When Neama Shehata visited the Asyut Burns Center, a burns treatment center in Asyut, Upper Egypt, she found patients badly in need of garments to dress their wounds. After her visit, she decided to start her own company, Compfab, to manufacture pressure garments for second-degree-burn victims. She supplied the medical team at the center with a prototype of the pressure garments. The doctors and nurses then tested the material and reported positive feedback from patients since the product provided more comfort compared to others.
At this point, Neama still lacked advanced techniques, access to textile factories, and skills related to funding, selling, and marketing. Once again, she broke many of the traditional challenges that women face in Upper Egypt, like traveling alone, and she remained true to her entrepreneurial spirit. Determined to launch Compfab, she joined a six-month incubation program managed by Naseej, an incubator supported by USAID’s Strengthening Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Development (SEED) project. This support enabled Naseej to deliver a powerful and competitive incubation program to several start-ups, including Neama’s Compfab, and also to bring in advanced equipment to encourage the production of high-quality prototypes in the textile industrial sector.
Neama benefited from many high-quality services during the incubation period, including technical support to develop an advanced prototype, access to several textile factories to test different product materials, enhanced marketing and sales trainings to improve the marketability of her product, and legal support to raise her awareness about commercial registration.
As a result of this support, Neama was finally able to launch CompFab.
Neama stated that “at the beginning, I was not even allowed to enter textile factories on my own. Now, I can confidently say that I have developed a strong network of textile factory owners who are more than willing to partner up with me.” The incubation program has helped Neama create a strong network of textile factories to help her in the manufacturing stage, provided her with legal support to commercially register Compfab, and trained her on how to professionally market and sell her product.
Because of USAID SEED’s support through the Naseej incubator, Neama sold up to 150 kilos of pressure garments, generating revenues of EGP 53,500K.
She has also won several awards including the “Best Startup” prize at the 4th Cairo International Exhibition of Innovation and was selected by the Academy of Science Research and Technology (ASRT) to participate at the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva delegation from the Academy of Science Research and Technology ASRT to the “46th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva” held from 11-15 April 2018. Among the delegation, Neama won a Gold medal on inventing pressured socks specialized in the rehabilitation of 2nd degree burn victims.
At the moment, Neama is working on high-quality packaging and branding of her product to expand her geographical outreach both domestically and internationally