Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nihal Elwan, founder of Tayybeh Foods Ltd., located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Hi! We are Tayybeh. We are a social enterprise, caterer, and food processor based in Vancouver. We started Tayybeh over five years with a mission to provide Syrian refugee women chefs with employment, financial security, and social integration through highlighting their delicious, healthy, and unique homestyle Syrian/Middle Eastern food.
Tell us about yourself
Before Tayybeh, my career was in international development. For 15 years, I worked for international organizations (e.g., UNDP, UNICEF, ILO, World Bank) and NGOs on research and projects aiming to empower women and youth from the Middle East. Tayybeh started as a volunteer initiative simply to help Syrian refugee women in Canada overcome language, cultural and professional barriers and find their footing here in Canada. I did not know five years ago that it would flourish into the beautiful and dynamic enterprise it is today.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Seeing our women chefs go from being housewives back home to being gainfully employed, financially independent and seeing the pride they take in their work and achievements.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I was not trained in business before starting Tayybeh. I am an anthropologist. So the hardest thing for me was to learn to run a business in a city that was fairly new for me as well simply by doing it, trusting my own instincts, and overcoming my own insecurity around not having any prior experience in the food business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't be afraid and jump in.
- Always have good relationships with anyone you cross paths with.
- Always be attuned to the needs of your team and always be kind.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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