26-Mar-2014 02:23 PM

"It is never too soon to start your career or business. You need to think out about what you want to do in the future once you are through your second year of college and not later. Find your passion and work towards...

Born in Alexandria, Egypt and studied business administration in the American University in Cairo and graduated with highest honors. At the age of 20 I took my first job as a public relations officer in an economic magazine and then moved to hold the post of the office manager of the CEO of AT&T Egypt.  Then I applied to the UNESCO Cairo Office and held a permanent post at the UN.  All through this my entrepreneurial instincts were pushing me towards establishing my own company which I finally did in 1990.  I established a manufacturing company for baby’s clothes.  I designed, manufactured and distributed my own line of clothes under the name of Baby Boom.  I started with 3 machines and ended up after 3 years with 50 machines and 80 employees and a distribution chain of 200 shops.   I ran my own shop for 8 years in Grand Mall Maadi and it was a pioneer in the way it displayed and serviced its clients.  Next to my baby clothes line, I added no less than 80 items from around 40 suppliers.  Until in the end of 2000 I sold my business and moved on to open with my husband another company in the field of recycling of printer cartridges.  We wanted to raise the awareness of our society environmentally and to make money on the way.  We managed to make around 250 national and multi national organizations more aware that by saving their empty printer cartridges and recycling them with us and getting a cartridge that gives them superb printing quality, they are not only saving the environment from toxic wastes but they are also saving more than 40% of their printing budgets.  We also moved on during the past couple of years to expand our company by adding 3 or 4 departments namely hardware maintenance, hardware and computer accessories trading and getting an agency or two on the way.  Our company today is the number one distributor of compatible printer cartridges in Egypt with over 200 companies as our prime clients.


During my 26 years of experience of Entrepreneurship I trained personally each and every employee (around 200) I had whether they are workers or administrative staff and until today I hear their success stories in life…


I am a certified trained facilitator and currently am facilitating an online program for university students.


I also consult start up business ventures and help young entrepreneurs as I am certified by a course taken with the Rady School of Management in San Diego in 2004 in Entrepreneurship.


Since I founded AWTAD (NGO) in 2008 and I have worked diligently to create programs that will ensure self employment, sustainability and create the right eco system for the development of youth and women.  I have personally trained women on personal development and professional development through our GLOW program.  Through our program Anamel Masriya I worked with artisans and their skills development and linkages to markets and designers.  As for entrepreneurs whether start ups or growth I designed and helped to train teams and to create supply chains that ensure sustainability. We also work with women in Syndicates and unions and help to train them on organizing themselves and in building their capacities. Since 2008 until today AWTAD has outreached to at least 4000 participants and helped make things happen for them and my belief in women and youth have led me to be part of all the details of the journey.

 Interview with Mrs Shereen Alam

What motivated you to pursue your career in technology?

The idea of recycling printer cartridges and selling the latest technology of virtual computers came by because first it was a  new idea to bring to the Egyptian market at the time and second because it was a great opportunity to work on conserving natural resources whether in cartridges or in power when using those virtual machines.  The biggest motivation was a belief that our market was ready for new ideas and my belief that we can make it work.

What were some of the challenges you overcame along the way on your career path?

1.  How to create market demand and not to respond to market needs
2.  How to establish your own way of selling and dealing with buyers
3.  Local rules and regulations that are not known by entrepreneurs and yet can affect your performance
4.  Growing your business and its pains
5.  Exit scenarios

What tips would you give any young woman developing her career? Resources, role models, etc.

1.  Have the passion for what you will start to work in
2.  Believe in your personal capabilities that will make it happen
3.  Gather as much ideas and knowledge as you can about your field of work and keep yourself updated
4.  Find yourself a group of field consultants or people you can reach out to when you need help
5.  There is so much resources now free online that you need to find them and use them to grow your skills and capabilities
6.  Networking and being part of your field of work networks will always keep you updated and linked to the needed resources
7.  Do not be afraid to ask someone when you do not know