Andrea and Mohamad met through Start Up Your Future in December, 2017. They have been meeting regularly since then. Together with her business partner, Andrea has successfully established a ginger beer business. Mohamad loves cooking and misses authentic Syrian food. He is optimistic that Syrian delicacies would be popular in Germany. Having worked as a customs official in Syria for many years, he also wants to export spare parts for cars to Syria. They are urgently needed, and Mohamad wants to help rebuild his country. He is not quite sure which idea to pursue yet, and Andrea is there to help him choose.

 

Founder

Name: Mohamad Kebeh War

Idea: Import/Export; Foodsector

Founded in: Berlin

In Germany since: 2015

Gründerpate:

Name: Andrea Stenz

Company: Ände GmbH

Founded in: 2016

Andrea, how are your meetings going?
“Mohamad lives in Caputh, I live in Spandau. We usually meet somewhere in the middle every other week. Our meetings last between one and three hours. No matter the duration: meeting regularly is really important. In the meantime, we talk by e-mail and WhatsApp if any questions come up. My business partner is a member of Wirtschaftsjunioren. He told me about the project.”

3 questions, 3 answers

WJD: Mohamad, would you explain your idea to us? What sort of business do you want to start, and what are you working on at the moment?

Mohamad: There are two main ideas I have been discussing with Andrea.

Firstly, I am thinking of selling home-made Syrian delicacies such as hummus or baba ghanoush at a very high quality. The versions sold here simply don’t taste as good as those back home! (He laughs.) I worked as a chef in Caputh for a while and gave my colleagues some of my home-made dips to try. They enjoyed them!

My second idea is a business exporting spare parts for cars. I know that they are direly needed in Syria. The law prohibits the import of new or used cars, which makes spare parts all the more important. I worked in customs and import/export for ten years and really know the business. And I have the right contacts in Syria. I could work with them. But I still need contacts here in Germany.

WJD: Andrea, what does Mohamad need to do to achieve this plan?

Andrea: We agreed that he needs to carry out a needs analysis. Which spare parts for which brands are needed in Syria? What can be imported under current law? Of course, it is a great advantage that Mohamad is already familiar with the Syrian part of the export process and that he has good contacts there. Once we have the needs analysis, we will look at the situation in Germany. Which of the required parts are available here? How can he get it? And what can be exported?

Mohamad’s first idea has an advantage: it can be done on a small scale first, as a test. The psychological barrier is lower. He could test the waters first, sell his food on farmer’s markets, talk directly to his potential customers and get feedback on his products. This would only require a low investment.

My own experience in product marketing has taught me that Edeka in Berlin and Brandenburg help regional producers to bring their products on the market, for example. This requires a certificate stating that the food has been tested in a laboratory and is fit for the market. I could put Mohamad in contact with a food laboratory.

But his heart seems to be with the car parts business! (She laughs.) That one might be harder to get off the ground, but he is more motivated. And any new company requires patience!

WJD: How is your partnership going? What are your plans?

Andrea: I love seeing how much Mohamad wants to do this. And I am sure that we can make it work, step by step. The project is supposed to run for four months, and it is unlikely that we will be doing big business in three months. I would like to support Mohamad for a longer time, until he is established. And I want to get my business partner involved. A new perspective can be very helpful.