Name: Mahmoud Bargoud
Business: Colorful Pizzas
LIFE Cohort: 2nd Cohort, Mersin
Home Country: Syria
Mahmoud Bargoud has an unusual background for a food entrepreneur. Originally from Aleppo, Mahmoud successfully started an architectural design firm in Syria and oversaw the construction of a hospital and three universities in Saudi Arabia.
However, after migrating to Turkey, Mahmoud was determined to take on a new challenge: he bought several plots of land to grow lemon trees and began harvesting and selling lemons both domestically and regionally. When the business took off, Mahmoud started his own restaurant, but this time focused on his true passion – pizza and pastries.
Mahmoud was first introduced to the LIFE Project when his friend tagged him in a Facebook post. Although already an experienced project manager, Mahmoud was drawn to the program because of its focus on managing small and medium (SME) projects, especially in the food sector.
“I used my time in the incubation training to work on my weaknesses and develop my points of strength,” Mahmoud reflected. “I benefited a lot because of the trainings, especially when it comes to getting information about marketing and advertising. I learned not to leave any aspect of my business unstudied before entering the market and I found the support I lacked when it comes to accounting and legal matters for starting a business in Turkey.”
The trainings paid off. Mahmoud was ultimately one of the winners of the LIFE Project’s second business pitch competition in Mersin after using the Project’s incubation experience to develop his business idea of developing a colorful, healthy pizza for children.
Even as an alumnus of the program, Mahmoud has continued to utilize the LIFE Project network to further develop his business. After securing a larger space for his shop, Mahmoud is pitching his idea of healthy pizza meals to private schools in the area and plans to use the LIFE Project Food Enterprise Center kitchen to produce his product in larger quantities. He also plans to continue utilizing the coaching services provided by the LIFE Project to advise on legal and accounting matters. “Moving forward, I know that for any information I miss, I can be in touch with the LIFE team,” says Mahmoud. “My essential reference right now is the LIFE Project as [staff] are very engaged and supportive of members until the very last minute.”
As for next steps, Mahmoud wants to grow the space he has now for a shop after legally registering and establishing his business, which should be easier now that Mahmoud was recently granted Turkish citizenship.
Mahmoud’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs? “Set a goal for yourself and work hard for it, do not under estimate this goal no matter what it was and reach it.”
Interested in Mahmoud’s business? Follow him on Instagram @bargoud_m.