“Our objective is to become the first listed social enterprise on a stock exchange,” says Roberta Ventura, founder and CEO of The Social Enterprise Project, an ingenious startup that is turning Palestinian embroidery into a global fashion export.
The social business employs over 200 women from the Jerash refugee camp in Jordan, to produce high-quality jute bags and creative design clothes based on the legendary Palestinian tradition of embroidering. The startup has kicked off its first year of operations with over 1,000 bags sold. “We shipped our Bespoke items pretty much to every continent,” Ventura tells BarakaBits.
“Our mission is to make embroidery cool and bring a Palestinian-made item in every home – not because people want to be nice to us, but because they find it cool,” she says. An ambitious objective –she admits– “but not impossible.”
Struggling with the realities of a refugee camp, the startup is now focusing on securing collaborations and improving living conditions in Jerash, which houses 24,000 Palestinian refugees, according to UNRWA. “After a nasty winter, I have asked a team of architects who know the camp to come up with a project to reinforce the shelters and make sure next winter snow and rain will not get inside,” says Ventura.