Azza Abou Zeid Kobbes, 36, had been running her own small business selling household goods from home in Aswan for several years. However, business had not been going well. Although there was no imminent financial pressure because her husband, who works in a vocational school, takes care of the household expenses and their four children, Azza sought to empower herself and make a difference in her community.
After hearing about the First MicroFinance Foundation Egypt from neighbours, Azza decided to apply for a loan to expand her business. She had never taken out a loan before. She was granted EGP 1,500, and together with her own savings of EGP 1,500, she bought garments that she improved and then resold from her home. As the business grew, FMFE supported Azza further. With her next loan, she rented a small shop to attract more customers. A third loan was soon agreed upon, allowing Azza to rent a larger space in a better location and selling higher quality products. She tried to open a second branch of her shop, but as sales disappointed, she decided to invest further in her first store and buy more quality products. With a final loan, she began travelling to Cairo every quarter to get additional orders and also cater to wealthier clients.
Today, Azza feels proud of her achievement. When she first opened the store, she earned about EGP 900 a month. Now, her monthly income has increased to EGP 10,000. As her husband continues to take care of the family’s needs, Azza has been able to invest in her business and save money to be financially independent. Together with her neighbours, she has formed a fund to share their wealth with those in need in the community, from orphans to couples that can’t afford to get married.
Azza aims to continue to invest in her business, and, in turn, invest in her community’s needs. She plans to reach out to a larger segment of clients, relocating her business to a better location.