Manal Mustafa Hassan Ali, Sudan The Sweet Taste of Success

Manal Mustafa Hassan Ali is a housewife and mother of five  children. Although she had a BSc in accounting from Sudan University for Sciences and Technology, Manal’s first love was making sweets and cookies. After marriage, she started making sweets and cookies for friends and family to keep her busy while looking for a job.

Support from some friends and family and an abundance of positive responses to her sweets and cookies made her decide to take the entrepreneurial leap and follow her heart to the world of sweets and pastries. Her humble business beginnings in her kitchen built her reputation for excellence and unique taste. She joint Entrepreneurship Development and Investment Promotion Program (EDIP) which was conducted in Khartoum in November 2005.  The program helped her to put together a  professional business plan and this was a stepping stone for her to benefit from the UNIDO Technology Tie-up program. She travelled to China, India and Bahrain to see how the sweets and biscuit/cookie business was run and returned with a much wider vision for her business.

Upon her return, Manal expanded her original business and today produces a wide variety of delectable pastries, daily fresh pizza, cakes, tarts and other delicacies. Since her focus has always been the best quality and the use of the highest quality of raw ingredients with no added preservatives and at the best possible price, she has a well-deserved reputation and a fine brand name in Khartoum city. From cooking up batches of sweets and cookies in her kitchen with her maid’s help, Manal today employs 32 women workers, has a fully equipped production system, two vans for transporting her products and cope with demand.

“When I started, my biggest challenge was marketing my products and funding my business. To get some money to fund my business I received a sum of US$ 1000 as  seed capital - a gift from my husband. Since I do not like the idea of borrowing money from financial institutions, I worked within a tight budget. As for marketing, I was not very confident when I first started my business but with the help of EDIP  that I attended, I was able to overcome the fear of marketing my products.” Manal says.

Today her business capital is US$ 1 million and her annual net income equals US$ 120,000.

This successful businesswoman says, “Attending EDIP and ask for business advice from UNIDO experts. Being positive, believing in oneself and being happy is very important to function as an individual and a women entrepreneur.”