Behrad and Fargol Forouzesh are siblings from Iran. They left their country when it became too dangerous for their family for religious reasons.

They work with Marita Rouhof, who has many years of experience in international business consultancy. Together, they are trying to choose one of Behrad and Fargol’s many ideas and decide which products they might import and export. Could they import Iranian speciality products to Germany and export typically German, quality products to Iran – orthopaedic shoes, for example.

The founders:

Nams: Behrad und Fargol Forouzesh

Nationality: Iran (Teheran)

Idea: Import und Export von hochqualitativen Produkten zwischen Deutschland, Europa und dem Iran

Founding in: Berlin


Name: Marita Rouhof

Nationality: Niederlande

Company: selbstständige Unternehmensberaterin

Behrad has a degree in accounting and worked as an accountant for Bosch and Siemens for four years. He operated a small supermarket on the side for eight years. Fargol studied in London for six years. She is a trained herbalist.

3 questions, 3 answers

WJD: Behrad, Fargol – what is your idea, and how far are you?

Fargol: We are just starting out. We have a lot of ideas, but we will probably import and export typical, high-quality products between Iran, Germany and the rest of Europe.

Behrad: Marita really helped us combine our many different ideas. At first, we both wanted to start separate companies, as we have very different professional backgrounds and interests. I have experience as an accountant and businessman. For eight years, I ran a small supermarket. When we realised that we would have to leave Iran, I took the first step. Fargol joined me later. Then, I met Marita. She convinced Fargol and I that it would be easier to join forces and start a business together.

Fargol: I am very interested in herbalism, raw food and organic cosmetics. I studied in England and became a trained herbalist. Afterwards, I returned to Iran. When I finally got to Germany after waiting for a long time, I soon realised that I could not just work as a herbalist right away – even though I spent more than two years in this profession in Iran and produced more than 120 herbal extracts there. To become registered in Germany, I need to take an exam. At some point, I might be able to open my own practice. Luckily, my herbs have a shelf life of 15 years. My parents are looking after my supplies at home. And they are using them up little by little! (She rolls her eyes and laughs.)

Behrad: If we want to import and export typical, high-quality products between our countries, my business contacts in Germany will be very useful: we will not need to worry about bureaucracy and regulations too much. Politically, the importing/exporting business might be tricky. But we can work with third countries like Kuwait or Qatar to make it possible.

WJD: Marita, how did you find out about the project?

Marita: In December, I went to an event by Start up Your Future at Factory Berlin. I offer advice to start-ups here – about pitching, for example. At the event, I was matched with Behrad and Fargol. We have met four times since.

WJD: What do you think this project can do for you?

Marita: I can learn a lot from other cultures, and it will indirectly benefit my work as a consultant. The network of Start up Your Future and Wirtschaftsjunioren Deutschland are very important to me – contacts are everything! (She laughs.)

WJD: Behrad, Fargol: what is happening in your life besides your start-up plans? What are your plans?

Behrad: We are both taking German classes. I have already completed level B2, and Fargol is preparing for her B2 exam at the moment. Afterwards, I would like to study business administration.

Fargol: I hope to take the herbalism exam so I can work in my field here. The Employment Agency will tell me how to go about this. Apart from that, I work in a Persian community centre for a few hours every day, depending on demand. My language exam is the most important thing – German is the key to everything! There are so many thoughts in my head that I cannot quite put into words yet.