Very long right before whiteboards, beamers and laptops entered present day faculty classrooms, instructors relied on the humble, dusty, at times screechy blackboard chalk — a material that has designed a Jordanian small business good results tale.
Chemical engineer Salah Aloqbi remembers sitting on a bus in Amman in 1995 when he hit on the thought that would guide him to make his business. More than two many years later on it offers 150 team, with exports to a lot more than 100 countries.
Chalk, a white, comfortable limestone, was formed aeons ago when the shells of very small maritime creatures were compressed on the sea flooring — and the landlocked Middle Jap desert country of Jordan is blessed with wide deposits.
“It was a recreation-modifying notion,” recalled Aloqbi, now 49, who founded the Jordan Chalk Producing Corporation.
“I was returning from operate at the Jordan Carbonate Corporation when I listened to a radio interview declaring that the calcium carbonate made by the company is applied in many industries in Jordan — other than the chalk industry.”
Aloqbi pondered how to make blackboard chalk, which was until eventually then wholly imported, to obtain excess value from the calcium carbonate that is also used to develop white cement, make soils less acidic, and toothpaste much more abrasive.
7 years afterwards, he introduced a modest manufacturing unit in Karak governorate south of Amman, with two rooms and just five employees, and begun experimenting — to begin with by pulverising the porous content with a meat mincer.
“But the chalk that we manufactured at that time was no more time made use of close to the earth, so we moved to create dustless healthcare chalk,” he claimed, referring to a carbonate-based kind with more substantial particles.
– The suitable stuff –
Some 2,149 makes an attempt afterwards, the businessman said proudly, he strike the ideal system for dustless chalk, creating a “quite powerful export prospect” that now sees his company develop 10 billion pieces a year.
Jordan has a around unlimited provide of the raw material, with the ministry of electrical power and mineral assets estimating the country’s “belongings of limestone exceed 1.3 billion metric tons”.
Limestone is the prevalent kind of calcium carbonate CaCO3, the most important component for chalk.
“It arrives to head that this is an out-of-date products, but the fact is that we are struggling to meet up with the wonderful demand from customers,” Aloqbi mentioned as he inspected hundreds of cartons heading to Britain and Germany, Mali and Morocco.
The chalk parts arrive in a extensive palette of colours and are employed for art and perform around the globe.
The firm has also branched out into colored crayons and modelling clay, and is the country’s only producer of chalk sticks.
Today, the business sits on a 7,500 sq. metre plot and features sought-following employment in a country where the unemployment fee soared to 25 per cent very last year, about the exact same as the poverty rate.
“Most of us are from villages in Karak governorate,” mentioned just one staff, 28-calendar year-previous Sundus Majali. “More than 50 percent of the personnel are women.”
At initially, she explained, “it was challenging for moms and dads to let women to get the job done … But these days they have no dilemma with that, specially for the reason that the manufacturing unit is safe and sound, not like other workplaces.”
Another colleague, Alaa Aloqbi, 33, stated “the manufacturing facility has provided occupation options at a time when everyday living turned hard”.
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