In operation for four years, the Entrepreneur Financial Centre (EFC) set up by DID in Tunisia has a significant impact on the entrepreneurs who benefit from its services, revealed a study entitled Étude sur l’évolution des entreprises au CFE Tunisie, published following two surveys conducted among 382 clients between November 2018 and January 2019. The many positive effects include the empowerment of women, business growth, the evolution of living conditions and job creation.
Empowerment of women
Overall, women have witnessed a positive transformation in certain aspects of their lives since taking out their first loans at EFC Tunisia and completing their business projects.
“Having access to financial services is gratifying for a woman entrepreneur as she feels she has support and guidance through the various stages of her business’s evolution,” said Ms. Houda, owner of two businesses—a kindergarten and a private school.
The most positive transformation for women is having control over their own income.
“I felt that the EFC encourages female entrepreneurs by offering a credit product specifically designed for women—loans to female entrepreneurs—like the one I benefited from,” explained Ms. Hayet, EFC client.
The survey revealed that 67% of entrepreneurs have seen their businesses grow since taking out their first loans at EFC Tunisia. The ability to respond to client demand, the offer of new products and services, a growing demand, an improvement in the quality of existing products and services, and better service to clients are all aspects identified by entrepreneurs as having a positive influence on the growth of their businesses.
An EFC client since 2016, Ms. Ben Ali is the owner of Épices Fatouma and has benefited from three loans offered by EFC Tunisia. “With easy access to loans, Épices Fatouma has experienced significant growth over the past few years thanks to its leasehold improvements, the acquisition of new equipment, and the introduction and increased variety of products offered: oils, nuts, new spices, and so on. These investments have brought in new customers and strengthened relations with suppliers,” said Ms. Ben Ali.
Evolution of living conditions
The survey revealed that 60% of clients have seen an overall improvement in their living conditions since taking out their first loans at EFC Tunisia. This improvement is due to an increase in personal disposable income. Moreover, 86% of respondents affirmed that they have maintained or increased their level of personal income since obtaining their first loans. Similarly, more than 92% of the clients interviewed said they have maintained or improved their living conditions in terms of nutrition and healthcare.
Loans granted by EFC Tunisia have more than one impact on entrepreneurs, as they in turn contribute to the vitality of their communities. For example, 810 jobs were maintained or created by the 332 businesses that took out their first loans at EFC Tunisia. The average number of employees per business rose from one to more than two, an increase of 142%.
About EFC Tunisia
Inaugurated on June 2, 2015, EFC Tunisia counts among its shareholders Développement international Desjardins (DID), Groupe AfricInvest and Proparco, as well as many financial partners, such as the Agence française de développement (AFD), the Tunisian American Enterprise Fund (TAEF) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The aim of the EFC is to meet the specific financial needs of entrepreneurs by enabling them to contribute to the economic development of their country and to improve their living conditions, as well as those of their family and community.
A pioneer in its sector, EFC Tunisia is headquartered in the heart of Tunis and has had branches and points of service in the Sfax and Sousse regions since 2017 and 2018 respectively.