April 22, 2020

Company supporting rural women during COVID-19

Roudaina and employees before COVID-19 © 2019, SPARK

Last year, Roudaina Bou Shahine, 25-years, won first place in a business plan competition by SPARK and the Dutch Postcode Loterij, receiving $10,000 in startup capital.

Her company, Reef Catering, provides catering services to companies and events in Lebanon. The home cooked platters are made and served by women from rural areas and other underprivileged communities, and the disposable crockery and cutlery used is all biodegradable or recyclable .

However, with the introduction of the strict lockdown, Reef’s catering services were no longer needed. “It’s been a very tough time for us because all of our revenue depends on catering events, which are not happening now”. 

Yet, resilience is key to success. Shahine began exploring plans to prepare ready-to-cook food boxes that can be sold online with strict health measures. In the meantime, she is delivering online training in food safety to boost the skills of the women she works with. “Being a social entrepreneur requires me to find new strategies and approaches to make it through this pandemic and to keep empowering women when they most need it”.