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Connecting people through food


‘Liefde gaat door de maag,’ as they say in Dutch: ‘Love goes through the stomach’. Because if one thing brings people together, it’s food. That’s why Mahmoud El Wakil developed Homemade: a platform that connects people who love to cook with people who want to enjoy fresh delivery food. He talks about his journey toward solving world hunger by connecting people with food. 

When Mahmoud moved to the Netherlands from Egypt, he was struck by a few things when ordering food. He was never satisfied with it, as it was often too expensive and the quality wasn’t great either. “I figured I could do a better job cooking myself, and I’m not even a great chef,” he says. “Homemade food is always better, as it’s cooked with love. So when I was in the Startup Workshop, I realized this was the big problem I wanted to solve because I’m not the only person dissatisfied with ordering food. I decided to start Homemade, where anyone who can cook can start their own restaurant without the costs of starting a physical restaurant, and people can order an authentic and freshly cooked meal from local chefs. I joined the UT Challenge and reached the final as the only one without a team, and I was almost sure I would win. But then I didn’t and I couldn’t figure out why. Only later I realized that I would’ve stopped if I had won. Losing gave me the drive to continue.”

Empowering home chefs

With Homemade, Mahmoud wants to enable passionate home cooks to fulfill their dream of having a restaurant. “Think of a stay-at-home mom who wants to start a side hustle,” Mahmoud illustrates. “For her, it would be impossible to open a restaurant because of the huge risk and high cost that come with it. However, she does have a kitchen full of utensils and a passion. We want to empower these people to start a business from home during their preferred hours. We help them curate the menu so they can make several dishes with just a few ingredients, so they don’t need a huge stock.” 

On the other hand, the people who order the food will benefit as well. “Within a few clicks, they can order a home-cooked meal. You can pick a chef, pick the food you’d like, and checkout. If you want to support the chef even more, you can order in advance by scheduling your order. This way, we can also minimize food waste, one of the bigger problems we want to tackle.” 

Boosting economies

Minimizing food waste and solving world hunger are not the only ways Mahmoud envisions to make an impact with Homemade. “As of now, we’re still based in Twente, and we want to expand within the Netherlands first. Yet, we see great potential for Homemade in more developing communities. Over there, it could change lives because we enable people to start their own restaurants. This will give a boost to people with low incomes and simultaneously give an impulse to the local economy. Currently, those people spend about 50 to 60% of their income on food, often at big multinationals like McDonald’s or KFC - so the money flows away. That’s the dynamic we want to change. Besides the economic impact, we want to connect people. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, 60% of people feel more lonely. People in big cities often don’t know their neighbors. While if you have a good connection with your neighbors, that makes us as a society more resilient in case something happens. So imagine ordering food from one of your neighbors and having them personally deliver it to you. You would connect a lot more than regular delivery drivers. We really set out to connect people through food.” 

Eradicating world hunger

Mahmoud's ultimate goal is to eradicate world hunger. “People are building drones and AI, and all of those innovations are amazing, but millions of people still go hungry every day. That doesn’t make sense to me. If we become the world's biggest food delivery platform and raise a meal with every order through sponsorships, we could do it. Currently, we’re in our first pilot, so we’re taking it step by step. I want to contribute to eradicating world hunger in my lifetime, but nothing happens overnight."

"I want to contribute to eradicating world hunger in my lifetime, but nothing happens overnight."

Mahmoud El Wakil

CEO Homemade

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Homemade is a platform that connects people who love to cook with people who want to enjoy fresh delivery food. This way, CEO Mahmoud El Wakil aims to connect people through food and to eradicate world hunger.

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