If the name Nagy Abdou sounds familiar to you, don’t be surprised. Since arriving at CBU in 2017 from Cairo International College (CIC) in Egypt, Nagy has become a pillar of the CBU community. While completing his Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Degree at CBU, Nagy served as the Executive Vice President of the Students’ Union and volunteered at countless campus and community events. Now, Nagy is a three-time business owner and entrepreneur here in Sydney, with his businesses CB Eats, The Parlour Sweet House and 7 by 7 Restaurant taking Cape Breton by storm.
Nagy crossed the stage this November, earning his degree from CBU and looks back with pride on the great strides he has taken both in the university and the surrounding business community. During his time at CBU, Nagy connected with his professors to learn more about business and bring concepts to life under their guidance. Outside of classes, Nagy would keep himself busy, getting involved with various projects aimed at making a difference in his community. His desire to be a strong leader and inspire others led him to run for the position of Executive Vice-President during the 2018-2019 academic year.
“I like how CBU has many ties with the community which allowed me to get involved with projects and events that make a difference in the community,” says Nagy. “School isn’t just about the classes. It’s about learning about the culture, the environment and the day-to-day life choices that will lead you to other opportunities.”
His inspiration to open 7 by 7 in Downtown Sydney grew from his desire to create a new culture and atmosphere for Sydney residents. Nagy wanted to create a restaurant with good, quality food, affordable prices, reasonable serving times and most importantly a comfortable environment where people could relax and enjoy themselves. His business philosophy is “small details make a big difference,” which Nagy says is at the foundation of the restaurant. Nagy didn’t want to open a restaurant where customers just eat and rush away, he wanted his patrons to feel welcome to stay as long as they’d like.
7 by 7 offers primarily Canadian cuisine but brings in different options from a variety of cultures. Step into the kitchen of 7 by 7 and you’ll find a truly global team. Each chef is from a different country, including China, India, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.
Nagy says one of the biggest assets he has had in starting these businesses is the support he has received from the community. “People try to give positive feedback and encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing,” he says. He also gives credit to CBU for helping him open his businesses. “Though CBU I gained the knowledge, experience and network to open my eyes to all of the opportunities and connections available to me in the community,” says Nagy. “I know what’s happening in my community and what the people are looking for.”
Starting a business is a big responsibility and can be a scary thought, but Nagy says he would encourage fellow entrepreneurs to follow their dreams. “When you have a business idea you always fear it may not be successful,” he admits. “But you just need to find your unique selling point and it will turn into the most enjoyable experience you will have.”
His advice to fellow student-entrepreneurs is to take advantage of the resources available to them at CBU, including the friendly staff and faculty. “They are such a huge resource that you won’t find anywhere else,” says Nagy. “You can get a lot of positive direction, knowledge and experience at CBU.”