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GroFin wins Islamic Economy Awards 2018 in SME Development category

GroFin is pleased to announce that it has won the 2018 Islamic Economy Award in the ‘SME Development’ category. The winners were announced at the Awards ceremony held in Dubai this Wednesday 30 October 2018.

The Islamic Economy Award was launched in 2013 under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and directed by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council.

The Islamic Economy Award is managed independently by Thomson Reuters and is adjudicated by an esteemed judges’ panel based on formal, established criteria.

GroFin was represented by its Regional Investment Director for the Middle East and North Africa region, Mohamed Hawary, who collected the award on behalf of the company.

“This award is testimony to the efforts made by GroFin to ensure its products are accessible to one and all. We, at GroFin, are determined to provide our clients with financing that respects the customs and beliefs of our clients,” says Mohamed Hawary.

GroFin wins 2018 Islamic Economy Awards in the category of 'SME Development'

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, presents award to Mohamed Hawary, GroFin Regional Investment Director for the Middle East and North Africa region

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, presents award to Mohamed Hawary, GroFin Regional Investment Director for the Middle East and North Africa region

The Islamic Economy Award is held every year and has the following categories; Money and Finance, Media, Food and Health, Waqf and Endowments, SME Development, Islamic Economy Knowledge Infrastructure, Islamic Arts, Hospitality and Tourism, and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

This is the second prestigious award for GroFin this year as it also won Finance for the Future Awards in the Building Sustainable Financial Products category. Finance for the Future Awards is run by ICAEW and A4S along with their partner Deloitte.

About GroFin

GroFin is a pioneering private development financial institution specialising in financing and supporting small and growing businesses (SGBs) across Africa and the Middle East. We combine medium term loan capital and specialised business support to grow SGBs in emerging markets. By successfully combining medium term loans and specialised business support delivered through our local offices, we have invested in over 700 SMEs and sustained over 88,150 jobs across a wide spectrum of business activities within the 15 countries in Africa and Middle East that we operate in. GroFin has its headquarters located in Mauritius.

Retaj is growing and helping Syrian refugees in the process

Entrepreneur Abdallah Nofal began his business in 2006 as a wholesale supply business trading in food items, particularly vegetable oil and other food oils. His 30-years’ experience in the wholesale industry enabled him to quickly build the enterprise to the point where he purchased land and began bottling his own vegetable oil in a manufacturing facility alongside the trading entity.

Currently, his company Retaj for Food Stuffs Supplies, Distribution and Trade Company (Retaj) offers three types of vegetable oils; Corn, Sunflower and Soybean. And each type of oil comes in several sizes to cover all income brackets. Starting from 600 ml for small families and individual consumption, to a range of 1.3 litre – 18.0 litre large tin containers that are required by restaurants.

Challenges and Solutions

Over the years, enhancing and upgrading the company’s production ability exhausted the cashflows for the business. So after struggling for many years with low margins related to the purchase of crude oils from local traders, Abdallah approached GroFin in 2016 to finance a new trading strategy to import his raw materials directly. Over and above providing the required funding of US$ 718,000, GroFin also provided Retaj with business support by helping to implement an effective management accounts reporting system. Together, GroFin and Abdallah reviewed their product pricing based on market conditions and optimized their profitability.

A point to note, one of the great needs to mitigate the effects of the current Syrian humanitarian crisis is the provision of dignified employment and opportunities for refugees to integrate more fully into society. The number of refugees that are making their way over the treacherous journey to Jordan, of whom only 20% live in the designated UN camps. The rest have integrated themselves into the towns and villages seeking shelter, employment and a better quality of life. The massive influx of refugees have placed enormous pressure on the Jordanian infrastructure, economy and social conditions. One of the great needs to mitigate the effects of this humanitarian crisis is the provision of dignified employment and opportunities for refugees to integrate more fully into society. Entrepreneurs like Abdallah Nofal is one of the catalysts for this process.

Retaj and GroFin’s investments are helping to support 53 full time employees (80% of whom are semi/unskilled workers), and of whom 4 are female employees. In addition, Abdallah has provided meaningful employment for 7 Syrian refugees who are rebuilding their lives and securing a future for their families. The business currently has three owned brands (Retaj, Haneen and Al Amer), all of which are distributed at all major supermarkets in all Jordanian governorates.