Small and medium-sized businesses employ around a third of Jordan’s private sector labour force. Yet, World Bank Enterprise Survey data shows that nearly 49% of small and 33% of medium-sized businesses in the country still cite access to finance as a major constraint to their growth.
GroFin allowed Al-Mutamayeza for Frozen Food Trading, which trades under the name Saboba, to overcome this challenge by providing the business with three successive rounds of financing. The company distributes high-quality frozen and processed meat and poultry products. Thanks to GroFin’s investments and continued business support it was able to expand into new geographical regions in Jordan, venture into new market segments and broadened its product range.
Raed and Mohammad Saboba founded the company bearing their name in 2007 in Zarqa, Jordan. They first approached GroFin in 2013 to finance the purchase of additional inventory to expand the distribution network of the business. GroFin also supported Saboda in the formalisation of its business plan and financial projections, equipping the entrepreneurs to monitor progress against the forecasted plan to better identify areas of improvement.
As Saboda grew, GroFin continued to work closely with the business to optimise its product range and pricing, as well as its brand positioning and marketing reach. In 2015, GroFin encouraged Saboda to explore new markets and provided the business with financing to introduce new products targeting hotels, restaurants and catering companies. In response to GroFin’s advice to diversify its product range, Soboda later obtained additional financing to acquire the right to distribute a global brand of powdered milk and other dairy products in Jordan.
Due to the success and improved profitability the company has achieved since partnering with GroFin, Saboba has acquired new premises and its brand is now well-known in Jordan.
“GroFin’s financial and business support resulted in extending our geographical coverage, increasing our number of products from 12 to 25, hiring new employees, and growing sales by over 15% annually,” says Raed Saboba, co-owner of the business.
Saboda currently employs 35 workers, compared to 21 at the time of GroFin’s first investment. However, the company’s growth has not only allowed it to create new job opportunities, but also to enhance the life and careers of its employees. Wafaa Tom is a female employee who joined Saboda in 2016 and heads up the company’s finance department.
“The growth in the company’s operations impacted my knowledge and enriched my career as I am currently dealing with bigger transactions related to a number of reputable customers.”
Alaa Al Faqeer, another female employee at Saboda, says she struggled to find a job with a decent salary as she did not have any tertiary education. All of this changed when a friend encouraged her to apply for a job at Saboda.
“Saboda paid for my tuition to enrol at university and I received a degree in Accounting, which helped me to further develop my career. When I got engaged, Saboda also generously participated in my wedding expenses, as my husband and I could not fulfil all of them,” she says.
At a mere 14.4%, the World Bank points out that Jordan’s female labour force participation rate is the lowest in the world for a country not at war. This is despite the fact that women comprise more than half of Jordanian university graduates. Gender discrimination in hiring practices contributes to this number, as well as to the country’s high female unemployment rate of nearly 24%. With GroFin’s support, Saboda has empowered Tom and Al Faqeer to overcome these barriers.