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The Recipe for Success: Determination, Excellence, and Tolerance

A Jordanian woman learns the basics of business and starts selling pickles to support her family


12Sadiqa in her small shop in Balqa governorate, Jordan.

The Recipe for Success: Determination, Excellence, and Tolerance

A Jordanian woman learns the basics of business and starts selling pickles to support her family

Down a narrow street in Balqa governorate, Jordan, Sadiqa Al Gharagheer sits proudly in her modest and newly registered shop surrounded by her neatly displayed homemade food products that are carefully placed on shelves on both sides of the shop.

The 47-year-old mother of six has been making and selling readymade food products from her own home for one year now and is known for her delicious maamoul, a Middle Eastern buttery cookie stuffed with date paste, chopped walnuts or pistachios, and dusted with powdered sugar. Her neighbors swear by it.

Sadiqa unofficially started in early 2017 with 10 Jordanian Dinars – around 18 Canadian Dollars – purchasing the ingredients for maamoul and other sweets to sell in her neighborhood. In a month, and after participating in bazaars and food fairs outside Balqa to find more customers, her 10 Dinars became 100. Seeing the success, she decided to make pickles and herbs and to introduce them to the local market. Except this time, she was not successful; the market did not buy her products as they were too expensive and not up to standard. Sadiqa felt that something prevented her small business from developing.

She did not know what was missing until she was approached by her friend who works at the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD) and mentioned a project supporting women entrepreneurs in their area. Sadiqa immediately registered with JOHUD, an implementing partner of MEDA’s Jordan Valley Links (JVL) project in Balqa that provides technical training, financial and marketing coaching for women and youth entrepreneurs in the food processing sector.

After attending around seven sessions seeking support to improve her products and introduce them to the market correctly, Sadiqa learned how to pasteurize and keep cucumber pickles crunchy and appetizing for more than 18 months. “It turned out that I wasn’t pricing my products correctly nor pasteurizing my pickles,” says Sadiqa. Most importantly, she learned proper book keeping; “I used to subtract the cost of the ingredients from my sales, not considering costs like rent, electricity, gas, let alone me and my children’s effort,” said Sadiqa, explaining that she realized the mistake she was making after attending the financial training sessions.

Sadiqa is among the more than 1,100 women and youth in Balqa who have received training through the JVL project and JOHUD with funding from Global Affairs Canada (GAC). But the determined woman did not stop there; she assigned a space in her home for producing the pickles and displaying her products, and was encouraged by JVL to register her business. “I am now more confident in presenting my products and approaching the market as I have a registered home-based business,” she says, recollecting the time when a school asked to see her license as a condition to purchase her pastries.

Sadiqa was looking for a chance to support her husband and this opportunity came along during a time when the family’s financial situation was unstable, and they were unable to meet their basic needs. She is proud that she is a productive woman who contributes to her family’s income now. Her husband and children support her and she has become a decision maker alongside her husband.

“I am proud of her; she is helping me with the finances. At the end of the day our relationship is a partnership and we must consult each other,” says her husband. Sadiqa hopes to become an example for her daughters, “living expenses are high and women must be able to support themselves and their families, they need to have a strong personality to be entrepreneurs and I encourage them to do so”, she says.

The JVL project, with JOHUD’s support, plans to link these women and youth entrepreneurs in Balqa with the local and national market in Jordan by providing them with networking opportunities and market engagement. Sadiqa dreams of having a restaurant one day; “I am so proud that I have learned how to manage my business, and strongly believe that the recipe for success is determination, excellence and tolerance”, she affirmed.

23Sadiqa in her small shop in Balqa governorate, Jordan.