Two years ago, Nassar for Plastic Machinery (Nasser Plastic) was a little-known company in Egypt’s plastic pipe manufacturing sector. Today, it is the sole Egyptian supplier to the UK’s leading plastics manufacturer and supplier – and is one of the first small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to contract with Telecom Egypt, Egypt’s primary telephone company.
Amr Nassar, chairman of Nassar Plastic, says that attending two pivotal events made these lucrative connections possible – and credits the U.S.Agency for International Development (USAID)through its Strengthening Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (SEED) project for making his attendance at these events possible.
In 2018, representatives from Nassar Plastic and twelve other Egyptian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) participated in a Telecom Egypt matchmaking event supported by USAID’s SEED project. This event was important for companies like Nassar Plastic because it brought together many qualified experts such as the Plastic Technology Center and financiers like the Commercial International Bank and the Central Bank of Egypt to encourage and endorse financial assistance and working capital loans for SMEs.
Historically, Telecom Egypt limited its procurement to large manufacturers. The matchmaking event opened the field to SMEs for the first time ever, and Nassar Plastic Chairman Amr Nassar said his firm was ready to make a deal. At the Telecom Egypt matchmaking event, Nassar Plastic signed an EGP 5.8 million, 12-month contract with the telephone company – and was able to secure financing through the Central Bank of Egypt on the spot.
The second pivotal event Nassar attended was the Pipe Africa International Exhibition. This exhibition was the first of its kind in Egypt and offered an optimal venue for suppliers and businesses to connect, negotiate, and sign deals. USAID’s SEED project paid 50% of the enrollment fees for representatives from 22 SME plastic pipe manufacturing entrepreneurs like Amr Nassar.
Through this event, Nassar secured a deal with Marshall Tufflex, the UK’s leading manufacturer and supplier of plastic pipes, which resulted in a contract worth EGP 3 million. As a result, Nassar Plastic became the sole Egyptian supplier to the English company.
Deals signed at both the pipe exhibition and the matchmaking event resulted in a roughly 40% increase in revenue for Nassar Plastic and led to an average 25% increase in salaries for its employees.
To ensure and sustain success, the USAID SEED project follows up with event participants to ensure that they receive needed assistance to close their deals – and integrate into existing progressive value chains. This methodology contributes to enterprise sustainability, a key part of Egypt’s journey to self-reliance.