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TAILORING SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FACEBOOK’S ROB NEWLAN MAKES THE CASE

THE RECAP
ACHIEVING WOMEN’S
FORUM 2015

BUILDING THE ( BEST )


HOME GROWN

BRANDS
PERSONIFYING YOUR COMPANY’S CORPORATE LINGO, MAKING MESSAGING WORK FOR YOUR BUSINESS,

H.H. SHEIKH AHMED


AND THE APPLICATION OF PERVASIVE BRANDING TACTICS

ZIAD EL CHAAR
DAMAC PROPERTIES
FABRIZIO FERREIRA
KBW INVESTMENTS
BIN SAEED AL MAKTOUM SULTAN SOOUD AL-QASSEMI RAMANATHAN HARIHARAN
EMIRATES BARJEEL ART FOUNDATION MAX

9 77231 1 541 008 >


JUNE 2015 | WWW.ENTREPRENEUR.COM/ME | UAE AED20
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JUNE 2015
CONTENTS

20
Powering the engines
of prosperity to Dubai
Expo 2020 and beyond:
H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin
Saeed Al Maktoum,
Emirates

18 Market penetration > Ziad El Chaar 50


INNOVATOR: strategies across sectors DAMAC PROPERTIES TECH:
BUILDING THE (BEST) > H.H. Sheikh Ahmed > Ramanathan Hariharan SHINY
HOME GROWN BRANDS bin Saeed Al Maktoum MAX #TamTalksTech
Personifying your company’s EMIRATES Gadgets and doodads that
corporate lingo, making > Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi 32 you might’ve missed out on,
messaging work for your BARJEEL ART FOUNDATION THE RECAP sourced by a tech aficionado.
business, and the application > Fabrizio Ferreira KSA Enterprise Agility Yes, it’s okay to want them
of pervasive branding tactics KBW INVESTMENTS Achievers 2015 all… and no, it’s not our
fault.
40
DAMAC
19 ACHIEVING WOMEN’S 46
Properties gets FORUM 2015 ‘TREPONOMICS:
the message The second Entrepreneur SKILLSET
across
Industry Intel event, the Invigorate your team in 10
Achieving Women’s Forum, steps
and 12 points of reference Bayt.com’s Lama Ataya
on the methodology of discusses the difference
business. between innovation and
creativity, and how to
12 determine which of the
EDITOR’S NOTE two is needed for your
By Fida Z. Chaaban organization.

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 3


CONTENTS JUNE 2015

80
START IT UP: 50 #TamTalksTech:
ECOSYSTEM BlackBerry Classic in white

MENA founders talk back


Five startups at the 8th MIT
Pan Arab Conference
consider ecosystem problems
and potential solutions.

84
Q+A
Yebab puts photos at the
forefront
Co-founders Mareyah
74 KSA Enterprise Agility Awards: Mohammad and Murshed
Mr. Farhan Al Jarba receiving the Lifetime Achievement award with Riyadh
Mohammad think it’s okay
Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vice Chairman of the board of directors,
Mr. Khalid Abdulaziz S. Al-Mukairan to rework your startup’s
direction- find out how it
went for them.

54 74 86
MARKETING ESQUIRE GUY STARTUP FINANCE
One size doesn’t fit all Small talk 101 Seeing dollar signs
Facebook Creative Shop’s Ross McCammon on Melltoo co-founder Sharene
Rob Newlan makes the the difference between Lee talks about how she
case for tailored, targeted schmoozing and small talk, finally got funded in Dubai…
marketing, and how your and which one to use in a and it was much harder than
SME stands to benefit. business context and when. you think.

40
The Recap:
Achieving
Women’s
Forum 2015

4 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


CONTENTS JUNE 2015

54 Facebook Creative Shop’s Rob Newlan


makes the case for tailored marketing

60
TRAVEL
Anticipation ahead of
demands
General Manager of the JW
Marriott Marquis Hotel
Dubai, Bill Keffer, relies on
finely-honed instincts to
cater to the executive client.

76
62 LIFE
CULTURE: Home, sweet home
TRAPPINGS Want to work from home as
‘Trep gear senior management? There
The executive selection for are pros and cons, and
the entrepreneur on your research to validate your
list that has everything. side of the debate.
Okay, maybe for a little
self-reward as well. 68
DESIGN
Seeing double
ERRATUM In the article, Blackwater Entrepreneur and designer
guards sentenced to lengthy prison Tarek Atrissi explains how
terms for Nisour Square slayings, that
appeared in Entrepreneur Middle East a well-executed typeface
May 2015 print edition, we erroneously can become the voice of
stated that Blackwater had rebranded your brand, and that your
as Academi which is in fact not the
case. Entrepreneur Middle East regrets identity needs to be on-
the error. message. 68 Entrepreneur and designer Tarek Atrissi

EXHIBITION DESIGN FOR THE VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM IN LONDON COURTESY TAREK ATRISSI WWW.TAREKATRISSI.COM

60
Anticipation ahead of
demands: the JW Marriott
Marquis Hotel Dubai

6 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


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MIDDLE EAST SUBSCRIBE
EDITOR IN CHIEF Fida Z. Chaaban editor@bncpublishing.net Contact subscriptions@bncpublishing.net to receive
Entrepreneur Middle East every issue
MANAGING DIRECTOR Walid Zok walid@bncpublishing.net
DIRECTOR Rabih Najm rabih@bncpublishing.net
DIRECTOR Wissam Younane wissam@bncpublishing.net
PUBLISHER Nehme Abouzeid
MANAGING EDITOR Aby Sam Thomas
CREATIVE LEAD Odette Kahwagi PO Box 502511 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
ONLINE LIAISON Kareem Chehayeb P +971 4 4200 506 | F +971 4 4200 196
COLUMNIST Pamella de Leon For all commercial enquiries related to
COLUMNIST Tamara Clarke Entrepreneur Middle East contact
sales@bncpublishing.net

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS All rights reserved © 2014.


Veronique Ademar Terry Dehdashty Angie Nassar Opinions expressed are solely those
Lama Ataya Simon Hudson May Rostom of the contributors.
Tamara Clarke Alex Iksold Soukaina Rachidi Entrepreneur Middle East and all subsidiary
Dr. Melodena Bal- Sharene Lee Emad Saif Salma publications in the MENA region are officially licensed
exclusively to BNC Publishing in the MENA region
akrishnan Suhail Al-Masri El-Shurafa
by Entrepreneur Media Inc.
Amal Chaaban Ross McCammon Sara Trüschler
No part of this magazine may be reproduced or
Tamara Clarke Shoug Al Nafisi Erika Widen transmitted in any form or by any means without
James Clear Rani Nasr written permission of the publisher.

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In addition to our print edition, we’re bringing you all sorts of


industry news on our web mediums. Joining us online means getting
MIDDLE EAST relevant business and startup content in real-time, so you’re hearing
about the latest developments as soon as we do. We’re looking
VISIT OUR NEW WEBSITE! forward to interacting with our readers on all of our social media and
www.entrepreneur.com/me web platforms- like any thriving business, we’re looking to give and
take. #TrepTalkME is already happening on all of our digi platforms,
and all good conversations go both ways. See you on the web!

EntMagazineME

@EntMagazineME | @Fida

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8 ENTREPRENEUR MARCH 2015


EDITOR’S NOTE

#EntMEWomen
Real talk in real-time

I
had the honor of hosting really sages that we hoped to convey, and
pivotal figures of business judging by our bold and engaged
at our Achieving Women’s audience, it resonated. We’re proud
Forum, an event staged under of the fact that the Forum was heav-
the Industry Intel banner of ily interactive (I took my phones
Entrepreneur Middle East. on stage to continue to “talk back”
Our Industry Intel events are via Twitter throughout the course
structured with three primary of the event, something people who
goals in mind: knowledge-building don’t use social media might find
and sharing via discourse, creat- unusual), but it was and always will
ing opportunities for business be part of Entrepreneur’s commu-
development, and networking and nication strategy: real talk in real-
access. During my opening remarks, time. Our hashtag, #EntMEWomen,
I stressed on the importance of trended on Twitter for two straight
the third point- I told our guests days indicating to me that not only
that in that space they should “feel was the event widely discussed, it
emboldened to approach other was much needed. For those that are
guests and especially the event’s interested, visiting the hashtag on
speakers.” I encouraged the audience Instagram and Twitter can give you
to network with one another heavily, a pretty comprehensive run down To our Achieving Women’s Forum
and even more importantly, to take of the day’s discourse- I hope you speakers, thank you for sharing
advantage of the direct access to check it out. your candid and frank opinions
our panelists who have all displayed Post-event, before I had a chance at the event. We appreciate your
significant talent and rare business to sit down and write thank you willingness to publically draw on
acumen. I also shared my thoughts notes to our speakers for giving up your relevant personal anecdotes
on the fact that we were staging a their time to participate, I began both positive and negative, and your
women-centric event; our speakers receiving emails from them thank- valuable advice. You all brought
and our attendees both are not just ing us for including them. These things to the table that everyone can
significant in the realm of women exceptional women were actually learn from, and put to work. I am
in business, they are significant in thanking us for inviting them to humbled by your participation and
business as a whole. That is partly speak? It shocked me, but it says a your support of the magazine and
what the Achieving Women’s Forum lot about their ethics and their sheer the work that we do.
was about: being an effective force of dedication to using their respective
commerce and enterprise as a figure experiences to make other women in
of business, not being regulated to business as successful as they are,
being an effective female figure of and they do so with such pleasure
business. What do I mean by this? and unparalleled relish! That’s one
Biology should not be part of the de- of the primary reasons our speak-
scriptors used in a business context. ers from the Achieving Women’s
It is often the clichéd case that Forum deserve to be heard far and
the squeaky wheel gets the grease, wide: they are willingly part of the Fida Z. Chaaban
and if it weren’t for my occasional ecosystem whenever possible, and Editor in Chief
“squeaks,” I wouldn’t be where I they want to participate in pushing @fida
am today. That was one of the mes- us all forward. editor@bncpublishing.net

12 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


IN THE LOOP

FORMER EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT


MOHAMMED MORSI
SENTENCED TO DEATH

A
fter a long trial, former
Egyptian president Moham-
med Morsi along with over
100 others were sentenced
to death in May for involve-
ment in a mass prison break during the
uprising against former president Hosni
Mubarak in 2011. Many of the other
suspects were tried in absentia. Morsi
seemed clear of the death sentence after
a trial last week resulted in the court
sentencing 16 suspects on espionage
charges, but he was spared. The verdict
Pyongyang, North Korea
caused outrage in the international com-
munity, including the United States, the
North Korea Defense Minister European Union, and even Turkey. With
all that said, the court’s decision must
reportedly “executed” be revised by Egypt’s Grand Mufti, whose
role is to interpret Islamic law on behalf

O
n May 13, several South Ko- While the story of Yong-chol’s execu- of the government, but this won’t be
rean MPs said at a session that tion went viral across the Internet, this clear until June 2.
North Korean Defense Minister isn’t the first time something like this
Hyon Yong-chol was executed has gone wild. In early 2014, Kim Jong-
in late April after falling asleep at an un executed his own uncle. That was
event that was attended by head of state confirmed by both the NIS and North

NORTH KOREA IMAGE © ASTRELOK / SHUTTERSTOCK | MOHAMMED MORSI IMAGE © MOHAMED ELSAYYED / SHUTTERSTOCK | CLARIDGE’S HOTEL IMAGE © IR STONE / SHUTTERSTOCK
Kim Jong-un. The details were eyebrow- Korean state media, the reported nature
raising to say the least; the Defense of his execution (though not publically
Minister, who was a very close colleague disclosed by either entity) went viral
to Kim Jong-un, was supposedly ex- on the internet via multiple platforms;
ecuted at a shooting range with an anti- it was stated that his uncle was fed to
aircraft gun in front of a large crowd. 120 hungry, rabid dogs. An interesting
That said, the fact that he was executed fact-finding piece by the Washington
might not even be true: South Korean Post shows that the original source of
intelligence, the National Intelligence the story was a Hong Kong newspaper
Service (NIS), stated that there was no that did not mention any sources, and is
confirmation of Yong-chol’s execution, among the least credible sources there.
let alone the method of execution. They Not that we’re giving the North Korean
do know that he has been purged, and state the benefit of the doubt, but
Mohammed Morsi
that while some reports claim he was maybe they didn’t use an anti-aircraft
executed, it might not be the case. gun to execute Hyon Yong-chol.

QATAR SCOOPS UP (MORE) LONDON


LUXURY HOTELS
Q atar hasn’t taken a break with their
massive purchases, after purchasing
a 64% stake in the Maybourne Hotel
and Sir Frederick Barclay have been
dealing with a four-year skirmish on pur-
chasing their stake. The remaining 36%
Group that owns Claridge’s, The Berkley, is owned by Irish businessman, Paddy
and The Connaught. The three luxury McKillen. The price wasn’t disclosed,
London hotels were scooped up by but rumor has it that Abu Dhabi offered
Constellation Hotels (part of the Qatar £1.6 billion for the three hotels, though
Claridge’s luxury Investment Authority), and its former no official statements or developments
hotel in London owners couldn’t be happier; Sir David were made on the matter.

16 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


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www.drakescull.com
INNOVATOR

BUILDING
THE ( BEST )
HOME GROWN
BRANDS
Personifying your company’s corporate lingo, making messaging work for your business,
and the application of pervasive branding tactics

H.H. SHEIKH AHMED BIN SAEED AL MAKTOUM EMIRATES


FABRIZIO FERREIRA KBW INVESTMENTS
RAMANATHAN HARIHARAN MAX
ZIAD EL CHAAR DAMAC PROPERTIES
SULTAN SOOUD AL-QASSEM BARJEEL ART FOUNDATION

EDITOR’S NOTE
For the June edition of Entrepreneur Middle East centered around the developing the best home grown brands, we are pleased to present a section that includes
an exclusive editorial by the Chairman of the company that has arguably done the most for the UAE across industries and sectors: Emirates.

18 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


BUILDING
THE (BEST)
HOME GROWN
BRANDS

THE PROPERTY PUNDIT Ziad El Chaar,


Managing Director,
DAMAC Properties

ZIAD EL CHAAR MANAGING DIRECTOR


DAMAC PROPERTIES

N
“ o one speaks for DAMAC
Properties. DAMAC
line without having a solid product or
service that actually does what your
speaks for DAMAC.” advertising promises. And in the event
If there was someone it doesn’t? You’ll be pigeonholed as an
who could speak for the all-talk-no-action company- no matter
luxury developer, it would be Ziad El how much promo you put out there
Chaar, appointed to the position of or worse it might even backfire. “The
its Managing Director in 2011. Prior value of the brand will not increase
to assuming the role of MD, El Chaar if it’s not delivering on its slogan and
served stints as DAMAC’s General positioning,” and the message may
Manager of Operations, International even subsequently become an Achil-
General Manager, and Vice President les’ heel for the company.
of International Sales since joining “The investor must be confident and
the company a decade ago. Taking believe that the developer, building
his experience wearing different hats this extremely complex 84-storey
within the company into consider- tower or developing a 42 million sq.
ation, it’s safe to assume that El Chaar ft. Gulf community, is credible and considering real estate in the UAE.
has mastered DAMAC’s message, courageous. The chief concern of the He adds that the messaging in India,
internalized it, and pretty much made branding is that you need to stand geographically closer and culturally
it his way of life. “Many real estate out in a massively cluttered market,” more familiar with Dubai, is more in
developers just go on building and says El Chaar, and stand out they do line with what people might see here
selling without creating a brand. The with visual campaigns that are at once in the GCC. The process goes as such:
main driver, in building a local brand, interesting and arresting. Even if you determining the chief concerns of the
was the brand of Dubai, from which know next to nothing about the busi- target market, crafting the message
we have definitely benefitted from ness side of DAMAC, the company’s around those concerns, and injecting
tremendously. We wanted to create a comprehensive corporate communica- the elements of DAMAC Properties
brand next to brand Dubai, and this is tion strategy with a strong language into the overall schema. El Chaar
when we started working very heavily of its own, and a distinctive visual points out that while the process is
on establishing a brand of real estate, identity, makes things abundantly care and labor intensive, often involv-
which very few developers do. The es- clear. “The visual identity is that we ing the senior management of multiple
tablishment of a brand isn’t just about are in the development of buildings, areas of the company, it has been re-
plastering your billboards on roads, towers, retail shops- the visual iden- warded richly with brand recognition
but also about developing a com- tity has to be as bold and as credible and even brand admiration- no mean
munication plan and then making sure as the actual construction operations feat for a company founded just over a
that what you deliver is in line with themselves.” decade ago.
that brand proposition.” It means you, “In 2014, we changed the way that
as an entrepreneur or as a corporate we are communicating. With Akoya
executive, can’t just spout the party Oxygen, we went into a fresher ap- TALK THE TALK
proach, we went into a more human Founded in 2002, the DAMAC Properties
approach- placing more people in our messaging has evolved over the years.
A villa at AKOYA communication, and yes, we’re still Current DAMAC Properties strategic
Oxygen
bold and ‘living the luxury,’ but we’re communication dos:
closer to human beings and close to • The use of accurate comparative language
being attached to the environmental to give prospective investors an idea of the
aspect of the developments. We’re not standard, like “Beverly Hills.”
only steel and concrete.” DAMAC does • Choosing language that reflects the
undertake campaigns abroad but tai- heritage of the local market.
lors their propositions based on “what Current DAMAC Properties strategic
cycle of awareness” the demographic communication don’ts
is in regarding Dubai. As examples, El • Celebrities are out, real people are in.
Chaar explains that recent messaging • Avoid language and titling properties
in Beijing at a large-scale event dis- with descriptors that don’t reflect the local
cussed property ownership in Dubai, environment and topography like “hills.”
and what DAMAC can offer those

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 19


BUILDING
THE (BEST)
HOME GROWN
BRANDS

POWERING THE ENGINES


OF PROSPERITY
TO DUBAI EXPO 2020
AND BEYOND
AVIATION DRIVING THE SUCCESS AND SUSTAINABILITY OF THE UAE PRIVATE SECTOR
By H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum

I
t’s been more than a year and a half since the UAE was named as the
host of World Expo 2020. As the government and business com-
munity have already begun to collectively gear up for the largest
international mega-event to happen in this region, the role of
entrepreneurship has never been more essential. It will not only
continue to solidify the foundations of our economy, but will
also help propel it beyond 2020.
Dubai expects to receive over 25 million As we approach 2020, the UAE will
visitors, with over 70% of them coming become even more ‘front and center’
from beyond the UAE, setting a precedent on the world’s stage. This translates
for World Expos. This means that about 17.5 into opportunities for businesses to
million people will conduct about 33 million further link up with global value
visits to the Expo site. These figures confirm chains across several sectors, and
to me that every sector in the UAE will be our flourishing air transport sec-
involved in this mega project. tor will play a big role in that.
Government plans have al-
FOR EVERY 100 JOBS CREATED IN AVIATION, ready been laid out, and they
AN ADDITIONAL 116 JOBS ARE CREATED ELSE- carry enormous opportuni-
ties for small and medium
WHERE IN DUBAI. EVERYTHING POINTS IN THE sized businesses. Within
DIRECTION THAT THESE FIGURES WILL GROW the nucleus of the private
SIGNIFICANTLY IN THE COMING YEARS, AND sector, the role of SMEs
WILL SPILL OVER TO THE REST OF THE REGION. is becoming vital >>>

20 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


BUILDING
THE (BEST)
HOME GROWN
BRANDS

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 21


BUILDING
THE (BEST)
HOME GROWN
BRANDS
in augmenting Dubai’s already diversi- Aviation and its direct, indirect and According to an Oxford Economics
fied economy, helping to create more induced outputs will account to more study done last year, aviation sup-
jobs in industries that underpin our than 17% of Dubai’s total workforce ported over 416,500 jobs and contrib-
place as a global epicenter for every- by 2020. Aviation is one of the main uted over US$26.7 billion to Dubai’s
thing business. engines driving Dubai’s emergence as a economy in 2013. This growth will be
Dubai Expo 2020 will support Dubai global center for trade, commerce and further stimulated as Emirates expects
and the UAE’s economy by creating tourism. That is why the government to carry 70 million passengers by
more than 270,000 additional jobs created a business and regulatory en- 2020 on over 300 aircraft, and we are
between 2013 and 2021- with 40% of vironment that supports its growth by developing our workforce, and build-
them in the travel and tourism sector. encouraging open competition through ing leading-edge facilities to support
Open Skies policies and efficient opera- operations of this scale.
ACCORDING TO AN OXFORD ECONOMICS tions. For every $100 of activity in the
aviation sector, a further $72 is added These are not ambitious figures.
STUDY DONE LAST YEAR, AVIATION in other sectors of the local economy
SUPPORTED OVER 416,500 JOBS from supply chain connections and ex- They are forecasts based on meticu-
AND CONTRIBUTED OVER US$26.7 penditures. For every 100 jobs created lously laid out plans to enhance the
BILLION TO DUBAI’S ECONOMY IN in aviation, an additional 116 jobs are world-class infrastructure that has
2013. THIS GROWTH WILL BE FURTHER created elsewhere in Dubai. Every- defined Dubai. It’s no accident that we
thing points in the direction that these are a global aviation and tourism hub
STIMULATED AS EMIRATES EXPECTS figures will grow significantly in the that continues to power the engines of
TO CARRY 70 MILLION PASSENGERS BY coming years, and will spill over to the economic development.
2020 ON OVER 300 AIRCRAFT rest of the region. It’s taken years to build up the

22 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


BUILDING
THE (BEST)
HOME GROWN
BRANDS

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum TODAY, PASSENGERS HAVE DIRECT
FLIGHT CONNECTIONS FROM
DUBAI TO OVER 149 CITIES WITH
POPULATIONS OF OVER 1 MILLION
PEOPLE, CREATING POTENTIAL
EXPORT MARKETS OF OVER 916
MILLION PEOPLE, OR 13% OF THE
WORLD’S POPULATION.
innovative industries and will define
their structure. And connectivity will
be the lynchpin that helps merge great
young minds and new ideas.
One of Dubai’s greatest assets is its
superior connectivity. We are eight
hours away from two-thirds of the
world’s population. And the connectiv-
ity effects will continue to be felt, not
just local or regionally. From China to
Africa, we are helping to build the new
trade highway. Today, passengers have
direct flight connections from Dubai
to over 149 cities with populations of
over 1 million people, creating potential
export markets of over 916 million peo-
ple, or 13% of the world’s population.

