A new eCommerce Acceleration Programme (eCAP) was launched today by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) to empower Arab SMEs through their transition journey into online selling. The programme will be implemented through the ICC-ESCWA Centre of Entrepreneurship with support of the International Trade Centre (ITC).

The eCommerce Acceleration Programme (eCAP) aims to build the capacity of up to 100 SMEs from the Arab region to transition into online selling, either by developing their transactional eCommerce websites or by selling on existing online marketplaces. Participating SMEs will benefit from business and technical expertise, one-on-one coaching, and one-year support and critical setup fees to build or optimise the online platform, in addition to exposure and access to networking opportunities.

Eligible SMEs must be registered and operational in one of the Arab countries* and should have a working product or service that can be sold online. They should also have an online presence through social media or through an existing website that is not already fully optimised and should be willing to dedicate one or two team members to carry out the work and enjoy the process along the way.

ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said: “SMEs are a cornerstone of Arab economies. In line with ICC’s campaign to make technology work for all, the ICC-ESCWA Centre of Entrepreneurship’s new eCommerce Acceleration Programme will be key to the digital transformation of SMEs in the Arab world and can play a crucial role in tackling economic challenges across the region.”

SMEs can sign up to the programme by filling in the online application form, which is available in EnglishArabic and French. The deadline for submitting the online application form is 20 April 2022 at 23.00 Beirut time (GMT+3).

An informative session is being hosted today. Click here to learn more about the eCAP programme and to ask your questions.

In other news, the ICC-ESCWA Centre of Entrepreneurship will also be hosting a webinar on “Intellectual Property for Promoting Innovation and SMEs in the Arab Region” on 13 April to provide an overview of the status and challenges of intellectual property (IP) systems in the Arab region and the role of IP in promoting entrepreneurship, innovation, and SMEs. You can register for this event here.

Launched in October 2020, the ICC-ESCWA Centre of Entrepreneurship is an initiative co-led by ICC and ESCWA to prepare and mobilise the next generation of entrepreneurs in the Arab region, by building the capacity of various stakeholders, including government agencies and business enablers, in addition to nurturing SMEs through specialised programmes.

*List of Arab countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.