Cairo, Egypt (July 5, 2013) — After receiving a micro-credit loan, three women entrepreneurs in Cairo’s impoverished suburb of Azizeya were able to significantly increase their income from 20 to 300 Egyptian pounds per day.
The women—Heba, Zeinab, and Amal—partner to produce and sell clothespins. Before the loan, they purchased one or two sacks of raw material daily and they now buy 15 to keep up with the demands of increased production. The new income allows them to financially support their families and pay for such essentials as food, housing, and education.
This year in Azizeya, 15 entrepreneurs have received over 70,000 Egyptian pounds in micro-credit loans from the Near East Foundation and its local partner, the Center for Development Services (CDS), in support of microenterprise development.
The micro-credit loans, made possible with support from Barclays, are helping to create new businesses and expand existing ones in industries ranging from textiles to carpentry and agriculture.
Other businesses supported include a carpentry workshop, a beekeeper, small animal producers – such as poultry and rabbits, a tailor of ready-made garments, and an automotive parts vendor.
In addition to loans, NEF and CDS are providing entrepreneurs with technical assistance, such as help developing a business plan, as well as vocational training in agribusiness and traditional handicrafts.
A new marketplace is under construction with project support and is expected to launch soon. It will offer employment opportunities and a place where entrepreneurs can sell their locally made products. It will also provide access to basic goods which residents can currently only purchase in neighboring villages.
In total, the economic development initiative to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods aims to create 200 jobs and support 30 small businesses.