In the words of Faten Wazir: “I have finally made it and I’m determined to succeed”
Faten is a tenacious businesswoman who has reinvented her own businesses in her rural village many times, never losing hope. She says joining the programme provided her with the right support at the right time.
“I love working and I could never stay home without earning my own money. When I first got married 20 years ago, I used a small makeshift shop in my in-law’s house. I stocked it with different products, and I was running it all by myself for two years. However, when I got pregnant, I had to close the shop to take care of my baby. But I never forgot about my dream. Once my daughter grew up, I ventured to try again. I rented a small shop and started selling groceries. I even expanded and bought a fridge and a freezer so I could sell more products. It went well for five years, until the rent increased, and I could no longer afford it.
So, I decided to turn one of the rooms in my house into an outlet. While I worked hard for the third time to get my shop up and running, I soon had another baby. However, my baby needed special care as he fell sick in his first few days. The medical bills piled up and I was forced to sell everything in my shop as I could not afford to keep it running. I did everything I could, yet in the end I lost my shop and, most painfully, I lost my baby as well. I was heartbroken and had no idea how I would stand on my own two feet again.
Two years passed, yet my dream of running my own business was still engraved in the back of my mind. Whenever neighbours passed by, they would ask when I would reopen my shop, but I didn’t have an answer.
Then I learned about the programme. It came at just the right timing, now that my three children are enrolled in school, and I am in a better place. For me, it was a true learning journey about the skills of running and sustaining a business, and the knowhow on the do’s and don’ts. Equally important, I learned about personal branding, market segmentation, vendor diversification and effective communication – things that I had never learned before as I only hold an intermediate level of education.
With the seed capital I received, I set out to rebuild my dream, for a fourth time. I was determined to get it right this time, and I knew I was well prepared. Seeing my shop doors reopen, people kept congratulating me.
I restocked my shop with different items. With the profit I am now making, I am able to help my husband provide for our family, especially with my daughter’s high school education fees – as I dream that she will complete a university degree. She should have a better education than I did to lead a better life.
Now, I control my money and can buy myself whatever I need without needing permission from anyone. Occasionally, I pamper myself too. I am proud that after this long journey, I have finally made it and I am determined to succeed this time.”
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.