Semret Abate – The Bakery Guru

Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Semret Abate is the youngest of five children & only daughter to her parents. She is a Single mother of three: two girls (age 17, 24) and one boy (age 26).

Semret completed her primary and secondary school at Lycee Gebre Mariyam. After high school, she took short-term basic administrative courses & joined a French NGO as an administrator.

In 1998, Semret opened her first bakery as a result of the love her children had for bread. Semret relates life with her profession in the bakery business as starting out as a hobby. She also noted the lack of quality bread for sale, in the city of Addis.

Semret’s philosophy of life is faith and family. With the help of her   children, she named the bakery Mulmul because they liked the traditional Mulmul bread as her first baking tray of a similar oval shape as Mulumul.

Today, Mulmul has five branches, each baking on average of 45 quintals of bread and employing 320 people. A few of Mulmuls corporate clients include, The Ethiopian Airlines, Trans Nation Airways, Zemen    Bank, International Community School, Ethiopian Power Corporation and Supermarkets. Semret’s big plan is to open more branches with premium products and quality service. Her dream is to see Mulmul Bakery throughout the country. Her future plan also includes providing a variety of health-focused products within Ethiopia and abroad. To Semret success means being a winner at life & being a means of change to others.

Currently, Semret is working at her bakery as Owner/President alongside her daughter, Nadia Abdella, who is the General Manager. Her day-to-day activities include supervising the branches and paying special attention to the quality of the products. Her main aim is to see every customer that walks through the doors of Mulmul satisfied. She works very closely with her customers by creating a direct contact via phone calls, e-mail, as well as in person. She says that it is the customer’s comments that takes Mulmul one step up!

Talking about challenges in life Semret says, “My challenges are not any different from any other business person’s challenges. Being a single mother and starting a new business at a young age gave me no choice but to be responsible.  When I opened this bakery, life was not easy; it was actually very difficult. However, I knew that if I worked hard, I would one day have to opportunity to succeed.’’

The last sixteen years were very critical for Semret as she began her expansion plan of opening new branches of Mulmul in Addis.  She said, “Leadership is about personal & professional developments (serto maserat). It is about good relationships and keeping a team spirit to achieve what one aims.”

She would like to encourage other women to believe in themselves, their passion, and to be self-confident as this will take them to the next level of success.  Mulmul has 320 workers of which over 55% are women. Semret says being in a leadership position allows her to know her strengths, weaknesses, and decision making skills. She gives women the opportunity to work with her as way of helping them realize their potential.

When asked about her advice to the youth, Semret said, “Never give up, there is always a brighter tomorrow. Keep trying even if you fail. Everyone has their own passion, so know what you have & make it happen. Life is challenging, be strong, generous, positive-thinker and always have faith in God.”

A very dedicated mother & wife, Semret says there is nothing that makes her happier than to see her children become successful in life. She is glad that her eldest daughter, Nadia Abdella, has decided to follow her footsteps by joining the Bakery business.  Nadia is a graduate with a BA degree from Georgia State University. “We make an excellent team together; I really enjoy working and exchanging ideas with her.”  Semret says. She hopes her youngest daughter, Dina Abdella, a senior in high school will also join the family business after completing her undergraduate studies. She also speaks of her son, Fethy Abdella , with pride. Although he did not want to get into the bakery business, he has successfully established a company under the name “Regina. He produces paper napkins and related items. Semret is eager to see his products on the shelves of all supermarkets.

Semret believes that without God nothing is possible, she spends most of her leisure time at church with family & doing physical exercise. She values her family and colleagues whom she refers to as her second family.

In order to reach the community as their social responsibility, Mulmul bakery with the help of a local NGO provides bread and similar bakery products to children & senior citizens. In addition, each Mulmul branch has on average 20 people who get bread and rent assistance. Her future plan is to increase that number as the branch increases.

Asked about AWIB, Semret said, “AWIB is doing an impressive job. I appreciate what the association is doing in giving recognition to women who are positively influencing the business community. It is also setting a good example to the younger generation by giving them guidance, encouragement, and teaching them to peruse their passion.”

She is most grateful to her mother, as she is the basis for who Semret is today. Talking about her mother, Semert says, “My mother is a very hard working, responsible & generous woman. She thought me how to be strong & courageous. She is a good example of life for me.”

Semret is grateful for life and the opportunities she has been given to serve the community.  She is grateful for her three children and husband, former Mayor of Addis Ababa, Berhane Deressa. She appreciates her co-workers & customers for being with her in her 16 years journey & recognizes that they are a big part of her success. She says, “My co-workers are my families. Some of them have been with me since the opening of the first branch. They call me “Etalem” because of our close relationship. We work, eat, and grow together. What I’m making is to be shared with others and not just for me to hold on to. And my ultimate reward is customer satisfaction, that’s money for me.”

AWiB team would like to express its appreciation for the interview and wish Semret the best in her future endeavor.

Share on your socials!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *