Jordan Livelihoods Project increases income opportunities for refugees and Jordanians

Assessment conducted by UNHCR and Blumont finds 92 % of participating home-based business owners increased household income

“I never thought I would be able to make a business out of this.” A single mother of five girls, Ghada has been living in Jordan since 2012. A keen home cook, Ghada had always made food for friends and neighbors. But after taking a training course offered by local NGO and UNHCR’s livelihood partner, Blumont, she was inspired to turn her passion into a business. In January 2021, she received her official trading license and now sells food including Makhdous (pickled aubergine), Yalangi (stuffed vine leaves) Kebbeh and different types of pickles, to her local community.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in Jordan and Blumont hosted an event today titled “Impact of Formalizing Home-Based Businesses” to showcase the achievements of the Jordan Livelihoods Project. The event presented findings of a 2021 project assessment that illustrates the benefits of investing in support for home-based businesses, while also identifying opportunity for further action.

Funded by UNHCR and implemented by Blumont, the Jordan Livelihoods Project supports the financial inclusion of Jordanian business owners and fosters livelihood opportunities for Syrian refugees. The project works to bring existing home-based businesses into the formal economy with registration, provide training to help build business skills, and connect entrepreneurs to new markets.

Since 2019, the Jordan Livelihoods Project has helped to formalize 296 home-based businesses, including 66 refugee home-based business. It is also notable that women make up the majority of home-based business owners in Jordan. All home-based businesses are registered and licensed through the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Local Administration.

”We see time and time again the entrepreneurial spirit among the refugee community. Home-based businesses allow this entrepreneurship to flourish.” said Dominik Bartsch, UNHCR Jordan Representative. “Expanding programs like the Jordan Livelihoods Project is essential in supporting the growth of the Jordanian economy,” he concluded.

Blumont surveyed home-based business owners who completed registration and received small grants through the Project in 2021. Findings indicate that 92 percent of home-based business owners saw increased income. The average owner saw a 219 percent increase in their monthly income just three months after formalizing their businesses.

Home-based businesses receiving support are also creating employment opportunities, with 40 percent of business owners reporting that they have hired additional help to meet expanding product demands.

“These businesses may start in homes—but the benefits of successful home-based businesses reach far beyond individual homes and families,” said Caroline Haddad, Blumont Jordan Country Director. “If we can provide the support and create the opportunities—the talent, spirit, and drive of entrepreneurs across the Kingdom will contribute to our communities and our economy.”

The event was attended by UNHCR representative in Jordan, Dominik Bartsch, representatives from municipalities and Ministry of Local Administration, Ministry of Digital Economy And Entrepreneurship, Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation, The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply, in addition to representatives from national and international organizations and donors.

Through the Jordan Livelihoods Project, Blumont provides home-based businesses with awareness sessions on the registration process and core trainings in business management, entrepreneurship, financing, product development and creative design, and digital/traditional marketing methods. Activities connect business owners with local markets and digital platforms through one on one and group mentorship sessions. Many businesses also receive non-cash grants to purchase tools that support newly developed business skills.

As the Syrian crisis marks its eleventh anniversary, the economic pressure on both refugees and Jordanians remains high. 65 percent of refugee families currently live on less than 3JOD a day. Together, UNHCR and Blumont are helping to support both Jordanian and refugee businesses, families to earn an income and reduce their reliance on humanitarian assistance.