Be warned about making an attempt to work remotely from the Pret A Manger sandwich store on Baker Road. A great five-minute stroll from the campus of London Enterprise College, it’s nonetheless shut sufficient to attract a United Nations of graduate administration college students for espresso and distracting dialog. Throughout one latest go to, an American, noting that he was the son of a conflict correspondent, prompted a buyer at a neighbouring desk to affix in, declaring he was an Afghan.
It’s this melting pot, nonetheless extra apparent whenever you attain the LBS campus, that attracted Youssef Hanna. The Egyptian son of a building trade entrepreneur, Hanna is making an attempt to construct his personal enterprise to develop sustainable different meals manufacturing in his house nation.
Hanna hopes that Khepra, his early-stage biotech start-up, will at some point assist to make the meals provide chain within the Center East and Africa extra equitable and sustainable. Khepra, which is exploring using bugs in animal feed, was conceived shortly earlier than Hanna moved from Cairo to start his masters in administration diploma at LBS final 12 months. Hanna used his time on the course not solely to enhance his monetary expertise but additionally to develop a marketing strategy and lift all his pre-seed funding with the assistance of the LBS community.
The concept of making a social enterprise got here to him as a college undergraduate within the northern Dutch metropolis of Groningen. He grew to become a scholar help employee for Shelter Metropolis Groningen, a charity offering assist to individuals defending human rights in different international locations. Hanna mentored individuals from Egypt, Brazil and Nigeria. “I began excited about how companies might make an impression in these international locations,” he says.
Hanna’s father had began his building enterprise on the Pink Sea, specialising in manufacturing unit buildings. However life was not all the time simple for his household. “My father’s enterprise has managed to outlive two revolutions in Egypt. It was very intense,” he says. “The highs are nice however the lows are tough.”
Hanna attributes his ardour for sustainability to scuba diving journeys together with his father near the corporate’s base, the place a number of the world’s largest coral beds might be discovered.
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“It was very transferring since you might see the wonder but additionally how the ecosystem was being destroyed,” he says. “I might see how what we eat now could be contributing to the ecosystem being destroyed. If the fish die, the coral dies.”
He was additionally fascinated by the traditional historical past of his homeland, noting that respect for the land and the Nile river meant that there was sufficient good high quality meals for everyone, one thing that isn’t the case in trendy Egypt.
“Eighty per cent of individuals in Egypt can’t afford a nutritious food regimen and that’s not acceptable,” he says.
Khepra, named for the traditional Egyptian scarab beetle-faced god of renewal and regeneration, is an try to assist clear up this drawback by encouraging different meals sources. In the meantime, the khapra beetle is likely one of the most harmful pests of grain merchandise and seeds. However Hanna noticed a possibility within the rising market of other meals sources, akin to bugs that can be utilized in animal feed, so began investigating strategies of farming bugs. Such a transfer would require regulatory approval from the Egyptian authorities, which he doesn’t but have.
“I got here to LBS to discover ways to finance, handle and scale disruptive innovation,” he says, including that the entrepreneurial tradition of the college and the British capital, in addition to the networks this opened up have been an necessary promoting level of the masters programme.
“I solely needed to do that diploma in a spot that gave me actual expertise. There’s worth within the topics however it’s how you might be taught and the individuals who train you that’s actually necessary,” Hanna says.
He highlights courses on new enterprise improvement run by Rupert Merson, adjunct professor of technique and entrepreneurship, together with Saturday classes growing a marketing strategy, and the teachings on entrepreneurship in rising markets led by the award-winning instructor and writer John Mullins, affiliate professor of administration observe in advertising and entrepreneurship. Hanna additionally significantly praises the intensive Innovation for Affect course taught collectively by professor of promoting Rajesh Chandy and govt fellow of promoting Nick Hughes.
“For every week, we have been grappling with how we might have an effect with know-how and progressive enterprise fashions. Daily there was a visitor speaker for an hour, speaking about how they grew companies with tens of hundreds of individuals, and managing an IPO course of,” Hanna remembers.
“After the course, I bounced my concepts off of Nick and Rajesh and I had some nice suggestions from them.”
Hanna has raised $20,000 by means of grants and competitions at LBS to get Khepra off the bottom and plans a seed spherical for later within the 12 months. An internship as an analyst with a Dubai-based enterprise capital agency centered on the know-how trade has helped Hanna put together his pitching expertise, however he additionally benefited from having classmates with earlier expertise in that trade.
“I’ve learnt a lot from the individuals I met by means of LBS,” he says, including that the primary friendship he struck up at LBS was with somebody who had been a VC for 3 years earlier than returning to full-time examine.
“I knew coming to LBS, I might get a good-quality classroom training,” Hanna says. “What I didn’t anticipate was to return out of this with this stage of confidence that I can do it as an entrepreneur.”
2022 Founding father of Khepra
2021 Begins Masters in Administration programme at London Enterprise College
2021 Graduated with a BSc in Social Sciences from College School Groningen, Netherlands
2018-2020 Social mentor for Shelter Metropolis Groningen. Human rights help for individuals from Egypt, Brazil and Nigeria
2018 Gross sales and advertising intern at Leister Egypt in Cairo
2017-2018 Bartender for Bario Bars in London