Al Harra Fogga Café – A budding youth-led enterprise
Supporting Saleh to grow his new business
Situated amongst the ancient ruins of Gadara in the town of Um Qais lies “Al Harra Fogga” – a small café owned and operated by 27-year-old Saleh. His café is new but has already established itself as a haven for local and international tourists. Prior to establishing his business, Saleh Al Rousan worked as an electrical engineer in Mafraq until his departure from the industry in January 2017. The current state of the job market in Jordan meant that he had difficulty finding meaningful work in his field. After a year of searching for work with little success, he decided to create his own business in cooperation with Baraka, a Key Facilitating Partner (KFP) with the Jordan Valley Links (JVL) project.
When his business first debuted, Saleh sold traditional Arabic-style coffee and tea as well as shisha during Ramadan. Inclement weather and the stressful work environment culminated in a small business footprint and only modest profits. To better ensure the success of his café, Saleh required financial assistance and technical training. Baraka hosted business ideation and expansion workshops through its partnership with MEDA and JVL. These workshops provided clients with opportunities to learn new skills or supplement their existing business acumen. Fortunately, Saleh has previous training in business management as a result of attending courses during university. This provided him with a solid knowledge base on which to establish his business. He also applied for and received a grant valued at 2700 JOD (approximately $5073.64 CAD) from JVL for the purchase of a new espresso machine to use in his café.
With the purchase of the espresso machine, Saleh’s café has become well-known for a product that is seldom sold in the Um Qais area. He has since expanded to providing other products such as fresh juice and imported biscuits. The training workshops provided by Baraka enabled him to adapt to customer feedback and gradually improve his business. “The more customers I have, the more I learn,” he remarked. Saleh regularly invests most of his profits back into his business for equipment or other improvements.
Saleh plans on further renovating his storefront with a small kitchen in order to provide a wider range of food for his customers. This includes local fresh fruit as well as in-store meals. In addition, he hopes that after acquiring the equipment and space required to grow, he will be able to advertise his business on websites such as Trip Advisor, Booking.com, and Google Maps.