USAID Supports Provincial Printing & Marketing Service Centers

19 July 2012

The Karbala Printing and Marketing Service Center has gone from a dream, to a concept, to a proposal and on 12 July held their Grand Opening ceremonies at the Karbala Business Development Center (KBDC). The KBDC recently signed a Performance Grant Agreement with the USAID-Tijara program for funding to establish the Marketing Service Center in Karbala.

Zuhair Algrity (Member Karbala Provincial Council (left)) and Mustafa Saleh All Tuma, Chairman Iraqi Businessmen Union (2nd from left) and Nu'man Jalal Hassan Director of Aletiman Saving Bank receiving briefing in the new wide format banner printer by Ahmad Abdul Abbas Alwaeli, KBDC Executive Director.

The USAID-Tijara program contributed funding for furniture, printers, inventory and an initial period of operations, which was matched by the KBDC who contributed funding for the large format printer capable of printing vinyl banners.

The Center is designed to provide marketing support to businesses in Karbala for improved design of clients’ marketing and advertising material, forms, business cards and banners. Mr. Ahmed Abdulabbas Al-Waili, Executive Director of the KBDC said “We have tried previously to step forward to become a printing and copy services center, and now with USAID-Tijara’s support program we can provide jobs and have sustainable income for the Center and pay salaries for our staff and create more business services in future.”

The USAID-Tijara Business Development Services unit provided guidance to the SBDCs in development of their Business, Marketing and Financial Plans, Performance Grant applications and continues to monitor progress of the Centers. “The Print Centers offer local businesses a greater opportunity to advertise their own products and services and is having a positive impact on sales.” said Dr. Clifton Barton, Tijara Senior Advisor to the SBDCs. Karbala BDC joins the Al-Zaqora Printing and Marketing Services Center in Nassriya and the Muthanna Printing and Marketing Services Center in Samawa as newly established facilities initiated by SBDCs in Iraq to support growing demand by businesses, universities, government and the general public for locally designed and printed material.

Banners for the French construction company Mattiere and for local retailers are among the many designed and produced by the Al-Zaqora Marketing & Advertising Center in Nassriya.

Emad Mansour Rabat, the Executive Director of the Samawa Business Development Center (SBDC), felt that he could provide a greater benefit to small businesses in Muthanna by establishing a Printing and Advertising Center at the SBDC. With support from the Samawa PRT and the USAID-Tijara project, the SBDC purchased printing equipment and computers to produce banners and documents for business clients and students and established their own commercial monthly business magazine, which is providing advertising revenue to the SBDC.

Muthanna University banner being printed at the Samawa Printing & Advertising Center

The SBDC has established several sites in Samawa for placing their advertising and also helps design and print large advertising banners for clients. Emad reports that “between the Printing & Advertising Center and the Newsletter advertising revenue, we are covering a growing share of our Center’s operating costs. We were also awarded a large printing contract by Al-Muthana University in Samawa, which we hope will grow even more.”

Banner announcing the graduation ceremonies at the Al Muthanna University produced by the Samawa SBDC Print & Advertising Center

The Printing & Advertising Center supports businesses in designing their advertising and has recently included coupons in its monthly business magazine as another way to attract customers for some of their advertisers. Emad confided that “we plan to continue our expansion of the Center with the purchase of an offset printer in the next few months which will allow us to do longer runs and more varied printing as further support to businesses in the region.”

In addition to the Printing and Advertising Centers, the Zaqora and Samawa SBDCs also operate Employment Services Centers, recruiting and screening employees for business clients in the south while Karbala SBDC continues to conduct language and computer training classes for international companies and other corporate clients in Karbala. The SBDCs also offer document translation, feasibility studies, business skills training, advertising through newsletters and business directories and other business support services.