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Entrepreneur Nada Rahimi has proven herself to be one of the brightest business minds in the kingdom after winning a prestigious national accolade and being chosen to represent Bahrain on the world stage.
The 26-year-old, a full-time student at Bahrain Polytechnic majoring in Management, is the founder of Prep-a-Plate, a business designed to streamline the food preparation process in order to prevent excess shopping and food consumption.
Nada, who lives in Hamad Town, said: “I used to have trouble managing my life as a student, a part-time employee and being a wife taking care of my family. I had so little time to think about myself and it all led me to gain lots of weight in so little time, and I faced serious health issues as a result.
“That is when I decided to go by a system where I’d pre-prepare all of my meal ingredients, freeze them and defrost them when I needed to cook, and even left my family members an easy ‘how-to’ description to follow on preparing any meal that included the ready ingredients.
“A while later, I started my studies in Bahrain Polytechnic and used this idea as a subject project.”
She then developed the concept and came up with the Prep-a-Plate idea with encouragement from her tutor, Evelyn O’Donoghue.
Customers place orders for pre-prepared healthy meals through phone calls and text messaging, with an app in the pipeline for future project expansion. The food is delivered ready to be put straight in the oven, or the stove, or in the microwave.
For busy business people and students this saves time and prevents waste from buying too many ingredients and weight gain from overindulging and snacking. Nada has more than 70 customers, many of whom are regular followers.
Her crowning achievement was coming first in the Bahrain leg of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA), dubbed as the premier global competition for students who own and operate a business while attending college or university.
Nada competed against six other finalists and emerged victorious in front of a four-strong judging panel made up of Tamkeen’s Mohamed Ahamadi and Hassan Yaseem, Fareed Bader of Bader Group, and Esmahan Bokhowa, financial director of Bokhowa Group.
She will now fly to Toronto, Canada for the grand finals to be held on April 14-17, where she will compete against 55 other global participants.
Nada explained: “I was very honoured to win this competition, as the others had really bright ideas and promising businesses. I will be sure to use this success to strengthen my position in the market as the judges provided such important points of improvement on my business concept.
“To be honest, I am nervous about going to Toronto - competing with students from all around the world with so many successful businesses, and all having their own dreams is overwhelming.
“As for my own future, the next step will be increasing my customer base, adopting new marketing methods and launching the app. I have always dreamed of having my own business and to be my own manager, so I would love to see Prep-a-Plate grow to have several branches or a big centre able to service the Bahrain population, and then several other branches in nearby countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
“Of course, I have to overcome the most difficult obstacle for any budding entrepreneur … time management!
“I have great difficulty with this, what with studying, Prep-a-Plate, competitions, taking online courses to improve my business acumen, and family commitments. I try to devote a certain number of hours a day to each, and I’m so grateful for my family’s support when I can’t always give them full attention.”
Nada’s prowess has won her the acclaim of some of Bahrain’s best business minds. Judge Esmahan, managing director of Saar Mall, believes Nada has the ability to go all the way. She said: “Nada had a unique project that she presented extremely confidently. It is of a benefit to lots of working people in society, making their lives easier.
“We decided to choose her as the winner because it was clear she had lots of knowledge about her project, with confidence that her business plan would succeed, and she also demonstrated how much research she had carried out.”
Furthermore, the GSEA organiser and Nada’s mentor, Safa Sharif, is proud of his student’s accomplishments. He explained: “I had the chance to mentor Nada for 12 weeks during the Mashroo3i competition organised by Tamkeen, and it was a pleasure to get to know her.
“Prep-a-Plate has a very good cause and adds value in so many aspects. Not only that, but Nada has always been very committed, focused and willing to develop. She had the right attitude from Day One so I was not surprised to see her win.
“I wish her the best of luck for the Global Finals and I’ll be supporting her all the way.”