Towards more and better employment through enhanced support to private sectors in southern Iraq – with a focus on green business

This project seeks to enhance support to private sector development and decent work creation, with a focus on green jobs.



Summary

The ILO, with the support of Italy through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), is implementing a project to enhance support to private sector development and decent job creation in Southern Iraq, with a focus on promoting sustainable green businesses. 

The project works on three main levels: at the macro level, the project aims to support the identification of evidence-based policy options for micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) development through an assessment of the business environment, using ILO’s assessment tool ‘Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises,’ which provides evidence-based recommendations on how to improve the business-enabling environment.

At the meso level, the project will build the capacities of banks, and microfinance institutions to design products and services that support the needs of their clients. It will also train staff of business intermediary organizations to sustainably continue to provide the needed skills development for the target clients, who will be referred to financial services.

At the micro level, the project will train youth and small business owners looking to grow or develop their businesses on its Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) and Financial Education programmes, and support their access to much-needed financial services.

The ILO will train and certify trainers from across the spectrum on its well-established business management and financial literacy tools, so they can in return deliver the trainings to potential entrepreneurs.

The project will work with a range of Ministries, including the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Environment, and the Ministry of Finance. It will also engage with employers’ and workers’ organizations, including the Iraqi Federation of Industries, Chamber of Commerce, trade unions, enterprises and private sector organizations, the Central Statistical Organization, the Central Bank of Iraq, Iraqi Company for Banking Guarantee, partner banks, Microfinance Institutions, Business Services Providers, and others.

Ultimately the project will benefit vulnerable workers in Iraq, including persons with disabilities and migrant workers, youth and women in the middle and south of Iraq.

The project is part of broader efforts under the Iraq Decent Work Country Programme signed by the Government, employers’ and workers’ organizations and the ILO to promote employment opportunities and decent work. It is in line with the new government Riyada' initiative for development and employment, which was launched by the Prime Minister in March 2023.

Objectives

  • Enhancing the business ecosystem where MSMEs are supported to adapt, innovate, grow and thrive –with a focus on green economy;
  • Improving institutional and MSMEs capacities on Start and Improve Your Business Programme and financial literacy; and
  • Improving financial inclusion of start-up businesses and MSMEs in sectors with potential for job creation, including in the green economy.

Main Activities

Enhancing the business ecosystem where MSMEs are supported to adapt, innovate, grow and thrive –with a focus on green economy
  • Conducting an enterprise assessment in targeted governorates on the development of MSMEs, which will include holding a series of consultative workshops with government, private sectors and key stakeholders on ways to address challenges of sustainable enterprise development, and fostering dialogue between workers, employers and governments to reach shared policy recommendations.
  • Supporting stakeholders to identify the major constraints hampering business development in the green economy, and supporting the adoption of an effective action plan for expanding green businesses.
Improving institutional and MSMEs capacities on Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) Programme and financial literacy
  • Conducting SIYB Training of Trainers’ workshops, which include training on green businesses, coaching the trainers through the delivery of their training programme and follow-up services to entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs, providing refresher workshops for trainers and conducting courses for start-ups with business plans.
  • Training trainers from Business Development Services, governorate chambers, and financial institutions as well as other trainers from targeted governorates on ILO’s financial literacy tools.
  • Delivering the financial education trainings to MSMEs and start-ups, namely those who are looking to obtain credit from banks to prepare them to handle their relationship with the banks.
Improving financial inclusion of start-up businesses and MSMEs in sectors with potential for job creation, including in the green economy
  • Training newly selected commercial banks and/or micro finance institutions on the ILO’s Making Finance Work, and building the capacities of partner banks and Iraqi Company for Banking Guarantee staff on supporting and assessing MSMEs, among other tasks.
  • Raising awareness of MSMEs on access to credit from financial institutions.
  • Adapting the financial inclusion model to the targeted governorates, and rolling out the disbursement of loans through partner banks.
  • Holding dialogue sessions with relevant authorities to identify barriers to registration of businesses and seeking practical solutions for reducing those barriers. Conducting awareness raising campaigns to encourage registration and formalization of businesses.