Nour was just one of the extraordinary women I had the opportunity of meeting when I had the chance to mentor at Gaza Sky Geeks. She took time out of her busy schedule to participate in my three day introduction to coding workshop. She is the Founder an CEO of mommy helper an app that connects Arab mothers around the world. Nour is a visionary, she is intelligent and extremely hardworking. She is constantly improving and striving for perfection. When I met her she was launching the second version of her app just weeks before pitching to investors. She spent hours and hours pouring over data and analysis of her current app to study user behaviours and make changes where needed (she won the pitch, by the way). Her passion and determination are inspiring. I believe the Nour can do absolutely anything she puts her mind to. I wanted to take the time to share her story with you. She is an absolute boss. She identified a problem in the world and she will stop at nothing to solve it. I hope her story inspires you as well.
Tell Us A Little Bit About Yourself And What You Do?
My name is Nour Elkhoudary. I’m a Palestinian filmmaker and screenplay writer. I’m a trainer in the field of screenwriting and interested in health and nutrition. I worked as a production manager of the first 3d animation film in Gaza, funded by world bank. I’m a mentor of Technovation challenge, a board member at the women entrepreneurs empowerment forum and I am now Founder & CEO of Mommy Helper.
Why did you choose to start Mommy Helper?
In 2014, I moved to Chicago with my husband Fady to continue his higher education. Being new to the environment and culture, I had many more challenges to face. When we had our first child there, I went through the hardship of giving birth to my son Basem in a place far from the comfort of my mother and had to teach myself how to nurse my baby all by myself. This kept me from opportunities to improve my English and build a social life and community of friends and mothers. I felt lonely during this experience but was inspired by my experience to give Basem all he needs to live an excellent childhood.
I started blogging about my experience. When I came back to Gaza, everyone was blown away by Basem’s ability to interact and play with other kids, his creativity and ability to learn so fast. I kept blogging while in Gaza to inspire and support other moms who lack the support of their community, feel isolated from it, or are living abroad. I received endless messages from other mothers asking me to help them with their specific problems and wanting to speak with me all the time. I realized I was not alone in this and that’s how Mommy Helper was born!
What inspires you?
The tremendous human power that God has given! His ability to change to inspire creativity and to evolve!
What is your personal mantra or mission statement?
Do not waste life in vain You should always do something new and when you do something do it to the fullest.
What does happiness mean to you?
Laughter of my child, my husband's love, a delicious healthy chocolate cake with mint tea, completion of tasks and travel.
What are your hobbies?
Reading historical books and novels, writing poetry, cooking and acting.
If you could give advice to someone looking start their own business what would it be and why?
- Choose partners carefully
- Do not give in to difficulties
- Take some rest when needed
- To read a lot and benefit from previous experiences
- Do not ignore the market research
What has been your most rewarding experience so far? Work or personal
I was in the incubation program in Gaza Sky Geeks. This unique experience has refined my personality and developed it a lot. I met and learned from a large network of mentors around the world. At the end of the incubation program I won the first place with a prize $5000 in the Demo Day.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your life thus far? What did you learn? Are you thankful for what it taught you?
For more than 15 years I have suffered from an increase in weight, and all my efforts of losing weight failed. But a year ago, I was in a difficult situation. I could not find something beautiful to wear and I started to hate myself! I decided to make a change. I gave up all my bad food habits. I stopped sugar, oils and fast food. This started a new phase in my life. For the first time I lost more than 30 kg of my weight! I became a different person and became obsessed with healthy cooking and delicious and healthy recipes. I am very grateful for this experience, it changed the whole course of my life towards success.
Who is your role model/ who has been the most influential person in your life?
My mother. She was able to complete her university studies more than 10 years after she stopped studying. She received two bachelor's degrees with a degree of excellence. Then she got a master's degree and became a professor at the university and founded a non-profit organization for the care of mothers and children in Gaza.
What is your vision for mommy helper? Where would you like to see yourself in five years?
For Mommy Helper to first be an application for Arab mothers and then to expand to become a global app for all mothers around the world.