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When One Door Closes, Another Opens: Syrian Entrepreneurs Creating New Economic Opportunities in Jordan

Published 12/06/2016 by Global Communities

When One Door Closes, Another Opens: Syrian Entrepreneurs Creating New Economic Opportunities in Jordan
The Alwis Brothers Co. was established in Syria in 1935 as a small family business that produced glucose. By 1994, their factory had become the largest producer of glucose and starch in the region, and the owners expanded with new factories into Egypt and Lebanon.

In 2011, as a result of the civil war, the Alwis Brothers were forced to close their factory in Syria. They moved to Jordan and established a new business there focusing on food trading and industries.

Seeing a gap in the Jordanian market, they decided to build a factory to produce glucose and starch that can be used in the paper and cardboard, food, and chemical manufacturing. There is currently no specialized factory that can meet the domestic demand for starch in Jordan, necessitating thousands of tons of imports each year. The new factory will fill that niche and produce 10,000 tons of starch at its early stages.

“This new factory with be the first starch factory in Jordan,” explains Mohammad Alwis. “The production will meet the demand of the Jordanian market and will export to neighboring countries in the near future.”
In addition to filling an important gap in Jordanian manufacturing market, the new factory will also result in approximately new 370 jobs for local residents.

In order to build and equip the factory, the Alwis Brothers secured a loan for JD 5.5 million (USD $7.7 million). The Jordan Loan Guaranty Facility (JLGF) was part of the financing mechanism that helped the Alwis make this dream a reality.

The JLGF is a $250 million, OPIC-backed facility designed to overcome obstacles to bank financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). SMEs often face obstacles due to a lack of credit information, weak creditor rights and a deficient collateral. By coupling loan guarantees with customized technical assistance for participating banks and non-bank financial institutions, the JLGF is also strengthening the capacity of the Jordanian financial services sector to continue serving the credit needs of the SME market in a sustainable manner. Greater access for SMEs to finance means more job creation and community improvement by stimulating private-sector-to-private-sector investment.