AVIATION IS ONE OF THE MAIN ENGINES DRIV-


ING DUBAI’S EMERGENCE AS A GLOBAL CENTER
FOR TRADE, COMMERCE AND TOURISM. THAT
IS WHY THE GOVERNMENT CREATED A BUSI-
NESS AND REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT THAT
SUPPORTS ITS GROWTH BY ENCOURAGING
OPEN COMPETITION THROUGH OPEN SKIES
POLICIES AND EFFICIENT OPERATIONS.
This connectivity has provided greater
access to foreign markets, encourag-
ing exports, and increasing competi-
tion within our own local economy,
ultimately benefiting consumers. It
has also given smaller businesses the
ability to specialize in areas where they
have a comparative advantage over
DUBAI EXPO 2020 WILL SUPPORT DUBAI AND to be involved in a wide spectrum of their more sizable competition, helping
THE UAE’S ECONOMY BY CREATING MORE the industries that surround it includ- to pioneer new products that will ex-
THAN 270,000 ADDITIONAL JOBS BETWEEN ing building materials, construction, tend Dubai’s already burgeoning crea-
2013 AND 2021- WITH 40% OF THEM IN THE support for the over 400 hotels in tive industries, tourism and technology
Dubai in a sector that continues to sectors. As a result, new thinking and
TRAVEL AND TOURISM SECTOR.
grow, consumer products and supply dynamic ways to attract business will
fundamentals, and we will continue chain projects including storage, logis- raise the bar for innovation.
to take a consensus-based approach tics and packaging, to name a few. The extent of the opportunities avail-
to infrastructure investment, embrace able for those who want to seize them
open competition, and focus on open- But infrastructure is just the start. are significant, and I am optimistic of
ing up and connecting mature as well the prospects that lay ahead of us in
as emerging markets. Infrastructure and logistics help the upcoming years as aviation con-
SMEs within a multitude of sectors to define and enhance our strategic tinues to be a key economic sector and
have played a part in the development geographical position. Entrepreneur- driver in Dubai and the UAE, leaving a
of this infrastructure and will continue ship will help unlock the potential of lasting mark for generations to come.

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 23


BUILDING
THE (BEST)
HOME GROWN
BRANDS
NUMBER CRUNCHING EMIRATES
Established in 1985, Emirates today award-winning carrier today has 219 ing delivery of aircraft worth over • Net profit $1.2 billion
has an international route network passenger and 14 freighter aircraft US$135 billion. • Passengers carried
that involves 144 destinations in in its fleet, a number that’s only For the financial year 2014-15, 49.3 million
81 countries and territories, which set to further grow in the coming Emirates saw: • Cargo revenues $3.4 billion
includes 14 cargo-only services. The years, with Emirates having a pend- • Revenue US$24.2 billion • Cargo carried 2.4 million tons

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum


Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group
Over the past appointed President of the Dubai Depart- activities, he is Patron to many charitable
25 years, H.H. ment of Civil Aviation (DCA), the governing organizations. He has also received
Sheikh Ahmed body that oversaw the activities of Dubai numerous recognitions and accolades from
Bin Saeed Al International and Dubai Duty Free, among various Governments and multi-nationals.
Maktoum has others. In the same year, Emirates Airline, Semi-Government positions; patronages
been at the fore- Dubai’s international carrier, was launched and accolades are also listed below.
front of Dubai’s with Sheikh Ahmed as its Chairman. He is His Highness Sheikh Ahmed has a
remarkable eco- now the Chairman and Chief Executive of Bachelor’s Degree from the University of
nomic develop- Emirates Airline and Group, which includes Denver, Colorado, USA. He is well known
EMIRATES IMAGE © BYELIKOVA OKSANA / SHUTTERSTOCK

ment spearhead- dnata, the region’s leading travel services internationally for his contribution to the
ing the successful and ground handling company, and other development of aviation in the region.
expansion of aviation and, more recently, aviation related entities. The Royal Aeronautical Society, one of
formulating economic, investment and fis- Sheikh Ahmed holds a number of the industry’s oldest and most respected
cal policies and strategies in support of the government positions and plays an professional associations, honored his
emirate’s overarching vision. increasingly pivotal role in leading the achievements in aviation with a fellowship
Sheikh Ahmed embarked on his career in Emirate’s finance and energy sectors; of the Society at the 1994 Farnborough Air
the aviation industry in 1985 when he was and despite his numerous business Show in the UK.

24 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


BUILDING
THE (BEST)
HOME GROWN
BRANDS

THE BRAND MAKER Fabrizio Ferreira,


Chief Strategy Officer,
KBW Investments

FABRIZIO FERREIRA CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER


KBW INVESTMENTS

W
“ hat we have observed
with our own eyes
in January of last
year, and since then,
is that the life of a the heritage com-
mid-sized company pany has grown in
completely changes both scale and mul-
when it finally makes the decision tinational presence.
to take one more step and use high- “The First objective
impact marketing campaigns.” Fabrizio is to innovate in the
Ferreira is making the case for First, way media and cor-
the newly launched media arm of porate performance
KBW Investments, and he’s the man intertwine, and we
heading up the show. And a show it do this by merging
is, as First’s launch project centers the experience we
around motorsport and what it can have developed as
do for both SMEs and large-scale an investment firm
enterprises with their eyes on multi- to that of the media
national business development… and activity,” explains
Ferreira.
Why is a new-
“WE LOOK FOR COMPANIES THAT WE
comer in a section
CAN ACTUALLY CREATE VALUE FOR; THE about the best home
COMPANY MUST HAVE THE MINDSET grown brands?
THAT WE ARE AN ACTIVE PARTNER AND Because First
THAT WE WORK HAND-IN-HAND. WE demonstrates the
CONCEPTUALIZED FIRST AT THE END OF LAST importance of brave
YEAR, AND WE SAW THAT THIS MODEL HAD market entry moves,
POTENTIAL TO SPIN-OFF AND HAVE ITS OWN and how a large-
LIFE, SOMETHING THAT BEGAN WITH THE scale company can
RAIMONDI CRANES ACQUISITION.” and should dedicate
significant resources
potentially IPOs. As the Chief Strategy to launching a new
Officer, Ferreira recently relocated venture. When
from his native Brazil to execute and you’re fresh out of
implement First for KBW Investments. the gate, doing it
His professional background includes bigger and better
founding a private equity firm, and a with an unconven-
number of restructuring deals- some- tional methodology
thing that he says he is applying to will get your company noticed by the What we see in a mid-sized company
First’s tactical market entry. “We look people who matter: those with an ap- is that most of the time, executives
for companies that we can actually preciative eye for bold maneuvers and and employees are looking just to stay
create value for; the company must unorthodox business approaches. First in the company for a while and then
have the mindset that we are an active isn’t just looking at implementing transition to a larger company later.
partner and that we work hand-in- external branding, corporate com- We believe that if someone stays in
hand. We conceptualized First at the munications and public identity for the company and the company grows
end of last year, and we saw that this your SME, Ferreira maintains that it’s and does well, he or she will be much
model had potential to spin-off and also about “really helping companies better off -if there is the right gover-
have its own life, something that be- achieve and perform better than they nance, profit distribution model, and
gan with the Raimondi Cranes acqui- perform today. It’s not just about culture in place- fantastic results can
sition.” The first of two 2014 European marketing and advertising, it’s about be had for all.” How does First plan to
KBW Investments acquisitions, HRH helping to shape corporate culture and do this? They are already practicing
Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal how companies and the executives of what they preach via due diligence
became Chairman of Raimondi Cranes those companies behave internally. and close analysis of a potential

26 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


BUILDING
THE (BEST)
HOME GROWN
BRANDS

“MOST OF THE TIME, EXECUTIVES AND “The tagline for First is ‘brand maker’. pany can cleverly leverage for a very
EMPLOYEES ARE LOOKING JUST TO STAY IN THE Anyone can execute an outdoor long period of time. There is also the
COMPANY FOR A WHILE AND THEN TRANSITION campaign, but certain companies added benefit of the type of comradery
TO A LARGER COMPANY LATER. WE BELIEVE are looking for a more exclusive or and excitement that sporting events
THAT IF SOMEONE STAYS IN THE COMPANY exotic communication experience impart, and Ferreira points out that
AND THE COMPANY GROWS AND DOES WELL, and we’re developing these tools. GP3 some of your best business develop-
was very interesting for us; we found ment opportunities happen during the
HE OR SHE WILL BE MUCH BETTER OFF -IF
the affect of GP3 advertisement for all-important social situations. “It’s
THERE IS THE RIGHT GOVERNANCE, PROFIT
a medium-sized company astonish- an opportunity for business to busi-
DISTRIBUTION MODEL, AND CULTURE IN PLACE-
ing. It generates a lot of good results, ness because the suppliers are there,
FANTASTIC RESULTS CAN BE HAD FOR ALL.” internally and externally. Internally the investors are there, the clients are
it changes the life of a mid-sized there! It’s really a different environ-
partner company’s structure of the company, with nine different events ment completely from doing business
sort usually only applied to financial across nine countries and execu- in the boardroom than taking a client
considerations- like M&A deals, and tives begin to follow and really plot or investor for a full weekend of mo-
this is very much in line with Fer- their marketing plans- depending torsport experiences.”
reira’s professional experience. “Of on which markets you are looking to
course we look at the marketing and enter or expand penetration of.” The
communications at the start, but we benefits of motorsport involvement? “ANYONE CAN EXECUTE AN OUTDOOR CAMPAIGN,
delve deeper. We analyze what’s going The positioning is promotional gold- BUT CERTAIN COMPANIES ARE LOOKING FOR A
wrong and make suggestions to adjust companies stand to gain a slew of ar- MORE EXCLUSIVE OR EXOTIC COMMUNICATION
accordingly, and maximize what is resting imagery and videography that EXPERIENCE AND WE’RE DEVELOPING THESE
going right,” he says, adding that the emerges from every motorsport event. TOOLS. GP3 WAS VERY INTERESTING FOR US; WE
best in class are in all likelihood going Regardless of whether or not the FOUND THE AFFECT OF GP3 ADVERTISEMENT FOR
to be considered for potential invest- driver you are endorsing wins, you’ve A MEDIUM-SIZED COMPANY ASTONISHING. IT
ment by KBW. got branding material that your com- GENERATES A LOT OF GOOD RESULTS”

First starts big to foster the ever-elusive


cult of personality wielded

with GP3 by influencers globally to


benefit companies of all
FIRST’S KEVIN CECCON sizes, both online and offline.
The 21 year-old Italian has
“We are proud to launch driver, Kevin has the ability to demonstrated strong career
with Kevin Ceccon as we inspire executives outside the potential, having won the
believe he has the heart racetracks and to really make Italian Auto GP, and subse- HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal
which every middle market a difference to the compa- quently proved himself again and Kevin Ceccon during the signing of
the driver’s collabroation with First, the
company must have in order nies, both in the strategic in Monte Carlo in 2012 and in new media arm of KBW Investments
to expand, and to conquer and tactical levels.” Ferreira 2013 in Monaco. Like many
market share in highly com- is certain that Ceccon, a young motorsport stars, the overachiever and relentless
petitive niches. More than a GP3 racer, has what it takes driver was in need of spon- determination- qualities
sors and patrons to further lauded in business and
his already-impressive track desirable for promotional
Kevin Ceccon
foothold and in came First, potential. At the time of writ-
under the KBW Investment ing, Ceccone had just finished
umbrella. KBW Investments the GP3 Barcelona, Spain
became aware of Ceccon leg placing at eighth with 10
after their Italian-based points. The next segment of
subsidiary Raimondi Cranes GP3, June 19-20, is to take
brought his marketable im- place in Austria, followed by
age and on-track prowess to England and Hungary legs
their attention. What makes both in July. For those want-
Ceccon brand-friendly? ing to see Ceccon perform on
Marketeers will quickly note our turf, he’ll be in the UAE
his charismatic disposition, for the Abu Dhabi leg of the
confident grin, and attitude event November 27-29.
that conveys equal parts www.gp3series.com

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 27


BUILDING
THE (BEST)
HOME GROWN
BRANDS

THE STRATEGIST wanted to offer


them the aspira-

RAMANATHAN HARIHARAN tion, so that they


could move up to

CEO, MAX value fashion.”


This principle

I
served as the
t may be one of the largest value basis behind
fashion brands in the Middle decisions on
East today, but back in 2004, where Max stores
Max was just another startup would actually
(albeit from the stable of the be situated- their
Landmark Group conglomerate), locations were
trying to make inroads into what was carefully plotted
then a relatively untouched market in to be next to, you
the retail space of the region. guessed it, high
Ramanathan Hariharan, CEO, Max, street and dis-
recalls how he and his team looked count retailers.
into the growing influence of value “I think, in
fashion retailers in Western markets, terms of strategy,
and wanting to replicate that success positioning and
for their brand in the Middle East. where to put the
“We realized that value fashion retail- stores, all of that
ers are slowly carving out a niche in was fairly well
the market, and becoming stronger in researched and
their positioning and their offers to thought out,”
the customers,” he remembers. “That Hariharan says.
inspired us to say that if the value “But of course,
fashion segment is becoming more the final piece is
important, or if it’s trying to create the execution.”
its own niche in the retail landscape To the brand’s
and taking a certain share of the credit though,
fashion market, we realized that it’s Max didn’t falter
important for us in this market to also on this front- Ramanathan
play the game as Landmark Group Hariharan and his Hariharan,
CEO, Max
and not be left out, in a manner [of team were keen
speaking].” on ensuring that
The market segment that Max was every customer who visits a Max store
targeting was a pretty specific one- were offered high-quality products “OUR RESEARCH MADE CLEAR TO US
the brand’s consumer of choice lay in a pleasant, seamless environment. THAT, YES, WE CAN CREATE A NICHE IN
in between those who shopped at With this aim in mind, a decision THE MARKET, AND THAT WE CAN CREATE
mainstream retailers, and those who was made to have all products at Max A SIZEABLE BUSINESS AND SCALE [IT
shopped at discount stores. “We felt branded with the Max name- custom- UP FURTHER], JUST BY TARGETING
that there’s a clear space in between ers weren’t going to have disjointed THAT VALUE FASHION SEGMENT. OUR
the high-street retailers and the dis- experiences at these stores. All prod- POSITIONING WAS ALWAYS THAT WE ARE
counters, and that’s how we started ucts Max sold had to thus meet high
GOING TO BE A VALUE FASHION BRAND”
researching more and more into the quality standards- this meant that
value fashion segment,” Hariharan Max’s suppliers and vendors had to be
says. “Our research made clear to us carefully chosen to ensure adherence This attention to detail, be it in terms
that, yes, we can create a niche in to the requisite criterion. Similarly, of the desired customer experience or
the market, and that we can create no effort was spared in ensuring the quality of the products Max was
a sizeable business and scale [it up Max’s consumers got to shop in a selling, may seem like quite a basic
further], just by targeting that value pleasant setting- Hariharan says that principle that all retailers should
fashion segment. Our positioning was he and his team didn’t want to “bring follow- but realizing such a vision,
always that we are going to be a value down” the experience people had in especially when you are a newcomer
fashion brand: customers who shop their stores: “We said we’d try to give to the business, is a lot easier said
with high street retailers, we wanted them as rewarding and enjoyable an than done. After all, it must be re-
to offer them value, and customers experience as they would possibly membered that Max was essentially
who shop with discount retailers, we enjoy with a mainstream retailer.” a startup when all of these plans

28 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


BUILDING
THE (BEST)
HOME GROWN
BRANDS

“MOST
Max store OF THE TIME, EXECUTIVES AND
exterior, Max is also evolving with the times,
part of the ARE LOOKING JUST TO STAY IN THE
EMPLOYEES and is moving beyond its brick-and-
Landmark Group mortar stores- the brand recently
COMPANY FOR A WHILE AND THEN TRANSITION
TO A LARGER COMPANY LATER. WE BELIEVE announced its entry into the e-com-
merce space by launching the sale of
THAT IF SOMEONE STAYS IN THE COMPANY
its products on landmarkshops.com.
AND THE COMPANY GROWS AND DOES WELL,
“We want to enrich the shopping
HE OR SHE WILL BE MUCH BETTER OFF -IF
experience of customers by providing
THERE IS THE RIGHT GOVERNANCE, PROFIT them with an online platform,” Hari-
DISTRIBUTION MODEL, AND CULTURE IN PLACE- haran says, noting that the ultimate
FANTASTIC RESULTS CAN BE HAD FOR ALL.” aim is to provide consumers with “a
seamless way of shopping between the
online and offline” versions of Max.
“This is only the start of the journey,”
he explains. “The interface between
online and offline shopping will get
more and more integrated.” But while
Max develops its digital footprint, and
at the same time, sees further growth
and visions were being drafted, and had exposure in the Middle East. in its business (besides its India op-
Hariharan is candid enough to admit So we would introduce the Middle erations, which was launched almost
that finding suppliers and vendors for Eastern market, and tell them how in tandem with its Middle East arm,
Max at that point in time was indeed emerging it is, how important it is for the company is now making inroads
a rather tough proposition. “Initially, them to have an account here, to start into the African continent), the brand
our biggest challenge was one of vol- off business with us. We also had the remains steadfastly true to its value
ume,” he says. “Because when you go benefit of being part of the Landmark fashion ethos- customers shopping
to a factory [that would be a potential Group, which had more than 20 years at Max can remain assured of looking
supplier], they’d have to run their of history to showcase. So we told the good, and feeling good as well.
machines and everything for you, and vendors: Max may be a nascent brand,
they normally can only run it only if but given the backing of Landmark
there’s a certain volume. We didn’t Group and the way Max had been
have as many stores as some of the conceptualized and positioned in the GET TO KNOW THE CEO
other brands, and so, we didn’t even marketplace, it could grow in the next RAMANATHAN HARIHARAN
have the minimum to try and source 10 years, and the vendors would be Ramanathan Hariharan, or Ram, as
the products.” our partners in this growth.” he is popularly known, is the CEO
So how did Max get past this Sure, Hariharan’s pitch was a com- of Max and a Board Member of
hurdle? “When you’re a startup, it pelling one, but that is not to say that the Landmark Group. Ram joined
means you have to engage with your it convinced suppliers to line up by Landmark Group in Dubai in 1994 and
suppliers, give them the vision of the dozen to partner with Max at that played a pivotal role in launching the
where you want to go, and how you point of time. “Of course, many guys fashion brand, Splash. In June 1996,
can help them to start and grow along will not accept you; they will say we he moved to Kuwait to expand the
with you,” Hariharan replies. “One of don’t have time for you,” he admits. Group’s operations in the new terri-
the things that we used to always talk “But for every 10 guys that say no, tory. Realizing the importance and po-
to our vendors about was that most there will be that one guy who will say tential of the Group’s India operations,
of them were only servicing the Eu- okay, and is willing to invest with you Ram moved as Managing Director to
ropean and U.S. markets- they never and service you, in the hope that they head Lifestyle, India in 2000. Having
will be one of your key vendors over successfully launched the brand in
a period of time.” With such partners India, Ram took over the reins to con-
on board and a carefully thought-out ceptualize and build Max, the Group’s
strategy that was both marketed and value fashion business in 2004.
executed well, Max soon saw its for- Under Ram’s leadership over the last
tunes scale up in the market- today, 10 years, Max has grown to become
the company has over 300 stores the largest value fashion brand with
spread across 16 countries around the over 300 stores in the Middle East,
world. With more than 7000 people North Africa and India. Today, Ram is
employed across its network, Max at the forefront formulating strategies
now has a reported turnover in excess and overseeing Landmark Group’s
of US$1.2 billion, and aims to have it investments in India in the future.
Max store, part of the Landmark Group
reach $3 billion in the next five years.

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 29


BUILDING
THE (BEST)
HOME GROWN
BRANDS

on display until November, while


Sultan Sooud
Al Qassemi, Whitechapel Gallery in London will be
Founder, Barjeel showcasing Barjeel collection works
Art Foundation over the course of year beginning in
September with a four-part series,
and the Toronto Aga Khan Museum
will have Barjeel works on exhibit as
of July 25th. “The exhibit at the Aga
Khan Museum will run until January
2nd. We’re flying in a few artists from
the exhibition, Saudi artist Manal
AlDowayan and Egyptian-Australian
artist Raafat Ishak. Also, the artists
have recorded the audio guides of
their work, and we’re hoping to get
more artists to come and give talks
over those months. We’re showing a
cross-section of artists from across
the Arab world including from Iraq,
Palestine, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia,
and Egypt. There are 11 artists, and
only one has passed away, so it’s a
contemporary show. The name of the

THE CULTURAL EMISSARY exhibition is Home Ground.”


