Press Release Wednesday 10 June 2015

For Immediate Release




  • On Tuesday British Ambassador John Casson inaugurated the Nomou Programme in Egypt – a regional partnership between GroFin, Shell Foundation and the UK government to catalyse the SME sector and support sustainable job creation.
  • Over 3,500 sustainable jobs will be created through the deployment of US$50M to 125 SMEs across Egypt over the next five years.


Cairo, Egypt— Tuesday, 9 June 2015 marked the official launch of  the ‘Nomou Programme’ in Egypt which is part of a regional initiative catalysing the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector to support sustainable job creation. Over the next five years, the Nomou Programme in Egypt will deploy US$50M to provide 125 small and growing businesses with integrated finance and business support that will help them to create 3,500 sustainable jobs in the country.


The Nomou Programme in Egypt is an initiative co-created by GroFin, a pioneering SME development finance organisation and Shell Foundation, an independent charity, with support from the UK government. The objective of the programme is to provide an integrated solution of patient growth finance, tailored business support, and access to markets to start-ups as well as existing small and medium enterprises across Egypt and the greater MENA region.


In Egypt, high unemployment is a challenge for growth and prosperity. Research from Hearts & Mind Strategies suggest that the MENA region is missing a major growth engine, with SMEs and entrepreneurs lacking the vital resources they need to succeed: access to flexible patient capital, access to business skills and training, and linkages to the supply chains of large organisations.


The launch of Nomou in Egypt seeks to address these market barriers by providing an integrated solution of finance for business growth through loans over 3-7 years, and ranging from US$100,000 to US$1.5M (in local currency equivalent), based on the viability of an SME’s business plan as opposed to the availability of collateral, and extensive pre- and post-investment business support to help entrepreneurs develop and execute effective growth strategies.


The initiative has already secured support and funding from a range of investors, donors and development agencies, including the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Shell Group, the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF), and KfW. DFID multiyear support both assists GroFin in developing operational capacity in-country in addition to supporting the delivery of business support to local SMEs.


At the launch in the Sofitel El Gezirah, the public, private, and non-governmental sectors actively discussed how joint efforts such as Nomou can further bolster Egypt’s growing SME sector. Notable speakers included: his Excellency the British Ambassador to Egypt John Casson, Private Sector Advisor MENAD – Department for International Development Carl Aaron, Shell Foundation Director Sam Parker, Shell Egypt Social Investment Adviser Ahmed ElGabry, GroFin Group CEO Jurie Willemse, and GroFin Regional (MENA) Investment Director Mohamed Hawary.


Nomou was co-founded by GroFin and Shell Foundation, based on their 10-year track record of providing vital and much-needed support to SMEs in Africa. GroFin has already helped to sustain more than 18,000 jobs, provided business support to 8,000 SMEs, and invested in 600 business owners’ dreams. Having generated almost US$2 billion in economic impact, GroFin, Shell Foundation, and the UK government are now bringing this proven integrated solution for SMEs to Egypt. The UK Government supports Nomou as part of its development assistance to Egypt, worth $50m since 2011.


Nomou Egypt is headquartered in Cairo, and operates throughout the country with a key focus on high impact sectors such as healthcare, education, agro-processing, and energy in addition to other sectors that support inclusive growth.







“Foreign investment and mega-projects are vital, but not enough to power Egypt’s economy in the long-term. The jobs Egypt needs will only coming from enterprising Egyptian growing their businesses. That’s why the UK, Shell Foundation, and GroFin are today launching a new $50m investment to support small and medium-sized companies, the dynamic heart of any successful economy.”

His Excellency,

John Casson

British Ambassador to Egypt


“We believe the SME sector plays a critical role to supporting inclusive economic growth and creating jobs. The launch of Nomou provides Egyptian entrepreneurs with access to critical ingredients for growth; appropriate finance, business skills, and market links.  Having co-developed the model with GroFin, and built a 10 year track record we are pleased to see the model can be adapted to serve Egypt’s SME market and complement the Government’s efforts to build a strong economy and growing employment. Shell Foundation is also excited to be working in partnership with the UK government to scale the initiative.”

Sam Parker,


Shell Foundation


With over 600 transactions and 15 years of assisting business owners in Africa reach their entrepreneurial potential—GroFin is the most experienced development finance organisation in Africa.”

Jurie Willemse,

Chief Executive Office



Nomou is an outcome based model where proven results and sustainability are an advantage over any other SME financing and advisory models.”

Mohamed Hawary,

Regional Investment Director (MENA)



“SMEs are the foundation of every successful social economy, creating wealth and employment. So, UKAID is pleased to be supporting the NOMOU program in Egypt, which will set new standards for boosting SME performance and formal sector job creation.”
Carl Aaron,

Private Sector Advisor MENAD

Department for International Development


Nomou Egypt Launch






For more information, please contact:

Yana Fleming (English) or +230 4834782

Marketing and Communication Executive



Heidi Hafes (English) or +44 207 934 2221

Communications and Business Manager

Shell Foundation


Wafaa Saad (English and Arabic) or +202 27916067

Senior Adviser, Trade & Investment

British Embassy, Cairo


Nancy Farouq (English and Arabic) or +202 2737 1374

Investment Operations Manager

GroFin Egypt





About GroFin

GroFin is an international development finance organisation with over US$400M in committed capital specializing in the small and growing business sector across Africa and the Middle East. GroFin is a pioneer of “impact investing” at the bottom of the small and medium sized enterprise pyramid. The company is one of the very few private financial organisations capable of tackling a development challenge historically addressed by the public sector and NGO programmes. GroFin’s key differentiator is the integration of appropriate finance and tailored business support. With support stretching beyond finance, GroFin partners with committed entrepreneurs to help them realise their aspirations and business objectives. For more information, please visit



About Shell Foundation

Shell Foundation is an independent charity established by the Shell Group in 2000 to create and scale new solutions to global development challenges. They apply business thinking to major global development challenges including job creation through SMEs, urban mobility and access to energy. The Foundation deploy a blend of financial and non-financial resources to accelerate social innovation and harness private markets to deliver public benefit at scale. The Foundation works with a small number of entrepreneurial partners to identify underlying market failures behind intractable problems and co-create new social enterprises to solve them such as GroFin.


Over the last 15 years these partners have created 35,000 jobs, improved over 22.6 million livelihoods, saved 6.2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and secured almost US $5 billion of investment. Further information available at




The Arab Partnership is the UK government’s long-term strategic response to the Arab Spring – the change the Middle East and North Africa experienced since 2011. This citizen-led change demanded more inclusive democratic societies with a fair prospect of employment. The UK committed £110m to the Arab Partnership Fund from 2011-2015 to support political and economic reform in the MENA region.


This includes a £7 million Country Impact Fund (CIF) to support economic reform and growth in the Middle East/North Africa region. Designed to support local interventions, the CIF provides grant funding primarily in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Morocco and Libya. For more information, please visit