Jordanians Incubate Ideas, Take Action

Zarqa, JORDAN- 350 would-be Jordanian entrepreneurs received business training at local community-based organizations in one of Jordan’s poorest major cities. A handful hatched business plans before they had the means to implement them- but that didn’t stop the ideas from taking flight.

When 70-year-old Zaheyeh Ibrahim joined NEF’s microenterprise support program, many of her classmates at the Bani Hassan Charitable Organization wondered why a woman of her age was there.

NEF Jordan trains community organizations to teach classes in business management, book-keeping, and more. The classes are interactive and provoke lively discussions.

“I wasn’t nervous at all. I didn’t hesitate,” Zaheyeh said. “I was completely certain I would succeed. I love this work, I love chickens, and I knew I had the capacity to run this business.”

Learning to be a businesswoman for the first time, Zaheyeh’s excitement showed in more than just her capacity to learn business management. It also showed in her eagerness to get started. At the end of the business training classes, participants are given a startup grant. This entire project, Enhancing the Economic Resilience of Poor Jordanians and Displaced Iraqis, will train and fund 700 people with great ideas, in desperate need of increasing their livelihoods.

Funded by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, the initiative will allow people like Zaheyeh – Jordanians – and Iraqis alike- to transform their lives with their own hard work. Despite living in one of Jordan’s poorest areas, Zaheyeh, secured a personal loan, independent of the project to cover her startup costs and began right away.

She was exactly right about her ability. In her first few weeks as an entrepreneur, Zaheyeh immediately reinvested in her business, buying an incubator, putting it in her kitchen, and doubling her capacity to grow healthy baby chickens before putting them out with the rest of her birds. She now has the locals flocking to her for her quality stock.

“I used to receive aid from the government,” Zaheyeh explained. “But I wanted something different. I like that I can depend on myself and my work. This is much better.”

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