[Alexandria StartUp Cup
] in Egypt. They had already achieved a level of success that included a solid team of six employees. “For the first three months, it was just me and my brother, Ayman [Hafez].” says Kareem Hafez, who left his job as a finance manager to commit to Creato Tec full time. Salma Sherifjoined the team as a partner to help round out the marketing and sales support aspect of their business. “Our team succeeded because we complement one another.” observed Kareem who focuses on the finance, operations and sales, while Ayman develops the student course curriculum, keeping the company up to speed with the latest technology, and staying ahead of the competition with innovated approaches to what they offer.
Creato Tec began specializing in manufacturing of educational robots and teaching youth the field of mechatronics, science and business, but they were struggling with what direction to grow the company. “Before StartUp Cup, we were confused betweenworking with educating kids and manufacturing robots.” Through the unique business model competition and process, “…we decided to delay manufacturing and focus on training for kids.” By determining their focal point, Creato Tec added two of their three team awards for the year with their Creato Kids [Creato Kids] teams, 1st Place Egypt Minesweepers and 3rd place in Mate ROV Regional, while participating in the StartUp Cup. “Being more focused gave us higher achievements for the kids.” says Kareem.
With a focus on Creato Kids, the company was able to meet another challenge head on. They were facing the long process of having to educate their clients on their product, encountering resistance and costing time. With the help of local StartUp Cup mentors and judges, the team chose a pioneering approach to let select schools try their product for free. “The schools said, ‘Are you sure?’” laughed Kareem. But, Salma says the results were the breakthrough they needed, “They were amazed and convinced about our services.” So much so, that their first client decided to pay after their first day of services. By taking this marketing leap, they developed their first database of 100 kids, built trust with the school, gained media opportunities and had success stories and marketing materials to take to other schools.
Additional strategies that rocketed Creato Tec to the top during the competition were marketing and bootstrapping methods. Learning SMART marketing strategies they utilized media relationships in television and radio to tell their story and created strategic alliances with news channels, bookstores and nurseries. Their financial lessons resulted in providing 50% of their services at schools to minimize fixed cost, having technical engineers work on a part-time basis for the first 6 months and creating partnerships with indirect competitors to leverage scale.
While competing, Creato Tec grew from 6 to 8 employees and is now nearing their eleventh employee hire. Their clients include three out of 10 large schools in Alexandria and their revenue increased by $15,000 EGP in the months during the StartUp Cup. Now, “our operations sped up, we built a new customers base, our events now have a fast direct impact on customers and our business approach is more focused and organized.”
The Creato Tec team hopes to be taking their keys to success in winning in Alexandria all the way to The World StartUp Cup in Yerevan, Armenia on March 5th and 6th. Their ability to seize opportunity, never give up, work as a team, and think out of the box culminated into rapid growth during the competition. When asked about the benefits of winning the StartUp Cup, Kareem states, “We have reformed the way we work and now have a more clear way forward.”
And how does the team feel about entering to compete in the World StartUp Cup? “With our team spirit, strong idea, big achievements in 1 year and massive growth, our dream [of winning] will come true.”
We believe that team spirit will take Creato Tec far in everything they do. Good luck! Follow them on twitter @creatokids.