We dream of an Arab world where the talents of creative individuals reach the global market place and where businesses contribute to community development initiatives. Arabisque, a social enterprise and e-commerce platform based in Egypt, is an effort to combine both dreams.

For individuals, businesses provide a platform to actualize their full potential and provide training to sharpen personal and professional skills

On a community level, every business creates employment opportunities. As companies grows so too does the number of jobs.

The dual power of business to develop individuals and communities has yet to be sufficiently tapped. NGOs in the region also remain reliant on funding from foundations, organizations, and governments, which is unreliable and typically insufficient to meet their needs. NGOs make clear contributions to social development. If these organizations were given a consistent income stream, the benefits to society would be enormous.

With the aim of promoting socio-economic progress in the Arab world one business at a time, Arabisque, brings goods from creative businesses and entrepreneurs in the Arab world to the global market, and uses a portion of these proceeds to fund community development projects in the region. At the same time, Arabisque also  allows NGOs in the region to sell their goods through channels that have largely been inaccessible until now.

Arabisque’s mission is based on three pillars:

1) To support the growth of small-to-medium enterprises as well as aspiring entrepreneurs in creative sectors (in art, handicrafts etc) in the region by bringing their goods to local and international markets through branding and e-commerce.

2) To donate a fixed percentage of profits for every item sold to a nonprofit organization in order to implement a community development project.

3) To empower nonprofit organizations by promoting their products online through sales channels often available only to for-profit businesses.

How Does Arabisque Work?

According to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), the Internet has had a sweeping impact on economic growth, job creation, and prosperity. The MGI report encourages corporations to focus on opportunities the Internet offers for new products, expanded customer reach, increased jobs, and enhanced economic performance.

As the McKinsey research makes clear, e-commerce is a powerful way to reach a global market. Inspired by these insights, Arabisque has created an open e-sales channel for creative entrepreneurs, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to increase revenue while contributing to the social good.

Through its e-commerce platform, Arabisque allows creative businesses to grow and thereby create more employment opportunities. The enterprise takes only a small percentage of successful sales on the site, which is invested in community development projects that are maintained and grown through further sales on the site.

By increasing demand for its products, marketing determines a business’s future. Together with participating entrepreneurs, businesses, and non-profits, Arabisque develops strategies to market their brands locally and internationally.

Arabisque also works with entrepreneurs, businesses, and NGOs to continuously improve and innovate. Arabisque develops plans to grow the skills and capabilities of these entities, to assist them in enhancing the quality of goods they offer to the market, to help them lead innovation in their field, and to support them in achieving their personal and professional potential.

Why This Project?

Many people in the region have been inspired by the Arab Spring to help develop and nurture the region’s potential. Motivated by this growing trend, we started this project to support and encourage corporate social responsibility in the region and help Arab creatives access global markets.

Who We Are?

Arabisque was founded by Suzan Salem, a PG Candidate in Entrepreneurship from EBS London, with experience in building international brands. Arabisque’s Operations Manager is Shaimaa Arafa, who holds a degree in social work with experience in community development.

Do Your Share Our Vision? Spread the Word and Join Us:

If you support our work, please connect with us through our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube pages. Please also visit our site, and our portfolio of businesses, entrepreneurs, and NGOs, purchase a product, or promote our work to help charitable initiatives in the Arab world.

If you are a creative entrepreneur, NGO, or small-to-medium sized business in the creative sector, please fill out and submit a talent application on our site to begin selling your goods to a global market.

For those who would like to volunteer to support this initiative, please send your CVs to [email protected]


Read more like this in Muftah's Weekend Reads newsletter.

Advertisement Advertise on Muftah.