Q&A: Sirkil’s Magda Gomaa


You’ve probably heard their name dropped in recent months. Maybe you’ve even seen their slick website, under construction. Sirkil targets well-developed markets with untapped potential, and then gathers like-minded businesses together to execute buzz-worthy events.

Co-founder Magda Gomaa, a mere 22, shares with us the challenges of starting a business with a group of friends.


Introduce Sirkil.

Sirkil is a business networking company. We go into certain industries and connect the whole value chain together. In other words, we’re business matchmakers.


How old are the Sirkil founders?

Well, the oldest would be 26 and the youngest would be myself, turning 23.


Why did you start a business at this stage in your life and given the country’s political and economic situation?

Back when we started on our first project, we were all corporate slaves with full time jobs. We started from scratch with no office, no finances. People didn’t take us seriously, so we had to pretend that there was a mastermind millionaire behind the business.

The event went well and moving forward was too tempting, the risked looked minimal.


What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in starting a business thus far?

When you’re working in a company, you’re one percent of a big loop. When it’s your own business, you are the loop. You wash your own coffee mugs, you make sure you turn off the lights to save electricity, you don’t get to have working hours, weekends, official holidays or peace of mind. But it’s all worth it!

Another thing is connections. We have been more than lucky with the people we have met along the way. People like to help us for some reason and this has opened many doors. So this is something that we will never take for granted and this is something that will always keep us humble.


What’s your advice for other young people who are considering starting a business?

You should be lean, fast and wicked. If you have an idea, either someone has already done it or they will do it tomorrow, maybe better. So just do it. You’ll spend a lot of time making lists of pros and cons and the safe option will always be tempting, especially in our culture.

Invest in your team, they will either drain your energy and resources or they will challenge you to become bigger and better.

As shallow as it sounds, invest in appearances, do your branding well, look posh and give a classy impression. People will not trust that you have something of value to offer until you get their attention with your first impression. Sad but true.


What are the challenges of having multiple founders?

sirkilNot just multiple founders – very stubborn, opinionated and extremely passionate founders. As much as it’s tough sometimes, we all agreed that it wasn’t the idea of the company that we were investing in, but it was more our confidence in our team. We expect that our business model today might not be the same tomorrow, however, our skills compliment each other and this is what hopefully will make anything work out.


What is it like working with friends?

As much as you try being professional, friendship will get in the way.


What’s your long-term vision?

An online platform for business networking. We’re dreaming big, as in Facebook big, or a movie about us big – not a relatively successful, local startup big.


Give us the scoop on your next big project.

We sat down and thought about what our next project should be. We were all hungry, spent an hour fussing and arguing what to order, then it hit us! The one thing that has stayed consistent during the past very unstable times, whether it’s a revolution or a curfew, is our appetite for food, new dining concepts and cuisines. It’s the only reliable entertainment we have.

And this is where the concept was born for Cairo Bites, a food festival on Apr. 26 at the glorious Baron Palace. It gathers tens and tens of eateries with an emphasis on local food startups. We have a full day planned out, with non-stop eating and ongoing entertainment that is centered around food.

The buzz and excitement this event was greeted with indicates that we are heading in the right direction, but it’s added a little bit of pressure since everyone’s anticipating it!


WE SAID THIS: Check out Sirkil on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Sirkil/‎.