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Head Start! for Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment Project

Basic info

AKF supports training for youth entrepreneurs in Egypt.AKF supports training for youth entrepreneurs in Egypt. Summary
Young people in Egypt face new opportunities but also serious obstacles to a better life, including soaring unemployment. In 2010, 9 out of 10 unemployed Egyptians were under 30 years old. In and around Cairo, despite the city’s higher education levels, nearly 7 out of 10 youth are jobless. Young women face especially bleak job prospects.

The First Microfinance Foundation Egypt (FMF-E), the Aga Khan Foundation Egypt (AKF, E), the Community Development Corporation (CDC) and the Aga Khan Foundation USA (AKF USA) have joined together to help Egypt face the challenges of youth unemployment with a new program called Head Start! for Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment, funded by a $3.89 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Head Start! aims to improve youths’ access to vocational training that can help their employability, and also supply funds to start their own small businesses. Head Start! will also help improve the capacity of community organizations that work with youth and other groups in Darb Al-Ahmar, a poor neighborhood in Cairo. 

Serving young men and women equally, in low-income neighborhoods around Al Azhar Park where the Aga Khan Development Network has been active for years as well as other poor areas in Cairo, the project will finance at least 1,200 small start-up businesses and 500 vocational training loans over the two-year project. Central to the project is the support these new entrepreneurs will receive from experienced business coaches who can help them overcome challenges, along with an initial grace period on loan repayment while the youth grow their businesses.

Program updates
The project team will identify a first set of beneficiaries early in 2012.

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