During her years of studying mechanical engineering in college, Sabine el Kahi often felt frustrated by not being able to implement the theoretical knowledge she was learning in practical ways. Although the university owned the equipment and machinery that could help students realize their projects, safety issues frequently prevented them from using the equipment and a professional trainer would have to demonstrate their use. When Sabine discovered a complete modular series of small and safe machinery at a fair in Germany that students could use to get hands on experience with actual machines, she was elated and immediately applied to represent the manufacturer in the Middle East. This was the first link in the chain that finally led to where she is today.
The second link was formed upon her college graduation with a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and Computer Vision from the American University of Beirut. Sabine initially joined the family business, which supplies spare parts for heavy machinery. Always on the lookout for new products and services in the field of engineering, she decided to purchase a 3-D printer to help university students and professionals create prototypes. However, without experience in business and sales, she was unable to successfully market her services. That is, until she enrolled in AMIDEAST Entrepreneur Institute’s Growing a Business and Sales Team Development workshops to gain the practical skills she lacked.
Armed with the business and sales skills she gained from the AMIDEAST workshops, as well as the machinery needed, Sabine went on to found a new business called Kids Genius, thereby realizing her childhood dream of becoming a teacher. She guides youth aged 7 – 18 to implement theoretical knowledge through hands-on technical and vocational projects, using small and safe machines.
Sabine established Kids Genius within the premises of the family business, located in an industrial area in Nahr el Mott, just outside Beirut, in order to give the youth she works with an overall industrial experience. In addition to this training center, and after her team developed a curriculum and trained teachers to deliver training workshops, Kids Genius established labs in four other locations— two at the two campuses of International College (IC) and the other two at the two campuses of the Wellspring School. Out of its commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR), Kids Genius also installed a lab at the NGO Ruwwad El Tanmiya, in the troubled Jabal Mohsen neighborhood of Tripoli, and provided free training to the 12 college students that run the NGO’s regional child development activities.
Sabine’s vision doesn’t stop there. She is currently engaged in negotiations with a number of additional schools and universities that have expressed an interest in installing labs on their premises and thereby helping their students apply the theoretical knowledge they are learning. She also plans to open additional Kids Genius workspaces in Lebanon and to franchise the business throughout the MENA region.
Sabine particularly credits the Sales Team Development workshop she attended at AMIDEAST with completely changing her approach to sales, enabling her to realize a remarkable turnaround in the results of her sales efforts.
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