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Overcoming Prejudices As A Woman In Tech


Hinde Boulbayem is the founder and CEO of the startup SUMY (Sustainable Urban Mobility & Logistics), a connected platform for urban delivery using green vehicles. The young woman is committed to two things: preserving the environment and valuing women in the Logistics sector.
by: Aurélie Mohr-Boob
photo: Knock Knock Prod
featured: Hinde Boulbayem

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Over the past 5 years, SUMY has developed and implemented ecological and silent mobility systems for food goods to and from major Belgian cities with a consolidated turnover of 5.5 million Euros, while creating around 30 jobs.

The companies that have placed their trust in SUMY have reduced their emissions of carcinogenic fine particles by 95% and their CO2 emissions by 39% for each transport operation. The young woman has entrepreneurship under her skin. “At the age of 13, I wanted to earn money by doing the hair of my neighbours. Soon after, during my studies, I was lucky enough to be given responsible assignments during internships and later as an art history teacher. When I decided to start SUMY, I had been ready for a long time.

“How do you go from art to connected logistics?” I ask. Hinde will be going back to university to get a bachelor’s degree in logistics, because it’s a regulated profession.

“Men didn’t want to copy me and for that reason they let me set up my business unsuspectingly.”

Transportation without the pollution

Hinde Boulbayem created the company SUMY in 2013 with her father to respond to an ecological problem he was facing in his own logistics company at the time. “I didn’t want to fuel environmental crime,” she recalls. In 2015, she bought the company and entered a developmental phase within the Belgian market. “I signed new contracts with the food industry and set up a sustainable urban logistics platform in the outskirts of Brussels.”

SUMY’s objective is to create its equivalent in Luxembourg in 2020. Using an urban distribution platform makes it possible to plan routes (day and night deliveries), test clean fuels (local biogas) and integrate circular operational schemes (recycling of packaging).

“The success rate in startups run by women is higher because they take more measured risks, and show patience and perseverance.”

A free woman’s choices

Logistics is dominated by men… “Ironically, I succeeded because I’m a woman: men didn’t want to copy me and for that reason they let me set up my business unsuspectingly.” Hinde has slowly been gaining market share. She never felt rejected, rather ignored. The difficulty was with the investors and banks who did not trust her because of her age, industry and the spectre of motherhood, all of which they thought was incompatible with doing business. “We should never have to talk about her private life… I couldn’t have done it if I had children and I said so. However, I fully understand a woman entrepreneur who makes the choice to have a private life.”

At SUMY, men and women have the same salary scale and women hold all positions of responsibility. According to Hinde Boulbayem, “The success rate in startups run by women is higher because they take more measured risks, and show patience and perseverance.”

In the meantime, SUMY has achieved a growth of more than 104% over four years. The startup, whose Luxembourg subsidiary is incubated at the Luxembourg-City Incubator, specifies that the profits will be invested in growing into a human capital organisation that respects its environment.


This article was first published in the Silicon Luxembourg magazineGet a copy now!

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