Helping a rural, women-owned business reach new export markets
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, essential oils from local herbs to sell at regional craft fairs. Working directly with women suppliers, the company provides critical revenue in the underserved village and helps to preserve the region's traditional craft heritage.
The business was founded by 27-year-old entrepreneur Jamila Labiedh, who aimed 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 high-quality products and grew from four to 19 employees. Now, it is looking to expand to French and Candian markets, where it has identified buyers, which could take the company to the next level of growth.
To make this jump, Women Leaders needs to obtain an organic certification for its products, expand its workshop, and purchase new equipment. JOBS is helping the company receive technical training, improve its packaging, and gain a bio label to secure these new international buyers. In addition, JOBS awarded the company 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.