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International Handicrafts Show Opens Up Entrepreneurial Opportunities to Egyptian Artisans

21 November, 2017
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BY May El Habashi
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The International Handicrafts Show (IHS), for the second year in a row, is showcasing Egyptian art and handicrafts to the public from November 17 to 24 at the Egypt Expo and Convention Centre in Nasr City.

Supporting local talent, the exhibition aims to create a platform for artisans to display their artwork and handicrafts with the goal of increasing entrepreneurial opportunities-locally and globally-as well as preserving the heritage of unique Egyptian handicrafts and artwork.

With more than 150 exhibitors participating in the second annual IHS, this event is expected to be much bigger than last year’s show. According to a 2016 report by IHS, sales from the 2016 exhibition amounted to EGP 12,429,135 and exports reached USD 247,515. This year, however, IHS expects to more than double these figures. It anticipates to reach more than EGP 29 million in local sales and more than USD 1.5 million in exports.

A strong force behind putting Egypt on the global map for cultural exports, Hisham El Gazzar, vice chairman of Chamber of Handicrafts, and Egyptian Export Council for Handicrafts (EECH), believes in supporting local talent to produce quality products ready for export. Exporting local handicrafts will not only benefit artisans, but it will also help bring foreign currency into the country. The Egyptian Export Council for Handicrafts is therefore working hard to increase Egyptian handicrafts exports. According to an official at EECH, it plans to boost the sector’s exports to around $1billion over the next five years.

Hana Ibrahim, founder of Hana Designs and an exhibitor at the show, says, “I’m very happy to take part in this exhibition alongside many other talented artisans. It’s a great opportunity to showcase our work and meet with buyers, whether local or international.” She adds, “I also noticed that people are genuinely interested in handicrafts and very much appreciate all effort and hard work that goes into producing a product. This makes me very happy as an artist to feel that our work is valued.”

The handicrafts industry is ranked as the second largest industry after agriculture and it is also a major source of employment in Egypt with five million artists working in the sector. The industry is key to empowering traditional communities, particularly women, by giving them a means to earn a living. With limited money, they can create products independently and run small businesses from their homes.

 

The exhibition features handmade crafts and artworks from all across Egypt including home accessories, jewelry, clothes, rugs, pottery, paintings and even furniture. Exhibitors range from artisans, designers to NGOs and retail stores. For more information, please visit https://ihs-expo.com/site/