As a journalist, speaker, com-
SULTAN SOOUD AL QASSEMI mentator and digital influencer, Al

WWW.BARJEELARTFOUNDATION.ORG | WWW.GOOGLE.COM/CULTURALINSTITUTE/U/0/COLLECTION/BARJEEL-ART-FOUNDATION | ARTWORK IMAGES COURTESY OF BARJEEL ART FOUNDATION


Qassemi leverages his substantial
FOUNDER, BARJEEL ART FOUNDATION digital footprint and online audience
to further the conversation about

N
art in MENA. He often tweets images
ow in its fifth year, the understanding, tour-able in that you of works and artists directly, shares
Sharjah-based Barjeel can take it out of the country, show it details about upcoming exhibits, and
Art Foundation, concep- elsewhere and bring it back, and con- articles about cultural endeavors.
tualized and executed by tributes to broadening the dialogue, Joining Al Qassemi for dinner might
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, and distancing ourselves away from include a private showing of some of
has a few agendas on the go at all the stereotypical discussions that we Barjeel’s expansive collection, paired
times. At the forefront of their mis- have surrounding the Middle East and with an enlightened commentary
sion is the presentation, promotion Arab world.” and artist backstory à la museum
and perseveration of MENA region One of the biggest indicators of audio guide. If you already follow Al
works of modern and contemporary Barjeel’s success as a home grown Qassemi online, it won’t come as a
art, and the artists behind those brand is the list of their regional and surprise that Barjeel’s web presence
works of art. Increasing dialogue via international alliances. In the region, is both expansive and extraordinary.
participation in the global art scene, the Foundation’s works recently Visiting the Foundation’s portal treats
generating buzz locally for art, and visited Kuwait, and there are several users to a rabbit hole experience- one
the active pursuit and sourcing of rare UAE-based companies to whom Bar- click leads to another and soon you
works is only some of the initiatives jeel has loaned
that Barjeel undertakes. The driving work to, including
force (and possibly the most valuable “Dolphin En-
asset of the Foundation)? Al Qassemi ergy and Tawazun
himself. On the ground, as the face [Holding] in Abu
of Barjeel, Al Qassemi is a highly ac- Dhabi, a couple of
tive in the cultural community, and law firms in DIFC
considered the catalyst of some of as well as the DIFC
region’s most spirited art discourse. courts.” The Foun-
“My aim for Barjeel is to establish a dation also loaned
collection that has a unique identity: works for the UAE
a collection of Arab artists that is ac- Pavilion at the
cessible, approachable and available 56th Venice Bien-
for loan, that kind of nurtures cultural nale which will be

30 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


BUILDING
THE (BEST)
HOME GROWN
BRANDS

culture into the space


that makes a statement “Your corporate space
about your vision as a is a reflection of your
corporate leader. “It’s a
unique statement about
company culture.”
the corporation, it says MENA artworks worth the investment
that, ‘We differentiate selected by Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi
ourselves.’ There is also
CSR, as many of these
companies are not taxed
in the region so it’s
a way to give back to
the community. It’s an
immediate investment
in culture and com-
munity- it’s not a CSR
initiative that doesn’t
have a direct return to
the institution. These ALGERIA Driss Ouadahi Zinnober, 2014, oil on canvas
artworks will go up in 190 x 240 cm
value, the more people
understand firsthand why entities that buy quality work, the more
with content-heavy mediums experi- certain the valuations are in these
ence less bounce rate and more overall artworks.” Al Qassemi suggests that
sharing action. Barjeel’s portal allows corporations can take “baby steps” by
you to browse by medium (including borrowing fine pieces, then gradually
collage, installation, and video/mul- moving into ownership.
timedia), or by artist and by country “One of the biggest collections in
UAE Ebtisam Abdulaziz Untitled, 2014, acrylic on
(even listing “Iraqi Kurdistan” and the the world maybe is Deutsche Bank’s canvas, 101 x 201 cm
“Occupied Syrian Golan Heights”). collection; it’s a huge database. UBS
You can also search for artworks by and J.P. Morgan both have huge
date added, by title alphabetically or collections, these are some of the
by artist alphabetically, and while this greatest corporate collections in the
may seem straightforward, the devel- world, and you’ll notice some of the
opment of portals of this complexity biggest and best corporate collectors
involves serious coding and a lot of are banks. Sadly, the Middle East cor- PALESTINE Kamal Boullata Bilqis 5, 2014, acrylic on
planning ahead. The website lists 720 porations are falling behind in terms canvas 120 x 328 cm
works, and 430 of Barjeel’s works are of corporate collections, but the most
also curated in the Google Cultural famous one by far is Abraaj Capital
Institute. This all feeds into one of the in Dubai. Not only do they have a
Foundation’s core directives: “to make major corporate collection going into
the artworks publically-accessible. the scores of artworks, Abraaj is also
We are a private collection that acts among the most transparent- they
as a public collection. We’ve loaned to recently published a book about it,
a number of corporations for free, as and their works are on public display
UAE Noor Al Suwaidi Landscape of Colour (triptych),
long as there is some type of security, and they are loaned. They also have 2008, acrylic on canvas 91 x 61 x 4 cm
and our guidelines are observed. I an award for artists so they are a huge
think we’re the only organization in supporter of the arts, and their collec-
the Middle East that has an art loan tion is predominately Middle Eastern.
form for download on our website. If In Lebanon, Bank Audi has a huge
any corporation wants to borrow art, collection; some of it is domiciled in
they can just download the form, fill Lebanon and some of it is in domi-
it out and send it to us. It can’t be ciled in Geneva so the collection is
easier.” distributed. From what I understand,
Al Qassemi can give you tons of the Bank Audi collection that is in
reasons that your company should Lebanon is Middle East, and the Bank
invest in a MENA region-based art- Audi collection that is in Europe is
ist. To begin with, you are creating more international.”
a distinct environment by injecting www.barjeelartfoundation.org PALESTINE Samia Halaby Grey and Pink, acrylic on
linen canvas, 121 x 150.5 | 126.5 x 153 x 6

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 31


Platinum Ally

Gold Ally A production by


Powered by Powered by

32 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


O
n the occasion of the first Commerce and Industry, Vice
BNC Publishing Director
Mr. Wissam Younane annual KSA Enterprise Chairman of the board of directors
Agility Awards, BNC Khalid Abdulaziz S. Al-Mukairan
Publishing as part of the Entre- presented the trophies to the 2015
preneur MENA franchise, awarded Agility Achievers.
businesses and individuals across Organized by Entrepreneur
multiple categories on May 18, MENA, the 2015 KSA Enterprise
2015 at The Four Seasons Riyadh Agility Awards recognized and
in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. honored enterprise leaders and in-
The relevant Enterprise Agility dividuals who have distinguished
Achievers have established them- themselves and shown sector sig-
selves as clear industry innovators nificance and outstanding business
who have made significant con- conduct across a variety of indus-
tributions to the Saudi business tries that are key drivers of Saudi
arena, and set the benchmark for Arabia’s economy. The Enterprise
corporations operating across the Agility Awards, Entrepreneur of
region. the Year seeks to acknowledge
A total of 16 awards were pre- agility across a variety of indus-
sented, with all of the winners tries including retail, healthcare,
having set themselves apart from construction, hospitality, aviation,
their peers in the region by show- education, banking, and energy,
casing a commitment to excellence amongst other key drivers of the
and thereby raising the bar of their Middle East’s economy. “The win-
respective industries. “We were ners of the KSA Enterprise Agility
HRH Prince honored to have some of Saudi Awards 2015 are not just a signifi-
Khaled Bin Arabia’s most enterprising busi- cant part of the enterprise space in
AlWaleed
ness people present at the KSA En- the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but
Bin Talal with
Mr. Wissam terprise Agility Awards 2015,” said in the entire region. Since this is
Younane Wissam Younane, Director, BNC the country with the biggest GDP
Publishing. “The attendance of the in the region, having market share
Chairman of KBW Investments, here means that the client base
HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed and potential profits of our Award
bin Talal, meant a great deal not winners outstrip tons of similarly-
just for the figures of business in positioned companies across the
attendance at the event, but also Middle East. We applaud their
us as a company affirming our ties penetration of the Kingdom’s size-
to the Saudi Arabia’s entrepre- able market, and we look forward
neurial and commercial space.” to continuing to recognize innova-
On behalf of Riyadh Chamber of tive tactics going forward.”

The winners of the 2015 KSA


Enterprise Agility Awards with HRH
Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal
and Riyadh Chamber of Commerce
and Industry, Vice Chairman of
the board of directors, Mr. Khalid
Abdulaziz S. Al-Mukairan

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 33


KSA ENTERPRISE AGILITY
AWARDS 2015

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT MR. FARHAN AL JARBA


Dar Al-Arkan
CSR INNOVATION CPC HOLDING accepting the
PAYMENT SOLUTIONS INNOVATION PAYTABS Real Estate
Development
MOBILE APP INNOVATION FEELIT
Innovation award
DIGITAL INFLUENCE MR. FAHAD ALBUTAIRI
RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP MR. AHMED ABOU HASHIMA
REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT DAR AL-ARKAN
RETAIL INNOVATION ABDUL SAMAD AL QURASHI & SONS
TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION SELLANYCAR.COM
PROJECT OF THE YEAR DOWNTOWN RIKAZ
COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE INNOVATION AL OMARI GROUP
FAMILY BUSINESS INNOVATION AWAB HOLDINGS
CONSULTING INNOVATION HILL INTERNATIONAL
CONSTRUCTION INNOVATION DRAKE & SCULL
HEALTHCARE INNOVATION SAUDI GERMAN HOSPITAL GROUP
SME OF THE YEAR MOHAMMED A. ALSULAIMAN GROUP But first… let me
take a selfie!

Mr. Farhan
Al Jarba,
Chairman, Zain
KSA, receiving
the Lifetime
Achievement
award

Mr. Walid Zok of BNC Publishing

CPC Holding
accepting the
CSR Innovation
award with
Riyadh Chamber
of Commerce
and Industry,
Vice Chairman
of the board of
directors, Mr.
Khalid Abdulaziz
S. Al-Mukairan

34 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


Riyadh Chamber
of Commerce
and Industry,
Vice Chairman
of the board of
directors, Mr.
Khalid Abdulaziz
S. Al-Mukairan

Feelit CEO and


co-founder
Mr. Mohammad
AlQadi

Mr. Ahmed Abou


Hashima of Egyptian
Steel accepting
Abdul Samad Al the Responsible
Qurashi & Sons Leadership award
accepting the Retail
Innovation award

Hill International
accepting the
Consulting
Innovation award

And… another
selfie with HRH
Prince Khaled bin
Alwaleed bin Talal

Saudi German
Hospital Group
accepting the
Healthcare
Innovation
award

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 35


KSA ENTERPRISE AGILITY
AWARDS 2015
Mr. Ali Ahmed
Downtown Rikaz accepting
Bin Ofai accepting
Project of the Year award
the SME of the Year
with Riyadh Chamber of
award on behalf of
Commerce and Industry, Vice
Mohammed
Chairman of the board of
A. AlSulaiman
directors, Mr. Khalid Abdulaziz
Group
S. Al-Mukairan

PayTabs founder
Mr. Abdulaziz
Aljouf receiving the
Payment Solutions
Innovation award

Al Omari Group
accepting the
Commercial Real
Estate Innovation
award

SellAnyCar.com founder and CEO Mr. Fahad Albutairi


Mr. Saygin Yalcin receiving the Technology receiving the Digital
Innovation award Influence award

Awab Holdings CEO


Mr. Fawaz Alotaibi receiving Drake & Scull receiving
the Family Business the Construction
Innovation award Innovation award

36 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


THE DIGITAL
INFLUENCER
FAHAD
ALBUTAIRI

P
erforming artist and social media
enthusiast Fahad Albutairi,
awarded the KSA Enterprise Agil-
ity Award for Digital Influence,
says that while his main medium
is Twitter, he is fairly active on both Insta-
gram and Facebook. The “direct contact and
streaming updates” of Twitter make it optimal
to interact with his fan base, and interact he
does: his 1.75 million followers are more than
engaged, they’re manic. Mostly tweeting in
Arabic, Albutairi sees serious real-time num-
bers with the comedian describing his strat-
egy as “planned and selective. I try as much
as I can to stay true to my personal values and
beliefs, regardless of what is considered to
be popular in the current social media scene.
I think that has resulted in increased value
due to the uniqueness of the content that I,
both as myself and as part of Telfaz11, post on
different social media platforms. Many com-
petitors have started producing online content
around the same time we in Telfaz11 did, but
most are nowhere to be found now.”
Like offline celebrity, online celebrity can to be successful when using social media. It all One KSA-based digital influencer Albutairi
be fleeting if you don’t make regular enough depends on many factors related to the type finds worth the follow? Dr. Tawfiq Al Rabiah,
appearances and provide your followers with of content posted, audience demographics, Saudi Arabian Minister of Commerce and
fresh material, and visible outreach efforts to regional social media penetration, and com- Industry, who is also an active verified tweep
convince the audience that you are not just munity guidelines relevant to the local culture. with one million followers. “Not only is he
using the social media platforms to broadcast. Furthermore, the aforementioned factors are one of the most influential Saudi officials
Albutairi does talk back, and regularly uses ever-changing; some of the things that are on many social media platforms, but he
popular hashtags. As a verified tweep, his normal and acceptable nowadays have been has also capitalized on his knowledge of
account wields both heft in numbers and SEO considered unacceptable and foreign (and at the latest technological advances and social
weight, and he is a recommended MENA ac- times even malignant) in the past,” explains media trends to advance the Ministry’s
count to follow. “There isn’t a specific formula Albutairi, who also hosts La Yekthar. efforts by recruiting young digital influencers,
developing numerous mobile applications, and
initiating digital awareness campaigns.”
Albutairi suggests that when you’re trying
to gain traction on social media personally
or professionally, first and foremost you’ll
need to present unique content consistently
via regular posts and updates. Staying on
top of tech trends and mastering the use of
new digital mediums and fresh platforms
is key as well, and for those of you who
find your follower counts and engagement
rates frustratingly weak, Albutairi counsels
“patience. Influence and career advancements
driven by digital mediums usually take a long
a time.” Finally, when attempting to create a
lasting digital footprint, he says social media
users should “strive to influence the audience,
and not let the audience influence you.”

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 37


THE RECAP
ACHIEVING WOMEN'S FORUM 2015
W
omen in business came together addressed the assembly, directly calling voice of entrepreneurship. Sweid also
at the Ritz-Carlton JBR in on the event’s guests to become engaged participated in the second panel discus-
Dubai, UAE on May 25, 2015 and interactive to set the tone for the sion of the day, which centered around
for the first Achieving Women’s Forum, rest of event. Chaaban also discussed one leadership and how to bridge corporate
which featured some of the region’s most of the Forum’s main drivers: that there influence. Sweid drew on her past experi-
prominent leaders sharing their insights is a wealth of business development and ences both in the corporate world and
with over 200 attendees of the half-day networking potential to be had for those in entrepreneurship to impart anecdotal
conference. The Achieving Women’s who could take advantage of the space advice and inspire the audience. Sweid’s
Forum, the second event staged under structured to embolden the event’s at- address was followed by a question and
the Entrepreneur Industry Intel ban- tendees. answer segment with the audience, and
ner, was moderated by Anna Roberts of The keynote address was executed acted as the kick off for the three panel
Dubai Eye 103.8, and began with opening by Noor Sweid, Managing Partner, discussions planned for the day, which
remarks by Entrepreneur Middle East Leap Ventures, and Board Director focused on problems and solutions for
Editor in Chief, Fida Chaaban. Chaaban of Endeavor UAE, who acted as the women in business.

40 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


Panel one Tech Ticker: Staking
Your Corporate Claim
Left to right:
Anna Roberts, Maha
Abouelenein, Firdauss Shariff,
Rosemin Manji, Racha
Ghamlouch, Fida Chaaban

The first of the Talking Series brought the title of Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Ghada Abdelkader, Corporate Develop-
forward ideas under the title of Tech Way: Bridge Building and was headlined ment and Investments Manager, Crescent
Ticker: Staking Your Corporate Claim, by Nisreen Shocair, President, Virgin Enterprises, Ambareen Musa, founder
which had as its panelists Maha Aboue- Megastore Middle East and North Africa, and CEO, souqalmal.com, Chantalle
lenein, founder and Managing Director of Noha Hefny, Director of Corporate Af- Dumonceaux, co-founder and Operations
OC, Racha Ghamlouch, Entrepreneur and fairs for the Middle East and Africa at Director at WOMENA, and Nina Curley,
Speaker Relations Manager, ArabNet, PepsiCo, Rania Rostom, Chief Innovation Managing Director of Flat6Labs Abu
Firdaus Shariff, Head of Marketing at Officer, GE Middle East, North Africa and Dhabi.
SAP for South Europe, Middle East and Turkey, and Noor Sweid. The third and The Achieving Women’s Forum was
Africa, and Rosemin Manji, founder, final panel of the event revolved around conducted with the support of the Dubai
RR&Co. The second discussion for the financial literacy, funding and strategic Chamber of Commerce and Industry,
day brought forward tenets of strong steps toward seeking capital injections together with Platinum Ally Intercoil,
leadership and how that can be leveraged under the title of Show Me the Money: Gold Allies Paris Gallery, Drake & Scull,
to help other women in business, under Female Access to Finance with panelists and Skyline University College.

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 41


ACHIEVING WOMEN'S
FORUM 2015
THE METHODOLOGY OF BUSINESS
An Industry Intel event

BUSINESS
LEARNING CURVES
Twelve points of reference
on the methodology of business
Noor Sweid
1. WANT TO BE ing, as that will almost certainly have an impact on the investors
@nsweid SUCCESSFUL? they are trying to impress. “Believe in yourself,” Dumonceaux said.
KEEP AN OPEN MIND. “Passion speaks more than experience. Investors will respond to
NOOR SWEID it- they’re people too.” Ghada Abdelkader, Corporate Development
In her keynote address and Investments Manager at Crescent Enterprises, added, “You’re
at Entrepreneur Mid- selling your business- make sure you can sell your story.”
dle East’s Achieving
Women’s Forum, Noor 3. AN IDEA IS JUST AN
Ghada Abdelkader
Sweid, Managing @g_abdelkader IDEA WITHOUT THE
Partner, Leap Ventures METHOD OF EXECUTION.
and Board Member, BACK UP YOUR
Endeavor UAE, noted CONCEPT.
the importance of one GHADA ABDELKADER
being open to opportu- “It’s not just the ideas.
nities in order that one It’s the ability to show
may indeed find them, that you can execute on
and then capitalize on them. “If you’re looking to succeed, keep the idea,” explained Ab-
your eyes and heart open to opportunities,” she said. “You’ll miss delkader during the third
opportunities that come to you if you’re not open to them. Success panel of the day. She
is about seizing the opportunities that present themselves to you.” suggested that when con-
Sweid also counseled the Forum attendees on strength in sidering capital injections
numbers. If you’re launching an entrepreneurial endeavor, look to scale your business,
for likeminded associates to team up with. According to Sweid, flexibility is needed when evaluating funding options. Several
entrepreneurs who are trying to get their respective enterprises up alternatives may present themselves, and you’ll need to weigh the
and running would be wise to find a partner to help them through pros and cons carefully before committing to one or more options.
what is almost certainly going to be a grueling journey. “Don’t Another important finance tip? “Make sure your projections are
go at it alone,” she said. “It’s really key to find someone to work validated based on market expectations” before you go searching
alongside you to get you through those rough days.” Of course, this for funds. You need to be able to back up your numbers.
is not to say that a partner or co-founder’s role will be just that of
a support figure- on the contrary, having another set of eyes to go 4. PITCHING TO INVESTORS?
over and supervise a company’s setup and execution could play a FINANCIAL LITERACY IS IMPORTANT.
key role in ensuring its success in the long-term. AMBAREEN MUSA
“Whether you have a finance back-
2. WHEN LOOKING TO RAISE ground or not, if you will be running a
FUNDS, MAKE SURE YOU business, [you need to] get your num-
CAN SELL YOUR STORY. .
bers right.” That was souqalmalicom
CHANTALLE DUMONCEAUX founder and CEO Ambareen Musa’s
According to Chantalle matter-of-fact response as to why
Dumonceaux, co-founder and entrepreneurs need to keep a tab on all
Operations Director at WOM- money matters relating to their respec-
ENA, entrepreneurs hoping to tive businesses. “If you’re smart enough
raise money for their startup to start a business, then you should
Chantalle Dumonceaux Ambareen Musa
ventures need to show their @ChantalleALD
be smart enough to understand your
@ambareenm
passion for what they are do- financial numbers,” Musa said. It is of

42 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


primary importance for those Maha Abouelenein brands and companies as well,
launching enterprises to be able @mahagaber saying, “With regard to the
to understand how the mechan- most negative commentators
ics of the business works, and on your brand- if you can learn
that means being able to crunch how to convert them, they can
figures right alongside a CFO. then become your best assets.”
Start by getting handle on the Ghamlouch pointed out that
basics, then try and move along
to the more complex aspects of Racha
Ghamlouch
your financials.
@__racha

5. FIND THE INVESTOR


THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU AND
FOR YOUR BUSINESS, AND
THAT DOESN’T JUST MEAN
LOOKING AT THE DOLLAR 6. YOU HAVE TO CREATE THE day. “I try to do things that are
SIGNS. IMAGE YOU WANT PEOPLE TO of interest to me and to my fol-
NINA CURLEY KNOW YOU FOR; WORK ON lowers,” Manji said. Strategic
“When you’re pitching to YOUR MESSAGE. content planning is also needed
investors, you think you’re MAHA ABOUELENEIN when you are presenting the
pitching for money,” said Nina While there is hardly a need to brand of “You”, and that means
Curley, Managing Director, talk about why having a digital originality and timeliness. every company at some point
Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi. “But presence is important in to- Think before you post, and ask will be dealing with the odd
you’re actually pitching for day’s world, there is still quite yourself if this represents the naysayer; have a plan in place
their trust.” Research is a bit of confusion on how one ahead of time. Firdaus Shariff,
integral to the success of your presents one’s profile on the In- Head of Marketing at SAP for
operation, and when pitching ternet. “It’s not so much about South Europe, Middle East and
you need to be able to show influencing people, as much Africa, agreed with the use of
that you are more than just as it is about really wanting such an approach to deal with
familiar with the market to connect with people,” said critics of your brand on social
that you want to enter. She Maha Abouelenein, founder media, noting, “The minute
also noted that investors, and Managing Director, OC. you start engaging with people,
“You want to make sure when that’s when their perceptions
Nina Curley people search for you they find change.” Of course, doing this
@9aa something that’s relevant, they requires time and effort, but it
find something that’s positive, does pay rich dividends.
Rosemin Manji
and you have [to take on] the @RoseminManji
responsibility to get that infor- 9. BRINGING YOUR BRAND
mation out there. You have to persona you want the world to ONLINE, NO MATTER HOW
drive your brand, you have to see. “I do spend time to make LARGE OR SMALL, REQUIRES
drive the persona, you have to sure that the right photo goes A TOUCH OF HUMANITY.
create the image that you want out; that it’s not super repeti- FIRDAUSS SHARIFF
people to know you for.” tive.” Shariff stressed that a com-
pany’s communication schema
7. TAKE TIME TO CULTIVATE 8. FIELDING NEGATIVE online can no longer have that
YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENTS? DON’T IGNORE cut and dried (robotic) edge. >>>
PRESENCE AND A SOLID THEM- TRY TO CONVERT
VCs included, need to share DIGITAL FOOTPRINT. THEM INTO POSITIVE ONES Firdaus Shariff
your goals in terms of exit ROSEMIN MANJI INSTEAD. @fishariff

and potential IPO scenarios. It’s easy to be bowled over by RACHA GHAMLOUCH
The entrepreneur-investor the sheer number of followers When asked about her strat-
relationship needs to be one that Rosemin Manji, founder, egy in responding to nega-
that works both ways- as Musa RR&Co., has on her Instagram tive online comments, Manji
noted, if a potential investor page, but it’s important to note replied that she often tried
was offering her only money for that this digital influencer got to spin them into something
her business, she wouldn’t take to where she is because she positive. Racha Ghamlouch,
it. “A good VC can accelerate took time to actually work on Entrepreneur and Speaker
your business,” Dumonceaux and develop her social media Relations Manager, ArabNet,
explained. “A bad VC can presence- a practice that she noted how this methodol-
destroy your business.” continues to cultivate even to- ogy could be put to work for

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 43


ACHIEVING WOMEN'S
FORUM 2015
THE METHODOLOGY OF BUSINESS
An Industry Intel event

No matter the size of your venture or the type of business that 12. FEELING OVERLOOKED? ASSERT YOURSELF, AND MAKE
you conduct, there must be a humanizing element- even if you are YOUR VOICE HEARD.
running the communications of an enterprise as big as SAP. She RANIA ROSTOM
also pointed out that what was once a clearly drawn line, between While there may be an increase in the number of women in the
the personal and professional information spheres, no longer truly business arena today, there’s still a long way to go to correct the
applies due to the nature of today’s Internet. In addition to posting skewed gender balances
material about your professional endeavors, she suggests making in the workplace. As a Rania Rostom
@raniarostom
an effort to share content that might actually shed some light on result, it’s possible that
you as a person, and this too can help your brand- so long as it’s women at work may be
appropriate to your line of business, and what message you are overlooked, or worse,
trying to send.) steamrolled by their male
peers- but the solution
Noha Hefny 10. IF YOU ARE A here is not to allow this
@Koukou2009 WOMAN IN BUSINESS, to be the status quo.
THEN MENTOR Rania Rostom, Chief
ANOTHER WOMAN IN Innovation Officer at GE
BUSINESS. Middle East, North Africa
NOHA HEFY and Turkey, said that
Given how useful she women should never give up on their individuality, and if required,
found the support from shout to make their voices heard. “Be yourself,” Rostom declared.
mentors throughout “Authenticity is the key. You cannot progress in your life or career
her career, Noha Hefny, if you compromise who you are.” She also advised that women in
Director of Corporate business should ensure that their values, and that of their organi-
Affairs for the Middle zation need to be in-line with one another to facilitate success.
East & Africa at PepsiCo, Otherwise, you probably need to look elsewhere.
encouraged women in
the business world to take on mentorship roles to help and sup-
port their contemporaries in the workplace. “I think, as women, Fida Chaaban
@Fida
we have a duty to make ourselves accessible,” she said. “Informal
female mentorship is just as important as formal mentorship…
By knowing your strengths and how you can serve, you can make
a difference.” Try applying an open door policy when it comes to
advice, and encourage other senior executives in the company to
do so as well.

