Badeaa Sahi has been an entrepreneur since the very start of her career at age 19. That was when she began her own business making traditional sweets, originally with the aim of earning a better income for her family. But as Sahi met with increasing success and demand for her products grew, she realized that she had a knack for business.
Over the years, Sahi has poured time, energy, and passion into building up what is now a lively sweets factory in Tanta, Egypt. “Of course, manufacturing requires tools, which means investment,” says Sahi. Fortunately, Sandah for Microfinance specializes in providing tailored loans to small enterprises like Sahi’s. Established as a joint venture between the SANAD Fund for MSME and the Arab African International Bank, Sandah was the first internationally backed company to receive a microfinance license from the Egyptian financial regulatory authority.
Sahi’s business loan from Sandah enabled her to purchase a larger stock of ingredients and several new machines. And even today, family is still at the heart of her business: “The machines have been quite a boost to our production, and my husband has become our machine specialist,” Sahi says. “He received special training in their use and maintenance. Now he is responsible for all of our production tools.”
Today, Sahi manages up to 30 people during peak production. When asked about expansion plans, she reveals her dedication as an employer. “We sell across the country, for sure. But I employ a whole network of local agents, many of them part time, to distribute my products. And there is plenty of work. I plan to branch out, offer new ranges of different sweets. We are getting more productive all the time. Maybe one day I’ll even employ 100 people!”