With their preparations for the wedding, the dress, the apartment, etc. in the daytime, Ahmed El-Sherbny and Noha Nowia are just like any couple planning to get married. However, during evenings, they have been preparing for their marriage in a completely different ways.
They searched for an additional source of income to cover the expenses of their marriage, but failed to find another part-time job that started after 6 pm, and that could provide them with a sufficient income. And so they decided to create their own source of income, “By Bike”, a creative take on the traditional sweet potato cart.
By Bike is a bicycle with a large box at the front of it. Ahmed made the box himself, which has holes and spaces for a cooking pot to be placed on it to bake the sweet potato. The cart provides a creative new way of selling sweet potato by serving it with untraditional toppings and sauces, such as fruits, nuts, and sweet sauces. They serve them in clean plastic boxes, unlike the traditional method of serving sweet potato wrapped in old newspapers.
“Less than two weeks ago, we were searching for a new source of income to cover our expenses,” Noha wrote on her Facebook account, “especially since Ahmed works in the field of tourism and we all know the circumstances of that field nowadays.” Soon after she wrote the post, it rapidly went viral on social media.
After they decided to establish their own small business, the couple started researching the cost of owning one. They were surprised at the amount of money they have to pay to establish one. “The least amount of money needed to start such a business was EGP 50,000 and that was defiantly out of budget,” El-Sherbiny said in a report aired on El-Mehwar private channel.
The couple tried to find an alternative, so they decided to apply the concept of street food in their project, which exists worldwide. “I made that cart from scratch and it only cost me EGP 2,000,” he said.
While researching ideas for the product to be sold, they could not think of anything better than sweet potato. “It is one of the most common traditional foods in Egypt but we decided to serve it a new unique creative way,” he said.
“We are young and if we did not find a way to secure our future now, we would not have ever done it,” Noha said. “Since we were free at the afternoon, it was better to do this, rather than sit at cafes doing nothing.” They are currently working on spreading the idea of small youth
projects as low-priced start-ups that ensure a sustainable income.
When the couple sought the support of the government, however, they were met with no response. “I applied for permission to rent some electricity from a public light lamp, which would not have affected the strength of the light. It would have helped me cook the sweet potato, but they refused even though this is applied in many countries across the world,” Ahmed said.
For a few days, the couple was the main subject on social media, and opinions varies between supporters and opponents. There were supportive comments from those who said the couple who looked for a way to fight against social obstacles. The support overcame those which who criticised them for “wasting their time”. However in the end, the couple managed to find their way and follow their passion.