Country Funds

The SMEs serviced by Nomou are too large for microfinance, too small for private equity, and too risky for security-based lenders. These businesses require viability-based development and growth finance not offered by traditional banking solutions.

The MENA region represents a significant market in terms of size. From a political perspective, SMEs operating in the region may promote economic and social impact within their local communities, as well as the broader economy of their countries.  The Nomou programme actively works to create partnerships and linkages between organisations and small and growing businesses to provide access to new markets, as well as to develop local content and supply chains.

The Nomou programme focusses on investing in and supporting existing and new businesses with the ability to:

  • Create sustainable employment;
  • Produce local content; and
  • Deliver socio-economic benefits.

Nomou Oman Fund

SMEs in Oman

A total of over 120,000 registered SMEs account for more than 90% of the total businesses in Oman, contributing to around 15% of the country’s GDP and serve as a major source of employment.

However, the growth of the of the Omani SME sector is impeded by factors such as access to financing (intensified by limited competition among banks and high margin requirements for loans), lack of required business knowledge, difficulty in finding customers, high costs of production and administrative burdens.

Nomou in Oman

Shell, through its ‘Gift to the Nation’ initiative, started a fund to empower Omani entrepreneurs and create jobs in the region. Initially named the Intilaqaah Fund, the Nomou Oman Fund was established in 2006, the fund was rebranded in 2013 as the Nomou Oman Fund and is part of the Nomou investment fund programme co-established by GroFin and Shell Foundation and managed by GroFin.

The Nomou Oman Fund follows the GroFin model of integrating risk finance and business support to empower Omani entrepreneurs by enabling skills, business and technology transfers and, at the same time, assists them to achieve success while delivering positive socio-economic impact.

The Nomou Oman Fund supports Omanisation through job creation in high impact sector SMEs such as health, education, manufacturing, and food security enterprises.  Moreover, it focuses on SMEs that have the capacity to compete in the supply chain of large companies operating in Oman, namely in the oil and gas, manufacturing, construction, financial services and public services sector.

Nomou Iraq Fund


SME Sector in Al Basra Governorate

The capital of the Al Basra Governorate and the second largest after the Capital City of Baghdad with a population of 3.5 million inhabitants, Basra boasts unrivalled economic strength as its Majnoon Oil Field is considered the richest oil field in the world with 38 billion barrels of oil in place, besides being the fifth largest oil field in size globally.

However, Basra currently lags behind in all walks of economic life. The productive sectors such as agriculture and industry are still using outdated production methods and machinery which has made them incapable of coping with citizens’ needs and competing with imports. Job opportunities for citizens are also insufficient, hindering efforts to curb the continued unemployment problem in Basra.

The growth of Iraqi SMEs has been impeded by wars, political instability, lack of infrastructure, and absence of institutional support. One of the key obstacles to SME lending in Iraq is the lack of expertise of both banks and SME investors and absence of best practices in SME finance. In terms of private bank branches per capita, Iraq remains one of the most underserved nations.

Nomou in Iraq

The Nomou Iraq Fund is managed by the GroFin Iraq Office based in Basra. The Nomou Iraq Fund was able at inception to undertake a cohesive approach in identifying and marketing the strategic positioning in Basra as a stronghold for GroFin operations in Iraq as a whole.

With the support of the investors of the Nomou Iraq Fund and the concerted application of the GroFin business support proposition, the Fund was able to find a niche in the supply chain (business-to-business sphere) for Shell.

The Nomou Iraq fund focuses on Iraqi-owned businesses operating in sectors that are fundamental contributors to regional economic development, such as oil and gas related products and services, power and utilities, water related products and services, education, healthcare, hospitality and tourism. The growth and success of the Nomou Iraq Fund lies in providing support to businesses in key sectors while remaining on the lookout for any other potentially viable SME.

Nomou Jordan Fund

SMEs in Jordan

SMEs in Jordan account for over 98.5% of the total number of registered companies, employ around 60% of the local labour force and contribute up to 50% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  As the main driver of economic growth in Jordan, SMEs are also the main source of export earnings and value creation.

Access to financing is a challenge faced by Jordanian SMEs due to lack of reliable collateral, lack of reliable guarantors, lack of track record, lack of business management skills, high interest rate, and lender’s requirements prior to financing, among others. SMEs and aspiring entrepreneurs thus have to often resort to the informal sector, family and friends for access to finance.

Nomou in Jordan

Through an anchor commitment from Shell Foundation, the Nomou Jordan Fund was established in 2013. As at 31 Dec 16, the Nomou Jordan Fund had disbursed capital totaling US$ 14.1 million, supported more than 320 entrepreneurs, invested in 31 small and growing businesses, sustained over 2,400 jobs and impacted 12,120 livelihoods.

The success of the Nomou Jordan Fund is founded in its integrated solution of providing both appropriate risk finance and value adding business support to SMEs.  The business support facility upholds the Fund’s mission by affording SMEs the hands-on support they need to access finance, increase their viability, and manage the numerous risks and challenges they face. The Fund’s support is aimed at maximising the success of SMEs and their socio-economic impact.

Nomou Egypt – GroFin SGB Fund

SMEs in Egypt

Egypt has a large and underserved SME sector. The Egyptian SME sector accounts for over 90% of the private sector, employs an estimated 65% of the country’s workforce and contributes up to 80% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  A combined 78% of the country’s SMEs operate in the trade and manufacturing sectors.

Egypt has been long considered as the largest SME hub in the Middle East as per operating density and number of enterprises. The country’s current economic challenges are forcing it to restructure and strengthen its growing SME sector.  While existing SMEs require approximately US$ 1 billion annually (according to the United Arab Bank), reports indicate that currently banks meet less than 10% of the required financing.

Nomou in Egypt

Co-founded by the Shell Foundation and GroFin, the Nomou Egypt Fund was launched in 2014 as part of Nomou’s regional initiative to catalyse the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector to support sustainable job creation.  The objective of the Nomou Egypt Fund is to provide an integrated solution of patient growth finance, tailored business support, and access to markets for existing SMEs as well as start-ups across Egypt.

With a rapidly growing population and a slow rate of job creation, the Nomou Egypt Fund provides an opportunity for SMEs to grow and contribute more significantly to Egypt’s economy.  The Nomou Egypt Fund and fund manager GroFin understand that these entrepreneurs need more than access to money and provide them with a solution of integrated continuous business support that includes entrepreneurial and management skills as well as access to larger markets for their goods and services.

The Nomou Egypt Fund actively seeks business owners of SMEs with revenues ranging from EGP 2M  – 100M in the greater Cairo area and exterior governorates and aims at providing each client with value adding business support that is drawn from the local team’s knowledge as well as an international network of experts and partners. It may be noted that programme investments are made under the GroFin SGB Fund.