For Egyptian entrepreneur Fatma Marzouk, opening up her own handbag business has been a game changer, providing greater financial security for her family and offering employment to others in her community.
Located on the first floor of a small building in an alley in Imbaba — a bustling Giza governorate neighborhood —Fatma’s small workshop is filled with the machinery, tools, accessories, and materials needed to produce handbags.
“My husband and I used to work for other (handbag) workshop owners but we wanted to be independent and have our own place,” said Marzouk, 45, who benefited from financing from the World Bank’s Catalyzing Entrepreneurship for Job Creation project.
“My income has increased a lot and now I can afford to cover my children’s education. I can go to the doctor and get medical treatment. We are blessed, thank God,” she added.
Her handbag business currently employs a tailor and four other workers and her husband has also joined. “I am thinking of expanding the business and getting a bigger place so I can work more,” she said, adding that she hoped their children would one day join the profession.
The USD$ 200 million Catalyzing Entrepreneurship for Job Creation project was launched in 2019 to spur more jobs in Egypt’s private sector. To date about 188,000 entrepreneurs, 43% of them women, have received financing through the project. This led to the creation of about 380,000 private sector jobs.
The project’s current results surpassed original targets, which shows the strong appetite Egyptians have to start their own businesses.