It started with a needle: How Olife was born

by Bahaaeldin Abdellatif

Sometimes pain leads to a great story and a ripple of change. This is how Olife started. 

Back in the 90's my father, a successful entrepreneur and a leading pioneer in the Egyptian market and healthcare industry, struggled to find a "less painful" needle for his diabetic son who had to take daily insulin doses. Diabetic people back in the day, used to face severe pain due to the thick needle they used daily, especially kids who were intolerant to this pain, finding a replacement was extremely urgent. The emotional pain for their caregivers was just as bad, if not worse, as they felt helpless seeing their loved ones go through this pain over and over without having an alternative. It felt like somewhat of an oxymoron providing help, that would at the same time, hurt so much. Even though he had a solid network in the medical field, finding this special needle was a challenge for him, and all the diabetes community. The issue was so dire, that frequent travelers from this community would buy this "painless needle" in large quantities and offer it to those in need. A wonderfully connected community was built on this need.

My father’s company has always focused on life-saving and life-assisting devices, which are mainly heavy machinery or sophisticated consumables used by specialized physicians. The value created and lives saved as a result of such activity were the main driving forces for his fulfillment, but nothing beats the moment he finally got the importation license for that "painless needle," which unquestionably marks one of his top achievements not only in his career, but in his life.

Having physical stores with experts, a reliable wide range of quality products with tailored consultations, that would be able to provide people with effortless and premium health and wellness services, became a dream, as a result of that painful experience. The next phase was to shift to a more direct consumer market, which was a vision that was never fulfilled due to several factors. At the time, one of the greatest challenges was the huge lack of awareness when it came to health in Egypt back then. This was mainly caused by the limited methods of mass communication. Not only this, but there was a limited availability of premium products in the Egyptian market.

Fast forward to 2020. The pandemic showed us how much Egypt was lacking in knowledge when it came to health and wellness. Even as we find ourselves in a different world today, two years on, it is still a hugely underserved market. Yet we have great entrepreneurs in the fitness industry who have elevated awareness in creating accessibility for Egyptian non-athletes aiming for better general health, the industry is still limited to only this aspect of health. In addition to this, being a father made me constantly worry about finding reliable references and solutions to provide my son with healthy, accessible guidelines that would help us create healthy habits in the long run. 

Olife, once upon a time, had a different name, Averroes 'Ibn Rushd', he was an Andalusian polymath and jurist who enlightened millions of people with his writings on philosophy, theology, medicine, astronomy, physics, psychology, and mathematics. He shared one of the most important values we have in our company which is knowledge sharing. The name ended up evolving, for various reasons, but knowledge sharing is still a value we carry.

This takes me to today, 2022, the platform was launched in January, and month after month the team continued to grow. We all shared a single promise, making health and wellness "easy”. Tapping into the innovation and accessibility that technology and social media platforms give us today, has allowed us to develop on this idea almost 20 years later. Today, Olife is not only here to champion the cause of health and wellness in our region, through reliable and trustworthy education, services, and products. It’s becoming so much more by time. It’s becoming a reliable partner that is accompanying you through your “healthier” journey.

Living in Egypt is full of health challenges, this has been the case across different generations. Health here does not mean physical health only, we face mental, financial, familial “Health” challenges. Something that won't be solved easily, it needs resilience, passion, ambition, and definitely a group of good people who believe in the cause, to come up with solutions that would make our lives healthier, it needs successful entrepreneurship.


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