11. DEVELOP AN INCLUSIVE COMPANY CULTURE, AND MAKE


IT THE NORM.
NISREEN SHOCAIR
Adding on to Hefny’s comment about being accessible in the
workplace, Nisreen Shocair, President, Virgin Megastore Mid-
dle East and North Africa, noted that companies by themselves
should make it a priority to become a more inclusive environment,
and ingrain gender diversity
in the way they work on a Nisreen Shocair
@NShocair
day-to-day basis. “I believe
the most accessible way to
be able to achieve any of our
female or women-oriented
goals is to make it part of
culture,” Shocair said. “If it
is not part of culture, then it
is never going to mean any-
thing- it’s then always going
to be just a pie-chart and an
annual report. That’s good
for investors, but that’s not
good for culture.”

44 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


ACHIEVING WOMEN'S
FORUM 2015
THE METHODOLOGY OF BUSINESS
An Industry Intel event

Anna Roberts
@ImAnnaRoberts

Pamella de Leon
Tamara Clarke @GlobalGazette @pamdeleon_

Panel two Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way: Bridge Building

Odette Kahwagi (right) @odette_h Panel three Show Me the Money: Female Access to Finance

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 45


TREPONOMICS ETHICS | ESQUIRE GUY | SKILLSET | MARKETING | PRO

actual implementation of an idea. An or-


INNOVATION IS THE HEART AND SOUL ganization can use innovation to convert
its creative resources into appropriate
OF YOUR ORGANIZATION solutions and reap a return on its invest-

INVIGORATE
ment. Because people are often unclear
about the exact meanings of these two
terms, organizations often chase creativ-
ity, but what they really need to pursue is
innovation.

YOUR TEAM IN
HOW INNOVATIVE ARE ORGANIZATIONS
IN THE MIDDLE EAST?
In 2014, Bayt.com conducted a poll to
measure the extent to which organiza-

10 STEPS
tions in MENA are perceived to be in-
novative– the Bayt.com Innovation in the
MENA Workplace poll (January 2014).
The results were quite positive, revealing
how valued and encouraged innovation is
between employees and customers. For
By Lama Ataya example, the poll showed that 83% of re-

T
spondents claim their organizations have
here was a time when the WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN long-term innovation strategies. The poll
concepts of creativity and in- INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY? revealed improved financial performance
novation were only associated When it comes to innovation versus crea- within participating companies, with
with artists and scientists. But tivity, opinions diverge. One of the defini- seven out of 10 (69.4%) claiming that
with the ever-increasing neces- tions out there relates to the practicality their companies are up to date with other
sity of cultivating a unique of these terms. Some say that creativity establishments in their domain. The ma-
brand and value proposition, refers to the ability to come up with new jority (82.9%) said that their companies
the need for innovation and creativity ideas or new ways to approach old prob- instill long-term innovation plans rather
has transitioned from science and arts lems, whereas innovation is the ability than short-terms ones, which has put
into everyday business. But what is in- to confine these creative ideas and make them ahead in the industry.
novation? What is creativity? What is them turn into reality. In other words, Teamwork and collaboration play an
the difference between innovation and creative ideas are thought experiments important role in the rise of a company’s
creativity? But most importantly, which within one person’s mind. Innovation, success, having 81.1% of respondents
is more important to your organization? on the other hand, is concerned with the claiming that pitching ideas and reaching

INNOVATION IN THE MENA

IMPORTANCE OF ATTRIBUTES IN A JOB COURTESY BAYT.COM

46 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


out to other divisions is highly encour-
aged and supported, to the point where
involving customers in feedback is essen-
tial in the betterment of the company’s
success.

INNOVATION AND THE ECONOMY


The Bayt.com Education and Innova-
tion in the Middle East and North
Africa poll, February 2015, shows that
both creativity and innovation are
viewed as important by Middle Eastern
professionals. 89% agree that creative
thinking is important for driving social
and economic growth. In the region, the
UAE is perceived to be the most creative
country, according to 51.5% of respond-
ents. On the career front, the majority of
respondents (88.5%) agree that creative
thinking and related skill sets are impor-
tant for getting a job in today’s market,
as people are increasingly being asked
to think creatively at work (according to
86.9%). Another 72.1% claim that their
office has creative spaces in which they
can relax, unwind and innovate.
The biggest challenge to creativity is
money, according to 42% of respond-
ents. Other factors that stifle creativity
and innovation in the region are lack
of knowledge and tools (15.8%), age
(10.1%), and not enough time (9%).
When respondents were asked whether
standardized education systems stifle
creative thinking, the majority agreed
(73%). Moreover, 41.9% believe that
their country’s education system is not
innovative enough to adapt to changing
times.

IS YOUR ORGANIZATION INNOVATIVE?


Innovation needs to be carried out by
everyone and on all fronts. In fact, focus-
ing on innovation has been identified as
a way to encourage learning and growth
in an organization. Unfortunately, many
managers don’t innovate because they
don’t think it is their job to do so. We say
that innovation is everyone’s job. Great
organizations don’t depend on a small
number of exclusive people to come up
with innovations. Instead, they create
a culture in which every employee is
encouraged and empowered to innovate.
A thriving innovation culture leads not
only to new customer offerings but also
to better margins, stickier customer
relationships, and stronger partnerships
with other firms. 62% of respondents in
the Bayt.com Innovation in the MENA >>>

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 47


TREPONOMICS ETHICS | ESQUIRE GUY | SKILLSET | MARKETING | PRO

Workplace poll say that innovation has Encourage people to look at how other merely a job; they are involved in making
led to improved financial performance for businesses do things, even those in other the region a better, richer, more prosper-
their company; 64% agree that their or- sectors, and consider how they can be ous place.
ganization is more innovative compared adapted or improved. At Bayt.com, our most important asset
to their competition. There are many is our people. We put considerable time
pieces to the innovation puzzle, and they 6. CHALLENGE THE WAY STAFF WORK. and effort to ensure that we have an em-
will come together differently for each Encourage employees to keep looking powering culture that focuses on innova-
organization. How one goes about build- anew at the way they approach their tion. This includes providing top-class
ing an innovative organization ought to work. Ask people whether they have con- training, ongoing support, and a working
be unique. But for every organization, in- sidered alternative ways of working and environment that fosters creativity,
novation starts with the following steps: what might be achieved by doing things teamwork and the development of new
differently. ideas. It is this combination of sophis-
1. GIVE EMPLOYEES A REASON TO CARE. ticated training, mentoring opportuni-
The fact is, if people aren’t feeling con- 7. BE SUPPORTIVE. Respond enthusiasti- ties and the culture of innovation that
nected to your company, there’s little cally to all ideas and never make someone have allowed Bayt.com to remain at the
incentive for them to be innovative. Make offering an idea feel foolish. Give even vanguard of its industry both in terms of
sure your employees are in the loop on the most apparently eccentric of ideas a cutting-edge technology and in terms of
your firm’s strategies and challenges, and chance to be aired. You can’t force crea- client service and support.
invite their input. Employees who are tivity, but the right support system will Today, our team is able to proactively
involved early on in processes and plans put your team in the right frame of mind anticipate the needs of our communi-
will be motivated to see them through to to find imaginative solutions. ties rather than simply reacting to them.
completion. This is very evident in the number of
8. TOLERATE MISTAKES. A certain pioneering product and service offerings
2. STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF amount of risk-taking is inevitable with and enhancements we have introduced to
INNOVATION. Ensure all your employees innovation. Allow people to learn from serve our communities better, including
know that you want to hear their ideas. their mistakes. Never put off the creative Bayt.com Branded Career Channels (also
Unless they understand how innovating flow by penalizing those whose ideas known as ‘Talentera’), Bayt.com Virtual
your business processes can keep your don’t work out. Job Fairs, and other enhanced jobseeker
firm competitive, your efforts at encour- and employer solutions that remain the
aging creative thinking risk falling flat. 9. REWARD CREATIVITY. Motivate most sophisticated tools in our industry
individuals or teams who come up with today.
RESPOND ENTHUSIASTICALLY TO ALL winning ideas by actively recognizing in-
IDEAS AND NEVER MAKE SOMEONE OF- novation, for example, through an awards INNOVATION NEVER ENDS
FERING AN IDEA FEEL FOOLISH. GIVE scheme. You could even demonstrate There’s no shortage of books and
EVEN THE MOST APPARENTLY ECCENTRIC your recognition that not all ideas work resources with varying methodologies
OF IDEAS A CHANCE TO BE AIRED. out by rewarding those who just have a that can help you get started if you’re
rich flow of suggestions, regardless of looking to adopt more formal innova-
3. SCHEDULE TIME FOR BRAINSTORMING. whether or not they are put into action tion processes. If you’re not quite there,
Allocate time for new ideas to emerge. at work. encouraging employees to become more
For example, set aside time for daily or curious thinkers could be a first step
weekly brainstorming, hold regular group 10. ACT ON IDEAS. Remember, innova- toward a culture that seeks new solu-
workshops and arrange team days out. A tion is only worthwhile if it results in tions for everyday challenges. In fact,
team involved in a brainstorming session action. Provide the time and resources it is human curiosity that leads people
is likely to be more effective than the sum to develop and implement those ideas to pioneer new cures for diseases, more
of its parts. You can also place suggestion worth acting upon. Failure to do so not efficient forms of energy and new ways
boxes around the workplace, ask for solu- only means your firm will fail to benefit to see the world. You don’t need to hire
tions to solve particular problems, and from innovation, but flow of ideas may a team of geniuses to achieve innovation,
always keep your door open to new ideas. well dry up if employees feel the process but you do need to give your workforce
is pointless. the confidence, support and incentive to
4. TRAIN STAFF IN INNOVATION solve the problems around them, until
TECHNIQUES. Your staff may be able to HOW IT WORKED FOR US problem-solving becomes just another
bounce an idea around, but be unfamil- Over the years, Bayt.com has won part of the company culture.
iar with the skills involved in creative numerous Great Place to Work awards.
problem-solving. You may find train- What makes Bayt.com a top place to
ing sessions in formal techniques such work is a very firm belief that is proudly Lama Ataya heads the
as lateral thinking and mind-mapping shared across the organization; it is the Marketing depart-
extremely worthwhile. belief that the work we do at Bayt.com ment at Bayt.com and
is very directly and profoundly helping within that role is also
responsible for com-
5. ENCOURAGE CHANGE. Broadening the communities we serve. In fact, the
munications, content,
people’s experiences can be a great way overall feeling throughout Bayt.com’s community experience,
to spark ideas. Short-term job swaps can offices is that employees are involved in and corporate social
introduce a fresh perspective to job roles. something much bigger and better than responsibility.

48 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 49
TECH SHINY | WEBSITE TO WATCH | GEEK | MOBILE TECH | ONLINE ‘TREP | THE FIX

#TAMTALKSTECH
Smartphones might be your most stylish accessory yet. While the focus is usually the ultimate style statement. Brands have embraced the charge of creating
on hardware and function, design (and ergonomics) is equally important. Whether attractive devices and now release new color variants just to keep you looking
your phone is wrapped in cool metal or high gloss plastic, the color is what makes good- versions of popular smartphones in white seem to be the growing trend.

Huawei’s Honor 6 Plus BRAVEHEART HONOR 6 PLUS

Huawei soars to new heights conversion of light for photo-


with the release of its pre- graphs. It also boasts superior
mium smartphone, Honor 6 battery life with super-fast
Plus. The device, launched by charging allowing the phone
Honor (Huawei’s e-commerce to be fully charged in 2 hours
only brand), is outfitted with a and 51 minutes lasting 1.25
Kirin 925 intelligent octa-core days with heavy usage. Even
processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB more, the device is capable
ROM and supports an SD of charging a second mobile
card up to a 128GB, but the device using its OTG (on-the-
device wows with camera and go) battery charging function.
battery technology. Honor 6 Honor 6 Plus was made for
Plus is the first smartphone the digital power user who
to feature bionic parallel and dares to be different. It’s
dual rear cameras- meaning not just a smartphone; it’s a
it doubles the capture and movement for the brave.

At the Honor 6
launch event,
Ronaldo Mouchawar,
founder of Souq.com

YotaPhone 2 KNOW YOUR LIMITS YOTAPHONE 2


in white
Yota Devices unveiled a element of YotaPhoneI2.
limited edition YotaPhoneI2 Other enhancements include
in white. The unique, dual- an upgrade to Android
front smartphone has an 5.0 Lollipop, YETI 2.0 to
inverted screen to make apps, customize your display, new
notifications and the “Always widgets and the introduction
On” display meld with the of the Yota Wireless
overall look of the device. Powerbank for effortless
The color isn’t the only new charging while on the move.

50 ENTREPRENEUR MAY 2015


BlackBerry Beam Pro by Seed
Leap Robotics,
in white a futuristic video
conferencing
robot managed by
software on Mac
or PC via Wi-Fi or
4G LTE, controlled
on your personal
keyboard.

BlackBerry Classic in white

A CLASSIC CASE BLACKBERRY CLASSIC

Blackberry Classic is now er, and all of the features of


available in white too. Image- BlackBerry 10 OS. At the time
savvy smartphone users can of writing, BlackBerry had just
have the same communication released the BlackBerry Leap
brevity and business-friendly in white as well. Is the snowy
dependability that they’ve look suitable for the executive
always enjoyed in a new color look? Perhaps not; we still ex-
variant. The Blackberry Clas- pect to see boardroom tables
sic features a QWERTY key- stocked with the main staple
board, BlackBerry web brows- black devices.

BEAM ME UP SEED ROBOTICS


#TAMTALKSTECH improves day-to-day life to how
to coordinate your smartphone Seed Robotics introduced canceling microphone, a 17 inch
Tamara Clarke, a former software accessories.
development professional, is
Beam Pro, a futuristic video display and motorized casing
Visit www.theglobalgazette.com
the tech and lifestyle enthusiast and talk to her on Twitter conferencing robot that en- so that it can walk and talk-
behind The Global Gazette, one @GlobalGazette. hances remote communica- literally. A fully charged battery
of the most active blogs in the tion. The robot is managed by can last up to eight hours and
Middle East. The Global Gazette software on your Mac or PC via when you need to recharge,
has been welcomed and lauded Wi-Fi or 4G LTE connections there’s a dock for that: simply
by some of the most influential
tech brands in the region. Clarke’s
and can be controlled with drive Beam Pro onto its electri-
goal is to inform about technology the touch of a button on your cal contacts. Want to add
and how it supports our lifestyles. personal keyboard. Beam Pro dimension and presence to
See her work both in print is equipped with two wide your multinational conference
regional publications and online angle video cameras, an echo- calls? Get bionic.
on her blog where she discusses
everything from how a new gadget

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 51


CULTURE BUSINESS UNUSUAL | LIFE | TRAVEL | DESIGN | TRAPPINGS

Popular Japanese F&B model


comes to UAE
Ailuromania Café is purr-fect
By Pamella de Leon

L
ove cats, but can’t have any? The different aspects of launching their idea.
Ailuromania Café, UAE’s first cat And after a year and four months of hard
café, is here to fill your feline-loving work, on the weekend of its launching
hearts. Saudi-born sisters 23 year-old week, they welcomed over 100 visitors.
Iman and 25 year-old Alla Ahmed Bin Ailuromania rescues and adopts stray
Farid Al Aulaqi have imported the cat cats, giving them a home at the café. All
café trend to Dubai. The business model, 14 of the cats –which are all adopted ex-
a fully operational café with cats, already cept for two- are checked and vaccinated.
does well in Taipei, Tokyo, parts of South And as for the logistics? The food is pre-
Korea, London, and New York, among oth- pared in the outside kitchen or delivered
ers global cities. The Al Aulaqi sisters had fresh from suppliers, with the animals’
to sort out the legal and health require- provisions kept completely separate. For
ments (with special rules made for the marketing, the sisters focus on social
atypical business), and then renovated a media with Facebook and Instagram used ends. There’s a 50AED entry charge per
villa, transforming it into a café. The sib- heavily to share people’s experiences at adult in the cat section, and there’s a no
lings say that as co-founders, they found the café (user generated content). The children policy in the cat room on week-
their relationship helped in constructively feline inhabitants are easily spotted from ends. Their future plans include opening
conveying opinions, and their different the windows, and while the establish- another outlet in Abu Dhabi, and later
educational backgrounds (finance and ment welcomes walk-in visitors, Al Aulaqi on, they hope to expand to other Emirates
marketing respectively) were valuable in advises to book online especially on week- and then the rest of GCC.

| LIFE |

LEGOLAND GERMANY IMAGE © SENOHRABEK / SHUTTERSTOCK | LEGOLAND CALIFORNIA IMAGE © OCULO / SHUTTERSTOCK | AILUROMANIA INSTRAGRAM ACCOUNT
Middle East- in addition to LEGOLAND

WATERWORKS
California
the bigger LEGOLAND Dubai
theme park opening next year.
LEGOLAND Water Park planned for Dubai Targeted at children ages two
to 12 (although we know that

I
f you like theme parks and company behind the global won’t stop adults from visiting
have an affinity for LEGO, chain of LEGO-themed parks, as well), the water theme park
this might be your new is partnering with Dubai Parks will feature well-known attrac-
happy place. U.K.-based and Resorts to bring the first tions including the LEGO Wave
Merlin Entertainments plc, the LEGOLAND Water Park to the Pool, Build-A-Raft where guests
can build their
own personal-
ized LEGO
raft, and the
Imagination
Station that Dubai –a AED10.5 billion worth
lets children project- is to have six themed
build toy con- lands: LEGO City, Adventure,
structions and LEGO Kingdom, LEGO Create,
test endurance LEGO Factory and Miniland,
against water displaying LEGO-replicated
flow. Currently trademark buildings and
in Denmark, structures from the Middle East.
U.K., the U.S., Along with Dubai, Merlin Enter-
Germany and tainments plc also has projects
Malaysia, under development in Japan
LEGOLAND Germany
LEGOLAND and South Korea.

52 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 53
TREPONOMICS ETHICS | ESQUIRE GUY | SKILLSET | MARKETING | PRO

Rob Newlan, Head of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Facebook Creative Shop

ONE SIZE NEVER FITS ALL WHEN


front to put together messages that
are not just alluring to the consumer,
but beneficial to the brand as well.

IT COMES TO SOCIAL MEDIA However, marketers don’t have to


go at this challenging task by them-
selves- Facebook Creative Shop was
Facebook Creative Shop’s Rob Newlan makes the case essentially created to help in this
particular regard.
for tailored, targeted marketing By Aby Sam Thomas Described as “a team of brand

W
marketers, creative directors and
ith Facebook reporting that particular social media network. But strategists who help clients grow their
it has 79 million monthly this doesn’t mean that one is guar- business,” Facebook Creative Shop
active users in the MENA anteed a spike in business with just a provides marketers with guidance
region, that stat by itself perfunctory presence on Facebook- on and tools they can use to better their
is reason enough for why the contrary, if one wants to make advertising efforts on the social media
brands and companies here their voice heard among all of what’s network. “We are a group of creatives
would be wise to invest happening on the platform, then one and strategists and entrepreneurs
in marketing their offerings on this needs to really step up on the creative based around the world,” explains Rob

54 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


Newlan, Head of Europe, Middle East
and Africa, Facebook Creative Shop.
“We get the fantastic opportunity to
work with both big and small brands,
and really look at driving the creative
opportunities for them on our plat-
forms like Facebook and Instagram,
and we’re going to look more broadly
as we build our portfolio.”
But that is not to say that Newlan
and his team have solutions for all of
your Facebook marketing conundrums
either- after all, the digital media
landscape is very much a “new”
one, and they, like everyone else, are
figuring it out as they go. “We are
learning along with everyone else,”
Newlan says. “This is not a team of
people who are coming in with the
answers- this is the team of curious
people who are coming in to try and
probe and work together with brands
and partners to see what the potential
is… It’s a really young industry, and
so when you are looking at formative
curves in different media, it takes a
while to understand some of the ways
of producing great work.”
Given the scale of the reach that
Facebook provides -there are 1.44
billion Facebook users around the
world, of which 190 million are in the
Middle East and Africa region- brands
thus have an exceptional opportunity
to engage with this audience provided
they can craft messages that are both
relevant and rewarding to them. This markets” like Kenya, Indonesia and tion, but I am not sure if we have nec-
is where Facebook’s analytics, insights India respectively. In the Middle East essarily seen sort of the correspond-
and targeted marketing tools have a specifically, Facebook Creative Shop ing creative revolution [for that]- I
significant function- these can, ac- collaborated with Etihad Airways to think we are stuck at the early parts
cording to Newlan, play an important launch the airline’s new ground and of that.” So does Newlan have any tips
role in enhancing the interactions cabin crew uniform, with acclaimed for the marketers out there on how
between a brand and a consumer. “If New York-based photographer Nor- they can utilize Facebook’s platforms
we understand what different people man Jean Roy shooting the work in in the best way possible? “In a world
find valuable, and what different peo- question. Adding to the campaign’s of relevancy, there’s no one answer to
ple want as reward, then we can start appeal was the use of Facebook’s tools that,” he replies. “There’s no one way
to really tailor our creative so that it’s to get it targeted better and reach the of saying it’s this, or it’s that. And I
not an ubiquitous piece of work that right type of consumers. “It was intel- fundamentally believe it- it’s part of
we hope lots of people are going to ligent, and it was beautiful,” Newlan what I think is the most exciting thing
be interested in,” he says. “It’s [going recalls. “And the more of that kind of about the industry at the moment,
to be] a well-crafted piece of work, work we see, it starts to just, sort of, which is that there isn’t one answer.
which, by testing and understand- reset the bar.” It’s not, ‘Oh, you need to do it like
ing, we have greater assurances of When asked about the fairly com- this.’ But you need to do things. You
[whether] this is going to work.” monplace complaint by users that need to try things. You need to be out
Examples of such creative market- there are just too many ads on Face- there doing, testing and learning…
ing efforts can already be seen on book, Newlan says that the problem And that’s where the future of mar-
the social media network- in March, actually lies elsewhere. “People don’t keting is going. You need to go out,
Facebook Creative Shop revealed its mind advertising- it’s just that they you need to understand the industry,
Creative Accelerator program, which don’t like bad or irrelevant advertis- and you can only understand it by be-
worked with brands such as Coca- ing,” he explains. “And that’s where ing present on these platforms, doing
Cola, Durex and Nestlé to boost their I think the shift is [needed]… There work, and understanding that there
storytelling prowess in “high-growth has been this big technological revolu- isn’t ubiquity.”

