SitatByoot Empowering women in the Middle East

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SitatByoot Empowering women in the Middle East

Jordan
Organization type: 
for profit
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We use the internet to reach women everywhere in the Arab world, to help them grow their small businesses from their homes.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

2006 Statistics show us that the percentage of working women to overall Labor force in Jordan is %13.5 according to OECD. This places Jordan at number 188 worldwide in that regards! The percentages are similar accross the Arab World. There is dire need to provide a new platform that enables women to do their businesses right from home and without trespassing on conservative cultures and traditions that discourages women attending to work away of their home. The other important need is to flatten the supply-chain between rural artisans that create original handicrafts and the customer. Conventionally, the product passes thru 6 traders before it reaches its final destination; the end buyer. By then, the product is at-least 1000% its original paid-price. Artisans in the Arab world are currently invisible and long to publicize their works in their names and introduce their original and amazing handicrafts. The artisans make a big percentage of overall population in the Arab world; i.e. in Jordan they are around 10%, Tunis 11% and in Morocco 20%.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Aside from socioeconomic barriers-to-business women encounter when establishing their businesses, women also face regulation, exposure and logistics barriers. We try to ease their small businesses difficulties by helping out in 3 main areas: 1. Marketing 2. Logistics & Delivery 3. Collection of Payments. We turn to the Internet to scale all of those to the benefit of our Women-Artisan members. 1. Marketing We have created a Blog and multiple Fanpages on Facebook and started providing original content in Arabic that focuses on their arts in specific. e.g. we provide help facts about where to find cost-effective threads and patterns on our SitatByoot Crochet & Stitch fanpages. So far we have exceeded 10,000,000 Impressions since we launched on 20-March-2011. This hype will help us draw in their customers. We have not devised full-on strategy for that yet, but we do our best to market all the submitted products. 2. Logistics and Delivery As soon as any order is being made on any of the products submitted on our site Sitatbyoot.com, we automatically notify our Product Owner to ship her products with one of the shippers we deal with; TNT, DHL and Aramex. The customer bares the charge when she/he did the purchase online. 3. Collection of Payment When the customer buys a product we collect the payment for the product on behalf of the Product Owner. We retain the money till the Customer receives the product. We then release the payment minus 3.5% commission for our company; similar services share profits up to 50% with artisans.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Take the following Story: 1. Um Mohammad is an artisan who stitch Dresses. She inherited this tradition from her mother and grandmother before her. The dresses come in different patterns & shapes. 2. She saw us on Facebook at our main fabpage http://fb.com/sitatbyoot where we aggregate a lot of relevant news & information about women artisans in the region. From there she got to know that there are a specific community for Stitch-makers on this fanpage: http://fb.com/sitatbyootstitch she interacts with like-minded stitch makers & gets to know where to buy threads & patterns from the community. We also promote different offline entertaining events. 3. Because we inform members there about our services, Um Mohammad submits her Product online to be sold. She does that thru this page: http://www.sitatbyoot.net/sendProduct.aspx the iframe used here is from Smartsheet.com that allows editing to entries after submissions. 4. Suzan lives in UK & loves Um Mohammad Product she saw on our website (in future we will be funneling our Products onto Amazon.com, Etsy.com, Ebay.com & Alibaba.com too) Suzan purchases it. 5. Our Website will get notified with the purchase, & sends an SMS & Email notification to the Umm Mohammad who is required now to courier the product to the customer's address thru our logistical partners. 6. Our Logistics Manager Rania will follow up with the shipment till it reaches Suzan. 7. When Suzan receives the product & is happy, we release the money to the bank account number of Umm Mohammad.  
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

1. Etsy.com Has a worldwide following from handicraft artists and artisans. They are so diverse and have a great reach. They are also established and have great credentials for picking the best artsy designs. However they lack Arabic & Oriental languages support. They do not represent however many authentic and traditional artisans who come from rural places nor the NGOs that work with them. They focus mainly on vividly beautiful and appealing contemporary designs and products. 2. Souq.com One of the first and leading ecommerce sites in the Arab World. They have a great following and there are many gift stores and gift items available there. However they are largely known for their Electronic & ready-made garments products and do not have much of the handicraftonline sales market. 3. Many smaller Arabic Ecommerce sites, that over promises and over price their submitted products, and rarely delivers.  
About You
Organization:
Sitat Byoot
About You
First Name

Saeed

Last Name

Omar

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Sitat Byoot

Organization Country

, AM

Country where this project is creating social impact

, AM

How long has your organization been operating?

Less than a year

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Innovation
Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Start-Up (a pilot that has just begun operating)

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for less than a year

Social Impact
FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.

My mother runs a small tailor shop in one of the areas of Amman in Jordan. I remember the day she decided to found the shop and how she fought for it. She stood her ground & did what she wanted to do. 20 years later she is doing great & a famous Cutter & Fashion Designer. I always looked up to her & wanted to make it easier for women to do exactly the same, however easier.

