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“Faten Tans Khazzaka from Jdita, I started making mouneh (storable food) and jams while helping my mother and then I decided to rely on myself and start my own production. At first, I started with the support of my husband and then I started buying and selling seasonal products. Since the financial crisis started in Lebanon, the production began to slow down and everything was becoming more expensive, especially the sugar that I use for people with diabetes and special diets for which the demand decreased. I decided to look for a new product in addition to what I used to make and I started producing pizza and pasta sauce. I enrolled in the Dareb Project with the Entrepreneurial Development Foundation where I learned about Market Study, Customer Care, Sales Strategies, Social Media, Financial Study, Self Confidence to talk about my business, how to overcome crises and how to calculate costs and selling prices. This project has opened new horizons for me to increase my sales and widen my production.”

” I’m Ola Majzoub, I create souvenirs and gifts for all kinds of events such as parties, weddings and newborn celebrations. I started my business more than six years ago as it was a hobby and I was an Interior Design graduate, which helped me develop it into a full-time occupation. I opened a shop in Majdel Anjar, I worked really hard to make it successful and I had a lot of clients. However, due to the hardships we are facing in Lebanon, I had to close it down and go back to working from home to avoid financial losses related to the rise of rental and product costs. I’m now selling my souvenirs online to people I meet through the page, neighbors, friends and relatives, also relying on word of mouth. I heard about the Dareb Project and decided to subscribe to the training sessions, where I had the chance to grow my network and start alliances with other participants to help promote each other’s businesses. As for the trainers, they were excellent and they taught us many things we didn’t know, most importantly how to boost our Self Confidence, how to take care of our business to avoid losing money by keeping financial records especially with the fluctuation of the Lebanese Lira rate. They helped us develop our ideas and provided emotional support, and they remain by our side through the coaches who continue to follow up with us until today to learn about the development of our projects. This is why I would like to thank them.”

“Faten Sayyed Sleiman from Al Sham – Syria, I’ve been living in Lebanon for ten years now and I have 3 children. When I arrived in Lebanon, I followed many trainings to educate myself and increase my chances of finding a job because I am the sole provider in the family. After a while, I decided to go back to school and earn my baccalaureate and I used to bake Manakish and offer them to my classmates and teachers. Everyone enjoyed my baking and encouraged me to develop my skill into a business, so I started selling to the school and organizing workshops for kids where I would bring my tools and arrange a live station to bake Manakish, bread, croissants and many other things. I participated in the Dareb Project with the Entrepreneurial Development Foundation and I learned about Accounting, Marketing, Customer Care and how to work with precision. I also learned how to be an entrepreneur, how to find the best prices for my raw material all while maintaining a top quality and it was all very new to me.”

“Good morning, I’m Fadi Al Kassis from Der El Ghazal and I’m 26 years old. My father owns a print shop in Riaq and I help him manage it. In 2015, my father retired from the army and decided to build a family business. After doing some research, we found out that the region lacked printing and gift shops as the closest one was in Zahle, therefore we decided to open one that would serve Riaq and its suburbs. A year later, I decided to commit to this profession which became my primary occupation, all while pursuing my online university classes, and I became in charge of management and accounting. I participated in the Dareb Project, where I attended 6 training sessions, and I learned about Self Confidence, Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Social Media. Due to this training, I discovered that I was on the right path to a successful business as I was already applying the conventional methods. The most valuable to me was Self Confidence as I learned how important it was in running a prosperous business. As for social media, they helped me build a website. I would like to thank every person who participated in this project.”

“My name is Salwa Hanna, I started my pastry business from home and it was mainly focused on all sorts of cakes, especially healthy ones. I use Grade A healthy products and products for diabetic people. During these hard times and due to the financial crisis in Lebanon, I’m facing difficulties in finding everything I use in my baking. This led me to replace some, but not all, of the ingredients because I felt it would affect the taste – especially canola oil. I participated in the Dareb Project with the Entrepreneurial Development Foundation and I learned a lot of new things. I never thought I would be where I’m at now! To me, it was a simple hobby and they helped me turn it into a business. They taught us how to be effective on social media to reach more customers, how to calculate our expenses, how to execute a financial plan, and how to deal with customers to maintain their fidelity. I will soon be selling my products in coffee shops and minimarts and I aim to reach bigger markets by expanding to all of Lebanon and maybe one day exporting to other countries: a new objective that EDF made me consider. They never gave up on us, they always have something new to offer, and they always encourage us to maintain our self-confidence to be able to evolve.”

“Nicolas Maalouf, owner of Les Temples-Domaine Maalouf, established in 2013. We began cultivating vines in 2004 such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Sirat, Clairette, and Chardonnay and we aim to develop this business by building a winery that is good enough to produce quality wine worthy of being sold on the Lebanese Market. The village of Niha is 8 kilometers away from Zahle and it’s famous for its Romanian monuments that were built around 70 years BC and this is why we chose to name our winery “Les Temples”. I participated in the Dareb Project with the Entrepreneurial Development Foundation and I learned many things and mainly how to promote my products to increase my sales and reach a bigger market in the future.”

