A social project creating a healthy diet. (Image via Souk el Tayeb)
Aramex has published a report, in collaboration with Wamda and the American University in Cairo (AUC), on Souk el Tayeb in Lebanon, and what led to the growth of Beirut's public farmers market. Written by Noha Ismail, researcher at El-Khazindar Business Research and Case Center at the American University in Cairo, the report looks at the history of and the unique environment that allowed the expansion of the souk.
According to the report, Kamal Mouzawak organized Souk el Tayeb as a one-time event in 2004, but it proved so popular that it became a weekly market. But the endeavor did not become a sizeable business until Mouzawak partnered with Christine Codsi, who used her background as a management consultant to turn the project into a proper business.
According to the report, Souk el Tayeb is first and foremost a social project, designed to support small-scale farmers, producers, and a host of other ecological and social goals. The business is meant to break even, with any benefits reinvested in the company.
The report further explains that Souk el Tayeb relies heavily on its popularity, which has been fostered by expert networking, social media use, word of mouth, and effective dissemination of its message.
The market's mandate to be self-sufficient means that the team has to be rigorous and efficient in how it uses its funds. The report also notes that Mouzawak and Codsi have refused to open a new location in Beirut, even though they have been asked to do so, because they believe the Beirut market is saturated and it would not be profitable.
Souk el Tayeb's concept has become popular enough that other countries have tried to import the concept. Mouzawak and Codsi have been hired as consultants to the Qatari government for this exact reason.
To download the full report, please scroll up and click the gray box to the right.