services in the Middle East and North Africa.


Support Strategy

We offer three different types of support to young Arab micro-entrepreneurs.

  • Seed Investment Funds from Silatech to encourage financial institutions to start introducing financial products and services to the high-growth youth market, in the process changing the mindset of the financial industry towards young people as viable clients;

  • Technical Assistance, including product design, technology and training, to help financial institutions develop and deploy youth-focused products and services with a special focus on youth microenterprises; and,

  • Ecosystem Support to strengthen the surrounding enterprise environment and help in the creation and growth of youth microenterprises.


  • Regional Programs

    More specifically, Silatech currently has five key regional microenterprise programs operating within this framework:

  • A Regional Youth Loans Facility offering financial incentives and technical assistance to financial institutions across the region to introduce youth microcredit products.

  • A Regional Youth Startup Guarantee Fund (YSGF), which is unlocking financial support for young startup entrepreneurs, a group that financial institutions have traditionally been reluctant to provide with credit services.

  • A Regional Peer-to-Peer Microentrepreneur Web Support Platform enabling individuals to provide loans to young microentrepreneurs throughout the region, starting from as little as $25.

  • A Regional Youth Savings Initiative which supports the economic empowerment of disadvantaged youth by offering them specialized micro-savings accounts, linking them to financial literacy training, and conducting social marketing activities to increase their awareness of the importance of savings.

  • A Non-Financial Services Microenterprise Support Initiative which provides youth microenterprises with business support solutions as a complement to financial services, and include financial literacy, enterprise training, pre-finance incubation, post-finance business support, and market access opportunities.

  • The relationship between our partners, support strategy and programs is shown in the graphic below.

    Silatech Microenterprise Program Unit


    Regional Programs

    Silatech currently supports five regional microenterprise programs, providing financial and non-financial products and services to young micro-entrepreneurs in the region.

    Regional Youth Loans Facility

    This program helps financial institutions across the region to create and introduce youth-focused loans and other financial products for microentrepreneurs.

    Building upon Silatech’s successful track record in Yemen and other countries our Regional Youth Loans Facility provides financial incentives to selected financial institutions (FIs) through concessional debt (and equity funding in some cases) in order to encourage them to create youth loan products for launch in their markets.

    Typically, any seed funding from Silatech is matched by co-funding from the FIs themselves, and is further leveraged through investment partnerships with regional and international investors (donors, impact investors, or high-net-worth-individuals).

    We also provide technical assistance in order to help financial institutions design and launch youth-focused loan products in the market. Typically, this takes the form of product design support, training for their staff, financial training to young clients, as well as marketing and outreach strategies for them to effectively reach and service young clients.

    This initiative helps provide access to finance for young microentrepreneurs, often in an environment where many FIs implicitly or explicitly consider youth as high credit risks, and restrict access to lending.

    We don’t just SAY that youth are no higher a credit risk than other demographic groups. With seed financing contributed by Silatech, we put our money on the line to back up the assertion.

    Silatech currently partners with six microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Yemen, Morocco, Syria and Somalia who now are either offering or designing youth-focused credit products as a result of this initiative. We plan to expand this group through pilot projects in at least two more additional countries during 2012.

    Regional Youth Startup Guarantee Fund (YSGF)

    The purpose of this fund is to unlock financial support for youth with less than six months of business experience, a group which has whom have traditionally been excluded from credit services by financial institutions, because of the higher risk of lending to startup businesses.

    Silatech has already launched a Youth Startup Guarantee Fund (named “Mubadarati”) designed with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The Fund enables UNRWA to extend credit to young Palestinian and other startup entrepreneurs with less than three months’ operating experience throughout UNRWA’s operating regions.

    The YSGF is the first such youth-focused loan guarantee structure in the entire Arab world, and the Youth Startup Loan being offered by UNRWA to young microentrepreneurs is the first such product of its type in Palestine and Jordan. For many young Palestinians, this program is the first access in their lives to formal sources of finance and credit.

    Financial institutions typically require six months of business operating experience before making a lending decision for a young microentrepreneur. However, because of their circumstances, many young microentrepreneurs cannot mobilize the necessary capital from friends and family to get their businesses started, so they aren’t able to get that critical six months of experience that banks usually require. This initiative aims to break that vicious circle, helping young microentrepreneurs start up their own businesses. Building on this model, Silatech is in discussion with partners in Yemen and Tunisia about implementing a similar guarantee structure drawing on the regional fund.

