Women Leaders: Helping a rural, woman-owned business reach new export markets

Assistance to enterprises / Articles / 05-11-2021

Women Leaders is a woman-owned and -run cosmetic business in a small village near Beni Khedache in Medenine. Founded in 2020, the start-up produces artisanal soaps and essential oils from local herbs to sell at regional craft fairs. By working directly with local suppliers, the company generates critical revenues for women in this rural village and helps to preserve the region's traditional craft heritage. 

The business was founded by 27-year-old entrepreneur Jamila Labiedh, who aims to harness the region's rich natural resources and traditional know-how to create high-quality organic products. In just one year, Labiedh's company gained a solid reputation for its products and grew from four to 19 employees. Recently, Women Leaders identified new buyers for its organic products in France and Canada. 

To make this jump to export markets, Women Leaders needs to obtain an organic certification for its products, expand its workshop, and purchase new equipment. JOBS is helping the company train its staff, improve its packaging, and gain a bio label to secure orders with these new international buyers. In addition, JOBS awarded a grant through the COVID-19 Enterprise Recovery Fund to purchase a new distiller and soap manufacturing machine, helping it recover from a downturn in business during the pandemic and increase its production capacity. These actions are enabling Women Leaders to take high-quality Tunisian products to new international markets, increase sales, and create new jobs for women in Beni Khedache. 


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