The World Bank-funded ‘Somali Small and Medium Enterprise Facility’ (SMEF) is being implemented by BDO LLP across the Somali peninsula, with regional offices located in Puntland, Somaliland and the Federal Government of Somalia.

The facility is a sub component of the Somali Core Economic Institutions and Opportunities (SCORE) Programme that aims to expand economic opportunities. Component two of this program will provide direct support to the private sector through technical assistance and grants.

The Facility is mandated to provide demand-driven, subsidized non-financial support to small businesses, ultimately seeking to help business owners grow their businesses and create jobs.

SMEF support includes business development support (BDS) and entrepreneurship training for businesses as well as skills development for SME employees. SMEF support is delivered through a variety of channels, including wholesale (group-level workshops) and retail (one-to-one training) services.

Wherever possible SMEF works with local service providers to deliver the BDS and skills training, who we have identified, selected and trained to ensure high quality service is provided to SME clients. This approach both builds the capacity of local BDS and skills training providers, and promote a sustainable market for them to operate in throughout the Somali peninsula.

The motivation for, and commitment to provide skills development trainings to SMEs and individuals is underlined by the following principles that guide on how we do!

  • Facilitative: SMEF facilitates local BDS providers, TVET providers, SMEs and other relevant stakeholders in order to stimulate local capacity development.

  • Sustainable: The Facility aims to create a self-sufficient market of competent BDS providers supporting SMEs to grow and equipping individuals with managerial and technical skills for sustainable employment or entrepreneurship.

  • Market-driven: SMEF aims to support BDS providers in developing skills that are in demand by the SMEs. Similarly, we only develop skills that are in demand in the market (employment or entrepreneurship).

  • Inclusive: The Facility will involving a diverse set of SMEs and individuals from different geographic regions or locations, walk of life, genders, types of BDS providers, SMEs and TVET institutions.

  • Innovative: SMEF will aim to support locally innovative alternatives over traditional ones. For instance, an SME that produce local products will have a preference above traders. Furthermore, SMEs that adds value to agricultural products by transforming them into finished food products will have a preference above one that is bringing basic agriculture output to the market for example, transforming corn into cornflakes instead of selling unprocessed corn on the market). SMEF considers that this value addition or transformation contributes significantly to generating more job opportunities.

SMEF will cultivate an adaptive approach to delivering business improvement services and technical support, ensuring that the support provided matches the specific needs of the entrepreneurs and SMEs we will be working with. The overarching aim underpinning SMEF’s approach is the provision of demand-driven BDS, whereby we are seeking to identify the gaps between Somali SMEs’ demand for BDS and the market’s current ability to supply suitable services.

Broadly, there are two key levels at which we will work:


  • Wholesale Level: SMEF will work with existing BDS and TVET service providers to strengthen their internal capacity, enabling them to provide better and more specialised services to Somali SME clients, both corporate and individuals. We aim to nurture a sustainable legacy of strong local BDS, and prevents SMEF from crowding out the local BDS market.
  • Retail Level: We intend to engage the services of experts, who will provide a one-to-one service to SMEs.
  • Partnering; In addition to working directly with SMEs and BDS providers, our team will also engage with SME support institutions, government agencies, financial intermediaries, women-in-business organisations, academicians and other relevant entities.