“Zeinab Fouani, painter and artist, I started my business called L’Atelier Des Couleurs based on my personal experience. When I was seeking to develop my own talents I couldn’t find the place that would help me evolve in the right way. I had to rely on myself and my personal efforts to reach my goals, so I studies graphic design to enrich my knowledge. I felt like the village needed more artistic hubs because it is full of people with talent, so I created more than just art classes. I added drama, piano, embroidery, zumba kids, zumba women, photography and editing and many more. The academy was created in 2019 and up till today we have completed more than 300 paintings, we graduated more than 100 students in embroidery, and we try to add new activities every year depending on the market’s needs. I participated in the Dareb Project and it was great. They gave us a lot of useful information especially in managing successful businesses and being an entrepreneur, and I really enjoyed it as I found myself in the description. We also learned about Marketing and Social Media and overall the training was really helpful. I would like to thank all the organizers.

“My name is Louna Obeid and I own a bakery where I produce pastries, bread, cookies, and all sorts of manakish, and I cater for all occasions. The bakery was launched more than 30 years ago, my father used to work with his uncle then he decided to open his own shop. He came to the village and opened a big bakery, but we recently had to let it go and move into a smaller one due to the financial crisis in the country. I am now running the bakery because my father is getting old and I’m an interior design graduate with no chance of finding a job. In order to expand my business, I participated in the Dareb Project with the Entrepreneurial Development Foundation and I found it very useful. I had the chance to meet a lot of new people who discovered my work and saw its uniqueness because I’m still using Grade A ingredients compared to other bakeries who chose to use cheaper ingredients regardless of their taste and ended up losing clients. I opted for quality to maintain the authentic taste that my customers enjoy and at reasonable prices. EDF helped me with a lot of things. They shed the light on the importance of social media, customer care, and how to overcome crises by creating new products that are more suitable for current needs. This experience was very enriching to me and I’m thankful for that.”

“Good morning, my name is Maria and I’m 19 years old. 3 years ago my father had to leave his job due to some complications, so we decided to launch a family business and we turned our garage into a workshop where we would produce mouneh like the one you see behind me. Since my father worked in Beirut for 25 years, he had a lot of connections so we started selling to acquaintances and family members, relying on word of mouth and our online pages on Instagram and Facebook. As we were gaining repute, we started selling to organic shops, restaurants, housewives and churches, and today we are fully integrated into the Lebanese market. I recently participated in the Dareb Project with the Entrepreneurial Development Foundation where I learned how to develop my business, how to calculate my gains and losses, how to do a market study, how to organize my work, and how to overcome crises. Therefore, due to the financial crisis in Lebanon, I decided not to give up and I turned it into a new opportunity by planting vegetables in my garden like cucumber, tomato, and the ones that I use the most in my products, thus reducing my cost. I’m now also selling vegetables to the neighbors and therefore increasing my income.”

“My name is Elie Fadi Mousallem and I own a stone factory in Terbol. We do everything related to granite, thresholds, stone coating, tiles, mosaic panels, and stone carvings for houses and villas. I participated in the Dareb Project with the Entrepreneurial Development Foundation and it was very beneficial. During 6 sessions, we talked about being an entrepreneur, managing a successful industry, and controlling finances. I’m now aiming to improve my business and I’m applying the training’s content even through the hardships we are facing due to the financial crisis in the country. Thanks to this training, I learned how to promote my products on social media and how to manage my accounts on Instagram, Facebook and even Tiktok, to be able to reach a wide audience. They helped me understand how to overcome the current crisis by adding small items that can be produced and sold for a low price, like this ashtray and this chessboard that is made of granite and marble.”

“Hello, my name is Maria Hitti from Taalabaya-Bekaa, and I’m the owner of Celebrea agency. I’m an English language teacher but I used to plan and attend events since I was 15. This is why I came up with Celebrea Agency, a company that offers many services such as hostesses for weddings, event planning, and product promotion. I started in 2017 and through the years I developed my business to make it successful. I participated in the Dareb Project and I learned many useful things. I’m sure that the participants already mentioned accounting which was also beneficial to me as EDF team helped me create a business plan. To me, the most useful was learning how to overcome crises to survive during hard times, but most importantly, I felt surrounded by the team who stood by our side and showed us that unity is the key to success.”

” I participated in the Dareb Project and it was very beneficial to me because I met new people. I learned about social media and how to develop my Facebook page “Bakery Shaghig” which helped me reach customers from outside the village specifically in Beirut and its suburbs. I learned how to manage my finances to cope with the deteriorating economic situation and the increase of the dollar rate, all while maintaining reasonable prices for the customers. This training was very interesting because I learned how to develop my business and create new opportunities during crises. “

“Anas Abdul Rahman, from Majdel Anjar. I’m 26 years old, and I’m a carpenter. My brother and I launched this business 4 years ago and we started storing the products at home and promoting them on social media. As our clientele was growing, we decided to rent a workshop where we would create and collect our crafts, and once we had enough pieces, we organized an exhibition. Unfortunately, a few months later, the financial crisis started and we had to close it down due to the increase in prices but we continued to sell online and we started a new concept designed out of tree branches. I had the chance to participate in the Dareb project with the Entrepreneurial Development Foundation and I learned a lot from this experience. They taught us about Marketing, Self Confidence, how to develop our business and how to overcome crises by learning from our mistakes. I specifically enjoyed the Marketing section because I learned how to approach new customers and how to handle the competition. I also met new people with whom I was able to socialize.”