Your Middle East sat down with Egyptian entrepreneur May Abdel Asim who told us about the lessons she learned and the advice she can give aspiring entrepreneurs on the road to success.
Tell us about the magazine What Women Want?
What Women Want is a magazine we founded eight years ago, in 2006, which is aiming to empower women. There was a need for a magazine that provides interesting content and is edgy but not only about glossy fashion that doesn’t really touch the everyday woman. It has been on the market for eight years now and we managed to survive the last three years, which have been tough economically, many magazines had to close but we are still around. We love what we do and we put so much effort in each issue and we try to be creative and innovative and present what women in our surroundings think about, and stimulate debate and controversy regarding certain topics. We put a lot of sweat and effort into the magazine and it shows, when you do something passionately it shows.
Tell us about your company Media & More?
Media & More is an advertising agency with focus on digital media. When we began to market the magazine in different ways we started to expand to different clients and that was how the idea of Media & More started and now it is doing a lot of different things, after the revolution we started to focus on digital media. Today many of our clients want help handling their social media.
After many years as an entrepreneur operating in Egypt, what have the main lessons been looking back?
Being a law-abiding Egyptian citizen is a challenge in itself and then add being an entrepreneur is a complete mess because we don’t have a great environment to create and develop in so there are constant challenges. We are not supported by the government, it is for example very difficult to get a loan to start a business. You need to constantly jump hurdles, but either you just quit and get a corporate job or you just have to find a way where you evolve and mutate with that system and keep your integrity, vision and identity.
Egypt is a very fertile ground for entrepreneurship. Egyptians in general are very active and they are risk-takers. There is huge potential and it has an emerging entrepreneurship scene but it needs help to grow. A lot has happened and the next generations of entrepreneurship will benefit from this development. Because of the Internet the country is more open now and more exposed to new ideas.
What tip do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
My basic advice is pick something that you love and that makes you feel like you have a real luxury to be able to wake up in the morning. Do something that makes you feel like it isn’t work at all and then work hard and then work harder. Don’t look left or right just straight ahead and if you fall just stand up or if something is thrown at you pick it up and throw it back and keep on running.