“I cannot hide my happiness!” said Hiba, a mother of four living in northern Syria. “My husband and I are now able to support the needs of our family; to buy the medicine our children need.”
Hiba is one of 1,000 existing business and start-up owners supported by ACTED in Syria. Throughout the project, ACTED is helping entrepreneurs and existing businesses through tailored grants in order to re-start or expand their businesses, providing in-depth and adapted business trainings. ACTED also aims to reinforce entrepreneurs’ self-confidence and support them in realizing their potential for a better future.
I felt I had to do something for my family and I knew I could work with a sewing machine, so I started my small business.
After more than seven years of conflict in Syria, the local economy has contracted significantly, with fewer and fewer employment opportunities for those who have remained. Living in poor conditions with her husband and children, like countless other Syrian families, Hiba and her family were struggling to make ends meet. Her nine-year-old son lives with a psychiatric disorder, while her 16-year-old daughter suffers from memory loss due to several years living under the stresses of conflict.
Before the Syrian conflict began, Hiba’s husband worked in construction, often sending remittances from abroad to help the family meet their needs. As the conflict escalated, Hiba’s husband lost his job and the family’s income decreased significantly.
When Hiba started sewing, she did not have enough clients to provide a sufficient income to support her family. As her husband was unable to secure work, Hiba taught him how to sew. Together they managed to generate a small income, but were still facing significant challenges such as the elevated price of food and basic items.
Upon learning about ACTED’s program in her community, Hiba decided to register in the hope that ACTED could help her expand her activities through access to better tools and materials.
When I learned that I had been chosen to be supported by this program I was so happy that someone believed in my potential and in my business.
Hiba took part in ACTED’s training on financial management, cost projections and planning, SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, commodity pricing mechanism and marketing strategies.
Following the training, Hiba received a business grant.
She decided to invest this in a higher-quality sewing machine, allowing her to create new models and improve the quality of the clothes she produces. Hiba also stocked up on the necessary tools and new fabrics to develop her production over the longer term, as well as a generator; a crucial investment given the regular power failures experienced in northern Syria.
I felt our life change for the better. I learned so much during the training, it helped me to better understand the different possibilities to expand my business in a sustainable way.
Since the end of the project, Hiba’s has worked hard and improved her income. She is now able to produce the clothing that her customers want and to respond to their specific stylistic preferences.
Seeing my husband improving and enjoying this new activity while contributing to our income has been really rewarding for the both of us. It is a lot of effort, but we know it is worth it.
ACTED has supported more than 1,000 start-ups in Syria.
ACTED is investing in the tomorrow by supporting businesses to re-start or expand their activities. This in turn benefits the whole community by enhancing the number of services available locally. Following a tailored training to develop and strengthen a thorough business plan, participants receive a grant to fulfil their plan and purchase necessary business equipment. Throughout the project, ACTED staff remain available to support the business owners in developing their activities.
— the field