Rebuilding After the Blast: Entrepreneur Sisters Scale Up Their Business with Mentoring

February 18, 2021

MicroMentor is proud to expand our reach in the MENA region with the support of and Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. As an innovation of Mercy Corps, our easy-to-use business mentoring platform will continue to provide crucial support to help small businesses build resilience and adapt to survive, retain jobs, and position themselves for recovery and growth through virtual mentoring.

With this initiative, we will harness our global community to empower 7,500 small businesses in the MENA region through business mentoring, reaching entrepreneurs like Marie Elia from Lebanon.

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Marie Elia founded Shop La Fripe with her sister to support their community by promoting reuse, increasing accessibility in retail, and supporting local charities.

With Lebanon already experiencing a devastating economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and Beirut port explosion have left many in an especially difficult situation. Looking for a way to support their community, lawyer Marie Elia and her sister launched their non-profit business in September 2020.

Shop La Fripe takes high-quality, donated clothing items and resells them at affordable prices on Instagram, donating all proceeds to local charities. With Lebanon facing intense inflation, Shop La Fripe provides access to needed items at an affordable rate while encouraging reuse and supporting charity: “Basically we are just a link between people who donate stuff they no longer need...and people who want to buy these things at affordable prices.”

Marie knew that they would need advice to build and grow their non-profit to maximize their impact: “After we successfully started our initiative, we wanted to improve ourselves and reach a wider audience but we did not have the experience nor a business plan to do so.” After seeing an ad for MicroMentor on Instagram, Marie signed up and initially connected with three mentors who were excited to support their project.

Marie and her sister connected with their first mentor, Youssef Noor Eddin, who helped them build their first business plan. A second mentor, Mustafa Jumma, shared books and video resources to help them grow their non-profit. Their third mentor, Basem Dweri, had an idea to connect Shop La Fripe with sponsors and helped the sisters organize their product and pricing.

With their online presence growing rapidly, the sisters are now in the process of building out an e-commerce site to expand their operations to reach more customers and raise more money for charity. Marie is optimistic about the impact that their non-profit can have and are expanding to offer more product categories. The sisters continue to work with mentors to support the strategic growth and planning efforts of Shop La Fripe.

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