I have always loved cooking sweets, but I never considered making a career out of it. My training background is in speech therapy and a few years ago, I started working on an app that helps with speech development. To further my skills, I took an entrepreneurial ideation course where everyone was given the task to generate an idea about which we had no professional experience. My current business co­founder and I were put into a team and decided to invent what we love most: sweets! This is how my new company, Sukarh, was born.

The first product I created and tested for Sukarh was a famous Palestinian sweet. I was worried, because everyone knows there is always a special way to cook old recipes and nothing tastes as good as the original way; so considering that I am a Jordanian, the pressure was on! However, the feedback I got was so good that I realised something fundamental to the concept behind Sukarh: that sweets from across the Arab region are mutually loved; their recipes can be shared and can offer unity between us.

To nurture the unity of this vision, we want to source all the component parts of Sukarh from countries across the Arab region that are well known for certain trades: buying our jars from Saudi Arabia, wrapping them with beautiful Egyptian fabrics and tying them with Iraqi string. We handwrite little notes containing popular Arabic idioms and attach them to each jar, because our jokes and sayings can also be shared as much as our food!

Taking Sukarh forward, we won first place at the Maker Hackathon Amman that same year, and were given a crowdfunding platform to promote our product and raise funds. At this early stage in our startup, the marketing was our biggest challenge, so we weren’t successful with the campaign. However, it taught us valuable lessons around the importance of brand and exposure, so we have been participating in local bazaars and experimenting with our English and Arabic designs ever since.

The enpact program was so valuable to the evolution of Sukarh: other fellows helped us source materials for our products and test out new recipes; the enpact mentors taught me how to negotiate joint ventures or cooperations better; and the entire enpact network, currently across seven countries, has opened the doors to Sukarh expanding internationally.

by Hawazin Khataybeh