Name: Manar Alsalam
Business: Dairy Product Supplier
LIFE Cohort: 4th Cohort, Mersin
Home Country: Syria
Syrian entrepreneur Manar came to Turkey from Homs four years ago. An avid student, she studied Arabic Literature at Damascus University, and she is currently studying Sharia in Mersin. Since coming to Mersin, Manar has supported her family by manufacturing dairy products in her home kitchen.
Manar learned the art of dairy production from her parents, who have a business in Syria. She currently supplies her products to two markets in downtown Mersin, and takes limited individual requests for products from some of her regular customers. But her limited capacity has prevented Manar from expanding beyond these outlets.
“The biggest challenge my business faces is that I operate from my own home," she says. She hopes to open her own shop to increase production and attract more customers.
Ever the student, she heard about the LIFE Project from friends and was interested to learn more about entrepreneurship. She thought it would complement the cooking and sweets-making courses she had previously participated in, and help her to grow the small business she runs from her kitchen.
"I learned about financing and management and got to benefit from the expertise of the LIFE staff. I also gained significant insights from fellow entrepreneurs in the same cohort."
Right now, Manar is focusing on sustaining her business through the COVID-19 crisis. "Fear of Covid-19 prevented me from producing and selling as I was afraid of getting the virus and giving it to my children. But with the economy reopening, I am slowly getting back to my usual business,” she says.
When Manar was asked about giving advice to other entrepreneurs she said: "Keep up the good work, [and] learn from anyone young or old. "