In 2019, SEKEM Development Foundation (SDF) reinitiated SEKEM’s old project for the development of the surrounding 13 villages in Belbeis. With the support of Heliopolis University staff and students, the data collection phase was concluded successfully. Based on the information gathered, SEKEM was able to determine the areas for development and plan for projects accordingly. To tackle the unemployment challenge in this area, SDF developed the “SEKEM Bedaya – Marilou Fund” project.
The project will support the residents of the 13 villages to start their own business in order to enhance their economic and social conditions, while establishing productive, lucrative, and environmentally friendly work. The support offered will be in the form of microcredit loans. The loan amount will be determined based on the type of project, starting from 2,000egp and going up to 200,000egp.
“SEKEM Bedaya – Marilou Fund” will not only provide the initial fund, it will also help train the new business owners. Several info sessions will take place in different villages to address the pressing challenges usually encountered while starting or sustaining a business.
The project prepared several pre-set business models based on the needs of citizens to facilitate the implementation process and to avoid any future risks. Those business models comprise chicken breeding, rabbit breeding, eggs production, compost preparation, Lotus shops, nurseries, as well as sewing and tailoring. Aside from these pre-set models, any project that could take us a step closer to the SEKEM Vision for sustainable development is eligible for funding.
Marilou – a name that stands for social responsibility
Marilou van Golstein Brouwers had been working with Triodos Bank for many decades. The Triodos Bank in the Netherlands supports SEKEM’s activities and vision as a trusted and reliable shareholder. Marilou van Golstein was amongst others the Chair of the Management Board of Triodos Investment Management BV and contributed to the establishment of several microcredit programs, with a focus on supporting women. She shares SEKEM’s vision for rural prosperity. Honoring her contributions to the SEKEM Vision especially in the context of microcredits, SEKEM named its new microcredit project “SEKEM Bedaya – Marilou Fund”.