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Dr. Ahmed Farouk wants to improve the health of his fellow Egyptians – the natural way. Struck by the lack of awareness in Egypt about the nutritional aspects of preventing and overcoming diseases, Dr. Ahmed founded Imtenan Health Shop in 2005. Based in Cairo, Imtenan imports, manufactures and sells over 400 natural health products, including health foods, honey-based health products and all-natural dietary supplements. With proprietary retail outlets in Cairo, Alexandria and Assiut, Imtenan is the first Egyptian retail chain to offer health foods and dietary supplements under one roof. As the market for natural food gains traction in Egypt, Dr. Ahmed believes Imtenan Health Shop can grow within the emerging US$140 million market domestic for vitamins and dietary supplements. With over 100 employees, Dr. Ahmed seeks to make natural foods and dietary supplements part of the average Egyptian lifestyle, with his one-stop natural health shop leading the way.
The only doctor in a family of businessmen and manufacturers, Dr. Ahmed draws inspiration from his entrepreneurial family. His father founded El Farouk Group, a 300-employee company that produces honey and other bee products. While his siblings assumed active roles at the company, Dr. Ahmed felt more inclined toward the sciences. Earning a degree from Ain Shams Medical School in 1999, Dr. Ahmed worked as a physician while researching the health benefits of honey and other natural health products. Dr. Ahmed then pursued his MBA at Arabic Academy, where he investigated the market for natural health products. His findings – that people were inhibited by cost, skepticism and an inability to find the right products – triggered the idea for Imtenan Health Shop. Dr. Ahmed envisioned a branded retail chain that would offer health foods and dietary supplements at prices affordable for the average Egyptian. In 2005, Dr. Farouk put his MBA on hold to pursue this vision and, after lining up his family members as investors, launched the first Imtenan Health Shop later that year in Nasr City.
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