Keeping it in the Family
Salah’s love for his community moved him to create a place where his whole family could grow and prosper.
From a house workshop in Karak to a pioneer in the global market, Salah Oqbi, Founder of Jordan Chalk Manufacturing Co., worked on a simple aspiration to support his family, not knowing that it will end up exceeding his expectations and become today the only chalk factory in Jordan, exporting to over 100 countries around the world. Oqbi’s journey of success began in 1995, when Jordan Chalk idea sparked from a radio statement made by an owner of a carbon factory, “We don’t have chalk factories in Jordan.”
Hearing this on the way home from his work in Amman inspired him to take action and plan to establish a chalk production business in Jordan, driven by a strong desire to shape a better future of his family, as well as his love for the community. “I wanted to do something for my family; I wanted to build something that could be theirs, that they could grow into a community,” says Oqbi.
While keeping his dream a secret for ten years, Oqbi’s determination and persistence to transform his idea into reality bounded him to switch to a less paid job in order to gain the needed experience that would help in pursuing his business set up. Later on, he was appointed at the Arab Potash Company where he worked on advancing his career and polishing his technique, ceasing the opportunity to study the chemical composition of chalk in the company’s laboratories, completely dismissing skeptics’ criticism.
Following extensive research and a series of experimentations using an old British machine – along with the help and support of his brother and family – Oqbi refused to give up, and managed to create a unique formula of dustless chalk 2149 tries later. Today, the Company comprises around 80 employees, in addition to operating the most technologically advanced machinery in this field, allowing the Kingdom to compete on an international stage and placing it as the third country in the world to manufacture child-friendly products beside Korea and France.
His firm belief that two of the keys to a guaranteed prosperity is building mutual trust amongst employees and working in unison as a family for future generations drove Oqbi to share with his staff the prize money granted to Jordan Chalk by Bank al Etihad for winning the ‘Best SME’ category of the Annual SME Awards for 2015. As he says, “It’s my chalk factory but my family made it a success, and anyone who’s a part of this, I consider family.” “We’re all different,” says Oqbi, “But we all share the same idea: to make the finest chalk that’s sold all over the world to provide more opportunities for more people and to make our lives, and our families’ lives, better.”
Salah only wanted to support his family, but now he exports to over 100 countries around the world. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.