From Childhood Crumbs to Sweet Success: Journey of Biscotti

Imagine a sweet treat that transports you back to a childhood filled with laughter and warmth. For Malak Albadri and her brother Taha, this sweet treat is more than just a memory – it’s the spark that ignited their entrepreneurial journey. Born from a simple yet innovative idea, Biscotti is a Libyan entrepreneurial venture that has blossomed into a successful family business, defying the odds and shattering the conventional norms of entrepreneurship. With a humble beginning in 2019, Biscotti’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance, creativity, and the unwavering support of family. Their story is a beacon of hope for Libyan youth and entrepreneurs worldwide, demonstrating that with determination and hard work, even the most ambitious dreams can become a reality.

Malak Albadri’s entrepreneurial dream began in her childhood, when her mother would spend hours in the kitchen, whipping up a batch of these crunchy, sweet treats for special occasions. Malak was mesmerized by the way the dough transformed into a golden-brown masterpiece, filling the air with the aroma of freshly baked goods. As she grew older, her passion for biscotti only intensified, and she began to experiment with new flavors and recipes. But little did she know that this childhood passion would one day become a successful business venture.

However, as they continued to grow, they soon faced a daunting reality: their profits were not enough to sustain the business and take it to the next level. “In 2021, we started evaluating our idea and took a step back, especially as the demand for our products began to increase,” Malak recalled. “We needed to rethink our pricing strategy because the profits we were making weren’t enough to develop a startup and take it beyond a home-based venture.”

Libya has traditionally relied on the public sector to create employment, and the country’s economy is almost entirely dependent on oil and gas exports, which account for approximately 95% of exports and government revenue. Young entrepreneurs who seek to forge a path beyond the current economic paradigm often find themselves struggling to gain knowledge and support. The prolonged conflict in the country has further impeded any chance for the private sector to thrive, making it even more challenging for entrepreneurs to access resources and networks. 

As they struggled to find a solution, Malak and Taha stumbled upon an advertisement for Innovation Garden, an incubator established under the Libya Start-up!, which is a nationwide project, funded by the European Union and implemented by SPARK and Super Novae. Libya Start-up! to support the emergence of a dynamic, innovative and sustainable startup ecosystem by enhancing business support structures and services dedicated to entrepreneurship and boosting the skills of young people.

This was a turning point for their business. After joining the program, they received intensive training and guidance from experienced mentors. They learned how to develop a marketing plan, expand their team, and create a sustainable business model. The months that followed were a whirlwind of activity. Malak and Taha worked tirelessly to refine their product, attending workshops and seminars, and networking with fellow entrepreneurs. They poured over financial reports, crunching numbers and strategizing their next move. They spent countless hours perfecting their recipes, sourcing high-quality ingredients, and crafting a unique brand identity. And slowly but surely, their hard work began to pay off.

The breakthrough came when they won a grant from Innovation Garden, which allowed them to scale up their operations and invest in new equipment and marketing campaigns. “The grant was a turning point for the project,” Malak exclaimed. “We were able to purchase new equipment, expand our team and hire new staff, and also develop a marketing plan for the current year.” Today, Biscotti is a household name in Libya, with a range of unique flavors and products that have captured the hearts of locals and tourists alike.

As Malak reflects on their journey, she is grateful for the support they received from Innovation Garden, and encourages entrepreneurs to take advantage of such initiatives from organizations supporting entrepreneurship in Libya. “For me, I wasn’t interested in initiatives from organizations supporting entrepreneurship in Libya and didn’t have any information about them. I was initially under the impression that they are not impactful, but after my experience, I discovered their importance.”

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