Name: Waad Mutlak
Business: Date Candies
LIFE Cohort: 1st Cohort, Mersin
Home Country: Syria
Waad was a teacher for 14 years in Palmyra, Syria. “Palmyra is very famous for dates which are filled with other ingredients and sold to tourists.” In 2016, she fled the country and settled in Mersin, where she had siblings. She was always actively looking for opportunities to learn the Turkish language and develop her skills, which is how she came to learn of the LIFE Project.
As a creative chef in homemade desserts, Waad was initially interested in the LIFE Project to build her marketing skills.“The business pitch competition itself was a very big step for me to take; it developed my character and allowed me a chance to meet people.”
Throughout the LIFE Project food business incubation program, Waad developed a more concrete idea of her business and decided to focus on the dates that she was familiar with from her hometown. She started developing the idea to sell dates as a healthy substitute for chocolate to give to children. Moving forward, she wants to combine the LIFE Project business pitch competition award she won with her own funds to get a machine that separates the date from its seed. She hopes to start selling her product during Ramadan, which is the season for dates, in her opinion.
Soon after winning the business pitch competition, Waad negotiated an arrangement to serve as a supplier to one of the most popular Syrian markets in Mersin, Almouselli. This is an important step as she grows and scales her business. With this opportunity, she has plans to add more ingredients, create a variety of tastes, and contact other markets for collaboration opportunities.
Waad’s advice for other entrepreneurs? “Do not hesitate, get the trainings and develop your business idea, do not stop as I will not stop.”
Follow Waad on Instagram @hurma_dolmas