Iraqi Youth Center

Sahara Economic Development Organization (SEDO) is a business membership organization offering business development services with aim to contribute to private sector development in Iraq. 
SEDO aims to create job opportunities for Iraqi youth by establishing a new center in Iraq. To do this, SEDO shall build the capacity of youth to establish businesses, facilitates access to financial services, and qualifies youth for gainful employment. 
To meet center objectives, SEDO worked to establish and implement the following activities in Iraq. 
1. Youth Entrepreneurship Resource Center (YERC): YERC provides program participants with business development services to enable them to set up new or improve existing businesses and meet the pre-qualification requirements for the ‘Youth Entrepreneurs Access to Finance (YEAF)’ activity or the ‘Youth Employment Promotion (YEP)’ activity. 
2. Youth Entrepreneurship Access to Finance (YEAF): YEAF’s objective is to develop and expand the provision of tailored, demand-driven financial services for the youth that participate in the Iraqi Youth Initiative. 
3. Youth Employment Promotion (YEP): YEP provides youth with employable skills and qualifications to enable them gainful employment. 
SEDO implemented Iraqi Youth center activities in cooperation with MFIs institutions and banks such as Al Mosaned Iraqi Organization for Microfinance (Al-Mosaned). Al-Mosaned is an Iraqi microfinance institution whose purpose is to facilitate access to financial services to micro and small business entrepreneurs in Iraq. 
Cooperation between SEDO and Al-Mosaned to implement Iraqi Youth Initiative activities in Salah ad Din is governed by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). 
Center Outcomes and Impact
Implementation of the above objective allowed SEDO to benefit up to 1050 youth beneficiaries in the period 08/2010 till end of may 2013. Specifically, SEDO contributeed the following Iraqi Youth Initiative impact and outcomes: 
- Up to 420 youth completed business entrepreneurship training. 
- Up to 160 youth completed the YEP training program. 
- Up to 210 youth received microfinance business startup loans
- Up to 150 youth placed into apprenticeships. 
- Up to 110 jobs created.
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