Meet the Members: Ammar, a Syrian Food Expert and Entrepreneur

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Name: Ammar
Business: PH7, a dessert and smoothie store
LIFE Cohort: 2nd Cohort, Istanbul
Home Country: Syria

Originally from Aleppo, Syria, Ammar’s background is all about food. He was a university professor in Agriculture at the University of Aleppo after earning his PhD in Food Safety and Security from the University of Damascus and a Master’s degree in Food Science from the University of Lorraine in France. 

Ammar had spent what seemed his entire life in universities. After the conflict in Syria began, Ammar migrated to Turkey to stay with relatives and continue to pursue work in academia. However, jobs were scarce, and he soon moved to Gaziantep to work in a marmalade factory before moving eventually to Istanbul to work in customer service for marketing agencies. Soon after, Ammar left that job to focus more on entrepreneurship.

Ammar’s dream project is starting a food business focused on desserts and smoothies. He even already has a name for it: PH7 or ‘Pleasure of Heaven’. Since deciding on his initial idea, Ammar has been looking to rent a small restaurant in the Fatih neighborhood of Istanbul to start his business and is looking for business partners to promote his product and fund his start-up costs. 

After seeing an advertisement on Facebook for the LIFE Project, Ammar attended one of the information sessions held at the LIFE Food Enterprise Center (FEC) in Istanbul and quickly joined the project’s next cohort of members. “Joining LIFE gave me a positive push,” Ammar said, “I felt for the first time that my academic degree did not go to waste… I wanted to employ my experience in a business of my own with my own vision and my own ideas, I had a small business idea and needed an incubator, LIFE was this incubator for my idea.”

What is Ammar’s favorite aspect of the LIFE Project? “The kitchen,” Ammar stated, “The kitchen has all of what a commercial food business would need…and the staff and trainers who work there are among one of [the LIFE Project’s] best features.”

To combat the high costs of starting and registering a business in Turkey, Ammar is looking to increase his knowledge of, and experience with, marketing and promotion and hopes his continued connection with the LIFE Project will provide more opportunities to showcase his products. Through his exposure as a winner of the LIFE Project’s second business pitch competition in Istanbul, Ammar plans to expand his business to a small restaurant in Istanbul and continue sharing his passion for food with his customers. 

Are you interested in Ammar’s story or see potential in his business as an investor? Email the LIFE Project to be connected at [email protected].