For much of their lives, Fatima Nasser and Aziza Adam have lived with war. And yet it has not stopped the young Libyan entrepreneurs from trying to make change in their society.
They are the co-creators of Yummy!, an app that connects home-based cooks with customers who want delicious, fresh homemade food delivered to their door.
Their idea came from a situation that most of us find ourselves in — what to do about lunch?
“My colleague Aziza Adam and I were giving a workshop,” Fatima says. “We were hungry, so I told her; ‘imagine there is an app delivering homemade food’. At the beginning it was only an idea, but after we developed it, it became real.”
Yummy! provides a vital service in a country where only one in four women are employed, and their rights and opportunities are often curtailed by culture and by conflict. Fatima and Aziza want to do more than help connect cooks and customers — they want to be examples of change, and to provide opportunities for women and girls.
“Surrounding girls with fear and overly protecting them as they grow up is reflecting badly on their lives. They don’t get much choice when it comes to decision-making or handling problems outside of the house, which is a barrier preventing them from reaching or using their full potential,” Fatima says.
The food delivery service started in Sebha, in the south west of Libya, but it has since expanded north to Benghazi and Tripoli. It’s benefited from a three-year, European Union-funded partnership launched by UNDP Libya and Tatweer Research, which supports local entrepreneurs and boosts security and economic recovery by creating jobs.
Tatweer Entrepreneurship Campus, TEC, is a co-working space where young Libyans can develop their business plans, get training, mentoring, office space, and financial support. The TEC team is also incorporating entrepreneurship education into university curriculum, and working with local governments to reform business regulations to create sustainable jobs outside of the public sector.