SheTrades boosts market opportunities for Egyptian women

4 November 2022
ITC News

After workshopping their businesses, more than 30 women showcased their handicrafts and spoke with top officials about their experiences.

Over 30 Egyptian businesswomen expect their sales and exports to increase after receiving support and advisory services through SheTrades Egypt. The project equipped them with skills to meet buyer demands through better design, quality, packaging, marketing, access to finance and pricing.

The project gave several small businesses access to e-commerce. Ten companies established digital stores on Amazon.com in both local and global markets with the support and management of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. In addition, a new interactive digital catalogue provides a marketing tool for promoting their business through existing or potential market channels.

In October, over 30 companies participated in Turathna 2022, the largest trade fair for handicrafts in Egypt and the region. The trade show promoted the project and the companies, bringing in direct sales and potential customers.

After the trade fair, entrepreneurs who participated in the project shared their experiences with representatives from the Government of Egypt, the donor community, implementing organisations, and other small business and trade groups. The entrepreneurs shared their achievements, celebrated results and discussed opportunities for the future.

SheTrades Egypt was launched in 2020 by the International Trade Centre in partnership with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Egypt Export Development Authority (EDA), the National Council for Women, and the Egypt Handicrafts Export Council, within the framework of the Aid for Trade Initiative of the Arab States (AfTIAS).

Empowering women-led businesses

“SheTrades Egypt embodies an exceptional example of successful partnerships within the Aid for Trade Initiative for Arab States, and institutions like ITC, ITFC, Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Export Development Authority (EDA), Egyptian Handicrafts Export Council, and the National Council for Women whom all employed their efforts and resources to make this project a success,” said Hala El-Said, the minister of planning and economic development.

“SheTrades Egypt is aligned with the government’s direction of empowering women economically and socially through supporting women SMEs in the handicrafts sector with the necessary tools to help them play actively participate in the development of society,” said El-Said, who is also the current governor of the Islamic Development Bank.

ITFC’s CEO Hani Salem Sonbol added that: “The SheTrades Egypt comes in light of ITFC's full awareness of the positive impact of women's economic empowerment on their lives and that of their community.”

“Since its launch in 2020 through the AfTIAS Program, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, ITFC in collaboration with our partners ITC, the Egyptian Government and IsDB managed to achieve this milestone and provided the needed technical assistance to enable the women entrepreneurs to diversify products and services and expand into local and international markets,” he said. “We will continue to double our efforts with development partners to further support women SMEs and entrepreneurs.”

Finally, Lilia Naas, who heads the MENA office at ITC, said: “I’d like to express my gratitude to the Egyptian Government’s full commitment and active participation of women entrepreneurs in the SheTrades Egypt project. The engagement and full support of all our partners enabled the development of innovative approaches and the achievement of tangible results that contribute to Egypt’s Vision 2030 and, ultimately, the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

“I’d like to commend the value of the partnership with ITFC and IsDB, and with the Egyptian Government and the support organizations: only together, we can empower women-led small businesses for creating more jobs for women and girls and for boosting economic growth,” she said.