Zakat Expert

A Bradford woman supported by the New Dawn start-up fund has opened her first Tunisian takeaway in the city.

Mariem Dridi, 36, moved to the UK from Tunisia in 2009 and then to West Yorkshire. She applied to New Dawn – a project supporting refugees run by National Zakat Foundation, Mercy Mission and Bradford University – and won start-up money for her new venture. 

Her restaurant, Frikasse, is now serving Bradford with its only authentic Tunisian cuisine. As well as frikasse (a traditional dough dipped in oil and stuffed), Mariem wants to introduce people to ‘real’ couscous.  

Mariem said: “I always knew I wanted to do something, but I didn’t know how and then I saw the New Dawn programme. It’s helped me a lot, and I’m very grateful for it.” 

Mariem uses tried and tested recipes handed down from her grandma and mother and hopes her site at Oastler Market is a long-term success after the busy weekend opening.  

New Dawn is an accelerated entrepreneurship programme to help refugees develop their business ideas through focused workshops and mentoring support from successful entrepreneurs in the community. Launched at the University of Bradford last year, the programme also included a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event where participants pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. 

Dr Sohail Hanif, CEO of NZF, said: “Helping people become part of their community is a key aim of Zakat, which is all about building a sense of belonging. I’m delighted that together with our partners, this project has helped Mariem achieve her dream”. 

The New Dawn project supports our work through the Work Fund to help people with skills and qualifications get a job or increase their income to become financially independent.