Laila Sedky, the founder of the famous NOLA Cupcakes, recently teamed up with renowned life coach, Nevine El Gendy, to start Bold, a business focused on coaching female entrepreneurs in Egypt. eniGma’s Tanya Jaff sat with the two partners to hear all about their new and exciting venture.
Since her launch of NOLA Cupcakes 10 years ago, Laila Sedky has seen her business achieve phenomenal success. Starting with one store in Zamalek, today NOLA has 25 stores all over Egypt and its flavorful gourmet cupcakes are sought out by dedicated NOLA fans of all ages. While Sedky continues to oversee her successful business, she has recently decided to pursue a different passion namely, to use her own experience to help female entrepreneurs become strong businesswomen, much like herself. With that goal in mind, she teamed up with Nevine El Gendy, a distinguished life coach with an established coaching practice, NiVo for Life, to found Bold, a new business focused on coaching female entrepreneurs.
While their backgrounds are very different, each of the cofounders of Bold, brings her own relevant experience to the task at hand. El Gendy, found her life coach calling later in life, even though she had always been told that her natural abilities made her very suited to pursue this profession. It was not until she moved to Canada in 2011 that her interest in coaching was seriously awakened, when she read an article about a school established by bestselling author and famous life coach, Dr. Martha Beck, who counted Oprah Winfrey as one of her clients. El Gendy decided to enroll in her school, and upon graduation began her newly found life coaching career. She went on to establish her successful practice, offering one-to-one coaching sessions, workshops and retreats in a variety of places around the world. While she operates mainly in the Middle East, with clients all over the Arab region, she also has clients in Canada and Europe.
The two partners first came together over a year ago when Sedky was looking for a life coach and a friend recommended El Gendy to her. A few months later, she joined one of El Gendy’s retreats in Spain, at the end of which she felt great and incredibly empowered. This led her to propose the idea of partnering in a coaching business to help female entrepreneurs. That’s how Bold got started.
Sedky and El Gendy were confident that with each of their strengths they could help empower women in small and medium enterprises (SMEs). “We decided to do it together because success in business is not only about having a good business plan. It’s about having the correct mindset. You will always face obstacles, but you need to be solution oriented. You need to have the right mindset to be able to overcome these obstacles,” says Sedky. Bold will be a mentoring program assisting women entrepreneurs in building their businesses and elevating their performance, thus providing them with a higher chance of success.
“We believe that SMEs form the backbone of the Egyptian economy and we want to empower women SMEs to succeed. If we can push them forward and give them the right resources and the right mindset, not just the right plan, then they will have a higher chance of success,” Sedky exclaims. El Gendy adds, “We get amazing results when we work with clients on their mindsets as well as on their businesses. I personally believe that we cannot separate the two. You are a mind, a body and a soul, and your business is exactly the same.”
Bold focuses mainly on female entrepreneurs between the ages of 25 to 40, but there are no strict age restrictions, especially given that its founders each started their businesses at very different ages. Sedky began NOLA Cupcakes with her brother at 20 years of age while El Gendy began her practice in her late forties. Sedky and El Gendy note that there is no such thing as a perfect candidate for building a thriving business. “However, what is crucial is to have the passion and the serious commitment to growing your idea and making it a reality,” says Sedky.
“We will be working with new start-ups, people who want to start their businesses and need guidance, and also people who have a current business and can’t seem to progress to the next stage,” says Sedky, who notes that, amongst other factors, it is critical to know your market, and to study your competitors, in order to properly target your own goals. According to her, monetisation is another important factor that may not be sufficiently apparent to female entrepreneurs trying to succeed financially.
Both El Gendy and Sedky believe in the art of the struggle and that it is inevitable that entrepreneurs will experience challenges; including overcoming the myths that people are told from childhood or the beliefs that are engraved in them from cultural norms. “Success is a moving target and excelling in your work is always a struggle. That’s why it’s essential to have the right guidance and coaching to help define your unique vision to success,” says Sedky. “I started to realise that it’s not about the inexperience of youth; it’s about the fact that you’re a woman. Women face a lot of obstacles. It’s different abroad,” she adds.
“In order to help our clients I am available to meet with them in our office in Cairo; at the same time, we have online coaching with my partner, Nevine El Gendy. These things go hand in hand. There is both a physical and online element to our coaching, which allows our businesswomen to seek guidance at any time,” says Sedky. Bold has developed its own website to allow entrepreneurs to find them with a click of a button. The online platform not only connects them with clients but also allows them to sustain a network of experts on a global level. This platform has helped them approach a wide spectrum of businesses with specialised expertise, such as in social media and marketing, to collaborate with them when needed to help their clients.
Sedky and El Gendy insist that Bold’s overarching mission is much broader than just coaching. It’s more about empowerment. “Our goal is to empower entrepreneurs, particularly women, who have all the ingredients for success but need a boost to their self-confidence. We help them identify their business goals and strategies,” says Sedky. The formal launch of Bold took place on January 19th and 20th, and was accompanied by the announcement of their partnership with the National Council of Women (NCW), which is expected to broaden their reach nationally. The launch was a grand success and has made for a very strong start to a hopeful future for bold entrepreneurs.
For more information on Bold and their services, visit www.boldentrepreneurs.com