When Syria’s civil war broke out in 2012, most business owners had to choose between taking the risk of staying or moving their businesses or factories elsewhere. But as time went by and the war continued to rage, staying was no longer an option especially for those whose companies and factories were destroyed. Business partners Ma’en and Firas, who ran a successful medical technologies factory back in Syria for many years, decided to move to Jordan when the war first broke out, in hopes of starting anew.
By partnering up with three well-established Jordanian professionals, Dr. Ziad, Dr. Maen and Yousef, who have rich medical backgrounds, they began working on opening a factory for medical technologies in Jordan.
With a focus on increased health safety and hygiene awareness inside the surgery room, more and more hospitals and doctors around the Arab world are making specific requests for sterile surgical gowns and drapes for surgical procedures. However, due to the lack of local producers and distributors, they usually resort to importing them from other countries which imposes additional costs and a delay in delivery. The five partners realized that this market gap presented a business opportunity for them.
“Establishing the factory was the easy part, but we did face some difficulties later, especially when registering and licensing the company in 2013, as it was the first of its kind here in Jordan. Despite the challenges we had while formalizing the company, the lack of other factories or producers eventually worked to our advantage as demand picked up quickly”, said General Manager Yamama Zoubi. “We obtained international certifications and started exporting to other countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iraq in no time”.
However, high demand calls for a high volume of production, and with only one manual sewing line at the factory, Arabella was unable to respond to all the big orders they were receiving on time. “We had to seek external support to be able to increase our production capacity and respond to all the orders we were receiving” said Ms. Zoubi.
Arabella applied for funding from the USAID Jordan Local Enterprise Support Project (LENS), which had launched a grant aimed towards facilitating local investments, targeting Jordanian companies with Syrian partners seeking to invest, re-invest, and/ or expand operations through projects that would contribute to job creation and micro and small enterprise (MSE) growth.
With the grant, Arabella aimed to grow their production capacity, increase their export ability and hire more workers by acquiring and installing an additional production line for sterile disposable surgical gowns with ultrasonic technology (which is in very high demand in export markets).
With USAID support, Arabella doubled its production capacity. Prior to installing the ultrasonic technology, they used to produce around 1,000-1,300 gowns a day per shift with the manual sewing line. But with the new technology, their capacity increased to 2,500 gowns a day in one shift.
This enabled Arabella to increase their local market share to 70% and increase their revenue by 30% just from the gowns. They are now also fully capable of meeting demand in international markets, while keeping their local competition at bay.
Arabella also hired 24 additional workers, mostly women from the local community, to work on the ultrasonic machines and in the folding department to meet the increase in demand
Arabella for Medical Technologies will soon expand their exporting activities to Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon, making Jordan a contender in the regional medical technologies market.
Khaldieh district is an isolated yet heavily-populated small town in the northeastern governorate of Mafraq. With over 25,000 residents, 46% of which are considered below the poverty line, Khaldieh suffers from vast economic challenges and lack of work opportunities, forcing its residents to commute to other areas to find employment.
Facilitating investments in local communities and municipalities such as Khaldieh across Jordan allows those living in underserved areas to gain access to employment, which in turn boost the economies in these areas. The aim is to make business opportunities more evenly distributed across different governorates and communities in Jordan and not just concentrated in the capital.