This story is provided by MIT Enterprise Forum - Pan-Arab Region.
Qatari “RAW ME” has been selected as one of the semi-finalist teams for this year’s MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab Region Start-Up Competition for the Start-up Track
Raw ME is the first eco-friendly healthy fast food company in Qatar focusing on raw nutrition, offering tailor made salads, fresh juices, and guilt-free desserts that can be enjoyed in restaurants, taken out, or delivered directly to customers. We interviewed the founder Layla Al Dorani to find out more about her project and where the idea to start Raw ME was inspired from.
“I worked with young children as a coach in Qatar and saw a large deficiency in their education in nutrition, their concept of where their food comes from and how it is made. One afternoon I was asked a simple question to a room of 15 young kids, “who had a piece of fruit today, like an apple or strawberry?Only 3 raised their hands. It sadden me, the thought that they could go for days without eating a piece of vegetable or fruit and I know that is a result of culture and the lack of attention parents give to their kids when it comes to their diet".
At the moment, 75% of the Qatari population is obese, and 1 out of 5 are diabetic. This similar crisis can also be found in the rest of the Middle East region, for example, obesity leads to 200,000 deaths in Saudi each year; thus the need to focus on preventive care. "Changing your diet will help you feel better on a daily basis, physically & mentally, but most importantly we need to be educating our children on how to eat healthy and live longer. All of these observations got me thinking and inspired me to start Raw ME.” says Layla.
More than Just a fastfood restaurant
Launched in 2012 by Layla Al-Dorani, Raw ME is the first 100% raw, vegan, eco-friendly, ‘fast health food’ company in Qatar that was established as a result of the growing need for a healthier lifestyle amongst residents in the GCC area and the Middle East. Raw ME’s vision is to make healthy consumption accessible and desirable to as many people as possible. This wouldn't have been possible without the great added value of Gabe Glennon, who joined RAW ME 6 months ago as a General Manager, in helping developing important eco-friendly processes and logistics for Raw ME's operations.
“Life is complicated, let’s not complicate our food. Back to basics is our company’s goal. We deliver simple, clean, fresh products that are healthy for customers and we want them to feel good & guilt-free throughout their eating experience.” Adds Layla.
The company currently offers a nutritional cleanse with different levels of intensity depending on one’s dietary habits and history but plans to expand its product line once it has fully launched.
Committed to creating a better ecosystem, Raw ME extends to the community through participating in public events and sharing informative nutrition education. Raw ME cares about preserving the environment & carbon footprint. It uses ecofriendly measures from utilizing recyclable packaging to composting waste and minimizes carbon footprint by sourcing as locally as possible and not using any heat or animal products.
Advice for Entrepreneurs
“My advice for entrepreneurs is that it takes more than just a good idea to become an entrepreneur, it takes heart and courage.” advises Layla.
Raw ME will attend a two day workshop in Qatar in April 25 along with 49 other teams, where they will receive coaching, training and network with other entrepreneurs from the Arab region and meet the region’s major players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Find out more about RAW-ME by:
Visiting their Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/RawMiddleEast
Watching their 1 minute pitch: here
Following them on Twitter: @Raw_ME_Qatar
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