This week’s featured founder is Laylan Attar, who is launching Dada, Sulaimani’s first babysitting app!
Can you give a brief introduction about yourself?
My name is Laylan and I am 28 years old, a graduate with IT degree and Business administration as minor. I am also a mother of wonderful little girl who was born in January. I was born in Baghdad and lived there for 17 years, but I am originally from Sulaimani where I’m currently settled. My husband Botan Burhan is also my partner. He is 30 years old, from Sulaimani and an IT graduate with a concentration in web technologies.
What is your business idea?
I joined Five One Labs with a business idea that came out of a personal need for a babysitting service that connects parents with babysitters to watch their children for a temporary time.
What challenges is your business addressing?
My business addresses a number of challenges. For working parents, once they have children and build their family, they often have to give up their jobs opportunities or their social life. Additionally, children need love and care but also need their parents to be sane and happy.
This babysitting solution gives peace of mind for the parents and the quality time for their children. It is for children between ages 1 to 12 years and is flexible, affordable and safe.
This service helps in making a healthier family environment and creating job opportunities for qualified babysitters who love spending time with children. It is the first organized platform in Sulaimani.
Can you tell us about your experience starting your business?
Starting my own business required persistence and ambition and a desire to truly want to start this solution and to believe in it.
Since I joined the incubator, it was a very rewarding experience. It prepared me through the guidance of the trainers, and the mentorship that I received from very intelligent and experienced mentor Caroline, made the process possible. Also, the environment of being surrounded by wonderful entrepreneurs encouraged me to think that nothing is impossible. Three months of training, meeting businessmen and women, meeting inspiring speakers and sharing great resources all prepared me to be in that world mentally and physically.
We started with brainstorming ideas among the entrepreneurs and then testing the idea by interviewing people in the market related to my segment. We then built and tested a prototype, which was the best step before launching the business idea. Finally we approached customers, built a marketing strategy, budgeted, and answered legal questions.
When my first customer tried the service, it was full of remarks and feedback. It only meant that no matter how prepared I was, there is still a lot to be improved. When it is your business idea, you will take care of it as if it’s your own little baby. So I will always take care of my little baby to be a matured premier service in the market.
Why did you join the Five One Labs startup incubator?
It was always my dream to bring a change and be the manager of my own. I always thought I needed experience and education to start my own business. But knowing there is such a place as Five One Labs, which required nothing from the participants but an idea, gave me a new hope. So I joined the incubator with an idea and now im wrong, it mostly required the belief to be the manager of my own and run my own business.
What progress have you made on your business since joining the incubator?
To be remembered: My friend once told me that her daughter’s pediatrician's wife was looking for a solution as she has children and needed someone to watch them. Then my friend told her about my solution. Accidently, she was one of the people that I interviewed randomly during the testing phase in the market. She remembered my name and my solution positively which is a great opportunity for a potential clients.
Progress I made during the incubator included networking; testing my business idea by running a couple of babysitting sessions and getting reviews and feedback from them; finding new potential babysitters; finding training programs for the babysitters; and starting the legal process.
What advice do you have for someone trying to start their own project/business?
My advice is:
Never ever start a business idea without testing the need for it in the market.
Have a strong instinct and believe in yourself when everyone else against you.
Be positive. You will attract opportunities.
Read a lot and be aware of what’s going on around you.
It is a lot of work, sacrifice and responsibility so be prepared.
And plan ahead and have a vision.