How I got to the top Manufacturing Ziad Bushnaq and Faisal Al Majali, Delektia founders July 8, 2022 Supplied A taste of home: Ziad Bushnaq and Faisal Al Majali of Delektia, producer of healthy ready meals What does your company do? We are a UAE-based food product development company that produces frozen, fully-cooked, and ready-to-heat-and-eat meals that are healthy and free of preservatives. We like to think our product line gives consumers a taste of home. How I got to the top: Erika Blazeviciute Doyle, Drink DryHow I got to the top: Aidan Christofferson, co-founder, FlashyHow I got to the top: Mona Jaber, founder of Maison Tini and Jayleen Finds What inspired you to develop your idea? We live in a fast-paced world where working people are hard-pressed for time and constrained by professional commitments.In most young, growing families, both partners are usually working. This makes it harder for them to prepare nutritious and healthy meals on a regular basis. A large segment of the population relies on unhealthy takeaways because they are not aware that better, healthier, and quicker alternatives are now available. We recognised this problem and started Delektia to provide a solution to busy families and executives who want quick but wholesome food. The other reason was our eternal love for good food. Delektia is also a nod to a time when our mothers and grandmothers always had their freezers stocked with foods that were nourishing and delicious. How have your priorities changed from when you first started? We have evolved considerably since our inception and experienced immense success in the home-cooked meal category. However, our priority has remained the same; to have Delektia products in every home. Our strategy is to build market by market. We are capturing new markets throughout the Middle East. We recently entered Jordan and Kuwait and have plans in place for the rest of the GCC and the MENA region. What do you look for when hiring talent? We believe that technical qualifications for a certain job are not enough. For a startup, it’s important to have self-driven, flexible, and positive people who are able to put on various hats if needs be. An employee who takes ownership of their job can go a long way in a startup like ours. Above all, we look for people who are very passionate about what they do. What counts more: luck or hard work? Well, it’s a combination of both.In today’s fast-evolving business milieu, working hard and smart increases your chances of being lucky. At the same time, it’s also important to have a vision and a dream. A dream can become a reality when you break it down into small, achievable steps. What was your biggest ‘lucky’ moment? We come from finance backgrounds. At one point in our lives, before we even met each other, we decided to get into the food and beverage industry. Then, as luck would have it, we got together to start Delektia. Our next lucky moment came when our angel investors signed the Delektia contract – which started this incredible journey. What is the one thing that you wish you’d done differently? We wish we would have started the project earlier. But then again, life teaches you a lot of things and there is a right time for everything. If you could rule the world for a day, what three things would you change? If we could have a rare opportunity to rule the world, we would make food technology and sustainability a part of school curriculum. Younger generations need to know how their choices today impact the world tomorrow. Our focus needs to shift from convenience only to include environment and sustainability. We truly believe that it is something that should be taught in schools because it can make all the difference. Also, because we need to look for new and better solutions to problems. What factors do entrepreneurs misjudge about the Gulf market? In our experience, we have observed that a lot of people misjudge the Gulf to be a developing market. But the truth is that it has become far more mature in recent years. In a developing market, the rates of return are much higher, and so is the risk. The Gulf is more regulated in comparison which has had a positive overall impact on ease of doing business within the region and has also brought new opportunities. Dream mentors? Two visionary business leaders Steve Jobs and Warren Buffet are our ultimate sources of inspiration. Jobs symbolises passion and the ability to fight for what matters – something that we believe is so very important to succeeding in business. On the other hand, Buffet symbolises growing slow and creating a solid base which is yet another key ingredient for a strong venture. We have taken both of these elements and put them together to create Delektia.