    Regional Peer-to-peer Microentrepreneur Web Support Platform

    Kiva Arab Youth, the first phase of this initiative, was launched in early 2012. Implemented in partnership with Kiva, the world’s largest microlending platform, Kiva Arab Youth allows direct online peer-to-peer lending to young microentrepreneurs in five Arab countries (Palestine, Iraq, Yemen, Jordan and Lebanon) via an “Arab Youth Channel” on Kiva, starting from amounts as small as $25.

    In the proposed second phase, Silatech will build a standalone, fully Arabized version of this platform and explore the potential for broadening lending models to include startup and SME lending. This second phase will also consider ways to tap into a broader stream of Islamic and other charitable giving (enabling users to provide direct grants to be made in addition to loans), and integrate mobile services as well.

    Non-Financial Support Services

    This initiative seeks to extend support to youth microenterprises beyond financial access, connecting them to a microenterprise support value chain that offers solutions and support throughout the enterprise lifecycle.

    Our non-financial support services include awareness raising, pre-finance incubation, training, financial literacy, enterprise training, business development services (including micro-franchising models), as well as access to markets.

    Silatech seeks to connect key financial institutions and their young clients with youth-serving organizations and other education and training providers. Silatech, in partnership, with a range of regional and international partners is developing and testing a package of support services that provides the best opportunities for youth run businesses to start, sustain and grow.

    Regional Youth Savings Initiative

    This initiative helps socioeconomically disadvantaged youth to build their financial assets by offering them specialized micro-savings accounts, linking them to financial literacy training, and conducting social marketing activities to increase their awareness of the importance of savings.

    Regional partners providing financing and technical assistance include GIZ (German Development Cooperation) and Sanabel (The Arab Microfinance Network). Key operational partners include financial institutions, youth serving organizations, national microfinance networks and media firms.

    Silatech’s Regional Youth Savings Initiative emerged from a pilot project in Yemen that has already yielded more than 9,000 youth savings accounts. Building on this experience, Silatech and partners are set to launch a major youth savings project in Morocco in summer 2012 and another in Egypt by the end of 2012, as well as to scale up activities in Yemen during the year as well. Depending on results, we will extend the initiative to other countries over time.

    As part of Silatech’s general philosophy of trying innovative new approaches, and then scaling up successful programs to the regional level, our Microenterprise Unit works closely with Sanabel (The Arab Microfinance Network), the “knowledge partner” for our Youth Savings Initiative. With their help, we will create opportunities to share experiences and influence policy makers through industry practitioner networks, microfinance industry association Web sites, global industry forums and regional workshops, as well as the annual Arab microfinance conference.

    Projects

    Regional

    Project Name: Narwi

    Inception date: March 2013

    Current status: Under development

    Expected outcomes: 12-15 field partners, $3-4 million of funding mobilized in year one.

    Partner(s): Kiva, Afif, Grameen Jameel, Mspired, QNB, PayPal, International Organization for Migration, Qatar Charity, American Refugee Committee

    Countries covered: Yemen, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Somalia (forthcoming)

    Description: Peer-to-peer lending channel to support young Arab entrepreneurs


    Project Name: Kiva Arab Youth

    Inception date: March 2012

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: Approximately 3,000 youth enterprises supported, $3.8 million of funding mobilized over 12 months.

    Partner(s): Kiva, 9 microfinance institutions in MENA

    Countries covered: Yemen, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq

    Description: Peer-to-peer lending channel on Kiva.org to support young Arab entrepreneurs


    Project Name: Regional Youth Savings Initiative

    Inception date: March 2012

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: 150,000 youth influenced to saving through social marketing campaigns, 50,000 youth provided with financial literacy, 50,000 provided with youth savings accounts

    Partner(s): GIZ, Sanabel, and regional financial institutions

    Countries covered: Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia

    Description: Provision of dedicated youth savings accounts combined with financial literacy to increase financial access for low-income youth


    Morocco

    Project Name: IFAD Rural Youth Economic Empowerment Program

    Inception date: February 2013

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: 18,000 youth living in rural areas provided with financial and non-financial support services

    Partner(s): IFAD, Making Cents International, AMB, ABB, MicroCred, Proinvest, Plan Egypt

    Countries covered: Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia

    Description: $3 million program working with local partners – including microfinance institutions, banks, non-profits and companies in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen – to build their capacity to design, manage and sustain youth-inclusive financial products and complementary non-financial services to disadvantaged and financially excluded youth living in rural areas.


