Snapshot of my background
My entrepreneurial adventure started in 2013 after 14 years of working for a foreign government, where my career advanced from the Management assistant up to the top as a Head of Corporate Services; a career which has given me the competencies and skills needed to manage teams, care about customers, plan events and projects and keep finances tidy.
My first business is what I always call a classical one – it’s a facilities management company. We have a team of builders, electricians and plumbers managed by qualified technicians and myself. Daily tasks are planned in the best traditions of project management and as it has been done for several years by other small & medium businesses.
By the end of 2014, we won the second prize at GIST (Global Innovation through Science & Technology) which was a surprise to the audience and us, as there were many other high quality projects and businesses participating in the competition. After a few days of reflection I singled out these tree insights that have slightly changed my entrepreneurial adventure:
- A bright idea doesn’t mean that it will succeed as a business.
- A great businessman with a project won’t succeed either.
- A business or project success has to be based on three pillars: idea, team and experience.
Mentoring, networking and skills
Interested in innovative projects, I partnered with a friend who has founded T9dya.com, an online grocery store for Fes/Meknes region. I am using the past tense because today the project has moved to a higher level targeting customers in North Africa and Europe thanks to enpact.
First, we met other fellows and mentors in Egypt but we already knew the faces from the biographies that we got on enpact’s app. The experienced startup founders have already done their homework the day before or on the plane by selecting the alumni or mentors they want to talk to, share experiences, learn new skills or build a business partnership. My goal was to find at least 3 projects which can be profitable in Morocco but I got more than that.
The days were long – we’d wake up at 7 am and work until 10 pm but some of us stayed until 3 or 4 am. It was an opportunity to be with likeminded people from other countries who had diverse backgrounds but were going through the same challenges and issues as you did. It was a unique experience and it has helped me to discover new opportunities.
Life is hard – friends make it easier
The second camp was planned for mid-August but a month before that my life took a U-turn. My wife died in a domestic accident, I was devastated. Moroccan enpact fellows came to me and supported me few days after the funeral, all enpact fellows and mentors that I had met back in Egypt camp, called or texted me, it made me feel a bit better. But when I decided to join the camp in Germany after a strong encouragement from friends and close family to go, I saw and felt the real role of enpact in our life.
I will never forget the night when we arrived at the camp. It was about 1 am – mentors and fellows have gathered around the fire and as they saw me coming, everyone rushed to me, hugging, making me feel part of the group, making me feel that I am not alone.
We spent 6 days together and I must say that those days have given me most of the strength that kept me fighting against life difficulties and loneliness, not only because I was with them, no! Because I discovered that behind every successful fellow, there was a man or a woman who has suffered in the past too and has used that pain to strengthen themselves to move forward.
Conclusion – Mentoring, networking and happiness
If I had to talk about my enpact experience, I could spend a full day or more, same if I had to write about it, I could write hundreds of pages but I will stick to the following:
- enpact is a chance for you to learn new skills, share experiences and meet other business people from various countries but mostly enpact is a family, where alumni, mentors and management team live together to share success stories and to support each other when needed.
- So if you are planning to take your idea/project forward, be ready for the hard life and take a chance to be part of enpact because it will make it easier and happier.
Good luck and see you soon enpacting.
by Karim Houdou