This is a crosspost published on the Enicbcmed.eu platform, part of a series highlighting the entrepreneurs within the BESTMEDGRAPE Project.
Following up on our previous articles, we introduce another potential ambitious entrepreneur, Anna-Maria Abi Khattar from Lebanon.
As a PhD student at the faculty of sciences at the Saint Joseph University of Beirut, Anna-Maria said she “learned from the best in this field. Pr. Richard Maroun, Pr. Nicolas Louka, and Dr. Hiba N. Rajha” who offered her their knowledge and time, which encouraged her to participate in BESTMEDGRAPE.
When we find passion
“When I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life, I wanted a career choice that answers all my questions about my surroundings. This curiosity developed into a passion. That’s why I decided to become a biochemist. Throughout these three years, I found interest in courses that tackle food subjects that made me pursue my masters in food chemistry. That’s when I heard for the first time of the words “polyphenol” and “extraction” and it was very interesting. After that, I decided to conduct my final project on the polyphenols extraction and valorisation from pomegranate peels. Thereafter, I started my journey as PhD student working on the valorisation of olive leaves and olive industry by-products in Lebanon by the extraction of highly bioactive compounds using innovative technologies and green solvents”, she narrated.
When we talk innovation and creativity
Anna-Maria’s idea consists of creating an affordable meal replacer or booster from grape pomace base, mainly to kids that are suffering from malnutrition or not being able to have the necessary daily intake of needed not only in calories but especially in nutrients. Grape pomace is the perfect source of antioxidants and dietary fibers that will add a high value to the final product. What inspired her the most is the expensive price of meal boosters sold in stores and the idea that not all people are capable of buying it. “People are not aware yet about the richness of grape by-products that’s why they are still discarded till now” she noticed.
When we aspire high
“After the participation in the BESTMEDGRAPE project, I look forward to turn my idea into business and bring my vision to life. I am excited to improve my skills and to benefit from the experts in this field”, our potential entrepreneur said. She’s not afraid to aim high, spreading awareness about the health benefits of grape pomace generated after the wine production is her goal and this will be easier after collaborating with cross border companies, as she hoped. Also, one of her main goals is to expand into foreign market and sell internationally knowing that this product is first of a kind.
Hard work, hope and believing in what she is doing will help Anna-Maria to achieve her dreams, are you ready for the challenge too?