    Project Name: Morocco Youth Savings Initiative

    Inception date: May 2012

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: 30,000 youth influenced through social marketing, at least 30,000 youth provided with financial literacy, at least 20,000 provided with savings accounts over 2 years

    Partner(s): Al Barid Bank, GIZ, Sanabel, Centre Mohammed VI for Microfinance

    Countries covered: Morocco

    Description: Provision of dedicated youth savings accounts combined with financial literacy to increase financial access for low-income youth


    Project Name: Youth Loan Project (Boudour)

    Inception date: May 2012

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: 10,000 loans provided to young microentrepreneurs over 24 months

    Partner(s): Attawfiq (formerly known as Fondation Banque Populaire de Microcrédit)

    Countries covered: Morocco

    Description: Provision of technical assistance to support Attawfiq in providing youth financial services, including the launched of a dedicated youth loan product


    Project Name: Fors@ Enterprise Challenge

    Inception date: April 2013

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: 7,000 youth engaged through outreach activities, 50 business plans received, 12 youth-run businesses incubated and financed.

    Partner(s): Fors@

    Countries covered: Morocco

    Description: Competition and support vehicle for high impact aspiring young entrepreneurs committed to turn their social innovative ideas into local social enterprises delivering sustainable and scalable solutions addressing their communities most pressing issues.


    Project Name: Youth Micro Apex with Jaida

    Inception date: June 2013

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: Provision of dedicated youth financing via 2-3 MFIs

    Partner(s): Jaida, AFIF, FNAM

    Countries covered: Morocco

    Description: Design and Launching of Youth Financing Facility (BDS, Technical Assistance, Loan Capital) within Jaida


    Yemen

    Project Name: Al Amal Loan Startup Product (Mashrou3i)

    Inception date: October 2013

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: 1,000 youth start-ups financed over 15 months

    Partner(s): Al Amal Microfinance Bank

    Countries covered: Yemen

    Description: Partial guarantee mechanism to stimulate lending to the youth startup cohort


    Project Name: Yemen Youth Savings Initiative

    Inception date: May 2012

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: 20,000 youth influenced through social marketing, at least 20,000 youth provided with financial literacy, at least 20,000 provided with savings accounts over 2 years

    Partner(s): Al Amal Microfinance Bank, Al Kuraimi Islamic Microfinance Bank, GIZ, Yemen Microfinance Network, Sanabel

    Countries covered: Yemen

    Description: Provision of dedicated youth savings accounts combined with financial literacy to increase financial access for low-income youth


    Project Name: Youth Loan Fund

    Inception date: October 2009  

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: 50,000 youth provided with youth financial services

    Partner(s): Al Amal Microfinance Bank (AMB)

    Countries covered: Yemen

    Description: Loan capital, provision of dedicated youth loan product to youth run enterprises in Yemen. Technical assistance – capacity building to better provide youth financial services.


    Project Name: Youth Startup Loan Product (Mashrou3i)

    Inception date: November 2013

    Current status: Pilot Phase (6 months)

    Expected outcomes: 250 youth start-up supported financially during the pilot phase

    Partner(s): Al Amal Microfinance Bank (AMB)

    Countries covered: Yemen

    Description: New dedicated loan product backed by a partial guarantee mechanism to stimulate lending to the higher risk youth startup cohort.


    Project Name: Youth Small Enterprise Loan Fund

    Inception date: January 2010

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: 1,500 youth-run small businesses provided with financial services

    Partner(s): Small Enterprise Development Fund, Social Fund for Development

    Countries covered: Yemen

    Description: Provision of technical and financial assistance to support SEDF in providing youth financial services, including the launched of a dedicated youth small enterprise loan product


    Egypt

    Project Name: Village RoSCAs for Community Savings and Borrowing

    Inception date: July 2013

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: 3000 beneficiaries of financial literacy training

    Partner(s): Economic Research Forum (ERF), Egyptian Banking Institute

    Countries covered: Egypt

    Description: This is a research project that is testing a number of methods to build village RoSCAs (Rotating Savings and Credit Associations) that would enhance micro savings and borrowing among villagers. The objective is to enhance access to finance among the villagers, while building on their capacities, without pushing them into debt traps.


    Project Name: Capacity Building for Egyptian Microfinance

    Inception date: June 2013

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: IT solutions from Microsoft to empower MFIs

    Partner(s): Egyptian Microfinance Network, Microsoft

    Countries covered: Egypt

    Description: To provide IT software from Microsoft to MFIs, in addition to developing new software for loan tracking to automate management and improve efficiency. In addition, the program will provide capacity building programs to support MFIs in helping startup entrepreneurs.


