Based on the Supreme Administrative Council's ratification No. 1901/30416 dated May 16th, 2006, the "Interest-Free-Loan Fund of Rural Employment Development", the "Youth Marriage Fund", and the "Job-Opportunity Support Fund" were merged with each other and formed the "Mehr-e Imam Reza Interest-Free-Loan Fund for Employment, Marriage, and Housing" or simply the "Mehr-e Imam Reza Fund." As the Law for Regulating the Nonintegrated Monetary Market, ratified by Iranian Parliament (the Majlis) in January 11th, 2005, has banned any real or corporate personality from being engaged in banking operations in whatever capacity and from establishing and registering any financial institution under whatever organization without receiving the required permissions from the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran and as the circulation issued by the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2012 has forbidden financial institutions and funds from using the names of infallible Imams in their titles, it became obligatory to change the name of this fund and review its payment procedures as well as the target community supported by it. After extensive reviews of the requirements of the "Money and Credit Council" and the abovementioned circulation by the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, therefore, the board of trustees of the "Mehr-e Imam Reza Fund" approved of renaming this fund in March 2015. After the approval by the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the"Mehr-e Imam Reza Fund" continued its activities under the title of "Omid Entrepreneurship Fund" or OEF.
In its new approach, OEF supports market-oriented microbusinesses through micro-financing. Therefore, it shoulders major responsibilities which have so far been neglected in the process of government's support of production in the private sector. In order to clarify this responsibility, we are required to have a brief review of efforts which have resulted in the establishment of such organizations in peer developing countries.
In recent years, various countries with different economic structures have developed their own peculiar plans to support microbusinesses and their associated literature. Due to their contribution to the reduction of poverty, enhancement of production of regional goods and services, and reduction of unemployment, such businesses have attained significant status in the policy-making procedures of different countries. The microfinancing procedure is so much important in pursuing the development objectives in various countries that the Noble Foundation grants Noble Prizes for the best efforts that are carried out in order to institutionalize this procedure. Also, the United Nations has nominated a year as the international day for microfinancing. Nowadays, according to IFC statistics, more than 500 million low-income people in the world are managing their economic activities through microfinancing in a beneficial manner and based on the abovementioned criteria. This is an indication of the fact that if such credits are allocated in an objective way, they can be quite effective in reducing the problems of the target community. According to this reference institute, small businesses and enterprises are required to use microfinances in a sustainable manner through modern tested solutions, such as clusters, networks, and production chains. In other words, small businesses and enterprises should concentrate on a market-oriented production. In our country, Iran, we have relatively good, but sporadic, experiences about microfinancing. Official statistics indicate that some 6.ooo interest-free-loan funds are currently active throughout the country. These funds are mainly concentrated on providing interest-free loans with only small banking charges for applicants. Based on successful global patterns, however, without establishing a specialized bilinear functionality institute, we will be unable to provide microfinances for numerous applicants based on the abovementioned procedure. OEF (former Mehr-e Imam Reza Fund) is the only specialized and supporting financial institution with total bilinear functionality in Iran which is involved in providing microfinancing and supporting microbusinesses in an absolutely specialized method. As the biggest fund for supporting small-scale entrepreneurship activities in Iran in recent years, OEF has conducted appropriate activities for developing the microfinancing culture in the country. For instance, OEF has created more than 700.000 job opportunities and, therefore, contributed a lot to the enhancement of small-scale entrepreneurship. This entrepreneurship fund has recently put some vitally basic and innovative plans on its agenda and has entered into their implementation phase in order to assure the sustainability of businesses and, consequently, the stability of repayments based on the continuous increase in the demand side, i.e. substituting individual payments with network payments; creation of value chains; branding and payment within the context of the subcategories of brand-sales network, etc.
As its mission, OEF is supposed to collect people's small assets and integrate them with government credits. It is also responsible for identifying qualified young people and empowering and helping them in establishing small-scale, low-capital, and intensive-labor businesses with an emphasis on entrepreneurship activities, regional needs, and IT-based activities. In addition, OEF is concentrated on the development of global methods of market-oriented business networking in the country, such as clusters and value chains, in order to ensure the sustainability of businesses and purposefulness of the allocated credits.