GroFin helps Saboba survive COVID-19 lockdown in Jordan

When the first cases of COVID-19 were detected there in mid-March-2020, Jordan’s government quickly responded by imposing one of the strictest lockdowns in the world. Jordanians were completely confined to their homes for several days and later only allowed to venture out to purchase food and essential items.

Although restrictions were later gradually eased, the impact on Jordan’s economy was severe and small businesses bore the brunt of it. Al-Mutamayeza for Frozen Food Trading, which trades under the name Saboba, is a Jordanian wholesaler distributing high-quality frozen and processed meat and poultry products. The Nomou Jordan Fund has provided Saboba with three rounds of funding from 2014 to 2017. ​

Saboba had to cease production during the period of strict lockdown and could only resume its operations at the end of May. Although its food products could still be sold, the restrictions and their impact on the economy caused a drop of more than 60% in Saboba’s sales and a delay in payments from many of its customers. The lockdown also took effect right at the time Saboba planned to install a new production line and its newly imported equipment was left stuck in customs. ​

​While nearly all activity in the country had ground to a halt, GroFin Jordan reached out to key decision-makers to arrange the release of equipment that were shipped to Saboba’s supplier (partially owned by Saboba’s shareholders) in order to avoid severe delays in setting up the new production line. And further to its business support offering, GroFin Jordan also introduced the client to logistics service providers to help move and install the machinery and assisted the business in obtaining the necessary permits to resume production.

“We managed to get our new machinery, could meet demand, and maintain the brand’s reputation. The company was under the threat of closure. The support offered by GroFin Jordan meant we survived and are back in business”

Raed Mustafa Saboba, owner of the business

Saboba employs 15 people. Salah Ali Hasan Qatam has been working in Saboba’s warehouse since 2008. He supports his wife and five children, aged 13 to 24.

“I am very proud to have this job as it enables me to define my future and that of my family. Working here allows me to save some money for my children. I also hope that I will be able to buy a house instead of paying rent.”

Salah Ali Hasan Qatam, Saboba employee

Soros Economic Development Fund commits $8 million to GroFin’s Nomou Jordan Fund

GroFin is pleased to announce that Soros Economic Development Fund has committed $8 million to its Nomou Jordan Fund.

GroFin specializes in financing and supporting small business growth across Africa and the Middle East. Its Nomou Jordan Fund provides patient capital and business support services to small and medium-size businesses (SMEs) in Jordan and thereby contributing to the growth of Jordan’s economy and the creation of sustainable jobs. The business support services include helping to position emerging SMEs to be investment ready and networking them to local and international business opportunities.

The Nomou Jordan Fund was launched in 2014 and as of 30 June 2018 has invested $21 million in 35 SMEs in Jordan, out of which $9 million was invested in 14 SMEs owned by or employing refugees. Over the next two years the Fund will deploy at least $5 million in additional capital such SMEs, which tend to be underserved by traditional lenders.

In addition to the financial investment, GroFin will also provide these SMEs with business support at pre-finance and post-finance stages, including helping to get the enterprises investment-ready and making connections to local and international business opportunities. In addition, GroFin will encourage all of the 50+ SMEs in its portfolio in Jordan to support refugees, either through employment or providing products and services to refugee communities.

The investments by the Nomou Jordan Fund have been made possible with the support of its investors including Shell Foundation, KFW, Lundin Foundation, UK Aid, GroFin Capital and the most recent commitment from the Open Society Foundations’ Soros Economic Development Fund.

GroFin CEO, Guido Boysen said:

“With this additional funding from the Open Society Foundations, Nomou Jordan Fund will be able to expand its reach and focus to make its investments in a more inclusive way, by improving livelihoods for Jordanians as well as members of the country’s substantial refugee population”