In the words of Sabrine Khairy: "If you put in the hard work, you will find that many doors open up for you"
Sabrine, who holds an intermediate level of education, used to live in poverty with her husband and four children, never imagining that one day she would own a business that would expand to all the villages of Minya. An active learner and entrepreneur by nature, Sabrine cloned the in-person sales training and logistics she learned through the programme, recruiting saleswomen to sell products in nearby villages by bus and ensuring safe transportation for them all.
“As a typical family living in rural Egypt, we were most frequently living in financial stress. We were constantly in debt to those around us just to be able to provide the basics. I remember that we would even go a month at a time without eating anything but eggs, cheese and bread. With the skills and seed funding obtained through the programme, I began my own door-to-door business covering all the villages of Minya.
I first recruited 12 women, who received the same training as I did but were not bold enough to take the responsibility of becoming business-owners. But I had the guts to start the process and run my own business. Following the programme’s footprint, I contacted micro-bus drivers (all of whom are men) to give us a ride across villages and transport us back. By then, I distributed the daily allowance to the women (my employees) after paying the drivers.
I then managed to double my employees to 24 and trained them for field work. Seeing my growing business, my husband decided to join me and recruited additional 12 young men for me to train to start expanding the model in further areas that weren’t covered by my pool of women employees. All of these women and men have their own stories and their own hardships.
Most of them or their husbands are casual workers. So having a stable job has changed their life drastically. I remember this one woman who was able to send her young boy to elementary school after she began working with me.
My family’s life has also changed completely. I was able to pay off all our debts and provide for our family. I even managed to completely furnish our house and move into it. I got our water and electricity running, painted the house and even installed ceramic tiles. Also, I managed to enroll our son in high school so that he could continue his education.
To any woman who wants to start her own business, I tell her: ‘If you put in the hard work, you will find that many doors open up for you. If you are determined to succeed, you will’.
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.