IOM’s Enterprise Development Fund (EDF) is an innovative programme that supports livelihoods at the community level through private sector revitalization and economic development by targeting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The EDF provides financial capital to SMEs in primary, secondary, and tertiary economic sectors with a high demand for labour, with the objective of post-conflict economic recovery and inclusive economic development. Concurrently, targeting key sectors and businesses with the greatest potential to create jobs, the EDF encourages rapid and large-scale job creation. Piloted in Iraq in 2018, the EDF has evolved and expanded over the years to cater for different socio-economic contexts both within Iraq and globally. In Iraq, the EDF has supported more than 1,300 SMEs and created more than 5,700 jobs. The EDF’s strength lies in its systematic structures that are compartmentalized into different processes to ensure accountability and flexibility to adapt and evolve. Since its inception, the EDF has been launched in five countries and continues to grow to this day, with strong foundation on research, market studies, and lessons learnt.


  • 59% of total employees (87% of the new employees) reported their living conditions have improved.
  • 89% of the total EDF employees are working full-time, 90% of the jobs created are full-time.
  • 63% of total employees are between 18 and 30 years old, 67% of the newly hired employees are between 18 and 30 years old.
  • 17% of the total employees are females, while 20% of the newly hired are females.
  • The number of businesses having health and safety measures in place has increased by 47%.

Compliance and Registration

Compliance and Registration
  • The number of businesses registered with the Chamber of Commerce/Industry has increased by 56%.
  • The number of businesses registered with government different ministries has increased by 34%.
  • Businesses have higher registration rates and better working conditions compared to other businesses.

Revenue and Production

Revenue and Production
  • 5% of business owners improved their products and services.
  • 51% of businesses increased profits in the first 12-months.

Sustainable economic growth

The EDF funds strategic economic sectors that are labour-intensive and have potential for growth.
The EDF is adapted to different contexts, operating in rural and urban areas of Iraq, and in areas devastated by conflict, impacted by climate change, and affected by protracted displacement or high returns.
The EDF is tailored to the needs of different groups that face challenges accessing capital to start or grow their businesses, such as women, youth, and farmers.
The EDF promotes financial inclusion and supports business owners to transition into formal financial services (including bank accounts, savings accounts, and commercial credit opportunities).
The EDF incorporates components of private sector financing, balancing the objectives of economic recovery and development with best financial practices to identify and invest in businesses with the best potential for growth.

EDF Adaptations

EDF-w funds women-owned and women-staffed businesses to increase women’s participation in the private sector and labour markets at large

EDF-agriculture targets specific sectors in specific regions based on Value Chain Analyses to improve access and linkages to existing value chains for SMEs in all stages of agri-business, from production to final retailers.

In partnership with UNESCO, EDF-c supports businesses that contribute to the recovery and preservation of cultural heritage and culture at large

EDF-g aims to support environment-friendly practices of businesses, both on producers who are working on recycled, biodegradable, energy-efficient or renewable energy products, as well as end users who wish to adapt climate smart practices.
EDF-innovation acts as an accelerator by providing funding to innovative entrepreneurs to expand their start-ups or early-stage businesses.

EDF-t provides funding to businesses destroyed by war and conflict by creating conditions that allow internally displaced persons to return to their area of origin and grants to individuals still in displacement.

EDF – lite was developed to address the gap between IOM’s two livelihoods programmes, Individual Livelihoods Assistance (ILA) and Enterprise Development Fund (EDF). ILA is a package of services consisting of Job Referrals (JR), On-the-Job Training (OJT), Business Support Package (BSP), and Vocational Training (VT) provided to vulnerable individuals, such as internally displaced persons (IDPs), host communities and refugee populations, particularly women, girls and youth, affected by armed conflict.

EDF aims to restore essential economic infrastructure by providing financial capital to SMEsestore essential economic infrastructure by providing financial capital to SMEs

Selection Process


Release call for Expression of Interest (EOI)


Full application submitted


Selection of businesses


Signed Agreement

Implementation & Monitoring

Project completion

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