“I have always been independent but the big challenge was making the step to becoming an entrepreneur. If you like independence, entrepreneurship is a great goal to work towards”.
Jamal Habboub was 18 years old when he moved to Belgium from Palestine in 2012. He couldn’t finish his education and had to move to Belgium to avoid the conflict. He faced many problems, especially bureaucratic, as a result.
He had never worked or even considered working as an entrepreneur in Palestine, he always thought that he would become a doctor or a dentist. He started working and in the meantime got his degree in Business Administration. He says “after my studies I realised that I need to work more “hands-on”, so then the idea of a transportation business came to mind.”
He completed the free Business Management course through YBI's member organisation in Belgium, microStart. This course involves developing entrepreneurial thinking and skills, learning how to create a business plan and feasibility study, as well as understanding how to establish a company through legal aspects, rent procedures and insurance, and the social status of self-employed people including government support, subsidies and credits. The course meant that he could start and test the business idea in a safe environment. After completing and passing the exam with flying colours and gaining many valuable entrepreneurship skills, Jamal decided to start his transportation company.
microStart finances, through small loans, people who want to start a small business or develop a business they have already created. In addition, microStart supports its customers free of charge by giving them access to a whole range of free services and advice (coaching and training) mainly provided by experienced volunteers.
He started the business in March 2018 and works with big companies like DHL and Coolblue to pick up packages and drive them to their delivery address. Striking the deals with DHL and Coolblue was a huge achievement for Jamal. Before being supported by microStart, finding money lending opportunities was not easy. Jamal was given a loan to create the company and cover expenses such as the establishment costs and company transportation.
His business is growing by the day as he has acquired more customers in the transport sector from the recommendations of his existing customers. Knowing that satisfied customers bring new customers has been really important in building his client base. He currently has some regular customers, some of whom he delivers furniture to and has even acquired some new customers through website advertising. He has around 100 customers in total. Now 25 years old, Jamal hopes to continue progressing his business over the next few years and maybe find other partners. In the future, he aims to have access to more cars and have other drivers working for him.
One piece of advice he has for other young entrepreneurs is:
“Don’t stop after one “no”, always continue looking for other alternatives”.
microStart is part of the Youth Business Europe programme, a regional initiative supported by the Citi Foundation to help young entrepreneurs to start or grow a business.