A family business grows


The strong bond between Ahmed Zayan and his father, Sa’ad Zayan, is nearly tangible as Sa’ad puts his arm around his son. He greets the visitor with a warm smile, waving over toward the family business here in El Minya, Egypt: Al Laban for Dairy Products. “Please come and visit our facility. You are welcome any time!”

“I - find real joy when a customer comes back to do more business with us. When my customer is happy, I am happy.”

Ahmed Zayan, Owner, Al Laban for Dairy Products
Client of Sandah

Ahmed Zayan reflects on how Al Laban began. “This all started with a cow that my parents had, and their decision to start making cheese from the milk. People liked the cheese and kept coming back for more.” As a family who enjoy producing local products for their community, the father and son were determined to make their business flourish. However, there were many obstacles to overcome, including acquiring loans to invest in equipment. Access to financing can be tricky for small businesses in Egypt, as many cannot meet the high collateral requirements to obtain a business loan from large financial service providers.

Fortunately, the Zayans approached Sandah, a new financial institution established by SANAD together with the Arab African International Bank that specializes in providing sustainable financing to micro, small, and medium enterprises. “Sandah was very easy to deal with,” recalls Ahmed Zayan with relief. He and his father were able to acquire a loan to purchase production equipment, including tin storage canisters. “Sandah truly supported me in getting Al Laban to where it is today.”

Al Laban enjoys seeing his business thrive. “I find real joy when a customer comes back to do more business with us,” says Ahmed Zayan. “When my customer is happy, I am happy.”

But today’s success is just the beginning. As he plays with his three daughters, Zayan is already thinking about the next generation of Al Laban entrepreneurs. The proud father muses: “If they want to work in the family business, I would really welcome that.” Then he smiles as he reveals some of his dreams for the future: “For example, if they want to be in charge of international distribution.”