    Project Name: Youth Enterprise Growth Initiative

    Inception date: March 2012

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: 1000 youth businesses supported to grow from micro to small over 2 years

    Partner(s): Alexandria Business Association (ABA), Mowgli Foundation UK

    Countries covered: Egypt

    Description: Provision of package of non-financial services (training, mentorship and access to finance) to support the growth of micro enterprises run by high potential youth clients of ABA.


    Project Name: Egypt Youth Savings Initiative

    Inception date: September 2013

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: 20,000 youth influenced through social marketing, at least 20,000 youth provided with financial literacy, at least 20,000 provided with savings accounts over 2 years

    Partner(s): GIZ, Sanabel, Egyptian Banking Institute, National Bank of Egypt

    Countries covered: Egypt

    Description: Provision of dedicated youth savings accounts combined with financial literacy to increase financial access for low-income youth


    Project Name: Yomken

    Inception date: January 2013

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: 6000 people engaged through volunteering activities, 750 MSEs supported through crowdfunding

    Partner(s): Yomken

    Countries covered: Egypt

    Description: Support to the development and expansion of Yomken operations for their crowdfunding and open innovation services.


    Project Name: Rural Youth Economic Empowerment through Community Development Associations.

    Inception date: September 2013

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: The overall goal of the project is to increase youth economic access for 10,000 youth over three years through strengthened Community Development Associations (CDAs)

    Partner(s): Plan Egypt / Plan Canada, Making Cents International, IFAD

    Countries covered: Egypt

    Description: Provision of support to CDAs and the Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) which they serve to provide a package of training, business development services and financing solutions to youth.


    Syria

    Project Name: Ebda’a Microfinance Bank

    Inception date: March 2010

    Current status: On hold

    Expected outcomes: TBD

    Partner(s): Ebda’a Microfinance Bank

    Countries covered: Syria

    Description: Provision of technical and financial assistance to support Ebda’a in providing youth financial services, including the launched of dedicated youth loans and savings products


    Somalia

    Project Name: Microfinance Technical Assistance Project - Puntland

    Inception date: February 2013

    Current status: Under development

    Expected outcomes: Support to the creation of a greenfield microfinance institution in Puntland by 2014

    Partner(s): Kaamil Microfinance Institution, Help Leads to Hope NGO

    Countries covered: Somalia (Puntland)

    Description: Provision of technical assistance to help in the launching of a youth-focused microfinance institution


    Project Name: Microfinance Technical Assistance Project

    Inception date: March 2013

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: Support to the creation of a greenfield microfinance institution in Somalia by 2014.

    Partner(s): Kaah Islamic Microfinance Services (KIMS), AECF, FAO, ARC

    Countries covered: Somalia (all parts)

    Description: Provision of technical assistance to help in the launching of a youth-focused microfinance institution by leveraging the existing Kaah Express networks and agents in urban and rural areas


    Project Name: Microfinance Technical Assistance Project - Somaliland

    Inception date: September 2013

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: Support to expansion of Kaaba’s youth portfolio and the design of two new Islamic finance products

    Partner(s): Kaaba MFI, Doses of Hope NGO, AFIF

    Countries covered: Somalia (Somaliland)

    Description: Provision of technical assistance and funding to help increase the youth focus of an existing microfinance institution


    Project Name: Somali Youth Enterprise Awareness Initiative

    Inception date: June 2013

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: Increased awareness of and interest in self-employment among Somali youth; increased access to financial services for youth

    Partner(s): ARC, Bulsho TV, Shaqodoon, Bamyan Media, WTYSL

    Countries covered: Somalia

    Description: Holistic project to support enterprise awareness, education, training, and access to finance for Somali youth in urban and rural areas


    Project Name: Supporting Youth in Somalia

    Inception date: July 2013

    Current status: Under development

    Expected outcomes: 10,000 youth supported to access information and services which increase their economic opportunities over two years

    Partner(s): ARC, Dahabshiil Money Transfer, SomTel, Dahabshiil Bank

    Countries covered: Somalia

    Description: Holistic project to support skills and training for youth in Somalia


    Tunisia

    Project Name: Tunisia Youth Savings Initiative

    Inception date: July 2013

    Current status: Under development

    Expected outcomes: 50,000 youth influenced through social marketing, at least 20,000 youth provided with financial literacy, at least 20,000 provided with savings accounts over two years

