Please introduce yourself and your company.
Salt and Sugar specializes in creating prepared foods and preserved Syrian specialty foods. We also provide catering services. The idea for Salt and Sugar came to me when I was working for a Swedish organization in the ﬁeld of women’s empowerment. We saw that there were many women looking for job opportunities but who didn’t have the necessary skills or work experience since they had only ever been housewives. I wanted to present these women with an opportunity where they could use the skill sets they already had, such as cooking. At the same time, we realized there were women in the workforce who did not have time to cook, so it seemed like a great opportunity to ﬁll both needs.
How is your company doing now?
Due to the pandemic, I halted operations in order to avoid risking the health of my employees and customers. Our sales decreased and now we’re basically starting up again from scratch.
“Being an active community member brings me joy and contentment, and meeting with other women entrepreneurs allows us to share and exchange ideas, experiences, and operational updates.”
What are the challenges you have faced as a Syrian woman entrepreneur in Türkiye?
The main challenge was understanding policies and regulations. I did not have a reliable consultant, which really affected us in the beginning. That’s why I always say that any woman who’s thinking about starting any sort of project or business needs to ﬁrst participate in workshops and seminars to learn about local laws and policies.
What are the biggest opportunities and challenges to owning a business in Türkiye?
There are many opportunities here in Türkiye to access workshops and seminars as well as networking events for Syrian entrepreneurs. For example, the Syrian Economic Forum helped us register our business and get work permits.
What are the next steps for your business?
We are currently planning to relaunch next month, considering all necessary health and safety procedures, to ensure zero health risk to our customers.
How has this business changed your life?
This business has impacted my life immensely. My sense of responsibility towards myself and my community has ampliﬁed, and I’m very pleased that I can connect women in need with a job opportunity in a respectful work environment. Being an active community member brings me joy and contentment, even though it can be associated with a lot of pressure.
“I am proud of the community I’ve built and I hope to be an example for other women who are looking for ambition to accomplish anything they want.”
How do you see your role in supporting other businesses led by Syrian and Turkish women?
When I meet with other women entrepreneurs, we’re able to share and exchange ideas, experiences, and operational updates. I am proud of the community I’ve built and I hope to be an example for other women who are looking for ambition to accomplish anything they want.
What advice do you have for other business owners?
My key advice would be to participate in workshops and seminars to learn about local laws, regulations, and policies before establishing anything. I beneﬁted greatly from the seminars and workshops that I attended. The information you gain from these activities open up a lot of opportunities and help create a clearer picture and understanding of your potential business. Gather as much information regarding regulations as you can and be sure to engage good legal counsel.
Which Building Markets services did you beneﬁt from?
Building Markets has provided me with access to helpful training opportunities and business development services, such as invitations to networking events and connecting me to potential grant opportunities.
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