Teenah is a social startup based in Vienna and Jordan for Syrian and Jordanian refugee women. Agnes Aistleitner and Raneem Meqbel established it in Irbid, Jordan during the 2016 refugee crisis. They wanted to contribute more and faster to the improvement of the situation, that Syrian refugees and Jordanian women face in the area of North Jordan. By now, the team consists of 15 Syrian refugees and Jordanian women. Their living situation has incresed significantly because of the dignified job they were offered, which also includes training and practical education. The goal of Teenah is to empower women, so they are able to deal with the challenges of today’s and tomorrow’s society. Also, the aim is to create a company, that can keep up with the technological advancements in the textile industry. Not only has Teenah made partnerships with notable organisations like Unicef and Luminus Shamal Start, but also acquired well-known customers, e.g. Arbeiterkammer Austria, WeAreDevelopers and goodbag.
The social startup now made an announcement, that the new website with the new online shop has been launched. “We are excited about our new website launch as it provides a great experience and useful information to our customers, investors, partners and media to better understand our company and products”, describes Agnes Aistleitner, CEO and co-founder of Teenah in a press release. So Teenah cought our attention and we had a chance to talk with CEO and co-founder Agnes Aistleitner and Martin Zvada, Marketing &PR Manager, about the remarkable social startup, it’s goals and plans for the future.
What is Teenah and what do you want to achieve?
We are a sustainable merchandise company with a strong e-commerce focus. As for our product lines, we are aiming to focus on long-lasting quality products, we want our clients to have the perfect merchandise for their company that reflects their values and product standards. In the future we want to become a leading provider of affordable quality design items that can be customized for individual clients, not just as promotional giveaways but also as their own merchandise products for sale, making it easier for businesses to sell their own quality lines.
Who had the idea for Teenah and why?
The idea for Teenah developed with the parameters in mind, specifically how can we create as many meaningful jobs for refugee women and women from their host communities on the ground in the Middle East, while at the same time making something that is exciting for our customers. Products and services that matter to customers and would value years from now, and somehow we ended up in the Promotional product/Imprintable apparel segment as it is steadily growing and still underdeveloped in the Middle East. The backstory is that I thought during the height of the refugee crisis in 2016 – Couldn’t business react faster with more sustainable solutions to the often decade-long displacement of refugees on the ground in the region? So I went to Jordan where I met my amazing co-founder Raneem Meqbel who at that time was growing tired of the humanitarian aid sector while working for the Norwegian Refugee Council, wanting to do more faster.
Your startup is based in Irbid, Jordania and Vienna, Austria. What kind of work takes place at which location?
Manufacturing and sales for the MENA region take place in Irbid and sales, e-commerce and marketing takes place in Vienna.
What are your plans for the future concerning Teenah?
We are bullish, we want to expand. We see all these motivated young women from Syria in Jordan and the Jordanian women and then our smart young team in Austria that is eager to innovate on many levels to make this work. That is extremely motivating for us as founders. And not just because every job we create in Jordan really can change a life and that of that woman’s family, but also because we want our ideals that we have carefully woven into that corporation to succeed. We are a human-centric corporation, whether it is on the customer side or on the employee side. From a business perspective, we want to carve out our position on the European market as a great quality provider of affordable custom merchandise, and in the Middle East we will be THE provider of affordable custom merchandise and quality basics.