Launching a gift delivery platform, providing excellent service, combining technical expertise with functional logistics, and adding a good bit of kindness and human warmth to it all – that’s no mean feat. In his work as a start-up consultant, Thomas Knappworst has heard it all. Out of many ideas, Abud’s approach managed to convince him. Thomas’ network and support combined with Abud’s IT background and ideas could soon make their dream come true, but there are still plenty of challenges to be overcome.

Founder: Abud Moustafa
Idea: Geschenkeversand
Age: 35
Nationality: Syrien, Aleppo
In Germany since: 2015
Profession: IT Ingenieur/Projectmanager

Gründerpate: Thomas Knappworst
Company: Knappworst & Partner Steuerberatungsgesellschaft
Age: 57
Founded in: Potsdam, Brandenburg
Employes: 50

Abud Moustafa about his Gründerpate

“My Gründerpate Thomas has told me a lot about start-ups in this region. After all, he works as a start-up consultant and knows how things work. Right at the beginning of our partnership, he bought me a ticket to the deGut trade fair (Deutsche Gründer und Unternehmertage), where he showed me companies and programmes that could help me. One of them is Investitionsbank Berlin, an investment bank that issues micro-loans to refugees who want to start their own business.”

3 questions, 3 answers

WJD: Abud, what is your plan? In which phase is your start-up project at the moment?

Abud: All around us, e-commerce and mobile apps are improving and succeeding: foodora, Uber and so on. I want to establish an e-commerce platform and offer an international, high-end delivery service for gift ideas. It will be optimised for mobile devices. I would like to sell things like sweets, chocolates, cake and even flowers, toys and electronics at some point. The emotional aspect of the idea is very important to me. Everything must be right, from the order to the delivery – especially in terms of service and friendliness.

At the moment, I am busy doing intensive market research. I am finding out which requirements I need to meet and who my competitors are. For the time being, I want to launch my business in Germany; later, I hope to provide my services across Europe.

WJD: What did you notice about the German business environment?

Abud: It is complicated: Germans always worry about their success and whether they will gain access to the third market. But even if you fail and declare bankruptcy, you are safe. Germany has a safety net.

Things are different in Syria. There, your business success also depends on your family’s reputation, which can open many doors. If you fail, it is your family who will support you – not the state. People from poor families have a much harder time.

I feel extremely lucky to live and work in Berlin, the German start-up hub, and start my business here!

WJD: Thomas, what is special about Abud and his project?

Thomas:  As a consultant, I work with many entrepreneurs. Starting a business as a Syrian refugee in Germany seems extremely brave to me. In a whole new country, a completely different culture!

We explain the German way of doing taxes, funding and business plans to every German and foreign entrepreneur. In Berlin, half of entrepreneurs are from abroad – they come from places like the United States, Spain, Italy, Australia. I think it is very exciting when someone who holds the status of a refugee wants to start a business. And I am more than happy to help.