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Kuwait's Yumz Is On A Mission To Help Children Eat Healthier The Kuwaiti startup specializes in healthy food meal plans to kids, with customers ranging from kids ages 2-16 years old, active young athletes, kids who are suffering from health issues, and more.

By Pamella de Leon Edited by Aby Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Sarah Alqabandi, CEO and founder, Yumz

This article is part of a series on pioneering entrepreneurs in Kuwait that Entrepreneur Middle East has built in collaboration with Kuwait Finance House. Kuwait Finance House is considered a pioneer in Islamic finance or Sharia'a compliant banking, with it being the first Islamic bank established in 1977 in the State of Kuwait, and is today one of the foremost Islamic financial institutions in the world.

Founded in 2019 by Sarah Alqabandi, Yumz was born with the idea to educate children at a young age that having a healthy lifestyle is essential to a better daily life. In addition, they want to showcase that eating nutritious food can be enjoyable and fun. Noticing the high obesity rate in Kuwait and across the region, Alqabandi studied the market and saw that though many companies cater to offer dietary needs to lose weight, none were focused on the needs of children.

The Kuwaiti startup specializes in healthy food meal plans to kids, with customers ranging from kids ages 2-16 years old, active young athletes, kids who are suffering from health issues, meal boxes catered for 1 year old's (kids who are starting to eat solid food), as well as adults who don't have the time to prep meals for their young children. Yumz's services include monthly subscriptions and B2B customers, such as schools and nurseries. They have ventured to adding party boxes, catering services and amidst the outbreak of the pandemic, family subscriptions too.

To get ahead of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the team decided to redefine their business model and revise operational costs. "We thought our concept was innovative enough, but we were keen that we can do even better," says Alqabandi. "It was a feeling of now or never, and to actually start taking higher risks. Since the pandemic is a health concern, we were ready to recover and expand."

Source: Yumz

The team decided to heavily promote the importance of incorporating a healthy lifestyle, "Our aim [is] to educate [our] audience, in regard to ingredients, change of behavioral patterns and shine knowledge on several topics," Alqabandi explains. The startup offered fun activities for parents and children to participate and create a fun experience at an affordable rate. In doing so, Yumz was also selected to be an official meal provider for Kuwait's Ministry of Health to cater to the medical team and facilities.

As for future plans, the team plans to provide catering services, target social clubs and nurseries to acquire Yumz as their providers. Besides that, the Kuwaiti startup is looking forward to venturing to neighboring GCC countries soon too!

Source: Yumz

Sarah Alqabandi, CEO and founder, Yumz

Can you share your top tips for fellow entrepreneurs on tactics to survive the impact of the COVID-19 crisis?

One of our strategies was to focus on social media outlets to promote. We created a wonderful bond between us and the community through giving healthy, and even exercise tips. Virtual communication is important these days for any business. Transparency is key, as well people want to know what is going on behind the scenes in our kitchen to reassure and accommodate them everything is done in a safely manner. We became extra transparent with our clients to gain their trust, as honesty gains trust- especially during these sensitive times.

Changing strategies in order to adjust to the situation is a must. For example, we used to focus only on children, but with the crisis, we saw an opportunity where we can provide meals for the whole family, instead due to the fear of the outside world. Flexibility and adaptability boost a business as it broadens the horizon to innovate new solutions. We would collaborate with people within the industry where we obtained mutual transactions that includes cross selling and marketing.

What are some of the opportunities that you see available in the Kuwaiti market today and what would be your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?

The opportunities that we can see is that people are becoming more health conscious and they actually think twice before they purchase food items. The Kuwaiti market is careful nowadays on where they obtain their food sources from. Today, we can see more and more people eating well and conducting physical activities to reduce health risks. The best advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to build a business with your passion and to keep learning as education never stops at a certain age.

Related: Maryam Aleisa's Refood Is On A Mission To Reduce Food Waste In Kuwait

Pamella de Leon

Startup Section Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Pamella de Leon is the Startup Section Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East. She is keen on the MENA region’s entrepreneurship potential, with a specific interest to support enterprises and individuals creating an impact.

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