With the help of Tatweer Project A Jordanian SME Gains CE Mark Certification and is on its Way to Enter the International Market

The Jordan Al Manara Shoes Co. Ltd. is a family business and a leader in footwear manufacturing. Since 1996 the company has specialized in manufacturing safety footwear for different industrial sectors with the aim of providing workers with comprehensive footwear protection equipment to protect them against all types of hazards in the workplace.

The company has gradually expanded and is now recognized as a leader in the safety sector, and as a well established brand known for its excellence and competence. With over 500 customers in Jordan, Manara also exports regionally to many neighboring countries in the region.

After the diagnostic visit, the USAID-funded Tatweer project believed that Manara had an excellent product but lacked the expertise to properly market their goods and export efficiently. Hence, Tatweer Project decided to provide its support and services to the SME.

This decision was reinforced by Al-Manaras ability to provide jobs for Jordanians, especially for Jordanians with disabilities which reflects that the SME provides equal opportunity

With the help of the USAID-funded Tatweer project, Al-Manara recently obtained the CE Mark, a certification that complies with the EN ISO 20345:2004 (A1:2007) standards.

This is a great achievement as very few companies in Jordan have the CE Mark due to its difficulty to obtain. The CE Mark is a requirement for exporting to Europe. Moreover, obtaining the certificate will open doors for al-Manara, allowing the SME to compete internationally.

We are very grateful for the USAID-Funded Tatweer Project because obtaining the CE Mark will increase our competitiveness in the local market as well as open up new markets for us in the European countries said Mr. Shadi Jabaji, Sales and Marketing Manager at Al- Manara.

Being at the forefront means ongoing investment in research and development said Mr. Sulieman Jabaji the General Manager, and this continuous development is seen in Manaras new line of safety footwear; UltraFit.

This new range was based on the latest European Technology using Robot Systems and is the first technology of this kind to be introduced in the Middle East.

In addition to the CE Mark, the USAID-funded Tatweer Project has also provided other technical services to Al-Manara which provided expertise, promotional marketing material and new technologies.

One of these services was the creation of Al-Manara website which was supported by the USAID-funded Tatweer project. Moreover the website was awarded third place in a competition for the best website in the Arab World.

Additionally The USAID-Funded Tatweer Project also supported other promotional material for Al-Manara such as catalogues and brochures and helped with package design.

There is a bright future ahead of Al-Manara, the USAID-funded Tatweer project is currently supporting the SME to work towards obtaining its ASTM, which provides technical standards to industry worldwide and is a requirement for exporting to the U.S.

Furthermore, Manara took part in the FTA exhibition of How to maximize the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement for importers and exporters workshop organized by the USAID-Funded Tatweer Project in partnership with the U.S. Commercial Service and the Middle East Partnership Initiative.

The USAID-funded Tatweer project subsidized Al-Manara's booth at the exhibition, where they were able to display their products and learn about new opportunities available in the U.S and how to gain the maximum benefit from the .S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement.

Due to the USAID-funded Tatweer projects involvement, Al-Manara has been able to create new jobs and hence have increased the number of its employees. In addition to this Tatweers support has enabled Al-Manara to participate in local exhibitions which have resulted in new deals.

Al-Manara also benefits from the USAID-funded Tatweer Projects Export Fast Track Action Program (EFTAP) which enables Jordanian companies to access and successfully compete in the US market. The company will send representatives to the National Safety Council Congress Expo in Orlando in October 2009 where they are hoping to get their first international deal.