    Partner(s): La Poste, Tunisiana, Proinvest, Edupartage, Mercy Corps

    Countries covered: Tunisia

    Description: Provision of dedicated youth savings accounts combined with financial literacy to increase financial access for low-income youth. Piloting of innovative M-savings solutions


    Project Name: MobiSouk

    Inception date: July 2013

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: Market access support to over 50,000 youth-run microenterprises

    Partner(s): Tunisiana, Provinvest

    Countries covered: Tunisia

    Description: A mobile portal that will connect young people without Internet access to a B2C and B2B virtual marketplace solution where they can offer services and products.


    Project Name: Technical Assistance to MicroCred

    Inception date: October 2013

    Current status: Under development

    Expected outcomes: 10,000 youth-run businesses supported

    Partner(s): MicroCred

    Countries covered: Tunisia

    Description: Support to the design of youth and mobile financial and non-financial services. Loan capital, BDS, technical assistance around a youth startup product, in addition to youth-run businesses.


    Project Name: Technical Assistance to Entrepreneurship Finance Centre (EFC)

    Inception date: October 2013

    Current status: Under development

    Expected outcomes: 1,000 youth-run businesses supported

    Partner(s): Tuninvest, Développement international Desjardins (DID)

    Countries covered: Tunisia

    Description: Support to the design of youth financial and non-financial services


    Lebanon

    Project Name: Technical Assistance to Ibdaa Microfinanc

    Inception date: June 2013

    Current status: Under development

    Expected outcomes: 1500 young entrepreneurs provided with integrated support services

    Partner(s): Ibdaa, Arab Open University

    Countries covered: Lebanon

    Description: Silatech is supporting the development of an integrated, comprehensive entrepreneur support system (awareness, curriculum, training, access to finance, etc.) at Arab Open University.


    Jordan

    Project Name: Youth Financing Project

    Inception date: July 2013

    Current status: Under development

    Partner(s): FINCA MFI

    Countries covered: Jordan

    Description: Silatech will be providing technical assistance and financial support to FINCA to support their Youth Financing Project, which aims at developing BDS solutions and financing products to existing/future youth clients


    Project Name: Non-Financial Services for Tamweelcom

    Inception date: June 2013

    Current status: Active

    Partner(s): Tamweelcom

    Countries covered: Jordan

    Description: Silatech will be providing technical assistance and financial support to Tamweelcom’s Training Academy, which will be targeting socially and economically challenged youth in Jordan.


    Sudan

    Project Name: Technical Assistance to SABFS

    Inception date: June 2013

    Current status: Active

    Expected outcomes: Financial Literacy Training for 1000 loan Credit Officers throughout Sudan

    Partner(s): SABFS

    Countries covered: Sudan

    Description: Silatech offered a three-day "Financial Literacy Training of Trainers" course to 20 master instructors from the Sudan Academy for Banking and Financial Sciences (SABFS) in Nov 2012. These newly trained officers have conducted a comprehensive four-month microfinance development program organized by SABFS in the capital city of Khartoum for over 1000 credit officers from throughout the country.


    Project Name: Technical Assistance to IRADA

    Inception date: September 2013

    Current status: Under development

    Partner(s): IRADA MFI

    Countries covered: Sudan

    Description: Provision of loan capital in addition to technical assistance and BDS solutions to IRADA to launch youth financial services combined with training to existing/future youth clients across Sudan.


    Project Name: Technical Assistance World Bank Rural Livelihoods Programme

    Inception date: September 2013

    Current status: Under development

    Expected outcomes: TBD

    Partner(s): World Bank, SUDIA, SMDC

    Countries covered: Sudan

    Description: Provision of technical assistance and BDS solutions to the World Bank Rural Livelihoods Programme


    Libya

    Project Name: Microfinance Market Study

    Inception date: September 2013

    Current status: Under development

    Expected outcomes: Study

    Partner(s): Grameen Jameel, University of Benghazi

    Countries covered: Libya

    Description: Research, stakeholder consultations

    Youth Microenterprise Funds

    By providing seed funding, Silatech incentivizes financial institutions to enter the high-growth “youth market.” Based on an expression of interest from a partner financial institution for a particular type of funding, Silatech carries out a diagnostic of the institution to determine the viability of an investment.

