Interest-free loans benefit female Saudi entrepreneurs

Women wanting to start their own business thanks to charity Jannah Support Center for Productive Families

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Women wanting to start their own business in various fields such as industry, commerce and services are being given a chance to obtain interest-free loans for their startups thanks to a charity.

Branches Manager for the Jannah Support Center for Productive Families Khayriyah Daiboush said her organization believes in women and their potential for success.

“Aside from our financial support, we also offer mutual support by following up with our applicants and marketing their products in our platforms,” said Daiboush.

Ruqaiyah Al-Saeed, who sells Safif products (traditional crafts using palm tree leaves), said she started her passion from the age of eight.

She said: “There wasn’t a great demand on my product when I first started. But I am very passionate about preserving my culture.

“I learned my trade from my mother and I have been producing Safif products for 18 years now.”

She added that the loan she received from Jannah Center helped her participate in bazaars and festivals where she was able to showcase her work.

“I encourage all women to find their own in providing their own income.

“They won’t have to rely on anyone if they find their trade.”

Qumasha Ibrahim, a tailor for traditional dresses, said she has been practicing her trade for 15 years.

“My trade has been my financial capital for a long time. I never had to be unemployed or seeking a job. I was able to provide for myself and my daughter.

“Because of my income, my daughter was able to receive a better education.”

She said she sells traditional dresses in a modern design for the 21st Century Saudi woman.

Umm Nada, who sells accessories and clothes, said she was still studying at university.

She said: “I still have a year and a half before I graduate but I’m not worried about my future career. My loan from Jannah Center enabled me to buy my products and sell them in bazaars and festivals.

“The profit I gained helped me in paying off my life and academic expenses.”

Umm Ramiz, a shepherdess, said she was a graduate.

She said: “My loan from Jannah Center gave me the support I needed to open my own business.

Umm Fahd, food business owner, said she left her day job and began making the Qassim dessert Klaija. She said: “I started by selling my dessert to family members and relatives and now I sell across provinces. “Having your own business as a woman is very important. It gives us confidence and pride in our success.”

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Wednesday, March 11, 2015.

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