The next entrepreneur in our "Meet the Founder" series is Fatima Mohammad, who has launched Tech Teens, a coding school for kids!
Can you give a brief introduction about yourself ?
My name is Fatima Mohammad. I'm a clinical pharmacist in my past life. I was born in Kuwait but I am originally from Basrah in the deep south of Iraq. I studied Pharmacy in Baghdad and I worked as a clinical pharmacist for the past 15 years. I was displaced from Basrah to Fallujah. I lived in Fallujah for three years. When the war started, I fled with my family to Erbil when ISIS occupied the city. I took a coding boot camp last year and I joined Five One Labs in Nov. I am still with them.
What is your business idea?
I'm starting Tech Teens, a coding academy to teach teens aged from 13 to 17 programming and coding to create their own game and website in a simple fun way. That will be in a great, safe environment under the supervision of specialized trainers.
What challenges are you addressing?
Tech Teens addressing a number of challenges. First, teens don’t have fun ways to learn the most recent skills (like coding). Our kids are not updated with what is happening in the world. Coding is the future all developed countries are heading towards in programming. Our teens don't know about that and they are way behind.
Second, parents are missing a safe place for their teenagers to learn new skills. Some of these parents work long hours away from their kids. They want the best for their kids. They know that their kids spend long hours on their smart devices without learning something new and useful. They are certain that their kids are talented and smart but they don't know how to utilize their skills.
Finally, our schools don’t provide special creative activities for students.
Why did you join the Five One Labs startup incubator?
I took a coding boot camp last year and I met Alice (the co-founder of Five One Labs) during that. After the boot camp, I learned how much coding is important. How programming changes your life and changes the way you solve problems and design thinking. I wanted to teach our kids all that. It will improve their future and will create a better career for them. It's important to start from that early age.
So I decided to start a coding academy to teach teens coding. I did not know how to begin and from where. I did not know how to do it and to succeed in that. At that time, a friend who worked with Five One Labs invited me to join the incubator. I was so excited when I learned about what Five One Labs is offering. I knew and I was sure that they will help me and they will make my dream comes true. So I decided to join them right away.
What progress have you made since you started the incubator two months ago?
I made a lot of progress in my business the last two months. I interviewed a lot of people, including parents, teachers in schools and teens. I learned a lot about my customers. I learned how to start up my project step by step. I made two prototypes. It was amazing to see how ,y classes would look like. I learned how to have a good financial plan and how to have a future vision for my business. I can see it becoming real day by day.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start their own business or project?
My advice to anyone stating his/her project is that if you really want to start a business, get rid of every reason that makes you think that you can't start one. Your idea should solve a problem rather than to sell a product or a service. Opening your own business is often a learn-as-you-go process. But, the more smart decisions you make early on, the better chance your project has for success. Listen to what others have to say—friends, family, experts, even yourself. Don’t ignore the power of advice from experts and business owners. They know what does and doesn’t work. Smart entrepreneurs learn from the mistakes other business owners have made.