The entrepreneurial zeal combined with a transformative idea holds the potential to bring the desired change in any industry. Ideas that bridge the gap between traditional methods and modern technology can empower people to make a dent in the universe. Akin to such zeal and vision, Farah Emara co–founded FreshSource to streamline the fresh produce supply chain. As the CEO, Farah aims FreshSource to be the leading fresh food distributor in the MENA region, leveraging data and technology to optimize the fresh food value chain.
Farah is highly passionate about entrepreneurship and the value chain to eliminate unnecessary inefficiencies. Her remarkable efforts with strategic expertise are changing the norm of the agriculture niche, making her one of the most influential women entrepreneurs.
Let us unveil her journey.
The Fresh Start
Farah’s entrepreneurial drive began when she worked at Procter & Gamble while studying for her Master’s in Business Administration from the London School of Economics. Simultaneously, Omar, her would-be business partner, worked for Goldman Sachs in London after acquiring his degree in Computer Science & Business Degree from the University of Bath.
Farah and Omar had a keen interest in the agricultural sector, seeking new developments and innovation globally. After months of investigation and extensive research, they discovered that roughly 30% of Egyptian crops are wasted due to poor post-harvesting, storage, and transportation, jeopardizing its food security. Farah noted that these producers oversee most of Egypt’s agricultural production. However, the high number of intermediaries in the supply chain lacked transparency, losing approximately 80% of their potential income. Thus, FreshSource was born to handle the complete fresh food value chain such as transportation, storage, and packing in cold storage and packing facilities, providing producers with better consistent pricing and selling to the market at a reduced rate.
Mission: FreshSource aims to leverage technology to become the leading fresh food distributor in the MENA region by changing the way fresh goods are sourced, moved, and sold.
Vision: To create more sustainable fresh food systems through data & technology to transform the lives of producers, businesses, consumers and improve the planet.
Transforming Agricultural Value Chain
FreshSource is introducing innovative technology to the traditional industry, holding the potential to position Egypt as a global leader in agriculture technology. Farah asserts that several international organizations have acknowledged FreshSource as a regional success story. It is revolutionizing the agriculture value chain by offering unique solutions for integrating producers into the modern process, ensuring fair prices, and reducing food loss.
FreshSource works with producers to give a market-driven approach to demand planning while improving their revenue by 20%. In its pursuit of technological excellence, FreshSource uses data to forecast market prices and supply variations. It links these producers with businesses, providing convenience through last-mile delivery, transparent pricing, and data analytics and saving them 15% on costs. It achieved a food loss rate of 5%, compared to the national average of 45 percent, with its holistic cold chain and data insights.
The Possible Change
Farah mentions that using technology and data to strengthen the fresh food value chain will significantly impact the country’s economic development. She says, “By reducing food loss, you are reducing the cost of fresh food and enabling a segment of the population that could not previously afford it to have a healthier lifestyle. Also, regarding producers, this method increases their income and thus improves their quality of life.”
Farah believes that blockchain will have an immense impact on the value chain of food. It has already started happening and will only continue to transform the industry. Agriculture accounts for 40% of the global workforce and represents 6.4% of the entire world’s economic production. Getting food from farm to table is an extremely complicated process with many intermediaries. Farah notes that people are oblivious to what has been sprayed on their food or how it has been handled. Using blockchain to promote the traceability of food will have a transformative impact.
Farah advises budding women entrepreneurs aspiring to start their businesses to be aggressive. She says, “While it may be uncomfortable for some people to be assertive and it might not come naturally, unfortunately, it is seen as a sign of weakness by investors and other stakeholders. So if you want to get far, you must be determined and assertive.”
Farah expresses that an idea, no matter how unique or significant, is just an idea. Determination, perseverance, and transforming your setbacks into comebacks is what will build a truly successful enterprise. “We work hard to prepare our team and our company for exponential growth and always make data-driven decisions for our strategies. We are building a strong team with a solid foundation and processes in place that will enable us to transform the Egyptian agriculture industry,” Farah concludes.