Pushing a small business forward is sometimes all it takes to start the recovery of a community. When ACTED meets entrepreneurs with a vision and a sustainable and profitable project, it strives to support them not only to make both ends meet for their families, but also to have a positive impact and be a driving force for their community.
The Syrian crisis has devastated markets and driven up the costs of inputs well above normal rates. This has left stable sources of income and livelihoods throughout Syria severely disrupted. While some businesses and markets continue to function, ACTED’s longstanding work in Syria and consultations with local authorities in its intervention areas repeatedly highlighted small businesses’ difficulties. The destruction or degradation of key livelihood assets and the rising costs or inaccessibility of inputs hinder the starting, maintaining or restoring of businesses. Syrian youth who try to start a new activity are facing financial and technical barriers that often put a stop to their entrepreneurial efforts.
Young entrepreneurs and existing business owners will be the drivers of their community’s recovery. This conviction drove ACTED to set up a programme to support them in creating, restoring or expanding their livelihoods.
The scheme is simple, yet effective: vocational and business training followed by grant to invest in productive inputs and assets, alongside with individual mentoring by a dedicated livelihoods team.
Reduced incomes make it difficult for business owners to set aside some money to invest in their livelihoods, when they are already sustaining their family. The grant gives them the leverage needed to scale up their business and, in the long run, hire help to support the local economy of their community.
Through this programme, ACTED has supported many businesses enabling the revitalisation of local markets. Textile shops, mini markets, shoe shops, photographers, blacksmiths, business and computer learning centres, veterinary services… All of these businesses contribute to the community’s recovery.
New business owners have a strong understanding of the gaps in their markets and where their business could strive. Recognizing the important need for construction material, given the intense efforts of rebuilding and rehabilitation in the wake of the conflict, Amer decided to establish his own brick production factory. With his technical expertise in manufacture, and having developed a sound business plan with the training, Amer is already earning a significant income thanks to the sale of the bricks. Thanks to Amer’s company, essential materials for reconstruction are now available locally, which highly facilitates reconstruction and rehabilitation activities in the community.
Amina provides for her family of four children alone by selling perfume on a street stand.
I was struggling to invest into the expansion of my business. After receiving support from ACTED, I could expand quantities of materials, which were necessary to increase the variety of products I can offer. I managed to buy tables and racks, to renovate my shop and to increase the types of perfumes from 40 to 150 different types. This allows me to mix different perfumes and to satisfy the increasing needs of customers.
The change has brought new customers to Amina who has now an increased income from her shop.