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 55


IN THE LOOP

Gazprom, Russia
UK LEBANON TECH HUB
UP AND RUNNING

T
he UK Lebanon Tech Hub was
finally unveiled in Lebanon at
the Beirut Digital Park, after
British Ambassador to Lebanon
Thomas Fletcher announced the pro-
gram at the Banque du Liban Accelerate
startup conference back in November
Russia’s Gazprom continues 2014. Ambassador Fletcher said that he
flexing its muscles despite hopes that UK Lebanon Tech Hub will
provide a “launch pad” for emerging
EU antitrust concerns tech startups, given the limited tech

I
n late April, the European Union (EU) formally infrastructure available. The launch
charged Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned natural event, which featured speeches by
gas giant, over violating EU antitrust laws, Ambassador Fletcher and Central Bank
also known as the EU competition law. The law Governor Riad Salameh, was met with
is meant to protect the market by making sure an overwhelmingly positive response.
businesses don’t abuse their large market shares Governor Salameh’s talk was incredibly
and become monopolies. Political and economic promising for Lebanese entrepreneurs, British Ambassador to Lebanon Thomas Fletcher and
analysts believe that the EU has the upper hand given that the Central Bank pledged Governor of the Banque du Liban, Lebanon’s Central
in this case. Gazprom’s response? The Russian to play a major role in boosting local Bank, Riad Salameh, Nicolas Sehnaoui, former Minister
of Telecommunications
government owns 50.23% of the company, and startups with their Circular 331 initia-
therefore, it’s not subject to the law’s jurisdiction. tive. Some of Lebanon’s most promising nel. Prior to the official launch, some
The EU won’t budge though, with EU energy com- tech startups now have the opportunity of Lebanon’s tech startups presented
missioner Günter Oettinger saying that Russia is to take their endeavors to a global level their businesses for the press, including
playing an economic “game of divide and conquer,” with help from Britain’s top-notch Bitcoin-powered e-commerce payment

GAZPROM IMAGE © MERKUSHEV VASILIY / SHUTTERSTOCK | FIFA.COM


thus destroying the EU’s gas market. This scenario infrastructure and training person- platform Yellow, and mobile videogame
couldn’t come at a worse time, given the EU’s cur- developers Game Cooks. While
rent relations with Russia; however, Russia might some of Lebanon’s best up-
need EU customers more than the EU needs Rus- and-coming startups will enjoy
sian gas. At the same time, Gazprom is still making the boost that they deserve
business in Europe, especially in Ukraine. The through this program, we
company recently announced that it had received a could only hope that bringing
US$32 million instalment from Ukraine- its third out the potential in some of
in May alone. If you add that up with the other the country’s most talented
instalments, it means that Ukraine has already entrepreneurs could finally
paid Russia $102 million for its May gas supply in make way for better tech
less than 20 days. British Ambassador to Lebanon Thomas Fletcher and Governor
infrastructure and facilities.
of the Banque du Liban, Lebanon’s Central Bank, Riad Salameh www.uklebhub.com

Qatar launches Al Rayyan stadium as fifth venue


for 2022 FIFA World Cup

T
he Supreme Committee for Delivery Ramboll and Pattern Design, it pays homage
& Legacy (SC) has presented the to Qatari culture and heritage by incorporat-
designs for Al Rayyan stadium- the ing local patterns and elements in its design,
proposed fifth stadium for the 2022 FIFA with materials reused from the decon-
World Cup. According to SC, the stadium structed Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium. Nearby the
has a capacity for 40,000 audiences and will stadium will be a mosque, aquatics center,
feature a “sustainable cooling technology” athletics track, cricket pitch, tennis court,
as well as “renewable energy”- designed to hockey pitch, and a new branch of Aspetar,
acquire certification from the Global Sustain- a sports medical hospital. Other stadiums
ability Assessment System and Leadership under development are the Qatar Foundation
in Energy and Environmental Design ratings. stadium, Khalifa International stadium, Al
Designed by U.K.-based architecture firm Bayt Stadium and Al Wakrah stadium.

58 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


CULTURE BUSINESS UNUSUAL | LIFE | TRAVEL | DESIGN | TRAPPINGS

Appointed in January 2012, the GM has built


up his hospitality repertoire across conti-
nents, and he has acted in a senior capacity
at various group properties including the JW
Seoul, Korea, and the Renaissance Hotel in
Sapporo, Japan. “2005 saw a move to Europe
taking on the role of Area Director of Opera-
tions in the United Kingdom and Ireland until
2009, when I came to the UAE as General
Manager of Marriott Dubai Harbour Hotel
and Suites.” With a grand total of 1608 luxury
suites and rooms, 32 meeting rooms, and
over 8,000 meters of indoor and outdoor
event space, convention and meeting rooms,
Keffer is overseeing a mammoth operation,
and he says that service is the heart of the
JW Marriott Marquis offering. The property’s
guest roster last year were “primarily here
for business. Our top five source markets for
group bookings in 2014 were broken down
as UAE (31.8%), Western Europe (16.6%),
Asia (15.4%), GCC (6.4%) and North Africa
(5.4%), [which] were the biggest drivers.”
Logistics plays a clear role in Keffer’s stra-
tegic management; he points out that being
conscious of a guest’s specific requirements
are part and parcel of how the hotel strives
to over-deliver a seamless experience for
those who are often working across multiple
time zones and visiting several countries for
business. “We know business travellers value
time above all else, which is why we have
strengthened the appeal of our prime down-
town location with a range of 24/7 facilities.
Business travellers also value connectivity,
which is why we launched online check-in,
and have equipped every room with USB
connections to the LCD TVs, iPod stations,
fast Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and control
tablets for the master rooms. Service is obvi-
ously at the heart of our offering, and we fo-
cus on training and upskilling our associates

Anticipation ahead
as an absolute priority to ensure we provide
exceptional service that is crafted, intuitive
and authentic– the central pillars of the JW

of demands Marriott brand.”


Finally, no one knows the brand’s strengths
like someone who has spent 25 years in the
GM Bill Keffer leads the JW Marriott Marquis company; his favorite of the group’s inter-
national properties? “The Marriott Beach
Hotel Dubai with instinctual excellence Resort Fort Lauderdale in Florida, one of my


E
first positions, and where I first met my beau-
xecutives choose us based on our business-oriented facilities and tiful wife Stephenie.”
capacity to cater to their individual needs, and to do so intuitively,”
says General Manager of the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, Bill
Keffer. After a solid quarter century with Marriott International, Keffer
has pretty good instincts when it comes to the expectations of the
business traveller, and he’s sure that there is no one better equipped to handle
your corporate event no matter how big: “First and foremost we are a Meetings,
Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions [MICE] hotel, and what makes us differ-
ent as a business hotel is our capacity to host groups of up to 1,000 to meet, eat
and sleep in one location. We are the only hotel in Dubai that can host groups of
this scale. Previously, conference and event organizers would have needed to split
Prime 68 Private Booths
their group between numerous different hotels within the same city.”

60 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


RECOMMENDED BY THE GM Saray Spa Dead Sea
Floatation Pool
EXEC STAY making Dubai a viable and at-
“Guests can tractive option for high volume
reserve an international conferences. As
Executive a result, we hosted the largest
Level room segment of the NuSkin group
for special from China in 2014, the largest
benefits like incentive group ever received
complimen- in Dubai. Not only do we have
GM Bill Keffer tary hors Dubai’s largest ballroom which
d’oeuvres can accommodates a large num-
and cocktails in The Executive ber of conference attendees, but
Lounge. The lounge is open we have enough hotel rooms to
24/7 for business travelers to comfortably host them during
relax and enjoy snacks and their visit. JW Marriott Marquis
beverages in privacy, both day also recently launched a brand
and night. They also benefit new initiative called ‘Meetings authentic restaurants and five Mahal, with Michelin-starred
from access to complimentary Imagined,’ allowing for busi- lounges which offer world class Chef Atul Kochhar at the helm.
business facilities including nesses to get creative when dining options suited to both It is a multiple award-winning
secretarial services, a meeting holding conferences or meetings business and pleasure. We also modern Indian restaurant,
room for up to eight people, on a large scale. Meeting plan- host international concepts presenting an exciting menu in
and a business center equipped ners can facilitate modern meet- such as the VIP Room and GQ a vibrant ‘Palace of Color’ (Rang
with fax machine and printer. ings with a creative spin that Bar within the hotel, further Mahal)- it really is a feast for the
We strive for ‘no distractions’ stimulate attendees through cementing our position as a senses, and a great venue for a
around the clock to allow busi- cutting-edge approaches; big destination hotel. Prime 68 is a more relaxed business dinner.”
ness travelers to focus on the screen multimedia, energizing personal favorite of mine, with
actual business they are doing.” breaks, interactive activities and panoramic views of the urban DOWNTIME “I recommend a
relaxed meeting configurations skyline complimenting delicious session in the Dead Sea Floata-
CONFERENCE CAPABILITIES are all part of out-of-the-box cuts of steak. Of course, I have tion Pool, a hammam, massage
“Our owners Emirates Group ‘Meetings Imagined’ experi- enjoyed countless business or steam room session in Saray
had the vision to build a con- ence.” lunches and dinners here- the Spa. Work off stress in the gym,
vention hotel with scale and New York Strip with mushroom take a dip in the outdoor pool,
facilities on par with those in MUNCH “JW Marriott Marquis truffle sauce is sensational. I have some shisha, or indulge in
New York, Hong Kong and Paris, is home to nine award-winning also am also very fond of Rang cuisines from around the world.”

Executive Lounge
IMAGES COURTESY JW MARRIOTT MARQUIS

The Club Lounge

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 61


CULTURE BUSINESS UNUSUAL | LIFE | TRAVEL | DESIGN | TRAPPINGS

‘TREP TRIMMINGS
THE EXECUTIVE
SELECTION
F
rom better goods to boardroom wardrobe bests, each issue we
choose a few items that make the approved executive selection list.
In this issue, we present the EthanIK men’s collection, the right way
to wear a great timepiece, and our suggestions for better grooming gear.

YOU’VE GOT BAGGAGE! ETHAN K


He learnt the art
of exotic tanning
from British traders
WATCH ME GO
CHANEL J12-G.10 CHROMATIC
and passed on this
knowledge to his Gaspard Ulliel certainly knows how to
son,” explains Sin- cut a striking figure: the actor and face
gapore-based Koh. of CHANEL Bleu made an entrance in
After his grandfather superbly tailored achromatic tones of
and father opened grey at the launch of the Cruise Collection
the family tannery, 2015/16 in Seoul, Korea. Taking a page of
Heng Long Leather Ulliel’s book; when dressed in understated
Ethan Koh in Singapore, Koh shades with the cleanest of cuts, choose a
grew up surrounded
“Our clasps are hand crafted in Tuscany, by the tanning process and being inducted Gaspard Ulliel
Italy, and I work personally with the arti- into the ways of leather craftsmanship. at CHANEL
Cruise 1516
sans. I wanted to go back to the era where The designer spent his teenage years in show in Seoul,
clients could meet the designer and have Italy at bag and shoe ateliers, and crafted Korea on May
bespoke creations made, tailored to their his first handbag for his mother while he 4, 2015
personality and a symbol of the connec- was still a student. So yes, he’s got the
tion between the artisan and the client.” background and the market know-how
This is Ethan Koh, a Central Saint Martins to address the niche of ‘treps looking for
educated designer who knows what you’re a good leather piece with some dignified
looking for in an accessory simply because punch. www.ethan-k.com
he’s an entrepreneur, much like your-
selves. Your better leathers are one
Ethan K, Hardshell
way to let your personality shine Briefcase in
CHANEL J12-G.10 CHROMATIC IMAGE CREDIT GASPARD ULLIEL BY ALDO CASTOLDI

through, in what might be more of Shiny Black Cumin


a conservative wardrobe depend- Crocodile

ing on your sector of business,


so we suggest a few of the men’s
selection in the Ethan K range. The
backstory? The Ethan K Debut timepiece that makes a statement. In an
Collection was unveiled in Janu- appropriate nod to the House, Ulleil opted
ary 2011, consisting of 18 bags for for the CHANEL J12-G.10. Crafted in tita-
men and women at Claridge’s in nium and ceramic, the grey nylon strap is
London- marking the moment that steel-looped paired with a steel pin buckle.
Koh transitioned from being a de- Specs we find that pay for themselves? The
signer to being a designer and an 42-hour power reserve, scratch resistance,
entrepreneur. “My great grandfa- durability, and water resistance up to 200
ther was a fisherman in Singapore, meters. www.chanel.com
when it was [still] a British colony.
Ethan K wallet
62 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015
EDITOR’S PICK
BURBERRY BRIT SPLASH
A new take on Burberry Brit
for men, the launch of Splash
has come just in time for
those steeling themselves
for the long (and hot) Gulf
summer. Burberry Brit Splash
is crisp and clean- the eau
de toilette is described as
an “aquatic” with notes of
rosemary, vetiver and moss. A
bracing scent with masculine
anchor accords? Yes, sir!

MINIMAL EFFORT, MAXIMUM RESULTS


KIEHL’S FOR MEN
The grooming specialists at Kiehl’s have time. Start by determining your needs, then
made it their business to get your skin in choose the products you can use consistently
shape since 1851; that’s a century and a to achieve results. Is your skin in the combi-
half of experience. We’ve got a few picks nation to oily range? Treat your complexion
in mind that you can count on to keep you and control shine with the Kiehl’s Oil Elimi-
looking your best, with minimal effort and nator Cleanser. It’s good for use in and out of

The new Kiehl’s second


stand-alone boutique
in Dubai at Mercato Mall

the shower, and follow up daily with an even


application of pore-minimizing Kiehl’s Oil
Eliminator Anti-Shine Moisturizer. Are you
having a rough time with your shaving area?
Opt for Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub
with exfoliating properties that helps to rid
the skin of impurities and over time helps
to reduce ingrown hairs, and ensure that
you apply the Kiehl’s Post Shave Repair Gel.
www.kiehls.com

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 63


IN THE LOOP

Meet and greet The

The Ritz-Carlton Riyadh releases app for real-time


event and meeting services

M ore coffee? More microphones? Not enough tables?


Planners, here’s something to make your job easier.
The Ritz-Carlton has released ((Chime)), a meeting and
event planner companion app to utilize the hotel’s services with a
touch of a button. The app, available for any web-enabled device,
can cater to needs from room requests, set up changes, culinary
alterations and other options available on the app’s menu. Besides
the available options, a text feature is also available to make specific
instructions prior or during a meeting. After a request, the app
would receive a notification from the conference concierge con-
firming receipt of the request, and its progress. Available at global
Ritz-Carlton hotels, it includes 20 languages such as Arabic, French,
German, Chinese and more.

‘TREPS CHOICE
‘TREP TALK ME during the day, which means

The Jaguar XE S makes for


that we also have to approach
THE BUSINESS potential customers at specific
hellofood Middle East times, which is the moment
an interesting (and agile) ride THE ‘TREP
Founder and CEO Beschir
they start thinking about
what to eat and where. In this
Want to be aerodynamic? Want to feel control and seam- Hussain sense, the need we satisfy
less response times? Then we suggest taking the new Q What are some consumer has a daily time constraint.
Jaguar XE S for a spin so you too can experience the trends you have noticed in One interesting insight is that
precision handling. The lightweight, slick-lined body, F&B and online and mobile countries in the Middle East
and second look-worthy interiors do make for a fashion- platforms with hellofood? have significantly different
forward executive statement, but the ergonomics of the A “In the food online ordering lunch and dinner peaks. In
interior and exterior engineering is what we find most im- industry, timing is crucial. Saudi Arabia, for example,
pressive. Tailored to the investment savvy luxury-lover, the People eat at certain times dinner peak starts at 10 p.m.,
newest vehicle in the range is great for maintaining owner while in Jordan it’s at around
affordability, and if you’re eco (and wallet) conscious, the 8 p.m. This has various op-
XE S is fuel efficient and low on emissions. And now for erational implications for the
the specs: go 0-60 in 4.9 seconds with the supercharged business and for our partner
3.0 liter V6 engine, and eight-speed automatic transmis- restaurants, such as the call
sion with paddle shift controls. Switching lanes has never center capacity planning and
been so… stimulating. www.jaguarmena.com the delivery staffing.”
www.hellofood.sa

64 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


www.etro.com

e Jaguar XE S
CULTURE BUSINESS UNUSUAL | LIFE | TRAVEL | DESIGN | TRAPPINGS

Tarek Atrissi

ing him to take advantage of


his creative background and
pursue his entrepreneurial
endeavors. His entrepreneur-
ial training helped in under-
standing his clients- who are
also often entrepreneurs. Act-
ing as a facilitator to “bring
their own ideas into the
world,” Atrissi advises them
as he has executed ventures
of his own. He established the
Netherlands and Spain-based
Tarek Atrissi Design studio
in 2000, which focuses
on branding, type design,
exhibition design and general
communications consultancy.
The agency has made a name
for themselves for their
cross-cultural design work.
As increasing design literacy
in the region is part of their
mission, education has also
been part of their services,
with design workshops and

SEEING DOUBLE
courses being held for teams
and academic institutions.
So why did his design

ENTREPRENEUR AND
studio hone in on bilingual
typography? Atrissi explains,
“Our market in the Middle

DESIGNER TAREK ATRISSI East is, at the end of the day,


a bilingual market commu-
nicating often in more than
A well-executed typeface can become the voice of your brand
one language.” It’s true, but in
By Pamella de Leon
terms of deciding to focus his

G
“ ood typography Lebanon, The Netherlands,
is when you look Qatar, Dubai, Spain, and
at them [type] as the U.S. His enthusiasm for
one logo design, cultural endeavors began
not letters,” said after being exposed to classic
Tarek Atrissi emphasizing artists at a young age, while
how a well-executed typeface his interest in graphic design
can become the voice of a stemmed from how it’s a
brand at a session for the relatively new discipline in
2015 Dubai International the region.
Arabic Calligraphy Exhibi- The 36-year-old Lebanese-
tion. The session explored Dutch citizen holds a Masters
supporting traditional art and of Arts in Interactive Multi-
including it in contemporary media from Utrecht School
typographic expression. And of the Arts, Holland, MFA
Atrissi has definitely made in Design Entrepreneurship
it his life’s work to explore from the School of Visual
the branding possibilities Arts (SVA) in New York and a
of typography- particularly Postgraduate degree in Type-
bilingual typography. Born face Design from the Type@
in Beirut, Tarek Atrissi has Cooper Program in New York.
worked, lived and studied in He later credits SVA for push-

Poster Design Series for Identity Design Conference at Dar El Hekma College, Saudi Arabia

66 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


design practice on typography it for our current times. In character, and allowed me and creative professionals
as a solution for branding Holland, I was inspired by the to observe and study closely thinking of venturing their
projects, Atrissi points out Dutch design approach, and some of the living legends own business in MENA? Go
how typography is a visual by being in a country with a in design today and the way beyond design and build an
language on its own and in high level of visual culture they work. The combina- interest in business- starting
branding contexts –especially and a methodological ap- tion of these very different off with a business plan. After
in logo design- using type- proach to the design process. design cultures made me as a all, one needs to make sure
faces as main elements turns New York was a school of de- designer, and is a continuous one’s creativity finds com-
it to being “minimal, abstract sign that stamped me with a rich blend of inspiration.” mercial viability in order to
and timeless.” The lack of hard-working and ambitious His advice for graphic design survive.
minimal design in the region
is also one of Atrissi’s motiva-
tions for mainly utilizing
typography in graphic design.
The challenge is keeping it
legible when needed. It’s es-
sential as fonts and typefaces
can become the voice of a
brand. When you think of a
red curved M, the first thing
that comes to mind is, of
course, McDonald’s. Likewise,
Atrissi asserts the importance
of sets of fonts that can be
associated with a brand’s
identity, and how companies
have clued in on typefaces’
importance, and have begun
asking for custom-made
fonts. In adopting multi-
lingual typeface design for
corporations, Atrissi advises
“respect[ing] the nature of
each script- [don’t] force the
Arabic to look like the Latin
script so that it becomes
distorted. Vice versa, mak-
ing a Latin typeface look
Arabic by trying to draw it
in a superficial calligraphic
way and making it a ‘faux
Arabe’ kind of font is also a
wrong move.” The goal is to
match the multilingual fonts
harmoniously, but without
sacrificing the authenticity or
legibility of each language. To
advocate good design in the
region, Atrissi incorporates it
to real life projects and brings
it to the public as a successful
VISUALS COURTESY TAREK ATRISSI DESIGN WWW.ATRISSI.COM

example.
“Every country had its own
influence and was a specific
school of design that helped
my design personality. The
Arab world provided me with
the interest in local culture,
as well inspiration from our
heritage and interpreting

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 67


CULTURE BUSINESS UNUSUAL | LIFE | TRAVEL | DESIGN | TRAPPINGS

FIVE ARABIC
COLOR OVERUSE
Golden color to suggest
luxury, and green as an Is-
DESIGN CLICHÉS lamic color.

“I am always fighting design LITERAL TRANSLATIONS West-


clichés in our region that are ern brands translated into
used, abused and are wrongly Arabic without any consider-
associated with our Arabic ation as to how these would
culture and identity. There work in the local market.
is a need to start thinking
beyond the superficial and ALI BABA TYPO
to create designs that are Putting logos or words as Eng-
unique, and not too com- lish with an Arabic-looking
monly illustrative.” font.

GENERALIZATIONS ALL INCLUSIVE LOGO


Typical visuals and icons Telling too much in a logo,
to illustrate Arabic culture instead of subtle messages-
such as the camel and the MENA is not yet used to
palm tree. minimalism.

In conversation
SAUDI DESIGN WEEK INNOVATE NOT IMITATE
“It gives me the opportunity “We should not blindly copy
to share my design philosophy the design process and solu-
and try to reach the wider mass tions created in the West as
in explaining the design needs these could often not work
of our region, and be critical with our local culture. It is
about the pitfalls we often see important to keep the essence
in common design solutions. I of our design solutions purely
[also] spoke about my project conceived to fit our culture,
for the Riyadh Metro, the new and hence end up representing
public transport system in our identity and be a unique
Saudi Arabia. As part of the design to our region.”
branding of the metro, I have
developed custom bilingual EXECUTIVE EDUCATION
typeface design for the metro, “My entrepreneurial spirit
to be the ‘written voice’ of the was certainly what helped get
brand. It was a good case study into all my ventures, so the
to share with the audience, as graduate studies I did in New
the new font for the metro is York was certainly a turning
literally everywhere in the city of point and I do advise any
Riyadh, and it gave the audience designer aspiring starting an
a good practical sense of how a own business to support their
typeface can act as a recogniz- creative profile with business
able component of any brand.” education.” Metro Riyadh Arabic and Latin typeface design by Tarek Atrissi
VISUALS COURTESY TAREK ATRISSI DESIGN WWW.ATRISSI.COM

THE BUSINESS OF DESIGN PASSION PROJECTS “I remind myself to keep having fun and
MEET HALFWAY “Any design is the collaborative work of the enjoying my work, because this is [the] reason why I got into
designer and the client, so I do my best to have this relationship design in the first place- my love for the design practice.”
as collaborative as possible.”
EXPLAIN YOUR STANCE “I try to [convince clients to forgo
PROJECT MANAGEMENT “As a businessman, I try to keep in clichés] by building arguments based on real case studies and
mind the timeframes and restrictions every project has and work showing the many examples of how these clichés are used
on a design solution within it, because design is not [just] art, and wrongly. Sometimes, it is best to explain good design by show-
it is tied to budgets and to commercial contexts.” casing and analyzing bad design.”

