Stitching Success: Japan and UNDP supporting small business at the heart of Amman
December 2, 2022
In the Summer of 2020, inside a small room in an apartment in downtown Amman, overlooking a busy road, Ahmad was bent over his sewing machine. Ahmad was paving his pathway towards a milestone. Today, two years after receiving a grant through the Heart of Amman Programme, Ahmad owns a tailoring workshop and works with a team of four people to send out orders to different companies in the city.
Ahmad Ali is a young Jordanian man who lives alone after his mother and father passed away. Living alone was a struggle for him and his sewing skills were his haven through the difficult days. Ahmad started his career after he finished high school, as an employee in a small workshop, “I started at a young age because I knew if I am going to have my own workshop, I will need to work hard on my skills and my network. I know I should have never left school when I was young, but my family situation didn’t help, and I had to support my parents financially”, Ahmad said.
Ahmad was among 200 young men and women who participated in the “Heart of Amman II” programme. Before applying to be part of the programme, he had a small business called “Flower” where he tailored and designed sportswear. Back then he used to rent extra sewing machines from other shops to complete his orders on time. “Flower” was an achievement for me even though it was challenging, especially through the COVID-19 pandemic where everything was paused for two years. However, I relied on social media as a tool to promote my work”, Ahmad added.
Small businesses in Jordan face several challenges that causes drop backs, drop in orders, financial burdens in the face of their development and sustainability. As a business owner, Ahmad went through many different obstacles to be able to open his own tailoring shop.
As a participant in the “Heart of Amman” programme, Ahmad received extensive training on development and entrepreneurship skills. The purpose of this capacity building is to prepareyoung people for formal employment or to help them create their businesses through mentorship and financial support. Ahmad added, “The programme supported me personally and professionally. Being part of the Heart of Amman progarmme has changed my life completely, made me independent, and confident of my skills and future. Now I have my tailoring shop, and feel more confident in how I can sustain it. This was a major milestone when I embarked on this journey”.
Small businesses are a catalyst for job creation and income generation in Jordan. Ahmad's tailoring shop provided job opportunities for two women and two men, and the business is growing month by month and Ahmad is dealing with different big companies. “The business is moving in the right direction, the team is committed to scale up the work and the progress of the orders”, Ahmad added.
The “Heart of Amman II” programme, funded by the Government of Japan and implemented by UNDP, supports the improvement of socio-economic conditions in Downtown Amman through applying effective and innovation-driven solutions that add value to the local community, revive growth and create jobs. The programme supports the establishment and scaling of innovative business ideas through improving their business and revenue models as well as growth strategies. The support to businesses is not only limited to the provision of seed funding, but start-ups also received networking opportunities with eco-system change-makers.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an opportunity to create an equal and inclusive society where all people have access to opportunities as those without. The “Heart of Amman” aims at advancing the development of the social entrepreneurship ecosystem and the promotion of policy dialogue to implement solutions to commonly faced challenges amongst social enterprises. Building a framework and an ecosystem in which social entrepreneurs can thrive, boost the economy, and positively impact society and nature.
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