Support The Operationalization of The SME Unit in The Federation of Egyptian Industries

The overall objective of this project- funded by the European Union- is to create a more enabling environment for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Egypt- including those owned by women and youth.

Project Background

The European Union funded project "Support the operationalization of the newly created Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Department of the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI)" is implemented by the International Labour Organization.

The overall objective of the project is to create a more enabling environment for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Egypt- including those owned by women and youth. The underlying theory of change entails that a more enabling business environment will be created through a strengthened voice of MSMEs to influence policy making. In order to effectively advocate for the interests of MSMEs, employers’ organizations such as the FEI must therefore strengthen these enterprises and their representative bodies through advocacy and improved service delivery, as well as building strong partnerships and effective dialogue with governmental and relevant stakeholders.

This implies that the FEI’s SME Unit must first build its in-house capacity to strategically identify, deliver and/or facilitate relevant services to these enterprises and their representative bodies, along with building its internal capacity to identify and formulate reform proposals that are based on solid research methodologies. The latter requires that the Unit strengthens its capacity to conduct assessments and to develop reform proposals in coordination with its main institutional counterparts.

Implementation strategy

The proposed action primarily builds the in-house knowledge and capacity of the FEI’s SME Unit to identify the characteristics and needs of the Federation’s various target groups (which are current and potential members of the federation), which include MSMEs themselves as well as their representative business chambers or associations. It also intends to increase the collaboration and strengthen dialogue between the Federation and its counterparts by engaging relevant institutional partners in policy advocacy related activities. 

Objectives and expected outcomes

The specific objectives are to capacitate the SME Unit within the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) to:

  • Identify its mandate, market niche, delivery modality and relevant services for MSMEs
  1. Support the SME Unit to assess service needs among MSMEs and representative bodies in Egypt;
  2. Support the SME Unit to determine its market niche and delivery modality (implementing versus facilitating role), and identify relevant, demand-driven services;
  3. Identify the functional and operational capacity gaps in the SME unit; and address them through a tailored capacity building and organisational development support programme for the SME Unit;
  4. Enable the SME Unit to gain a better understanding of international good practices on services provided by employers’ federations to MSMEs and business chambers/associations, including assessments, advocacy and business development service.
  • Engage in evidence-based policy dialogue and advocacy for MSMEs
  1. Support the SME Unit to push further for a stronger engagement on policy making for MSME-friendly reforms through capacitating the unit and relevant partners in conducting and analysing business environment assessments such as Business Barometer and SME Test to reach evidence-based policy recommendations.
  • Facilitate access to relevant business development services for MSMEs
  1. Facilitate the design, delivery and evaluation of SME development services within the SME unit and MSMEs representative chambers.

The expected results of the action are as follows:


  • Have increased their voice and representation at national fora;
  • Have improved access to relevant services offered by the FEI SME Unit and its affiliate business chambers.

The SME Unit within the FEI is better able to

  • Formulate evidence-based policy reform proposals on behalf of MSMEs;
  • Deliver relevant business development services (BDS) to MSMEs owned by women and men;
  • Facilitate access to relevant services for MSMEs through FEI’s affiliated business chambers.


  • Has strengthened its dialogue with private sector counterparts based on more evidence-based advocacy.