In the words of Nadia Hussein: "My husband is my biggest supporter. He never leaves my side and is helping me so that I can grow my business into something big."
Story originally published on UN Women Egypt's website.
As Nadia and her husband sit side-by-side on the front steps of their family home, he whispers in her ear, and she giggles and leans on his shoulder. Married when she was 22 years old, they have supported each other through many challenges over the past nine years. A year ago, Nadia enrolled in the programme through which she was supported to open a little shop along with five other women from her rural village.
My husband is my biggest supporter. He never leaves my side and is helping me so that I can grow my business into something big. I know the financial burden that my husband is carrying in supporting our big family of eight people to look after, so I have never asked him for any money for myself. Actually, I have never asked anyone else for money.
I am now running a private business with my partners, and this has provided me with a stable source of income that I can depend on. I am very happy because now I am able to take some of the pressure off my husband’s shoulders and provide for our big family as well.
After running my shop for a while, I thought that it would be best to expand the business and get more merchandise from wholesale vendors in Cairo. I spoke my mind with my husband and, gladly, he agreed to accompany me. So, we decided to go together to Cairo and buy what my shop needed at a lower price. We traveled to Cairo and began collecting contact information for different wholesale vendors from whom we would later make purchase orders on a regular basis for delivery to their village. With this new avenue, I began ordering a wider variety of products and stocking the shop, where I and my husband would take work shifts, particularly my husband would the night shifts.
With the growing business, I and my business partners have started to become wholesale distributers to neighbouring shops and are also delivering products to our relatives in neighbouring villages who sell on our behalf.
I am now planning on opening my own independent shop that will be much bigger than the one I share with my partners, and I want to grow my business with my husband until we can open the first supermarket in our neighbourhood.”
The “Stimulating Equal Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs” brochure summarizes the results of the strong partnership between UN Women and Procter and Gamble (P&G) that started in 2017 in support of women’s economic empowerment in Egypt and promote greater diversity and inclusion through equipping women entrepreneurs with the skills and support they need to access opportunities as potential suppliers and distributors. Women received trainings on business development, marketing, sales techniques, financial management and soft skills. Afterwards, selected women obtained funding to establish their own private business in the retail industry with many being integrated in the distribution channel of many large corporates including P&G, Juhayna, and Mars.
The “Stimulating Equal Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs” programme is implemented in Beni Suef and Minya, within the framework of the global P&G/UN Women programme. This project is part of UN Women’s wider Women’s Economic Empowerment portfolio in Egypt, which is implemented in partnership with the Government of Egypt and in collaboration with the private sector.