Empowering Through Sweet Success: Hisham's Entrepreneurial Journey from Syria to Türkiye and the Inclusive Business Model of Zenbarakji Sweets - Building Markets

Empowering Through Sweet Success: Hisham’s Entrepreneurial Journey from Syria to Türkiye and the Inclusive Business Model of Zenbarakji Sweets

by Sedanur Albaş
December 13, 2023

Hisham’s journey from Syria to Türkiye in 2018 culminated in the establishment of an oriental sweets shop in Gaziantep just six months later. Despite his background in electronic engineering, Hisham encountered challenges practicing in his field, primarily related to the recognition of his credentials.

Consequently, he turned his entrepreneurial spirit towards the sweets’ industry, establishing a successful project, Zenbarakji sweets.

In 2020, Hisham expanded his ventures by opening a restaurant in Gaziantep. In need of employees, he reached out to a young man from his Syrian community who had lost his right arm during wartime. Recognizing the potential in the young man, Hisham offered him the opportunity to work as an accountant in the restaurant. The individual not only excelled in this role but also displayed dedication while handling deliveries.

Post-COVID, Hisham amicably parted ways with his partner in the restaurant, while the young man with a disability continues his valuable contributions there.

Drawing from his experience as an employer of people with disabilities, Hisham stresses the importance of rehabilitation efforts for individuals affected by war-related disabilities. He advocates for societal support, emphasizing the value these individuals bring to the workforce.

Hisham sees a significant role for civil society organizations and governmental bodies in incentivizing companies to prioritize hiring individuals with disabilities.

He says, ”Encouragement can come in the form of financial support, such as salaries or social and health insurance, facilitating their integration into the formal job market.”

Addressing economic challenges in Türkiye and the region, Hisham notes “there is a tendency of companies, especially smaller ones, to downsize due to economic inflation. Despite these conditions, it is crucial to maintain a focus on creating opportunities for people with disabilities.”

To capture the attention of consumers, Hisham recommends not only emphasizing products or services, but also spotlighting the individuals behind these ventures who have disabilities. By sharing the stories of these entrepreneurs and the unique qualities they bring to their businesses, Hisham believes it creates a personal connection with consumers. This connection, he suggests, fosters a sense of support and encourages consumers to actively prioritize and choose products or services offered by businesses run by or employ individuals with disabilities. In doing so, Hisham envisions a powerful shift in consumer behavior that promotes inclusivity and supports the economic integration of people with disabilities.

Emphasizing the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of workplace modifications for accessibility, Hisham advocates for companies to take such measures. He views these adjustments as worthwhile investments, considering the valuable contributions individuals with disabilities can make to the workplace.

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