مقابلة مع الفائزين في منحة #GirlsGoingGlobal Inspire: تمارا وريم البغدادي من الأردن

Interview With the Winners of #GirlsGoingGlobal Inspire Scholarship: Tamara and Reem Al Baghdadi From Jordan

By Rim ElChami

The inspiring sisters Tamara and Reem Albadghdadi are the co-founders of RimaraPak; a packaging and plastic factory located in Amman, Jordan, and the winners of the #GirlsGoingGlobal international competition.

Tamara is a proud Jordanian and loving daughter, wife, and mother of two boys. She holds ‎a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Translation, and has been published as a ‎freelance writer in several major newspapers including Huffington Post and Al Jazirah newspaper. ‎She is currently studying for a Masters degree in Leadership Management while simultaneously running RimaraPak.

 

Dr. Reem Albaghdadi is a leading business owner, mother and a part of numerous woman empowering local organizations.

Her PhD certificate in English Language Methodology allowed her to expand her proficiency and knowledge through teaching in Jordanian Universities, attending multiple local and international conferences and publishing research papers. As president of the Jordan Women Industrial Community, she focused on the aim of supporting and promoting working women within the industrial sector in Jordan, believing in their capabilities to achieve results of the highest standards and climb up the ladder of success.

In this interview with Al Bawaba, Tamara reveals to us RimaraPak's journey, and their recipe of success that made them win the first prize of the international competition #GirlsGoingGlobal.

1. Tell us more about RimaraPak. What is the company all about?

RimaraPak is a packaging and plastic factory established in 2005 in Amman. It focuses on the development of food-graded, recyclable and hygienic products. We've built RimaraPak from the ground up; starting with timely investments from our own previous successes which lead to expansions in the machinery lines, product diversification or strategy enhancements.

2. What inspired you to create RimaraPak?

I believe that our inspiration has always been our father. Being a bold entrepreneur himself, my father taught us that the main reason preventing people from pursuing their dreams is the fear of failure. And as a result, we grew up believing that we need to face all of our fears head on in order to achieve our goals in life.

As our role model, he raised in us the consciousness and maturity of being productive citizens who participate in nourishing the country’s economy, and give back to the community. Keeping all his lessons in mind, we decided that the best demonstration of his valuable philosophy is to start our own factory that employs hard-working local women, along with engaging with numerous local organizations aimed at women’s economic empowerment.

3. What were some of the challenges you faced while developing RimaraPak?

One of the main challenges that we have faced is accessing financial resources. In addition, adhering to family commitments while trying to build a support network to guide us was another challenge we had to overcome. Not forgetting to mention the absence of functional incentives, such as, maternity leave, healthcare, retirement, and job security. I believe that these are considered to be the most influential factors affecting the overall entrepreneurial activity in Jordan.

4. Tell us more about #GirlsGoingGlobal international competition. How did you hear about it, and how was the preparation process?

#GirlsGoingGlobal international competition was launched on International Women’s Day earlier this year to encourage and support more women to expand their businesses internationally. It's a scholarship for the International Business Accelerator (IBA) dedicated to women entrepreneurs who have a vision for the impact that they want to create, and would benefit from access to the best thinking in international business strategy, and the support of a community of visionary, globally-minded entrepreneurs.

It provides a pathway into fast-growing international markets for resilient working women across the world.

We were among entrepreneurs who participated from countries like Australia, the United States, China, Palestine and Jordan to compete for the accolade; all aiming to seize the 12-month scholarship at the IBA and fast-track our international success.

#GirlsGoingGlobal international competition was launched on International Women’s Day earlier this year to encourage and support more women to expand their businesses internationally. It's a scholarship for the International Business Accelerator (IBA) dedicated to women entrepreneurs who have a vision for the impact that they want to create, and would benefit from access to the best thinking in international business strategy, and the support of a community of visionary, globally-minded entrepreneurs.

It provides a pathway into fast-growing international markets for resilient working women across the world. We were among entrepreneurs who participated from countries like Australia, the United States, China, Palestine and Jordan to compete for the accolade; all aiming to seize the 12-month scholarship at the IBA and fast-track our international success.

Since having a global impact and expanding our business is part of our vision, we considered participating in #GirlsGoingGlobal competition in order to benefit from the support of their global minded entrepreneurs.
I heard about it through social media via a Facebook private group called "Women in Business". One of the group members posted the competition link, and I immediately saw an opportunity, discussed with my partner, and decided to seize it.

The application process lasted for months. All applicants were screened through thorough evaluation of their paperwork, phone and video calls. Finally, the judges selected us as winners for the Inspire Scholarship to the International Business Accelerator.

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5. Did you expect to win the first prize?

Honestly, yes I did. I felt it in my bones. I strongly believe in the law of cosmic attraction. I've always believed that if you want something so bad and believe that you can get it, eventually you'll get it.

6. What is your recipe for building a winning start-up?

I believe it is our main competitive advantage which is providing high levels of service through superior product quality, and performance.

In addition, I’d say following my favorite moto in life: “Do what you love, and love what you do”. Because by doing so, all the challenges that you might face will do nothing but motivate you to pursue your journey.
Last but not least, work hard and celebrate your successes, even the little ones.

 

7. What do you think differentiates RimaraPak from its competitors?

In addition to what I’ve mentioned in my previous answer, we aim at building personal bonds with our loyal customers by continuously communicating with them, and listening to their constructive feedback, and improve on our products and services based on it.

We make sure that our customers experience a pleasant journey with us by ensuring the high quality and affordability of our products. Not forgetting to mention that we make sure that all orders are delivered on time and that all unpredictable issues that might arise are resolved swiftly and efficiently.

8. How do you think winning #GirlsGoingGlobal will help your business grow?

I am certain that it would help RimaraPak expand into international markets through exports. Jordan had signed numerous international trade agreements to facilitate greater exports, and I can see the opportunity for RimaraPak to expand its reach throughout the Arab region and beyond.

9. Since everyone is trying to become more environmentally friendly, what is your view about the future of this industry, and how are you planning to cope with these consumer behavioral changes?

Believing that we owe it to mother earth, it's been our dream since day one to be the first factory that introduces biodegradable disposables in Jordan.

I believe that winning #GirlsGoingGlobal shall not only help us in exporting our products, but in learning from mentors and experts who can guide us in making our dream into reality as well.

10. Where do you see Rimara Pak five years from now?

In the early stages of establishing RimaraPak, we knew that we wanted to empower other women in Jordan and so we integrated this philosophy into our business model from the get-go. We currently employ 20 local women in our factory, and are active in supporting women’s economic empowerment through numerous initiatives in our local community. In keeping up with this commitment, we aim at expanding RimaraPak internationally and to become one of the Middle East’s leading companies in our industry.

We’d love to hire more aspiring women, support Jordanian women and have a greater impact on our local community. Hopefully by joining the International Business Accelerator in June, this would help us to achieve our global vision that we have set for ourselves.

11. Finally, what is your advice for aspiring women entrepreneurs?

I ask them not to blame cultural and traditional beliefs for the lack of female engagement in the work force. This must be stopped. Women need to break down barriers and be proactive. Opportunities aren’t going to be handed to us on a silver plate; we need to grab the bull by its horns!

We must also encourage other fellow entrepreneurs to work hand in hand with the government in order to create better working environments for women, and create opportunities that allow them to achieve their goals.