68 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


THE PORTFOLIO TAREK ATRISSI PROJECTS
“Every project brings its own challenges and requirements into the process that
are unique to it, and that is what makes the design process always interesting.”

BAHRAIN NATIONAL MUSEUM QATAR’S NATIONAL BRANDING


As it was essential for the building’s “This was a very unique and challenging
shape to be in the logo, the team studied project- for me to understand well the
the architectural concept of the building culture of a country and able to frame
in depth. Eventually, instead of making it into a brand, I had to move and live
a drawing of the building, they got in Qatar for a year.” In the end, it was
inspired by the square-like forms of the a minimalist logo with a calligraphic
iconic architecture and translated it style of the Arabic word Qatar that was
into a typographic solution- where the constructed. To Arab readers, the logo
museum name was designed in a square was a visual signature of the nation,
kufi style that reflected the floor plan of while non-Arab readers would see it as
the museum. an aesthetic calligraphic shape- appeal-
ing to both demographics, particularly works displayed. To avoid typical Arab
JEEM TV to outsiders, which was the goal for the design clichés, the design house used
For Al-Jazeera’s children’s channel tourism campaign. a hand-lettered street sign in Beirut as
JEEM TV,, the aim was to create a logo its main inspiration and theme for the
design that appeals to the aesthetics VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM design. The main entrance of the exhibi-
of children. “This was not easy. I, EXHIBITION tion, large murals, introduction and
as a designer, had to step out of my The museum had a photography exhibi- section panels consisted of multiple lay-
own preferences to create what really tion about the Middle East called Light ers of Latin and Arabic typography from
appeals to kids of various age groups.” from the Middle East: New Photography. the sign, while the negative space of the
It involved setting up workshops with The project’s goal was to create an ex- Arabic letters contributed to the con-
children to get them involved in the hibition space that reflected the Middle cept of light, and at the same, depicted
design process. East culture, without imposing over the an accurate landscape of Middle East.

Tarek Atrissi’s sketchbook

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 69


TREPONOMICS ETHICS | ESQUIRE GUY | SKILLSET | MARKETING | PRO

LEADERSHIP
TRAINING

SPONSORED BY CADILLAC IN THE


SPIRIT OF EDUCATING TOMORROW’S
ENTREPRENEURIAL TALENTS

It’s imperative that as an entre-


preneur you focus on each area
in turn, taking time to update
your leadership skills as your
company grows and develops.
The results for those that don’t

Running a tighter
make the effort to do this are
clear: research has shown
that very few founders were

(and more fruitful) ship


successful as CEOs once their
companies went public, hinting
that the leadership skills that
are required to be successful
Five leadership characteristics that entrepreneurs need change as a company grows in
By Dr. Melodena Stephens Balakrishnan size. To help budding entrepre-
neurs navigate their changing

I
n my role as Associate given a dirham for every time a quality, however, is a much business environments, here
Professor at the University somebody asked me these ques- harder subject to broach as it’s are my top five leadership char-
of Wollongong in Dubai, tions, I’d be a very rich woman a constantly evolving phenom- acteristics that you should take
heading up the institution’s indeed! The answer to “What enon. My overriding opinion is time to develop over the course
MBA program and with a keen is leadership?” is a relatively that there are different answers of your career:
research interest in entrepre- simple one in my book- it’s to “What characteristics do I
neurship, I often get asked two an innate ability to motivate, need to be a successful leader?” LEADERSHIP STAGE ONE
questions: “What exactly is influence and lead people in an depending on which stage of CREATIVITY
leadership?” and “What char- organization towards a common business growth an entrepre- All successful entrepreneurs
acteristics do I need?” If I was goal or purpose. Leadership as neur is currently facing. have something in common:
creativity. Sure, maybe other
people have had a similar idea
Assessing strengths, opportunites, and problems to yours, but how you make it
work, convince others of its
potential and get people to fall
in love with its possibilities is
an extremely creative process.
CHARTS: RESEARCH REPORT TEAM COLLABORATION STUDY © ESI INTERNATIONAL

Many entrepreneurs find that


early on in their idea’s life-
cycle, creativity is the biggest
trait they need to be a suc-
cessful leader. You have to be
creative in your use of limited
resources, have the ability to
catch a potential investor’s eye
-especially if you’re looking
further than their circle of
friends and family for funding-
and see things that other people
can’t, including having faith in
your own vision when others
may not.

70 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


Staff’s contributions
values for the future are deeply
embedded. A recent survey by
McKinsey & Company suggests
that those leaders who create
a sense of ownership amongst
their frontline staff fare better
during periods of change. Work
closely with other stakeholders
to develop a structure to help
to manage decision-making
too– try to avoid the paralysis
that sets in through too many
meetings that have no outcome
except frustration!
Keys to success
LEADERSHIP STAGE FIVE
COLLABORATION
Research by ESI International
proposes that 65.5% of teams
feel that if they worked more
collaboratively, they would
be more successful. As your
startup matures, attempt to
collaborate more both with
your internal team and external
agencies, working to build
LEADERSHIP STAGE TWO your direction too- it may need LEADERSHIP STAGE FOUR strategic alliances and seek
DIRECTION be redefined as circumstances COORDINATION external advice on business
As your business starts to en- change, more investors come As your organization grows strategy and staff recruitment
ter its first stage of growth, you on board, resources change, or further, silos might develop from suppliers, customers,
need to be able to articulate indeed, you change! within your business which legal teams and other business
your direction in measurable could lead to inefficiencies, sounding-boards. Focus
goals. As one venture capitalist LEADERSHIP STAGE THREE miscommunication and loss your energies on effectively
told me, “There is no formula DELEGATION of trust. If this happens, you networking too, building
for investment at the seed stage As your business grows, you should focus on effectively strong relationships which
because there are no numbers may find yourself getting and skilfully coordinating might help you to discover
and tractions for us to look increasingly inefficient as you between various personalities, opportunities, source resources
at- but the team is everything. handle more responsibilities. expertise and management and get that all important
If you can measure what the The key to combating this is levels. Concentrate on creat- foot-in-the-door with potential
entrepreneur is speaking about delegation, delegation, delega- ing a strong corporate culture customers, clients and future
and express it in numbers, tion! Hiring the right team where the business’ vision and opportunities.
then they are up to something.” who you trust to believe in and
Although financial goals are of respect your vision is of up-
course extremely important, most importance at this stage. Dr. Melodena Stephens Balakrishnan
direction is not limited just to Knowing your weaknesses and is an Associate Professor at the
money matters. It also includes hiring people for their com- University of Wollongong in Dubai
(UOWD), and the UOWD MBA Program
having a clear idea about your petencies, concentrating on
Director. Dr Balakrishnan’s research
target market, articulating building up a diverse workforce interests include branding, destination
your vision in a sentence which made up of different genders, marketing, entrepreneurship and social
is measurable, inspiring and background and skills, devel- entrepreneurship. As founder and President
achievable and communicating oping mutually agreed goal of the Academy of International Business
MENA Chapter, Dr. Balakrishnan has
effectively with key stakehold- posts and investing in good organized five international conferences,
ers. Focus on being fluid in governance to track finance bringing together over 300 participants
and business relationships from across the region to discuss business
have all been proven to con- issues. She has 16 years of industry and
ALL SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS education experience, beginning her career
HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON: CREA- tribute to successful growth. at Citibank India and spending over eight
TIVITY. SURE, MAYBE OTHER PEOPLE What’s more, you shouldn’t be years in marketing in India, including a
HAVE HAD A SIMILAR IDEA TO YOURS, afraid to take tough decisions stint setting up a division in Eureka Forbes
BUT HOW YOU MAKE IT WORK, CON- as the organization evolves. Be Ltd. She is currently researching into the business stages facing social
VINCE OTHERS OF ITS POTENTIAL AND entrepreneurs or organizations who have a strong embedded purpose
clear about your own account- their business model. If you are one such entrepreneur and would like to
GET PEOPLE TO FALL IN LOVE WITH
ITS POSSIBILITIES IS AN EXTREMELY ability and role within the participate in her research, visit:
CREATIVE PROCESS. business too. https://uowdoie.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_0B7P4iUcZF3u9Mx&Q_JFE=0

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 71


TREPONOMICS ETHICS | ESQUIRE GUY | SKILLSET | MARKETING | PRO

INDUSTRY
KNOW-HOW

SPONSORED BY CADILLAC
IN THE SPIRIT OF LINKING
SUCCESS WITH POTENTIAL

traditional management style


focusing on planning and evalu-
ating once a year can no longer
be applied, and that managers
will have to adopt more of a
coaching management style if
they aspire to build high-per-
forming teams and retain their
best people.
So, what are skills that are an
absolute must for all managers
in order to drive motivation,
results and eventually increase
performance and retention?

1. LISTENING TO
UNDERSTAND People want
to be listened to, that’s a fact.
But more than that, they want

Yes, you can do better


to be understood. In order to
become an effective listener,
ensure you don’t only listen to
what the person says, but also
Re-evaluating the approach to performance management pay attention what the person
By Salma El-Shurafa and Veronique Ademar doesn’t! Observe non-verbal

I
messages, and feelings, which
are usually ignored. Give your
n any company, ensuring that goals are captured, measured and full attention to your employee
periodically evaluated is a critical exercise to manage performance without necessarily having
the intent to answer…but
and outcomes. Most companies have some sort of performance just listen, understand and be
management system, be it online or in paper format. However, most present.
managers describe it as painful and time consuming, while employees
2. EFFECTIVE
feel like the process is contrived and often have the impression that it’s COMMUNICATION This seems
‘just a tick-in-the-box’ exercise for their senior management. like a given, however, having
great communication skills
So, is PM becoming redun- levels of value, while 58% said spondents are either “currently doesn’t mean just talking
dant? According to a 2014 it is not an effective use of time. evaluating” or have recently for the sake of passing on a
Global Human Capital Trends • Today’s widespread ranking- “reviewed and updated” their message to someone. Judgment,
report, led by Deloitte Consult- and ratings-based performance performance management attacks and emotional
ing LLP and Bersin by Deloitte, management is damaging em- systems. Also, it reveals that outbursts have no place here.
which surveyed over 2,500 ployee engagement, alienating some of these organizations are When you are conveying a
business and HR leaders across high performers, and costing scrapping the annual evalua- message, keep in mind that
90 countries, two conclusions managers valuable time. tion cycle and replacing it with what others perceive is also
stand out: Well, maybe you don’t want ongoing feedback and coaching important. Your body language,
• Only 8% of companies report to throw away your process just designed to promote continu- facial expressions and tone of
that their performance man- yet. The same survey showed ous employee development. voice will convey your attitude-
agement process drives high that 70% of the survey re- This means that the more be it positive or negative.

72 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


the walk and don’t forget to give positive performance. The way perfor-
dare to ask feedback also when the job has mance is managed has to be
feedback from been well done! It doesn’t stop redefined and managers have
your staff. here. Feedback is essential, to be stretched beyond their
You want to and it also has to be partnered current skills so that they don’t
create an en- up with regular check-ins on just remain evaluators, but they
vironment of accountabilities and progress become success-enablers.
openness with especially if development areas
your team so were established.
that they feel The performance manage-
supported ment process as we know it
and consider is becoming obsolete, and
themselves whether you need to review
free to come it or scrap it altogether will
to you in depend on a number of factors.
times of need. However, what is becoming
obvious is that companies
5. GIVING have to embed a new way of
FEEDBACK managing people. The truth of
Do this on the matter is that employees
a regular don’t merely want to be given Salma El-Shurafa and Veronique
basis and a rating at the end of the year, Ademar, drawing on over 20 years of
combined experience, are Executive
3. IMPARTING MOTIVATION not just once a year! It always but instead crave for regular Coaches and founding partners at
The words ‘thank you’ go a has to be done in a timely feedback, understanding, guid- The Pathway Project (TPP). TPP
long way, and managers tend to manner and not a week after ance and recognition. When an provides tailored executive leadership
forget the importance of small the fact. Remember that ownership-driven performance and career development coaching to
professionals who are navigating the
gestures. Appreciating some- feedback should be conveyed management process is paired dynamics of the global UAE market.
one’s hard work and lending a in a constructive manner, with managers applying coach- They have worked with a wide variety
hand or a compassionate ear (no blaming!), and instead ing skills, not only will you of individuals in the Middle East, Asia
will make your employees feel of asking: ‘Why did you do accelerate change and growth, and Europe, ranging from directors and
managers at Fortune 500 companies
valued! Giving them new chal- this?’ ask instead: ‘What’s but you’ll also boost employee as well as entrepreneurs, across
lenges and ensuring they have gone wrong?’ and ‘How can we morale and engagement which industries, and other professionals.
clear goals and responsibili- do it better next time?’ And will ultimately result in higher www.pathwayproject.ae
ties are simple, yet powerful,
ways to gain engagement and
motivation! And remember, Regions where top five trends are most important
when looking at development,
focus on employee strengths
and ensure that their areas of
improvement are critical to the
responsibilities of the job, and
not just peripheral to it. You
can’t be motivating someone by
reminding them how ‘bad’ they
are at something, especially if
it doesn’t weigh too much on
CHART © DELOITTE UNIVERSITY PRESS - GLOBAL HUMAN CAPITAL TRENDS 2014 REPORT

their jobs.

WHEN AN OWNERSHIP DRIVEN PER-


FORMANCE MANAGEMENT PROCESS
IS PAIRED WITH MANAGERS APPLY-
ING COACHING SKILLS, NOT ONLY
WILL YOU ACCELERATE CHANGE AND
GROWTH, BUT YOU’LL ALSO BOOST
EMPLOYEE MORALE AND ENGAGE-
MENT WHICH WILL ULTIMATELY
RESULT IN HIGHER PERFORMANCE.

4. ESTABLISHING TRUST
Create a blame-free environ-
ment where employees are
challenged, supported and not
afraid to make mistakes. Walk

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 73


TREPONOMICS ETHICS | ESQUIRE GUY | SKILLSET | MARKETING | PRO

Small talk 101


The Esquire Guy on the difference between
schmoozing vs. small talk
By Ross McCammon

P
eople say they don’t like small The words are irrelevant. The act is
talk. But what those people are what’s important. And you have to stay
saying is that they don’t like small. Really small. You want to avoid
people. They are -and I’m not using this what’s large, including the thing you’re
word without some serious delibera- probably most prepared to talk about:
tion- talkists. Also, they are denying an business.
essential truth about every great thing “The key to small talk is to avoid
that has ever been done: before you do in any way making conversation that
it, you have to talk about it. And before has to do with business,” says Daniel
you talk about it, you have to talk about Menaker, author of A Good Talk, about
something else. And what that is, is how conversations work. “By definition,
small talk. small talk is not goal-oriented. Or if
Small talk is a not a glorious thing. it is goal-oriented, the goal is to make
But it is the gateway to a thing that yourself conversationally available to
is... also not glorious, but a lot more other people in a way that shows you
interesting: medium talk. Which is are not just single-mindedly entrepre-
something. neurial, but that you’re a human being,
But this is about small talk- at a party, and that you can find common ground.”
at a networking event. Which we’ll take Common ground is the whole point.
in stages. The stages are 1, 2 and 3, and Similarity breeds attraction. The more
there’s no telling how long each will you have in common with someone,
last. the more you like them. The subject
of business is slightly too fraught. So,
STAGE 1 ANYTHING YOU WANT what to talk about instead?
TO TALK ABOUT, INCLUDING It’s difficult for your opening line to
THE WEATHER be too small. “Hi, I’m Kevin” is not big. “An iceberg exploded yesterday.”
With small talk, you are advancing the too small. “Hot out today” is not too Too big. “You have a good cheek.” Too
conversation. But in an extremely re- small. You’re not really giving the other big. “Why are we here? On Earth, I
strained way. You are giving something person much to work with, but it’s mean.” Too big. Stay small.
of yourself. But you’re not giving actual not too small. “So, you’re a groomer of
ideas. You are offering up the simplest animals?” Also not too small. “Thank STAGE 2 LISTENING MOSTLY
of observations. God it’s Thursday morning,” while odd, The second stage of small talk can hap-
People think they hate small talk is not too small. (“We are in a room” is pen only after receiving a response that
because it is boring. But it has to be probably too small.) is equal to or greater than the content
boring. The splendor of small talk is its And here are some examples of small of your opener. The signal from the
banality. Because small talk is a signal. talk that is too big: “I’m Kevin!” Too other person is: I’m not threatened, so

KEY TECHNICAL MATTERS > It’s important to fill silences with a conversational bridge to some-
> There’s no shame in opening with the following subjects: the thing more interesting. “You don’t say.” Or: “Amazing.” Or: “Really?”
weather, the fact that it is Friday, sports. > The following are not to be used as bridges: “Well, my, my, my.” Or:
> Unadvisable: the weather on another celestial body, the fact “I like what I’m hearing.” Or: “I’m so lonely.”
that it was Friday three days ago, obscure sports (standing high > When approaching a stranger, approach from the front with intent,
jump, for instance). but not aggression. Also, do not flank them. Do not charge them. Do
> No squinting, which is threatening. not approach a stranger in a way that seems vaguely military.
> Head-nodding should be limited. > Eye contact is extremely important.
> Head-shaking should be employed only as a gesture of > Shoulder contact is not important.
sympathy. > Hip contact is not relevant in any way.
> Head-rolling should be eschewed. > Elbow contact is hilarious.

74 ENTREPRENEUR APRIL 2015


disposal. You can say, “I’m into string” STAGE 3 HOW TO GET OUT, OR NOT
to a total stranger, and if you say it It helps to have fallback questions:
with eye contact and a smile, it can two or three questions or topics you
seem brilliant.) know you can pull out when you’re on
The second stage of small talk is all the spot and nervous. “We don’t think
about promotion orientation. “Don’t quite as quickly and clearly when we’re
think, don’t say this, don’t do some- under pressure, so the more well-
thing stupid, don’t go on too long,” rehearsed any behavior is, the better
says Sam Sommers, associate professor we’re able to pull that off when the
of psychology at Tufts University and spotlight’s on. Having a good exit line
author of Situations Matter: Under- never hurts,” Sommers says.
standing How Context Transforms Your At a party or a networking event
World. “If you have all these don’ts and (as opposed to a meeting, where the
negatives in your head as you go into duration of small talk is somewhat
an interaction, you tend to come off fixed), there is a point at which you
looking like someone who had a bunch must decide if this is a conversation
of negative thoughts in their head and worth continuing or a conversation
distracted and not engaged.” worth ending. The eyes are the
The second stage also gives you an deciding factor, not the conversation.
entrée to be mildly interesting. And If the other person’s eyes wander, even
slightly personal. Del Pedro -a bar- a little bit, you should get out. If the
tender who has about 50 small-talk eyes wander, you throw out your exit
conversations a night at New York’s line. “I see a friend I need to speak
Pegu Club says, “I try not to offend, but to; it’s been great talking to you.”
occasionally I will push things a little Or, more generously: “It’s been great
further just to get the conversation talking to you; I’ll let you get to some
flowing and get people a little jacked other people now.” Or, the best exit
up. For the sport of it, for fun.” His line ever developed: “I’m going to the
small-talk hours have increased lately, bar. Can I get you something?” If the
as he’s opening up his own establish- other person wants to continue the
ment, Brooklyn’s Tooker Alley. “There conversation, they will say yes. If they
are times when it’s awkward,” he says. don’t, they will say no. And so you act
“When I had to go out to raise money accordingly.
for this new [outlet], I found that’s a Or maybe it keeps going. Maybe you
let us continue this mundane banter. form of small talk I’m not good at. But I get somewhere. Maybe it really gets
There’s this thing psychologists call got better.” somewhere. Maybe you eventually
a “promotion orientation.” It involves Which is backed up by the scien- start a business with the person you
thinking of the conversation as a series tists: “Research suggests people who engaged in harmless banter at a party.
of opportunities rather than a minefield are viewed by others as socially adept Maybe you end up getting key advice
of embarrassment (thinking of it that and good at networking actually view from them. Or an important contact.
way is “prevention orientation”). The themselves as somewhat shy and Or maybe it’s just social. Maybe you
promotion orientation involves making withdrawn,” Sommers says. “There’s just pass the time talking to another
eye contact and smiling. (Which are not a set personality type you have to human being in a generous way. The
the two most powerful tools a person have to make this work. It’s more about thing about small talk is: Even if it’s
having a conversation has at his or her practice.” awkward, it’s worth it.

SCHMOOZING VS. SMALL TALK


It’s important to make a distinction between schmoozing and Small talk “I’m Steve.”
small talk. Schmoozing is an attempt to get somewhere. Small Schmoozing “I’m Steve. You look like a Steve, too.”
See this article in its entirety at Entrepreneur.com

talk is an attempt to fill a silence and make things less awk- Small talk “Gin and tonic. Safe choice.”
ward. Schmoozing is an ulterior act. Small talk is transparent. Schmoozing “Gin and tonic. Safe choice. Don’t drink too
Schmoozing is a wolf in the forest. Small talk is a fawn eating many, though.”
clover in a meadow. A few examples: Small talk “You don’t say.”
Small talk “Cold enough?” Schmoozing “Would you mind repeating that figure so I can
Schmoozing “That is the nicest scarf I’ve ever seen.” commit it to memory and then leverage it during the conversa-
Small talk “Great canapés.” tion I’m about to have with that guy over there? Did I just say
Schmoozing “What do you think they spent on this spread?” that out loud? Nice scarf, Steve. Hell of a scarf.”

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 75


CULTURE BUSINESS UNUSUAL | LIFE | TRAVEL | DESIGN | TRAPPINGS

a lot of perks to being in this

WANNA WORK
position. Not having to com-
mute to work offers the most
precious gift of all: extra time.
It also saves cash. I don’t

FROM HOME
spend money on unnecessary
expenses like overpriced
coffee, unhealthy lunches
or vending machine snacks.

AS SENIOR
Headphones? I barely remem-
ber those. I blast whatever
music I want, and as loud as
I want.

MANAGEMENT?
So let’s say you’re given
the magical gift of working
remotely from home. Are you
prepared for what’s about to
happen? Honestly, it’s not for
THE GOOD (AND BAD) NEWS everyone. Here’s everything
By Angie Nassar you need to know to survive
working from home.