    On the basis of a successful diagnostic, Silatech negotiates and agrees terms and conditions for financing. Typically, any Silatech funding is matched by the financial institution, and deployed through a pilot project that qualifies for additional funding upon successful delivery.

    Over time, we also bring other investors and donors to participate in these funding structures, thereby increasing the resources available to help provide young Arab microentrepreneurs with much-needed financial products and services.

    We currently offer access to five forms of seed financing: debt investment, convertible debt or quasi-equity, equity, loan guarantees, and peer-to-peer lending.

    Debt Investment

    Typically, these are medium-term loans offered to a financial institution at below-market lending rates, in local currency, for them to match with other funds in order to introduce youth-focused financial services.

    Convertible Debt or Quasi-Equity

    This is debt, under the same principles as above, for microfinance banks or commercially-oriented microfinance institutions (MFIs). However, there is the option to convert the debt to equity in the partner institution over a period of time.

    Equity

    This is direct investment from Silatech into existing microfinance banks or commercially-oriented microfinance institutions (MFIs), or founding capital in the case of new financial institutions. All equity acquisitions are made with the clear intent of expanding service to young clients.

    Loan Guarantees

    Typically, loan guarantees are used to partially cover the risk of extending microcredit to a new higher-risk target segment—for example, lending to youth-owned startup microenterprises.

    Peer-to-Peer Lending

    Peer-to-peer lending includes Kiva Arab Youth, Silatech's microlending platform with Kiva that allows financial institutions to access microloan funding from individual lenders from across the world.

    If you are a financial institution interested in partnering with Silatech to develop youth-specific products and services to reach the high-growth, high-potential youth market, we encourage you to contact us directly at info@silatech.com.

    Technical Assistance

    Silatech provides technical assistance (TA) to partner financial institutions in building sustainable and commercially-viable youth-focused products, processes and procedures.

    Through its industry leading partnerships, Silatech has core capability in a range of TA services:

  • Design and deployment of youth lending facilities and youth financial products (specialized youth loans, youth savings and other products)

  • Staff training on how to address the youth market

  • Social performance monitoring and evaluation support solutions

  • Marketing and outreach strategies to reach young people

  • Development of non-financial business support services (enterprise training, access to markets, etc.)

  • Based on an expression of interest from a partner financial institution for technical assistance, Silatech typically carries out a review of the institution to determine its capacity and motivation to intentionally target young people as a new client base.

    On the basis of this review, we negotiate and agree terms and conditions for the technical assistance so that the FI is appropriately supported as it works to target this under-penetrated yet high-growth market.

    If you are a financial institution, or an organization working in the field of youth enterprise development in the Arab world, and you are interested in technical assistance, technology solutions, or other support to help you develop and deliver youth-specific products and services, we may be able to assist you. Contact us directly at info@silatech.com.

    Ecosystem Support

    In addition to offering technical assistance to financial institutions, Silatech works through its network of partnerships and alliances to build an overall ecosystem of support for youth microenterprises. Through entrepreneurship or financial literacy training, business incubation support, access to local or international markets, as well as other business development services, our network of partners provides support for young entrepreneurs throughout the entire “enterprise life cycle”—from business conceptualization, to startup, and eventually to growth and development. 

    Silatech’s role in this “partner ecosystem” takes a variety of forms: donor, investor, technical expert, advisor, partnership enabler, or simply awareness raiser.

    If you are a microentrepreneur, or an organization working in the field of youth enterprise development in the Arab world, and you are interested in technical assistance, technology solutions, or business development services, we may be able to assist you. Contact us directly at info@silatech.com.

    Technology Partnerships

    At Silatech, we see technology as a key catalyst for increasing youth economic inclusion.  Furthermore, recognizing that youth are often some of the fastest adopters of new technology, we are continuously looking at ways to leverage technology to increase the scale and impact of our youth microenterprise interventions.

    Silatech is working with a number of partners engaged in the technology space and is open to exploring additional collaborations in the following key fields:

  • Introduction of mobile money services and their application to the microfinance sector with a particular emphasis on their adoption by young clients

  • Usage of SMS- and USSD-based informational and client management services by financial institutions and youth serving organizations to help them reach large numbers of young people in a more timely and efficient way

  • Usage of Web- and mobile-based platforms to facilitate the provision of both financial- and non-financial-based support services to microenterprises

  • If you are a technology provider or a technical services organization working on the provision of Web- and mobile-based microenterprise support services in the Arab world, and feel you may be able to support our objectives, contact us directly at info@silatech.com.