There are many who complain about how difficult it is to be an entrepreneur in Pakistan and how there is not much access to funding, while there are some who make the journey silently and want to be an entrepreneur not because its glamorous but because they want to be productive. And Mueed is one of those people.
Abdul Mueed was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of 7. At the peak of this rare disease, the patient can’t move a single part of his body without help. He had to use a wheelchair at the age of 10. But this did not stop him from pursuing his passion.
He had a deep-seated desire to become successful like any young boy of his age would have had. He didn’t quit school despite of the difficulties he faced. His 4th grade classroom was at the 4th floor of his school and his attendant used to take him daily to the 4th floor.
His parents, friends and the school administration helped him a lot during his school years. He never took his disability as a weakness and rather considered it his strength. He believes that disability is a kind of different ability that only a few are gifted with.
Despite the decreasing sensation and movement in his hands, he always completed his exams on time. He even passed his matriculation with first division. He got admission in the prestigious Government College University of Lahore, and it was his dream to do so.
He later went on to take admission in the University of Central Punjab but had to drop out after 2 months because of his worsening condition. He woke up dizzy one day and had to be rushed to the hospital. During the months that followed, he had to go through three near-death experiences.
His condition kept turbulent for the year that followed. He finally was able to return home but got frustrated because he was unable to do anything. He wanted to be productive and do something with his life.
He decided to join his father’s business but had to leave that too because he got several different infections there. His mother used to sell homemade food in the 90s and he decided to capitalize on his mother’s cooking. He started an online business but got pretty depressed when it only got a few orders in 6 months of operation. He almost lost hope.
During this time he decided to write an autobiography and help other disabled people along the away. He started a welfare trust for this matter too. He also started his own blog during this time. With the moral support of his mother, he decided to give another try to the homemade business and started Rasoi.pk.
He was not ready to give up. Abdul Mueed says that we should all see failures as necessary steps towards success and not be discouraged by them.
Mueed was greatly inspired by his father as he was a successful businessman. He tried to do many jobs but couldn’t retain any of them due to his health condition. He then decided to try the ever-growing food industry in Pakistan. He says that Pakistan has a new stream of startups emergning with new co-working spaces popping up every month.
So he decided to target this market and supply homemade hygienic food to these offices. Most of the office-going people would agree that getting hygienic food cheaply is a big hassle around lunchtime, and Rasoi.pk has perhaps targeted a very profitable niche.
The Business Model
Rasoi.pk gets its supplies from meat and vegetable suppliers. Then Mueed’s mother cooks the dishes according to a pre-decided menu and forwarded to delivery boys to deliver the food to the offices. Mueed interacts with his customers through their Facebook page.
He has a professional graphic designer on board that runs and manages the Facebook page. He currently has 5 people working with him, including himself and his mother.
Mueed knows that there are many competitors in the market who are doing the same thing but he doesn’t see them as a threat and these services are in high-demand. So as long as he focuses on building a brand, he doesn’t need to worry about the competitors taking away his share. Mueed believes in treating his customers like his family and delivering them best-quality food.
Mueed believes that his startup will continue to have enough demand in the future particularly because of the new wave of entrepreneurship and startups in Pakistan. He says that more than 30% of the population of Lahore comprises the youth and more than 30% of its citizens are associated with businesses and Mueed plans to exploit this.
He has not applied for any funding yet because he believes Rasoi.pk has only recently started operations and it’s too early to scale at the moment.
Abdul Mueed initially started the business by sending samples to 6 influential people on social media. Their reviews helped spread the word about Rasoi.pk. Now he gets orders from all over Lahore but mostly from Model Town, Johar Town Industrial Estate, Faisal Town and DHA. Most of the customers are young people, who run their own startups, or from bankers.
He is planning to launch a mobile app for Rasoi.pk, available on both Android and iOS, in order to make it even more convenient for the customers to order hygienic homemade food.
Mueed was pretty adamant from the start that he wanted to do something with his life, but he had a major obstacle apart from his health condition.
Then Mueed had to hire the right people to manage his business. But finding good people to handle marketing on a very low budget was a very difficult thing to do. With the help of a few friends, he was able to find people who were willing to work on his specifications.
Mueed only wants to give one message to all the aspiring entrepreneurs of Pakistan and that is to never lose hope. He says that he himself got success on his 3rd attempt so one should continue trying. God only blesses those who keep on struggling despite the difficulties.