Waleed Abd El Rahman
Waleed Abd El Rahman is not a man of politics. The business graduate from the American University of Cairo was among the founders of the Strong Egypt Party in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution, wanting to be part of change in his country. Soon he realised that diplomatic conduct all too often forced him to keep working with people who were not doing their jobs properly, and were thus preventing actual social change.
This was not the purposeful, professional future he aspired to, so Waleed went a different way, moving to Beirut, where he was responsible for the establishment of the MIT Technology Review Arab Edition, a new branch of the internationally renowned MIT Technology Review. It was also in Beirut that he founded his first enterprise, Mumm.
The name comes from the ancient Egyptian word for food and is the first word every Egyptian child learns to say, the legend goes. Waleed sees his startup as a tool to empower women and enable them to join the workforce from home. Over the year he has teamed up with three different NGOs, which have funded the construction of common kitchens that meet hygiene requirements for Mumm’s food partners. Already, those community kitchens serve as workplaces for dozens of Syrian refugee women who can now support themselves and their families with a sustainable income. It is probably safe to say that by creating jobs and empowering women, the young entrepreneur has already had a bigger impact on society than most of the political colleagues he left behind ever will.
Mumm started business in January 2016 and currently caters to greater Cairo, with around 70 women cooking in 30 kitchens all over the city. Mumm’s selling point is healthy, home-made dishes at prices that can compete with McDonald’s.
The app functions as a marketplace for women cooking from home (now known as food partners), freeing them from all logistical responsibilities. With the price setting developed by Mumm, they get a 25 per cent return on every meal they sell through the app. On top of integrating 70 women into the active labour force after nine months in business, the company employs ten drivers for delivery and ten customer service agents.
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This Talk was one of many at zenithTALK Berlin 2
The scale of social challenges in the MENA region and new opportunities created by technological innovation are bringing a new generation of leaders to come to the fore, both in business and in civil society.