I was found redundant by my employer in the midst of the worldwide property crisis in 2008. I came back home to Amman, Jordan. And immediately recognized a pattern in our society: all females stay at home. Some of them are really gifted in handicraft & have inherited great cultural patterns in accessory-making & stitching.

I realized that if we empower them to sell their handmade products worldwide we could easily become the destination for many women around the Arab world.

At first we thought we could work thru our Amman-based tailor workshop by providing production & design assistance. But we eventually wanted to scale out regionally.

We launched SitatByoot.com on 20-Feb-2011 to reach millions of Arab women in the Middle East thru the internet. SitatByoot means House-Wives in Arabic.

Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date

We now run a Fanpage on Facebook that has around 10,500 fans. We have made thru our facebook main fanpage around 5,000,000 impressions and views. We have more than 350,000 interactions and users from 25 Arabic cities.

We also run community-related fanpages that cater to vertical community needs. e.g. Stitch, Crochet, Art & Painting, Design...etc. each has atleast 500 fans and are very active. These are run by volunteers and enthusiasts from our community.

Our Twitter followers are around 500. We tweet a lot about our activities and keep everyone on the loop when it comes to our updates, women-members and news.

All of our Fans and followers receive first-hand information about Market opportunities, how and where to find resources, interact with other artisans and business women, training opportunities and where to attend relevant events. To date we have trained more than 3,000 members, adopted 10,000 products from around 1,000 product-owners and helped organize and sponsor more than 20 events.

What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?

In our members growth estimations we look at serving more than a Million Product Owners by mid 2012.

SitatByoot.com is a social enterprise and is an organically grown movement dependent on word-of-mouth and social references. Therefore the same model can be replicated in developing and underdeveloped countries. The challenge will be in dealing effectively with intermediates like NGOs who represent them when uploading products and their details. So in the coming 5 years, our growth will come thru many partnerships with regional NGOs.

SitatByoot farther vision is to implement the idea in South America and in Sub-Saharan african countries where its much needed to support and help conserve indigenous people's handicrafts by promoting them and their artisans directly on the internet.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Assume the leader place for all Arabic handmade artisans online

Six-Month Tasks
Task 1

Curate Original Content

Task 2

Constantly adopt new Customer Segmentation as we grow

Task 3

Provide Quality & Originality assurance to buying customers worldwide

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

To be recognized by handmade online shoppers worldwide!

12-Month Tasks
Task 1

Enhance our SEO

Task 2

Enhance Online User Experience

Task 3

Adopt better Website structure and launch V2 of website

How many people have been impacted by your project?

1,001 - 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Sustainability
Explain how your company, program, service or product is structured

Hybrid model

What barriers have hindered the success of your project to date? How do you plan to overcome these and other challenges as you grow your solution?

Access to Women who have great products. Also access to Products produced thru NGOs that help women in their small businesses.

We look for enhancing our online product submission model where individual women can submit their products as well as NGOs do so. Also promoting doing so thru our social networks and offline activities.

Other Barriers are to do with lack of funding that hinders our ability to reach more women in different rural parts of the Middle East. Where women are in most need to receive information about how to make the best of our website and Sales Network.

How do you see the information-technology and media sectors shifting over the next decade? How will your solution adapt to and/or drive that changing environment?

The boom in social networking sites such as Facebook & Twitter in the Arab world is just a normal extension to what people do offline. So the growth we expect will be huge in all of the demographics of the Middle East.

We look at the segment of women connecting online for the first time or reluctant or even unable to do so. We will tend to inform, entertain and engage this segment of recent onliners to help us set our goals and help empower them in their businesses and help others realize the possibilities at-least.

Failure is not always an option. If your solution fails to gain traction in the next two years, what other applications of the idea could you explore?

An Online aggregator for relative news for the working housewife artisans of the Arab world. This would be our alternative project in case we failed as an e-commerce platform.

Expand on your selections, explaining how you will sustain funding

We look at minimizing our expenditures, focusing more on online activities, and maintaining good rapport with our investors who we rewarded shares in our organisation.

Tell us about your partnerships

We have received funding from Wahid Essale co-owner & CEO of Cashna.com. he owns 20% of our organisation.

Our recent investor is Dr. abdelMalik Jaber who was ex-CEO of Zain and is currently CEO and Owner of MENA APPs in Jordan.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section?

We look forward to expand our team members to include dedicated FTEs in the following areas: Communications, Online SEO, Editors, Web Design & User Interface, Art & Culture, Marketing, PHP, C++, HTML, CRM, Logistics & Delivery, and Operations.

Changemakers is a collaborative and supportive space. Please specify any community resources you would need to grow and sustain your initiative. Select all that apply

Investment, Human resources or talent, Marketing or media, Collaboration or networking, Mentorship.

Specify any resources you might offer to support other initiatives. Select all that apply

Research or information, Pro-bono help (legal, financial, etc.), Innovation or ideas, Mentorship.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren’t specified within the list

None.

Summary
Define your company, program, service or product in 1-2 short sentences

We are a women-only network that allows Arab women to submit their handmade products from their home, to sell them worldwide.

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