T
1. THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE
echnology and stuff, it’s great. With the introduction of HOME. You are about to
telepresence robots , combined with cloud-based systems, spend an inordinately long
amount of time in your home.
VPNs, instant messaging, Skype, and phone forwarding and Outside of purchasing food
conferencing, you can work thousands of miles from the and other necessities, I have
no pressing reason to leave
office with just as much effectiveness and clarity as if you were my pad during the week. So
physically there. As executive editor of Beirut.com, I manage the take the number of hours
you spend at home after you
content and direction of the leading lifestyle-travel directory in finish your regular workday,
and add 16. That’s how much
Lebanon, and I do this from nearly 6,000 miles away in Upstate time you will have to stare
New York. But that also means I work according to the Eastern at the neon orange wall you
painted in the living room last
European Time Zone, a sometimes grueling schedule. week because you thought
it would look more edgy. My
advice: get as comfortable
Every single person you know as possible and invest in a
-including your colleagues, proper office setup with an
close friends, family, neigh- ergonomic chair, sticky notes,
bors and basically anyone calming colors, whatever it
who finds out you work from takes to make you feel level-
home– acts like you are headed, resolute and ready to
unemployed. My own brother work.
asked me when I was going to
get a “real job.” Also, if you 2. ONE IS THE LONELIEST
live with someone, they don’t NUMBER. If you’re one
understand why you can’t of those people who need
just drop everything and go constant attention and rec-
grab a coffee with them or ognition from other human
sit around and talk about the beings, this is probably not
latest episode of Keeping up the job for you. As far as I’m
with the Kardashians for 45 concerned, solitude is bliss,
minutes (because I have to do but some people go nuts
things, yo). Of course, it goes when they don’t have human
without saying that there are contact.

76 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


SETTING PRECEDENTS
The corporate take on working from home
While Yahoo CEO Marissa conducted over online chat
Mayer didn’t made it fully applications like Skype
clear as to why her com- and Google+ Hangouts.
pany decided to ban its Similarly, enterprise social
employees from working networks like Yammer
remotely in 2013, her few and Socialcast allow for
comments on the topic real-time interactions and
have suggested the work- collective conversations
from-home ban is to be a
move towards increasing Marissa
Mayer
collaboration among em-
3. MAKE A SCHEDULE AND into a self-induced food coma ployees, and thus raise the
STICK TO IT. It can be hard to is just not a possibility I’m standard of work delivered
draw the line between work willing to entertain. at Yahoo’s offices around
stuff and home stuff. I think the world.
people have this idea that 5. PLAN WHEN YOU’RE But putting a stop to
when you’re working from GOING TO LEAVE THE telecommuting may not
home you get really distracted HOUSE. Even if it’s just to necessarily be the right
by things like the TV or go for a walk outside or run way to go about this- after
other modern amenities, to the store to grab some all, as Mayer herself has among employees over
but if you’re serious about groceries, make time away admitted, people are most the Internet, no matter
what you do, then the from your living space. productive when they work where they may be actu-
opposite is true. You’ll find alone, and so, a company ally located. Keeping track
yourself waking up in the 6. MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS. that forces remote em- of what employees are
morning, sitting down at your As with any other activity, ployees to come into the doing can also be enabled
computer to check emails, you simply will not be as office to work in a bid to through daily status up-
and then all of a sudden it’s 8 effective at work if you’re improve their performance dates via a phone call or an
p.m., you’ve been working for trying to focus on too many on the job may end up email. In addition, research
11 hours straight. This leads things at once. That means, seeing an undesirable dip is indicating that Yahoo
me to my next point. leave the TV and radio off in the same. So, if the may be well off the mark
and keep all other forms of target is to see a better when it says that “speed
4. WATCH OUT FOR entertainment out of sight. output from one’s remote and quality are often
POTENTIAL WEIGHT GAIN. Also, do not try to work from employees, then a better sacrificed” when people
I am by no means a shining your couch or bed. While way to achieve that could work from home. A nine-
example of health and fitness, insanely comfortable, these perhaps be by rethinking month-long experiment
but if you’re like me and you positions will do the exact the strategies used to conducted by Stanford
enjoy food, then it becomes opposite of engendering manage them. The focus University at a Chinese
much harder to exercise self thoughtful production. should be on monitoring travel agency showed
control with your entire Instead, invest in a real desk their work, as opposed to working from home lead to
fully-stocked refrigerator and sit there. monitoring their presence a 13% increase in perfor-
at your disposal. At first, at work- and this can be mance, with home workers
my lunch break consisted The underlying feature done by setting goals for reporting improved work
of going to the next room, of all these points is the remote employees that fit satisfaction as well.
opening a cupboard, grabbing importance of maintaining the SMART criteria, and If these results are any
a spoon and a jar of peanut discipline and boundaries then being clear on what indication, then allowing
butter and walking back to in your life. That’s why you the desired outcomes are. employees to work from
my desk. Now, I plan out my must create a schedule for Also, given the different home is something that
meals for the whole week doing things, and when kinds of technologies we can work out extremely
on Sunday and refrain from work is done, be done with have at our disposal today, well for the company that
MARISSA MAYER IMAGE © JSTONE / SHUTTERSTOCK

purchasing unhealthy snack it completely. It takes more building a collaborative employs them. However,
foods because I simply don’t effort than I could possibly work environment in a the key to achieving suc-
want to be tempted. The explain to stop myself from team doesn’t require all of cess in this regard is
idea of being discovered responding to emails during its members to be in the to ensure the effective
unconscious and in the fetal non-work hours, but it also same physical space any- management of these
position with crusty PB&J all gives me a level of sanity I more. For instance, face- remote employees, and
over my mouth after falling could not otherwise attain. to-face meetings can be therein lies the challenge
virtually (and more easily) for companies.

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 77


TREPONOMICS ETHICS | ESQUIRE GUY | SKILLSET | MARKETING | PRO

INDUSTRY
KNOW-HOW

SPONSORED BY CADILLAC IN THE SPIRIT OF


LINKING SUCCESS WITH POTENTIAL

1. ADD 30%-50% ON TOP OF


WHATEVER YOU ESTIMATE YOUR
COSTS TO BE
It’s true that setting up a business costs
blood, sweat and tears, but it also costs
real money- often a lot more money than
you originally plan for. Startup costs are
one thing, and then continuing to run
the business and maintaining your suc-
cess level will cost a significant amount
of money as well. Whatever you budget
for initially, add an extra 30%-50%
as a safety net, because you’ll probably
need it. Whatever costs you are quoted,
for example for a trade license, ask if
there are any hidden costs, any extras or
any fees that will pop up later on. Then
when you get the answers, ask again and
then still be prepared to pay more.

GET READY
2. ASK EVERYONE FOR HELP
Whether you’re creating a business
around a wonderful idea that you’re
sure will take off, following a hobby that
you’re passionate about and turning it

FOR TAKE OFF


into a full-time job, or whether you’re
using your expertise and skills that
you have in your current job to become
self-employed, you will need lots of help
and advice, so don’t be shy to ask for
it. Reach out to every single person in
Six (hard) lessons we learned launching your network and ask for help. We were
our own venture By Sara Trüschler and Terry Dehdashty actually surprised to find how many
people were genuinely willing to help

W
us, from friends and clients referring
hen we founded Lotus Communications, we had a com- new business, to family members who
bined four decades worth of work experience between us- were a dab hand at IT offering us advice
so we knew our industry inside out, and we were fortunate on our website and technical issues, to
enough to have clients lined up wanting to work with us before we a close friend who is good at finance and
accounting. People are often inspired
even started. That doesn’t mean it was easy; even though we rode by the fact that you’re following your
on a wave of very early success, we soon learned that we had plunged dream and taking a risk they wouldn’t
into the world of entrepreneurship without looking at the fine details take themselves, and they are also flat-
of what was involved in setting up and running a business. For us, tered that you are asking them for their
expertise. Don’t assume that because
this worked to our advantage as we didn’t have the chance to be you’re very good at what you do, that
afraid of the challenges. We simply had to land on our feet and learn this will translate into setting up a busi-
along the way. Here are six lessons we learned the hard way: ness with ease.

78 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


3. DRAFT A BUSINESS PLAN time is a very different issue and you talk about these things one evening, and
It can be quite surprising that even after have to separate the two. You will have then they get up and go back to their
months of talking about it, planning, to be tough sometimes and use the old regular job the next day and never actu-
and even actually setting up and doing cliché, “Sorry it’s not personal, it’s busi- ally do anything about it. The successful
it, you will struggle to write up a proper ness” – get used to saying it, and start entrepreneurs are the ones who actively
business plan. It is easy to say, “I want believing in it, otherwise you won’t get take a risk, quit their job, make a change
to run a boutique in a mall” or “I’m anywhere. and actually see things through and
going to set up a marketing agency”, keep at it. Giving up is not an option in
but a business plan is extremely useful PEOPLE ARE OFTEN INSPIRED BY THE FACT business. If necessary, assign yourself
as it makes you think about how much THAT YOU’RE FOLLOWING YOUR DREAM a mentor. Whether it’s someone who is
money you are planning to spend, how AND TAKING A RISK THEY WOULDN’T
already successful in business who you
TAKE THEMSELVES, AND THEY ARE ALSO
many employees you plan to have down FLATTERED THAT YOU ARE ASKING THEM admire, or even just your best friend
the line, who the customers are that FOR THEIR EXPERTISE. DON’T ASSUME who is tasked with always pointing out
you are targeting, how you envisage THAT BECAUSE YOU’RE VERY GOOD AT your successes when you’re down, and
your company growing, and how you WHAT YOU DO, THAT THIS WILL TRANSLATE refusing to let you get weighed down
plan to actually manage everything. It is INTO SETTING UP A BUSINESS WITH EASE. when you’re about to give up, make sure
particularly important when you have a you have a dedicated cheerleader to
business partner as it forces you to re- 5. BE PROFESSIONAL AND keep you on track.
examine exactly what each of you wants DON’T COMPLAIN
to get out of this, and how you plan to When you are first setting up your WHATEVER YOU BUDGET FOR
divide up responsibilities and profits. own business, you will be incredibly INITIALLY, ADD AN EXTRA 30%-50%
Having a plan written down on paper busy. You will find you are the tough- AS A SAFETY NET, BECAUSE YOU’LL
makes things more concrete and forces est boss you have ever worked for and PROBABLY NEED IT. WHATEVER COSTS
you to look at areas you might have been you literally will work round the clock. YOU ARE QUOTED, FOR EXAMPLE FOR
avoiding or might not have even been Your friends and family won’t see you A TRADE LICENSE, ASK IF THERE ARE
aware of. The business plan will prove for a while. You will be too busy to talk, ANY HIDDEN COSTS, ANY EXTRAS
very useful when dealing with your bank too busy to go out and too exhausted to OR ANY FEES THAT WILL POP UP
or getting your trade license, so get it make any kind of social plans when you LATER ON. THEN WHEN YOU GET THE
done early on. finally have time to switch off. At the
ANSWERS, ASK AGAIN AND THEN
same time, you will probably be asking
YOU MAY BE WILLING TO DONATE YOUR STILL BE PREPARED TO PAY MORE.
these same people for help and maybe
PERSONAL TIME FREE OF CHARGE, BUT even borrowing laptop, equipment or
DONATING YOUR BUSINESS’ TIME IS A even money from them and then telling
VERY DIFFERENT ISSUE AND YOU HAVE TO
them you are too busy to see them! The
SEPARATE THE TWO. YOU WILL HAVE TO
BE TOUGH SOMETIMES AND USE THE OLD last thing they want to hear is you com-
CLICHÉ, “SORRY IT’S NOT PERSONAL, IT’S plaining when they’ve just put up with
BUSINESS” – GET USED TO SAYING IT, AND you being awful while helping you build
START BELIEVING IN IT, OTHERWISE YOU your dream. When you finally return
WON’T GET ANYWHERE. to the folds of normal humanity, you
want people to still be happy to see you,
4. START THINKING LIKE A BUSINESS and not retreat in fear from a miser-
OWNER able, complaining monster. Remember,
You have to balance thinking with your everyone around you is a potential
Sara Trüschler and Terry Dehdashty are
heart and thinking with your head. client or potential referral opportunity. entrepreneurs, media gurus and yoga lovers
Just because you’re now your own boss Act professional, tell them everything is who founded Lotus Communications in
doesn’t mean you can sleep in every going well, be positive and show you are 2014, after meeting on a yoga retreat in
morning and only work with clients on top of things. They will assume you Bali. Both founders brought with them
many years of experience in marketing, PR,
you like. Sometimes you have to turn are well on the road to success and will
events and media, and wanted to move
down a project very close to your heart want to work with you or refer business away from the traditional PR agency model
because it’s not profitable or feasible. to you. If you are always complaining and offer a more holistic approach to brand
Other times you have to take on projects and miserable, they will assume things management. Both founders have a Middle
you don’t particularly enjoy because are not working out and that you prob- Eastern background and Western education,
and have worked in the U.S., U.K., the Far
it makes sense for the business. There ably can’t cope with any new projects. East and the Middle East which gives them
are times you will have to turn down a truly international outlook and an in-depth
friends’ requests to do them a favor 6. DON’T GIVE UP insight into the region. With a growing
because it would not make sense for the One of the best pieces of advice we number of lifestyle, wellness, and corporate
clients, Lotus Communications has rapidly
business to work on a project free of were given by an extremely successful established itself in the market and is proof
charge at that moment. You may be will- entrepreneur is that lots of people have that two businesswomen can succeed by
ing to donate your personal time free great ideas and dreams of setting up offering their own unique approach.
of charge, but donating your business’ their own company, but most people

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 79


START IT UP ECOSYSTEM | WHO’S GOT VC | Q&A | STARTUP FINANCE

FACING OUR FEARS


2. FEAR OF INVESTING
MOROCCO
AMINE TOUMI
Project Manager, Yuzu

MENA TALKS BACK


Do you think that there is a
fear of investing in startups
in Morocco and North Af-
rica?
Five startups at the 8th MIT Pan Arab Conference consider ecosystem “When I started Yuzu with
my team, we didn’t find any
problems and potential solutions investors or funds to help
By Soukaina Rachidi support or accelerate the

H
development of our startup.
I don’t know what the real
ala Fadel, Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum for the Pan Arab problem is- is it a lack of
Region, opened the 8th MIT Pan Arab Conference in Kuwait by information about startups
emphasizing the need for Arab entrepreneurs to protect the in- in the region, the legitimacy
of our project or simply the
novation of the present from the fear of past generations. While lack of investors? While the
a growing number of young entrepreneurs in the Arab world have started Moroccan startup scene is
to disrupt traditional markets with innovative ideas, they are still being still very young and lagging
behind some countries in
met with great resistance from traditionalists. In a region that prides itself the Arab
Amine Toumi
on preserving its cultural authenticity, the Arab entrepreneur is forced to region,
it’s slowly
fight two battles. The first battle is assuaging the fears of Arab communi- catching
ties around innovative entrepreneurship, and second, establishing and up. At
monetizing unconventional business models in existing MENA ecosystems. Yuzu, we
under-
While these challenges may seem daunting, many young Arabs are plung- stand that
ing forward because they recognize that there is a gap in our various mar- fear is an
ket sectors and they want to see it change. Five startups from the 8th MIT investor’s
natural
Arab Conference, from across the Arab world, discuss the biggest obstacles state of
that young Arab entrepreneurs face in their ecosystems. being, whereas courage is an
entrepreneur’s natural way
of life. In order to increase
Do you think that there is a policymakers, incubators investment in the North Af-
1. FEAR OF SMALL
fear of investing in the small etc. are playing their roles rican startup ecosystem, we
ECOSYSTEMS
startup ecosystems in the correctly. An entrepreneur have to find the crossroads
QATAR
Gulf? should have the tenacity where these two stakeholders
KHALID ABUJASSOUM
“There is, and I think it’s to listen, learn and grow. A can meet. Firstly, we have
Co-founder & CEO,
natural due to the history policymaker should engage to be willing to admit that
Tahi Technologies Inc.
of business in this region stakeholders to understand startup success is hardly pre-
Khalid
and how the economy has their needs and incorporate dictable. On the other hand,
Abujassoum evolved. In the Gulf, the them in the policy making we must fight to nurture and
major business contributors process. The same applies to invest in entrepreneurship,
to the economy were traders investors and other players because startups will build
and merchants, so the whole in the ecosystem. By working the future of countries and
technology entrepreneurship together, all these stakehold- people across North Africa
realm is new, and as the old ers can build a strong and and the Arab world. If we
saying goes, ‘A person is trustworthy ecosystem for make it a priority, we can
an enemy to whatever they everyone. There is no one encourage decision-makers
ignore.’ Such fear is natural hero that will make it work, to take more risks, thus en-
and understood. We need to I believe that it is our collec- suring that more investments
ensure that all stakeholders tive responsibility to build and resources are available
in the ecosystem including and strengthen Arab startup for entrepreneurs to go on
entrepreneurs, investors, ecosystems.” dreaming of a better world.”

80 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


David
traditional payment methods “I WOULDN’T SAY THERE IS FEAR, I readers e-books for free. The
Al Achkar to the cutting-edge of finan- WOULD SAY THERE’S AN IMMATURE Abjjad team make revenue
cial technology, i.e., Bitcoin. ATTITUDE TOWARDS TECH STARTUPS from the Google Ads that are
We believe that in the mid- IN THE REGION. WE DON’T HAVE HIGHLY embedded in the pages of
term, the innovation brought EXPERIENCED INVESTORS WHO ARE each book. As entrepreneurs,
forward by Bitcoin, which is TRULY VISIONARIES. UNFORTUNATELY, especially in the Arab world,
MOST INVESTORS TEND TO FOLLOW
faster, cheaper, global pay- we must strive to understand
RATHER THAN LEAD, EITHER BY
ments, has the potential to our customers’ needs and
FOLLOWING ANOTHER INVESTOR OR
bring the Arab region to the INVESTING IN AN ARABIC VERSION OF A their social environment. Re-
forefront of payments, thus BUSINESS MODEL THAT HAS ALREADY gardless of where you are or
effectively leapfrogging many BEEN PROVEN ABROAD.” what the startup ecosystem
intermediaries, and in most is like, it is the responsibil-
cases, only incrementally to scale quickly on both ity of an entrepreneur to
better payments solutions.” ends. While I’m sure that reinvent their business
Arab ecosystems will mature model until they can find one
3. FEAR OF COMPLICATED with experience in time, I that serves their customers.
FINANCIAL SYSTEMS 4. FEAR OF INVESTING IN still believe we suffer in the I also believe that it is our
UAE NEW IDEAS region because the market responsibility as entrepre-
DAVID AL ACHKAR JORDAN itself is still lagging and it’s neurs to educate our target
Founder, Yellow SAMER TARAZI definitely lacking in terms of audience about the benefits
Founder and CEO, RedTroops early adoption.” of protecting IP by creating
Do you think that there is a multi-sided platforms here,
fear of investing in the Arab Do you think that there is a content providers with
world, because of their exist- fear of investing in Arab tech 5. FEAR OF LACKING content consumers in a se-
ing financial systems? startups in Jordan and the INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY cure, beneficial way for both
“I see the main financial MENA region? PROTECTION parties- that’s exactly what
problems in the region as “I wouldn’t say there is fear, EGYPT we’re doing at Kotobna. We
being ones of fragmentation, I would say MOHAMMAD GAMAL are linking young Arab au-
high cost, and high complex- there’s an Founder, Kotobna thors with Arab readers who
ity. Whether you’re a startup immature are interested in e-books. On
or an established business, attitude to- Do you think that there is a the Kotobna platform, books
few options, besides stan- wards tech fear of starting a startup in are encrypted and secured
dard wires and credit cards, startups in the Arab world because of and offered to readers at very
exist that cover the region as the region. the weak intellectual prop- competitive rates, with very
a whole and the latter still We don’t erty laws in Egypt and the easy and accessible payment
has a low penetration. Most Samer have highly rest of the MENA region? methods.”
Tarazi
available options, however experi- “Yes, there is a fear, but there
local, are still on average enced investors who are truly shouldn’t be, because firstly, Mohammad
Gamal
more expensive than abroad. visionaries. Unfortunately, innovative young, business
And finally, in many cases, most investors tend to follow leaders should find solutions
getting set up to accept or rather than lead, either by for the problems of intel-
following another investor lectual property (IP) protec-
“WE BELIEVE THAT IN THE MIDTERM or investing in an Arabic tion. Secondly, they should
THE INNOVATION BROUGHT FORWARD version of a business model create new localized business
BY BITCOIN, WHICH IS FASTER, that has already been proven models that understand
CHEAPER, GLOBAL PAYMENTS, HAS THE abroad. When you’re working target market’s needs, their
POTENTIAL TO BRING THE ARAB REGION
on a disruptive technology social environments and
TO THE FOREFRONT OF PAYMENTS.
or trying to build something their motives for breaking
THUS, EFFECTIVELY LEAPFROGGING
MANY INTERMEDIARIES, AND IN MOST
that hasn’t really been done IP law. By creating relevant
in the Arab world before, this and innovative solutions to “AS ENTREPRENEURS, ESPECIALLY IN
CASES ONLY INCREMENTALLY BETTER THE ARAB WORLD, WE MUST STRIVE
PAYMENTS SOLUTIONS.” mentality makes it extremely real problem in the market,
TO UNDERSTAND OUR CUSTOMERS’
difficult to raise the funds young entrepreneurs will
NEEDS AND THEIR SOCIAL ENVIRON-
send payments is a compli- needed to keep a startup go- find new and efficient ways MENT. REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU
cated, lengthy, and costly ing. Nurturing the maturity of providing and capturing ARE OR WHAT THE STARTUP ECOSYS-
process, which is a recurring of both founders and inves- value in Arab markets. A very TEM IS LIKE, IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY
setback for most startups tors in the region will help, good example of such a ‘mar- OF AN ENTREPRENEUR TO REINVENT
in the region. The approach because we currently lack ket hack’ is Abjjad, a social THEIR BUSINESS MODEL UNTIL THEY
we’ve decided to follow at people who really understand network for books based in CAN FIND ONE THAT SERVES THEIR
Yellow is the transition from what a startup is and how Jordan, which offers Arab CUSTOMERS.”

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START IT UP ECOSYSTEM | WHO’S GOT VC | Q&A | STARTUP FINANCE

All for one, and 1. BE THE FIRST INVESTOR


Unfortunately, most young innovators

one for all


in the Arab world suffer a great lack
of moral support from their com-
munities in general. Having grown up
in this part of the world, I am very
It takes a global village to raise an entrepreneur familiar with the region’s response to
new ideas. When it comes to uncon-
By Soukaina Rachidi
ventional business ideas or models,

W
most young Arab entrepreneurs are
orking with Melltoo Marketplace, a Dubai-based faced with three possible reactions:
mobile app for buying and selling used items in either one of great suspicion or one of
great skepticism, or sometimes even a
the UAE, I’ve started to learn a lot about entre- combination of both.
preneurship and the startup scene. Over the past couple of Understandably, many families
in the Arab world still have a hard
months, I’ve met a lot of young entrepreneurs with all kinds time grasping how the Internet has
of startups and I’ve come to one very simple conclusion: true revolutionized business, so they dis-
success cannot be achieved in isolation. Nowadays, more and courage young people from pursuing
‘unconventional’ career paths. What
more young Arab entrepreneurs are getting mentorship and these families don’t realize is that
financial support from the private and public sector. ‘conventional’ doesn’t really pay the
bills anymore. Consequently, many
That being said, these entities a village to raise a child, then it takes a young Arab entrepreneurs have taken
shouldn’t be the only ones that are global village to raise an entrepreneur. it upon themselves to dive into the
supporting and promoting young What can we do as a community to ‘unconventional’ worlds of
Arab entrepreneurship. We all have a support the young Arab entrepreneurs e-commerce and m-commerce to
responsibility as a community to sup- in our lives, who are trying to make it make a living.
port Arab innovation by encouraging in the Dubai startup scene? Here are While it may be difficult for many
our home grown innovators. If it takes three things you can start doing today: Arab families to accept such a career
path in the beginning, it is our re-
sponsibility as a community to stand
by the young pioneers of Arab innova-
tion. So, the next time your friend,
brother, sister, daughter, son, niece
or nephew talks about starting a new
venture with their friends, try to be
the person who cheers them on, not
the person that tears them down. Be
their first emotional investor, because
it is a ‘cheap investment’ with a very
high ROI for our budding generation
of Arab entrepreneurs.

