Over the course of 36 months, the project will strengthen a supporting environment that fosters the creation and sustainability of SMEs, VSBs and microenterprises in the Mediterranean region through the mobilization of entrepreneurs and investors from the diaspora community.
In almost all countries of the Mediterranean, economic inclusion, particularly of youth and women, has become a national priority. Subsequently, public policies have been introduced that aim to foster self-employment and business creation. These policies should provide an answer to the enormous challenge of supporting project-owners and ensuring the long-term sustainability of new businesses and initiatives. Therefore, the development of and support for entrepreneurialism, as well as support for the creation of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME)/Very Small Business (VSB) networks is crucial for improving the financial autonomy and future prospects of the people living in the region. In this respect, the SIEMed network (a novel network that utilizes the technical and financial know-how from the diaspora community), founded on the initiative of the Agency for International Cooperation and Local Development in the Mediterranean (ACIM) in 2016, gathers more than 50 actors in support of entrepreneurship from 6 Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Egypt, France, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia).
With a budget of €757.500, – over a 3-year period (starting in March 2017), the SIEMed network, aims at implementing concrete actions to promote the creation of businesses in the region through, among others, more effective stakeholder involvement, networking and exchanging good practices, technical expertise, and initiatives that foster entrepreneurship, thereby corresponding to one of UfM’s priority areas; namely, business development and job creation. Moreover, the project fosters regional dialogue and increased regional integration through incorporating different organisations from the Mediterranean that work together to meet and overcome existing segmentation and regional challenges with regard to entrepreneurship. Lastly, the project seeks to support the diaspora in their economic investments by supporting local organisations active in that domain, thereby facilitating exchanges and the validation of successful start-ups, which is another key area for the UfM.
Expected results include:
- 50 support organizations have become active in the SIEMed network;
- An entrepreneurial support academy has been created that include entrepreneurial coaches, Social and Solidarity Economy mentors, and women’s mentors.
- The SIEMed has been recognised throughout the Mediterranean (based on media and stakeholder visibility);
- Entrepreneurship has been promoted and disseminated among women and young people, and local and national stakeholders have a raised awareness within the entrepreneurial ecosystem (based on attendance and satisfaction of workshops and seminars);
- The network organizations have increased awareness about the different support characteristics in the diaspora.
About the promoter and partner institutions
ACIM, The Mediterranean Entrepreneurship Agency, is an international cooperation agency based in Marseille, whose core business is economic development and the creation of activities in the countries on the Southern shore of the Mediterranean. ACIM is supported through the expertise of its network and sustainable partnerships with business creation actors and institutions, in France and in the Maghreb countries. ACIM supports the entrepreneurs of the Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian diasporas who wish to invest in their country of origin through the organisation of business forums, DiasporaLab, personalized follow-up and support, networking, and capacity building of local support structures.