UfM- How does BFPME help SMEs and Entrepreneurs in Tunisia to develop innovative ideas and grow their businesses? What are the other services provided in addition to access to finance?
Khalil Ammar (KA) – BFPME became an essential key player in the SMEs finance. It specializes in supporting innovative projects (new products, processes based on a very advanced technology and high value-added services) and pays particular attention to these projects. It comes to improve the internal capacities structure of companies and help entrepreneurs to raise the necessary funds to carry out innovative idea. BFPME also aims at identifying best resources and other partners. Thus, the SME would be able to generate earnings and maintain its competitive advantage.
Moreover, BFPME is currently working to develop a set of more diversified financial products tailored to the needs of innovative companies. This is being held in collaboration with OSEO – France – during a twinning mission between OSEO from the European side, and BFPME and SOTUGAR (guarantee funds management institution) on the Tunisian side. In this respect, the European Union has provided a grant of $ 1.1 million to fund the twinning project.
UfM- How do you appraise the cooperation with UfM? How could this cooperation contribute to the development of Tunisian SMEs and create jobs for youth and women?
KA – The Union for the Mediterranean promotes cooperation and partnership in the region through the implementation of concrete regional flagship projects. Being a coordination and consensus building platform, it is seen to be the right interlocutor and gateway to strong and well placed partners across the region.
Cooperation between the UfM and BFPME could mainly lead to the following:
– The establishment of dynamic NETWORKING creating opportunities for exchanges or partnerships between professionals, entrepreneurs and investors from both shores of the Mediterranean, thus promoting the growth of promising business opportunities.
– The mobilization of resources and funds to support the creation and development of innovative companies and projects with high added value.
– Facilitate the access to market to MSMEs in order to grasp opportunities in new markets across the Euro-Med region.
UfM – The UfM has recently labeled the EMDC project which is as an integrated and widespread network of development business support centres and directly involved in day-to-day field support to local MSMEs and financial sector operators. What is the role of BFPME in this project and how this project will support Small and Medium Enterprises along the critical stages of start-up, growth and internationalization?
KA – Recognising that the ultimate goal of the SMEs development is to create employment opportunities through the establishment of new MSMEs and the reinforcement of existing ones, particularly among youth, EMDC is a project that contributes to the enhancement of this objective setting up an innovative and integrated value chain by delivering services, training and advice to MSMEs directly.
The EMDC project is conceived as an integrated and widespread network of Euro-Mediterranean public and private Agencies and Institutions supporting MSMEs in Southern and Northern shores of the Mediterranean. Its business model incorporates the existing domestic institutions to create a network of technical centers which will provide qualified business advisory services to improve the access to market and to financial resources.
Being based on the concept of synergy and twining with international institutions and networks involved in the Euro-med economic development support, BFPME will maximize the financing opportunities (lending, equity, innovative financial products) and promote the development of tailor-made financial services and new dedicated instruments for Tunisian MSMEs.
Indeed, BFPME supports Tunisian SMEs in their different life cycles and particularly during the development process of the company. Moreover, internationalization refers not only to exports but to all activities that put SMEs into a meaningful business relationship with a foreign partner; exports, imports, foreign direct investment, joint-ventures, subcontracting and technical co-operation. This approach will also encourage SMEs from the northern shore of the Mediterranean to settle in Tunisia allowing FDI to flow and ensure technology transfer.