MANY FAMILIES IN THE ARAB WORLD


STILL HAVE A HARD TIME GRASPING HOW
THE INTERNET HAS REVOLUTIONIZED
BUSINESS, SO THEY DISCOURAGE YOUNG
PEOPLE FROM PURSUING ‘UNCONVEN-
TIONAL’ CAREER PATHS. WHAT THESE
FAMILIES DON’T REALIZE IS THAT ‘CON-
VENTIONAL’ DOESN’T REALLY PAY THE
BILLS ANYMORE. CONSEQUENTLY, MANY
YOUNG ARAB ENTREPRENEURS HAVE
TAKEN IT UPON THEMSELVES TO DIVE
INTO THE ‘UNCONVENTIONAL’ WORLDS
OF E-COMMERCE AND M-COMMERCE TO
MAKE A LIVING.

82 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


THE BIGGEST THING THAT YOUNG ENTREPRE-
NEURS LACK WHEN THEY START OUT IS CON-
TACTS. LUCKILY, DUBAI IS NOTORIOUS FOR CON-
TINUOUSLY HOSTING FREE NETWORKING EVENTS,
WORKSHOPS AND CONFERENCES FOR ASPIRING
ENTREPRENEURS. HAVING SAID THAT, IT CAN BE
VERY INTIMIDATING TO ATTEND THESE EVENTS
ALONE, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE UNFAMILIAR WITH
THE STARTUP SCENE AND ITS LINGO.

can give them moral support.


In addition to that, make sure to
coach these young entrepreneurs on
the basics of networking etiquette.
These etiquettes can include anything
from what to wear at a networking
event, how to appropriately greet
someone or how to offer your busi-
ness card to a new contact. When
you’re mentoring your young entre-
preneur, make sure to share your best
practices when it comes to conducting
2. HELP COVER THE LITTLE Another huge expense for young research on events and their attend-
EXPENSES Arab entrepreneurs who commute ees. By sharing your strategies, en-
Anyone who lives in Dubai knows to Dubai for work and work-related trepreneurs can start to develop their
how expensive it can be, especially if events is lodging. Unfortunately, most own networking strategies, which will
you are a young entrepreneur. While networking events in the UAE are held ultimately give them more confidence.
it’s not possible for everyone to invest in Dubai and they are hosted at night, That being said, you don’t have to
the kind of money needed to maintain which means that entrepreneurs who take a young entrepreneur to a net-
a startup, almost anyone can help don’t live in Dubai have to deal with working event to help them network.
a young entrepreneur pay the daily endless rush-hour traffic and drowsy Introducing your aspiring young en-
expenses that they inevitably incur. drives home. So, the next time an en- trepreneurs to a relevant contact over
Here’s an example: networking is trepreneurial friend has a conference a meal or a cup of coffee is yet another
essential when it comes to pitching or or a meeting in Dubai, offer them your simple way that you can help them
getting your ideas out there. However, couch to crash. It doesn’t cost you make valuable contacts. At the end
even the free networking events in anything and it will help your friend of the day, it’s not about the quantity
Dubai aren’t really free, because grow their startup and protect their of contacts; it’s about the quality of
entrepreneurs still need to drive savings. Ultimately, by helping young contacts. By helping our young Arab
there, which means that constantly Arab entrepreneurs pay their daily entrepreneurs develop proper net-
have to spend money on filling their expenses, we can help them alleviate working skills, we can ultimately help
gas tanks, topping up on SALIK or some of their financial responsibili- them expand their business networks
recharging their RTA parking app. ties, so they can spend more time and to include people who can help them
Alternatively, they might have to take money investing in their startup. take their startup to the next level.
a taxi or refill a NOL card- either way,
moving around in Dubai can be quite 3. BE A MENTOR WHENEVER
expensive. So, the next time you’re YOU CAN Soukaina
taking your aspiring entrepreneur out The biggest thing that young entre- Rachidi works
to lunch, show them your support for preneurs lack when they start out is as Melltoo
their startup by offering to help them contacts. Luckily, Dubai is notori- Marketplace’s
Media
pay their travel expenses. ous for continuously hosting free Relations
networking events, workshops and Coordinator,
conferences for aspiring entrepre- where she is
WE ALL HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY AS A COM- responsible for
neurs. Having said that, it can be very
MUNITY TO SUPPORT ARAB INNOVATION BY forging new
ENCOURAGING OUR HOME GROWN INNOVA-
intimidating to attend these events partnerships with like-minded entrepreneurs
TORS. IF IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD, alone, especially if you’re unfamiliar in the Dubai startup scene and promoting
THEN IT TAKES A GLOBAL VILLAGE TO RAISE AN with the startup scene and its lingo. Melltoo’s core values of trust, sustainability
So, the next time a young entrepre- and privacy to the larger UAE community.
ENTREPRENEUR. WHAT CAN WE DO AS A COM-
With a B.A. in International Relations from the
MUNITY TO SUPPORT THE YOUNG ARAB ENTRE- neur you know expresses interest University of Delaware, Rachidi is passionate
PRENEURS IN OUR LIVES, WHO ARE TRYING TO in attending a networking event in about global issues and frequently writes about
MAKE IT IN THE DUBAI STARTUP SCENE? Dubai, offer to go with them so you trending cultural issues and entrepreneurship.

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 83


START IT UP ECOSYSTEM | WHO’S GOT VC | Q&A | STARTUP FINANCE

REWORK YOUR STARTUP


MODEL TO REFLECT CHANGING
USER NEEDS
Yebab puts photos at the forefront
By Kareem Chehayeb

T
hings often change 2008 as a localized wedding to brides-to-be, what is it?
unexpectedly- and directory due to the market “Yebab is about instant photo
in this particular need at that time,” says its messaging, real-time photo
startup’s case, it co-founder Mareyah Moham- messaging,” says Mareyah.
changed for the mad. So now that Yebab “All its features are focused
better. “Yebab started back in isn’t a platform that caters on improving the way people
communicate using pictures.”
On Yebab, rather than the
conversation happening in
one stream, each picture DESPITE YEBAB BEING AN INSTANT
posted contains conversa- MESSAGING AND EVEN A SOCIAL MEDIA
tions under them. Using PLATFORM IN ITSELF, MAREYAH
myself as an example, if I post MOHAMMAD GIVES CREDIT TO SOCIAL
a picture about the magnifi- MEDIA IN ITS MARKETING SCHEME,
cent Justin Bieber and talk CLAIMING THAT SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
CREATE MORE “BUZZ” AROUND COVERAGE
about it with a friend, and my
COMING FROM “TRADITIONAL MEDIA.”
friend later posts a picture
about legendary film High wedding directory in 2010,
School Musical, each picture she relied on AED2700
will have separate conversa- (approximately US$735) that
tion “streams.” However, the she saved up and used to
potential Yebab has goes well develop the website on her
being a casual social media own, alongside co-founder
platform. Users with “public” Murshed Mohammad-
settings can follow up on which means this is another
their pictures’ action: views, bootstrapping success story.
discussion, shares, and more. That said, they received
Sounds like something a few funding from web/mobile
startups can get behind- more investors N2V that same
on that later. year, and that probably made
Commenting on Yebab’s things easier for them as
development process, they decided to evolve Yebab
Mareyah says that back into a mobile app, something
when Yebab was being that Mareyah believes has a
developed as an online “global approach to cover all
types of categories and gender
THEY RECEIVED FUNDING FROM as well.” Costs naturally went
WEB/MOBILE INVESTORS N2V up later on: “When we shifted
THAT SAME YEAR, AND THAT PROB- to be an established company
ABLY MADE THINGS EASIER FOR and started hiring talents,
costs naturally increased to
THEM AS THEY DECIDED TO EVOLVE
reflect market rates.”
YEBAB INTO A MOBILE APP, SOME- While Yebab the online
THING THAT MAREYAH BELIEVES website directory was a huge
HAS A “GLOBAL APPROACH TO hit, with the co-founder
COVER ALL TYPES OF CATEGORIES claiming that it became the
AND GENDER AS WELL.” go-to place for brides in the

84 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


Co-founders of Yebab Murshed Mohammad and Mareyah Mohammad

region, how has Yebab, as a users interested in Yebab’s


more versatile mobile app, old services can still “use and
been received? “Currently the benefit from the app.” After
user base is mostly from the all, despite such a radical shift
GCC, and we are having mar- in focus, it’s always a plus to
keting and PR plans in place not compromise your former
to move out to be a global target audience or users. De-
app.” Their current marketing spite Yebab being an instant
strategy seems to be working messaging and even a social
well, with Mareyah explain- media platform in itself, Mar-
ing that the focus has been eyah Mohammad gives credit
on promoting Yebab as an to social media in its market-
instant messaging tool and is ing scheme, claiming that
shifting away from its wed- social media platforms create She’s noticed how businesses plans? In short, it’s going to
ding-centric identity of the more “buzz” around coverage use “photos to drive decision be all “about user growth.”
past. However, she says that coming from “traditional making,” and mentioned The co-founders are also
media.” Her personal favorite that the Yebab website “still working on “expanding
THE CO-FOUNDERS ARE ALSO WORKING social media platform? Yebab, covers companies’ profiles to to users in other markets
ON “EXPANDING TO USERS IN OTHER
of course. make it easy for people to find outside the region,” as well
MARKETS OUTSIDE THE REGION,” AS
WELL AS SOME NEW FEATURES THAT Speaking of Yebab as a social them.” We could see some as some new features that
THEY CLAIM WILL “HUGELY IMPROVE THE media platform, Mareyah also interesting developments on they claim will “hugely
COMMUNICATION EXPERIENCE AND TAKE sees the potential of the app that end in the future. improve the communication
IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL.” as an m-commerce platform. So what are Yebab’s future experience and take it to the
next level.” They didn’t give
anything away, but perhaps
it’s something m-commerce
related? We’ll see. The recent
ArabNet conference in Beirut
called mobile “Web 3.0” and
raved on about m-commerce
for a good hour, so this
feature could be something
that will get entrepreneurs
across the region quite excited
about Yebab, especially given
that it is coming from the
“home” turf.

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR 85


START IT UP ECOSYSTEM | WHO’S GOT VC | Q&A | STARTUP FINANCE

SEEING
A. FUNDING IS LIKE PRODUCT
DEVELOPMENT- ITERATE, ITERATE,
ITERATE!
If you have a choice, start your
fundraising journey by pitching to
investors that are not crucial for your
round. This gives you very necessary

DOLLAR
practice, and it allows you to mess up
without losing an important investor.
Fundraising is a learning process; your
first pitches are going to suck, but pay
close attention to the objections of
the first pitches and learn what stops

SIGNS
them from investing in you. Very of-
ten, the early feedback not only makes
subsequent pitches better, it provides
insight into improving your business
model and insight into what different
investors are looking for.
Since our first pitch (which was a
semi-disaster), we’ve iterated at least
My startup got funded in Dubai… and it was much harder 10 times, continually tweaking it until
than you’d think By Sharene Lee we got it right. We also identified the

R
common objections investors had and
aising funds is something each time you meet up with another worked those into our pitch. By now,
almost every startup has startup founder: there really isn’t a question an inves-
to contend with at some 1. “How are you?” tor can ask us that we don’t have the
time. Even a successful 2. “How’s business?” answer to. Startup competitions may
and profitable startup 3. “How’s funding going?” also be helpful in helping you fine-
needs to raise funds to grow faster Suffice it to say getting funding in tune your pitch. I say “may” because
than what their revenue would allow. the region is challenging (grossly there are many competitions that
The current climate of high valuations understated). Our startup, Melltoo, provide no feedback to participants
and large rounds has pundits scream- just closed our seed round. We have so you don’t actually learn from those
ing: “Bubble!” However, the bubble several awesome investors includ- experiences.
is in Silicon Valley; (un)fortunately ing TURN8, i360, WOMENA, Dubai
there’s no bubble in Dubai. If you’re Silicon Oasis, and a handful of angels. YOUR STARTUP IS WORTH WHATEVER
part of the startup ecosystem in here, It took us almost eight months to INVESTORS ARE WILLING TO PAY. WHATEVER
you’ll soon realize that fundraising is close our seed round, and here are FORMULA YOU USE TO JUSTIFY YOUR
the bane of our existence. It’s one of some hard lessons we learned along VALUATION IS IRRELEVANT IF INVESTORS
the three questions that gets asked the way. ARE NOT WILLING TO PAY THIS. GO IN WITH A
BALLPARK FIGURE IN MIND BUT STAY FLEXIBLE
AND REACTIVE TO MARKET FORCES.

B. PUT YOURSELF IN THE SHOES OF


INVESTORS: WOULD YOU INVEST IN
YOU? HAVE YOU INVESTED IN YOU?
Seriously, would you invest in you?
For those of you who are just tinker-
ing with your startup, i.e. you actually
have a full-time job and the startup
is a “side” project, why would you
expect someone to give you US$150K
if you aren’t even willing to take a pay
cut to work on your startup?
Imagine someone you just met
on the street asks you for $5 with
the promise that he’ll pay you $10
an hour later. Would you give him
money? For the average investor, you
are someone they just met. >>>

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START IT UP ECOSYSTEM | WHO’S GOT VC | Q&A | STARTUP FINANCE

STARTUPS GRIPE ABOUT INVESTORS IN THE pitch investors, make sure you know
REGION RELENTLESSLY. SOMEHOW, THEY EXPECT what your strengths and weaknesses
INVESTORS TO GIVE THEM MONEY SIMPLY are. Focus on your strengths and be
BECAUSE THEY HAVE A WORKING PRODUCT, ready to explain how you will address
DESPITE HAVING NO REVENUE, LITTLE TRACTION, your weaknesses. Don’t waste time
AND AN UNPROVEN TEAM. KNOW THIS: TECH- on peripheral things that are neither
NOLOGY IS CHEAP TODAY. BUILDING A PRODUCT strengths nor weaknesses; you’ll just
IS CHEAP AND IS ONLY THE FIRST STEP IN A LONG bore your audience and leave insuf-
JOURNEY TO STARTUP SUCCESS. SO MANY TECH ficient time to talk about what really
PRODUCTS ARE LAUNCHED DAILY THAT NOBODY matters.
Melltoo co-founders HAS EVER HEARD OF. YOU NEED TO SELL INVES-
Morad Irsane TORS MORE THAN A LIVE PRODUCT. D. VALUATION IS WHAT THE MARKET
and Sharene Lee OF INVESTORS IS WILLING TO PAY.
That’s how you build trust and cred- Your startup is worth whatever inves-
ibility with investors. tors are willing to pay. Whatever for-
We started building relationships mula you use to justify your valuation
before we even launched. This helped is irrelevant if investors are not will-
us because we had street credibility. ing to pay this. Go in with a ballpark
People knew us from day one and saw figure in mind but stay flexible and
our startup grow and evolve. Because reactive to market forces.
building a peer-to-peer marketplace is We began with a certain valuation
extremely difficult, people doubted us that we derived from looking at simi-
at first but became believers as they lar startups at similar stages globally.
saw how quickly we executed and We struggled to raise money at this
grew. Not only that, they got to know valuation and quickly realized that
us as people and as entrepreneurs and being stubborn would lead us to the
that goodwill pays off. Every so often wall. We went back and forth with
we hear: “I didn’t think you would various investors carefully until we
last three months when we first met. agreed on a figure that they jumped
But what you guys have accomplished on. Lowering our valuation brought on
is amazing and I told so-and-so ex- investors that even increased traction
actly the same thing.” In a small eco- wouldn’t have brought. Once we loos-
system like Dubai, word gets around ened up on valuation, it was smooth
quick, so be sure it’s a good word. sailing. We received more interest
than we were willing to entertain.
C. KNOW WHAT YOU’RE SELLING.
THE TEAM? TRACTION? REVENUE?
Startups gripe about investors in the
region relentlessly. Somehow, they
expect investors to give them money
simply because they have a working
product, despite having no revenue,
little traction, and an unproven team.
Know this: technology is cheap today.
Above and right: Melltoo app Building a product is cheap and is
only the first step in a long journey to
Why should he trust you with his startup success. So many tech prod-
money, especially at an early stage ucts are launched daily that nobody
where it isn’t clear whether your has ever heard of. You need to sell
startup will make it? You have to earn investors more than a live product.
an investor’s trust and that means What is it that you’re selling?
building a relationship over time. Our investors invested in us for two
That also means being a professional reasons: traction and team. We have
from the beginning till the end; an- yet to start monetizing, so revenue
swer your emails in a timely manner, is non-existent. However, we know
and learn to take negative feedback our strength lies with our strong
graciously. Most importantly, earning traction and a team that executes
an investor’s trust means growing quickly and effectively. These are the
your business from the first day you things we can prove and therefore
meet till the day you receive a check. what we emphasized. When you

88 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015


Your first investor is your most im-
portant investor because he is taking
the greatest risk by being the first and
potentially the only. So treat him or
her like a VIP even if that ends up be-
E. GET THE FIRST ONE DONE AND ing the smallest cheque.
THE REST ARE IN THE BAG.
Human beings feel safety in numbers, F. THERE ARE TIME-WASTERS
and investors are no different. A OUT THERE, SO CUT THEM LOOSE
startup that already has an investor IMMEDIATELY AND DON’T WASTE
on board is much more attractive YOUR TIME IN PURSUIT.
than a similar startup that doesn’t. Don’t be fooled; there are a lot of self-
Call it the herd mentality if you like, proclaimed investors in Dubai who
but once you get your first term sheet, are simply time-wasters. Startups
other investors are soon to follow. So deserve respect just as investors do.
focus on closing your first deal. Do Do not be afraid to ask potential
your homework on your first real in- investors what they have invested in
vestors, give them everything they ask previously (and preferably in the last
for, don’t hold anything back. If they six months), and don’t be surprised
show some doubt about something, by those who have no answer, they
make sure you clarify it until it’s are many. While there are legitimate
crystal clear. first-time investors, they don’t usu-
One of our early investors raised ally call themselves angel investors
a doubt about our monetization or VCs. Those who do but haven’t in-
strategy. We explained in some detail vested in anything in the last year are
over a voice conversation and via wasting your time, so cut them loose,
email. However, in order to drive the and just as an aside, owning shares in We wasted too much time on so-
point home, we prepared a 15-slide Facebook or Apple doesn’t count. called angels and VCs who we quickly
deck explaining our strategy in discovered don’t invest in startups in
detail, including other channels we HUMAN BEINGS FEEL SAFETY IN NUMBERS, AND Dubai. They led us on and asked for
discounted, details on procedures, INVESTORS ARE NO DIFFERENT. A STARTUP THAT meetings and info only to disappear
partners, market research done, and ALREADY HAS AN INVESTOR ON BOARD IS MUCH when we asked for a commitment.
cost structure. While that took a long MORE ATTRACTIVE THAN A SIMILAR STARTUP However, don’t let these people
time, this investor committed soon THAT DOESN’T. CALL IT THE HERD MENTALITY IF get you down. Just recognize them
after he received this and we were YOU LIKE, BUT ONCE YOU GET YOUR FIRST TERM and move on to the real investors
able to use this subsequently with SHEET, OTHER INVESTORS ARE SOON TO FOLLOW. that are the lifeblood of our startup
other investors. SO FOCUS ON CLOSING YOUR FIRST DEAL. ecosystem.

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TRY TO GENERATE AS MUCH AWARENESS OF YOUR


BUSINESS AND ACCEPT OFFERS OF SUPPORT FROM
EXPERTS AND BIG BUSINESS AS POSSIBLE. MOST
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS SEE LACK OF CONSUMER
AWARENESS AS A SIGNIFICANT BARRIER FOR SCALING
THEIR VENTURES AND SOLUTIONS. ORGANIZATIONS
LIKE CROWDFUNDING PLATFORMS, FOR EXAMPLE,
ARE EXCELLENT RESOURCES FOR HELPING SOCIAL
ENTREPRENEURS GROW AND ESTABLISH THEMSELVES.

4. BE PASSIONATE AND
BUSINESS-SAVVY
Making the right business decisions will
likely translate into positive outcomes
for your social mission. Remember that
business sustainability can lead to the
sustainability of your social impact.

5. REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE


A BUSINESS
Socially-minded businesses still need
to generate revenue, pay employees and
provide services. Don’t be afraid to reach
out to fellow social entrepreneurs and
businesses to find out how they did it.
Pablo Gonzales of Café Punta del Cielo

Five tips on
talks about the importance of getting
your idea from being conceptual and

becoming a successful
out into the marketplace, “Some people
think that ideas are very valuable, but
the ideas only get their value when they

social entrepreneur are done. So we always tell entrepre-


neurs that if you have an idea, you have

W
to [take] it to the market.”
e know that success doesn’t come overnight. All
entrepreneurs know too well. For The Venture’s
global report, Redefining Success in a Changing
World, more than 550 social entrepreneurs were surveyed
about how they reached success. Here are five tips from
some of the most successful social businesses.
1. AIM TO HAVE IMPACT IN EACH LAYER 2. SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS
OF ACTIVITY OF THE BUSINESS Try to generate as much awareness of
Your business model has the potential your business and accept offers of sup-
to have a positive impact on your port from experts and big business as
employees, supply chain and end possible. Most social entrepreneurs see
consumers, as well as serving a societal lack of consumer awareness as a signifi-
need. The model needs to be designed cant barrier for scaling their ventures and SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR
with multiple, mutually reinforcing solutions. Organizations like crowdfund- SAHAR WAHBEH ADVANCES TO
impacts in mind from the outset. That ing platforms, for example, are excellent THE VENTURE GLOBAL FINALS
will make it more successful and allow resources for helping social entrepre- “I believe through design, we have the
you to turn a profit. neurs grow and establish themselves. power to shape our world for the bet-
ter.” That was Dumyé founder Sahar
3. PARTNER WITH BIG BUSINESS Wahbeh’s pitch at the Gulf finals of The
“SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT IDEAS ARE Not only will established enterprises Venture, a global competition seeking
VERY VALUABLE, BUT THE IDEAS ONLY have potentially helpful connections for the most promising social entrepreneurs
GET THEIR VALUE WHEN THEY ARE DONE. you and your business– they can include around the world for a chance to win a
you in their supply chains and you may share of a US$1 million fund. Vote for
SO WE ALWAYS TELL ENTREPRENEURS in turn inspire them to adopt social en- Sahar Wahbeh and her social enterprise
THAT IF YOU HAVE AN IDEA, YOU HAVE TO trepreneurial practices within their own to win at the global finals of the Venture:
[TAKE] IT TO THE MARKET.” company as well. www.theventure.com/gb/en/finalists/dumye

90 ENTREPRENEUR JUNE 2015