Interview with Mrs. Soumaya Jokmak

Soumaya is one of the 20 women currently participating in the WEL project in North Lebanon and below we share with you an interview and insights from Soumaya!

What is your personal background? My name is Soumaya Jokmak and I am 53 years old. I am from Kfarhabou in North Lebanon and live with my husband and one son.

What is your educational level? I have a degree in Secretarial work, and now I am taking English courses, as I will need that in my new business especially when contacting foreign clients.

What is your business idea? When I decided to start a new business I was aware I would have many challenges. For this I have put a clear plan based on my experiences. I have a 20 years experience in teaching, which has helped me in dealing with different challenges and to work well with all kinds of people. Moreover, I have worked as a Sales Manager, which in turn gave me the communication skills needed to convince the client and to promote a product. For the WEL project, I have decided to benefit from my experience and from my love of cooking and to be specialized in mouneh, or pickles and preserves. My business idea is all about using orange leaves with chocolate, which is a unique product in Lebanon.

Why have you chosen the food sector? As I have mentioned before I love cooking, and I have all the needed experience. I have participated in several trainings on food processing as well as on hygiene, good manufacturing practices, and new recipe. Moreover, an expert has assessed my product in order to meet the standards of the market. Her positive certification has encouraged me in my unique business idea.

Have you participated in any other training? To me training is a key contributor in enhancing the capacity, and skills, and talents. For this I have participated in several trainings that will help me in empowering my capacity, enhancing my knowledge and thus having more experience. I have participated in trainings on food processing and handicrafts. Thanks to the WEL program, I have greatly benefited from the trainings in communication skills, accounting, and negotiation skills, through my participation in the intensive 4-day course on Introduction to Business Plans and my on-going one-on-one training with the BIAT trainers.

Life has many obstacles but I always try hard to catch any opportunity that may empower my social and economic participation. Working with the WEL team, has been such an opportunity and will help me to achieve my ambition to be an interactive entrepreneur in the economic life cycle.

How do you describe yourself? I am a young, dynamic, ambitious, as well as a risk-taker! The support of my family, and especially my husband, gives me all the needed push and power to have a strong personality.

We wish Soumaya the best of luck, moving forward in the project!