Providing Loan and Micro-finance Grant Support to 800 Micro and Very Small Tunisian Businesses Across Tunisia

Articles / 30-01-2023
Pottery handicraft as part of the eligible tourism-sector businesses for the USAID-Microcred support ©Shutterstock 

The USAID Visit Tunisia Activity partnered with Microcred, a microfinance institution, to assist 800 Tunisian micro and very small enterprises (MVSEs) in the tourism sector facilitate access to finance and recover from the devastating economic crisis in the wake of COVID-19. Its focus is women and/or youth-led businesses in underserved Tunisian regions. So far, 196 businesses have received a package of loans and grants and there can still be many more beneficiaries. The call for applications will be open until the end of June 2023.

Helping Small Businesses Accelerate their Growth through Microfinancing

The USAID Visit Tunisia Activity partnered with the international microfinance institution Microcred (formerly “Baobab Tunisie”) to assist 800 micro and very small enterprises (MVSEs) in the tourism sector to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis and facilitate their access to finance. Its focus is on MVSEs operating in the tourism sector in Tunisia’s underserved regions, particularly those owned by women and/or youth.
The program was launched on October 19th by Microcred’s digital campaign. In this first round, 151 MVSEs benefited from a package of loans and grants in mid-November, less than one month after the program was launched. In December, another outreach campaign generated 146 applications to the program, with 45 businesses receiving the package loan and grant support.

What is the USAID-Microcred funds package?

The USAID Visit Tunisia Activity and Microcred designed the grant to align with the Microcred’s existing practices, select beneficiaries against USAID Visit Tunisia’s criteria, and maximize the leverage of USAID funds to private loan capital. The assistance package provided to MVSEs under this project consists of the following:
  • A loan between TND 1,500 and TND 40,000 financed by Microcred; and
  • A microgrant financed by USAID Visit Tunisia up to TND 1,250.

Who can benefit from USAID-Microcred micro-finance grants and loans?

Eligible tourism-sector* micro and very small enterprises must meet at least one of the following three criteria:
  1. Impacted by COVID-19
  2. Operating in underserved regions**; and
  3. Owned by and employing women and/or youth (under 35).

* The type of business considered as part of the tourism sector are food and beverage, transportation, travel services, handicrafts, accommodation, entertainment, and car rental.

**The underserved regions in Tunisia include the governorates of Medenine, Tozeur, Kebili, Mahdia, Kef, Gafsa, Zaghouan, Siliana, Beja, Sidi Bouzid, Jendouba, and Kasserine; including Bizerte, Tabarka, El Kef, Sbeitla, Kairouan, Tozeur, Nefta, Douz, Tataouine, Gabes, and Matmata.

Why should micro and small tourism businesses apply?

USAID and Microcred bring you stories directly from the supported businesses to hear their motives for applying and how the program has positively impacted their businesses, helping them recover from the pandemic and accelerate growth.
Meet Malek Ayadi, owner of a travel agency in Sfax

Meet Malek Ayadi, owner of a travel agency in Sfax

Malik Ayadi manages the El Dorado travel agency in the governorate of Sfax, operating in the tourism sector for 22 years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, his business encountered several difficulties due to trip and reservation cancellations. Thanks to the microfinance support of 15,475 dinars in loans and 1,250 dinars in grants, Malik was able to pay his rent, his employees’ salaries, and relaunch his business activity.


Meet Taoufik Ayed, a craftsman in Nabeul

Taoufik Ayed is a craftsman who makes traditional baskets and all other products based on organic straw from palm leaves. He has been practicing this activity for 15 years in Nabeul. During the COVID pandemic, he faced difficulty purchasing raw materials and was forced to close his shop. Through this program, he received a 5139-dinar loan and a 734-dinar grant. This financial support enabled him to resume his business by buying the necessary raw materials and honoring his debts to his suppliers

USAID, in partnership with Microcred continues to award financial support to additional businesses until the call for participation is closed at the end of June 2023.

How can micro and small tourism businesses verify their eligibility and apply?

To potentially receive a loan and micro-finance grant support under this program, all micro and very small businesses operating in the tourism sector have three options:

Microcred agents provide customized assistance via phone and in-person at the twenty regional Microcred branches (see map above). to organize a personalized visit from dedicated regional Microcred portfolio managers to help the businesses with their applications.


Get up to 40 thousand in loan & up to 1,250 TND in grant*!

Calling all small businesses operating in the Tunisian tourism sector! Submit your application to access micro-finance grant and loan support to accelerate your economic recovery and growth. Apply now!

*All multisectoral micro and very small enterprises (MVSEs) across Tunisia are eligible to a loan. Only small businesses operating in the tourism sector are eligible for a grant, in addition to the loan. Some eligibility conditions may apply.

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