Rasha Oudeh from Jordan was one of the keynote speakers in Berlin’s major economic forum, Global Female Leaders’ Summit 2018, who told her story of becoming a leader in a speech that has received a standing ovation by a crowd of executives, entrepreneurs, prominent academics, and leaders from all over the globe. By watching the video of Rasha’s speech in the summit, one can tell that she is one such proficient and prolific entrepreneur.
When she first started as a trader in 2007, she provided a variety of services in pharmaceutical field to earn money, services that included: pharmaceutical trading (finished and API’s), registration support, market research, assigning agents, writing studies, selling machinery and selling medical equipment’s. It was a journey full of struggle which helped Rasha to gain insights into pharma industry & exceptional experience.
Rasha wondered why there no such service providing companies in Europe these services in MENA and why there is no company with a portfolio that fits the MENA region, the answer was: difficult business culture & environment; regulations differ from country to country, and on top of that: the language.
At the end of 2015, Rasha sold all of her business to start again by acquiring CEDEM AG whose financials made it look like a startup co., but the spectrum of the clients which CEDEM has built over the last three years utilizing the last 9 years’ experience speaks for itself. To expand further, Rasha has collaborated with four prominent investors/partners; two of them experienced experts in the same field from multinational companies. She built a team of skilled professionals/ consultants in the Middle East who can run the business in Switzerland, Germany, and UK from Amman, Jordan.
Despite difficulties and high expenses, Rasha continued to operate a business from Switzerland, as she believed that all big businesses started with one entrepreneur who had the commitment, dedication and never say die attitude to do business with STYLE. Nevertheless, Rasha shared that she could not have built the brand equity of Cedem that quickly without the people working with her, acknowledging that sometimes she might come off as demanding, still she is giving them in return her whole experience. Rasha expressed her sense of proudness when she sees them achieving and doing well even if they are in other jobs.
Rasha shared her dream of establishing the first sizeable Swiss-German company that is focused on the MENA region and which can be a partner of choice for big pharmaceutical players in the MENA region, and the idea behind CEDEM comes from this niche.
Her journey has proven that influence in doing business lies not only in the wallet, but in the mastering of business competencies
Rasha encourages entrepreneurs to follow their own path, she expresses that one should not be afraid to pursue what one believes in. She also advises having sustainable human relations because she believes that it helps one to function adequately. She believes that focus plays the most important part in success. She advises to enjoy giving back one’s experience and competence and whatever one has gained throughout their journey. Rasha believes in non-traditional ideas. She believes that leadership is a learned mindset that can be fostered with education and coaching.
Introducing a New Profession
Today, CEDEM aims at becoming the Middle East’s first private label service provider. Given the fact that this industry represents less than 1% compared to the rest of the world, with Germany and Switzerland accounting for around 45% and 38%, respectively. With Rasha’s continued efforts and perseverance, she introduced a new profession to the Middle East, namely the private labeling manufacturing through an entire business process cycle. Considering that the region lacks such expertise, Rasha takes pride to have built such a capable team to serve this field. Rasha’s extensive years of expertise were filled with difficulties and pressures, yet she was able to succeed.
As a Jordanian living abroad, Rasha is deeply committed to share her insights, expertise, and knowledge with fellow Jordanians, and to keep engaged in Jordan’s economy. Amal, the dead sea project, is aimed to become part of Jordan’s efforts to combat poverty and unemployment, it is a starting point that helps to sustain the living of hard-working women who also utilize their limited resources. While the ‘Training for Employment’ project is a program that is aimed at enabling Jordanian young females to take a step into an international career, by preparing them to operate in a vibrant, ever-changing, international business environment, supporting them in growing to be managers and leaders of tomorrow.
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