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Retaj continues operating through strict COVID-19 lockdowns in Jordan

Retaj is a wholesale supplier of food items in Amman, Jordan. It bottles its own brands of vegetable oil, as well as vegetable oil brands for third parties. In 2016, the Nomou Jordan Fund (NJF) provided Retaj with over USD 717k in financing to purchase oil from international suppliers and increase its market share. The following year, the Fund invested another USD 700k in the business, allowing it to become the exclusive wholesaler for Amazon, a UAE food brand, in Jordan. It now distributes more than 30 different Amazon products like coffee, juices, canned food, and noodles.

Retaj received widespread business support throughout its relationship with GroFin Jordan. This has included guidance on using financial management accounts, helping the business to review its pricing based on an analysis of the market for oil products, and reviewing its debt and credit terms. GroFin is also helping Retaj to improve its ESG standards in collaboration with an external advisor.

“GroFin has been a valuable partner to my business over several years and both the financing and guidance I have received from them has played a big role in Retaj’s growth. I am thankful that I can focus on growing my business even further at a time when many others are struggling and that I can do this with GroFin supporting me.” – Abdullah Nofal, owner of Retaj

As Retaj trades in essential food products, it could continue operating during Jordan’s strict COVID-19 lockdowns and the business achieved higher sales despite the devasting impact of the pandemic on Jordan’s economy. The NJF has extended an additional USD 705k in financing to Retaj to purchase additional stock of vegetable oil to ensure the business can withstand any possible supply disruptions, for example due to the continued impact of the pandemic on imports, to meet anticipated increases in local demand for its products.

When NJF first invested in Retaj, the business employed 53 people. Today it employs 103 people, including 3 women, and 90% of its employees are unskilled.

Learn more about the Nomou Jordan Fund and how GroFin and the The Nomou Programme are supporting entrepreneurs and SMEs in the Middle East.

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”