In this week's "Meet the Founder" post, we are introducing Ameen Hadeed, an entrepreneur from Mosul who cares deeply about fitness and public health. Ameen participated in the Five One Labs Startup Bootcamp in Erbil in May and came in first place in the individual pitch competition for his business idea, Lipido.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your business?
I am Ameen Hadeed, from Mosul. I am 26 years old. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. My business idea is to help people, of both genders, who are discontent with their body image and fitness, to get to a place where they are happy and healthy. This is through customised meal plans, training courses, and a circle meeting game play to help them learn how to work their best to achieve their goals effectively.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals which my business focuses on are: good health and well being, gender equality and industry innovation and infrastructure.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Since 2012, I have been working as a volunteer in youth development campaigns and activities with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, alongside groups of young, motivated friends.
It all began when I was working in a small shop selling computers in Mosul. I noticed something was missing in the way we were working. I wanted to differentiate ourselves and stand out in the market. I started thinking about how to make a business thats stands out and beats the competition.
In 2014, when ISIS invaded Mosul, I lost my job and all the money sources in the city shrank. New challenges stood in front of all the people living here, and money, especially, was one of them.
In 2016 I started a small internet service provider with money that had been left to me. I started to search for answers to my earlier problem: “How to start a special business that works?” However, times were tough back then. The circumstances we were facing inside the city were the hardest a man could endure. I was determined to search for a good number of to read about. I began downloading books to feed my curiosity on the topic.
I wanted new relationships with people with similar beliefs and ideas, especially after the war.
I decided to choose a new path because I knew there wouldn’t be job offers in the future because of the different obstacles Iraq faces. After the war ended in East Mosul, where I live, we were liberated, thank Allah. Safely, I went to complete my fourth stage of college and then started to work again. Following this, I participated in a large workshop, the “UNDP Innovation for Development,” at both the basic and advanced level. It was a huge turning point for me because I wanted new relationships with people with similar beliefs and ideas, especially after the war. I was working to fill the gap by learning and experimenting with the necessary skills be a successful entrepreneur.
I’m passionate about fitness and have specialized knowledge in the field. So the idea flashed into my head as the market had large potential and opportunity. I am now starting to execute my idea in Mosul as a franchise.
How did you break into the business world?
I went on to make prototypes for my startup, until I finally succeeded when I participated in Five One Labs Startup Bootcamp in the “Entrepreneurship for all” program in May 2018. There I learned how to validate my idea and went on to be the winner in the pitch competition for individuals for my idea “Lipido.” I made great progress with the support of Five One Labs’ Director of Training and Business Development, Pat Cline, as a mentor.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start their own business or project?
My advice to would-be entrepreneurs is to take time learning the different roles of an entrepreneur while also having the mindset, the vision and the necessary skills and tools to think, act, and innovate.
Also, it is important to to read a lot about entrepreneurship and to start a business that you are passionate about. A business that solves a clear and definite problem. Don't be afraid to fail, because failure is a great teacher. Entrepreneurs are well known as risk takers, so I encourage you to take responsibility of your decisions.
Don't be afraid to fail, because failure is a great teacher.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
There are three skills I emphasize particularly. Firstly, cash flow management because it is the foundation of a business. When there is no money, you’ll be out of business. Secondly, communication is important in how you share your ideas to customers, employees and partners when you are trying to sell it. Finally, the last skill is to have the visionary mindset of an entrepreneur, to work on your business and not in it and lead it to success.
Describe/outline your typical day?
My typical day is focused on building and optimizing business systems so I can make sure the value is delivered the proper way and scale the business to grow.
What’s your favorite part of the work you do?
My favorite part of the work I do is the process, itself, of being an entrepreneur. For example, using skills like strategic thinking and coming up with innovative new product ideas and seeing the impact on the customers and their reactions.