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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, AND THE APPLICATION OF PERVASIVE BRANDING TACTICS

H.H. SHEIKH AHMED BIN SAEED AL MAKTOUM EMIRATES

ZIAD EL CHAAR DAMAC PROPERTIES SULTAN SOOUD AL-QASSEMI BARJEEL ART FOUNDATION

FABRIZIO FERREIRA KBW INVESTMENTS RAMANATHAN HARIHARAN MAX

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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 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

Market penetration strategies across sectors > H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum EMIRATES > Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi BARJEEL ART FOUNDATION > Fabrizio Ferreira KBW INVESTMENTS

19

DAMAC Properties gets the message across

> Ziad El Chaar DAMAC PROPERTIES > Ramanathan Hariharan MAX

32 THE RECAP

KSA Enterprise Agility Achievers 2015

40 ACHIEVING WOMEN’S FORUM 2015 The second Entrepreneur Industry Intel event, the Achieving Women’s Forum, and 12 points of reference on the methodology of business.

12 EDITOR’S NOTE By Fida Z. Chaaban

50 TECH: SHINY

#TamTalksTech Gadgets and doodads that you might’ve missed out on, sourced by a tech aficionado. Yes, it’s okay to want them all… and no, it’s not our fault.

46 ‘TREPONOMICS: SKILLSET

Invigorate your team in 10 steps Bayt.com’s Lama Ataya discusses the difference between innovation and creativity, and how to determine which of the two is needed for your organization.

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR

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CONTENTS

JUNE 2015

80 START IT UP: ECOSYSTEM

50 #TamTalksTech: 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 74 KSA Enterprise Agility Awards: Mr. Farhan Al Jarba receiving the Lifetime Achievement award with Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vice Chairman of the board of directors, Mr. Khalid Abdulaziz S. Al-Mukairan

Co-founders Mareyah Mohammad and Murshed Mohammad think it’s okay to rework your startup’s direction- find out how it went for them.

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74

86

MARKETING

ESQUIRE GUY

STARTUP FINANCE

One size doesn’t fit all

Small talk 101

Seeing dollar signs

Facebook Creative Shop’s Rob Newlan makes the case for tailored, targeted marketing, and how your SME stands to benefit.

Ross McCammon on the difference between schmoozing and small talk, and which one to use in a business context and when.

Melltoo co-founder Sharene Lee talks about how she finally got funded in Dubai… and it was much harder than you think.

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The Recap: Achieving Women’s Forum 2015

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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.

62 CULTURE: TRAPPINGS

‘Trep gear The executive selection for the entrepreneur on your list that has everything. Okay, maybe for a little self-reward as well.

76 LIFE

Home, sweet home Want to work from home as senior management? There are pros and cons, and research to validate your side of the debate.

68 DESIGN

Seeing double

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Anticipation ahead of demands: the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

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Entrepreneur and designer Tarek Atrissi explains how a well-executed typeface can become the voice of your brand, and that your identity needs to be onmessage.

68 Entrepreneur and designer Tarek Atrissi

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

ERRATUM In the article, Blackwater guards sentenced to lengthy prison terms for Nisour Square slayings, that appeared in Entrepreneur Middle East May 2015 print edition, we erroneously stated that Blackwater had rebranded as Academi which is in fact not the case. Entrepreneur Middle East regrets the error.


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MIDDLE EAST EDITOR IN CHIEF Fida Z. Chaaban editor@bncpublishing.net 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 ONLINE LIAISON Kareem Chehayeb COLUMNIST Pamella de Leon COLUMNIST Tamara Clarke CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Veronique Ademar Lama Ataya Tamara Clarke Dr. Melodena Balakrishnan Amal Chaaban Tamara Clarke James Clear

Terry Dehdashty Simon Hudson Alex Iksold Sharene Lee Suhail Al-Masri Ross McCammon Shoug Al Nafisi Rani Nasr

Angie Nassar May Rostom Soukaina Rachidi Emad Saif Salma El-Shurafa Sara Trüschler Erika Widen

Images used in Entrepreneur Middle East are credited when necessary. Attributed use of copyrighted images with permission. All images not credited otherwise Shutterstock.

MIDDLE EAST

VISIT OUR NEW WEBSITE! www.entrepreneur.com/me

SUBSCRIBE Contact subscriptions@bncpublishing.net to receive Entrepreneur Middle East every issue

PO Box 502511 Dubai, United Arab Emirates P +971 4 4200 506 | F +971 4 4200 196 For all commercial enquiries related to Entrepreneur Middle East contact sales@bncpublishing.net All rights reserved © 2014. Opinions expressed are solely those of the contributors. Entrepreneur Middle East and all subsidiary publications in the MENA region are officially licensed exclusively to BNC Publishing in the MENA region by Entrepreneur Media Inc. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher. Printed by Raidy Emirates Printing Group LLC www.raidy.com

In addition to our print edition, we’re bringing you all sorts of industry news on our web mediums. Joining us online means getting relevant business and startup content in real-time, so you’re hearing about the latest developments as soon as we do. We’re looking forward to interacting with our readers on all of our social media and 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 Entrepreneur-me EntrepreneurMiddleEast EntMagazineME EntMagazineME EntMagazineME

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EDITOR’S NOTE

#EntMEWomen

I

Real talk in real-time

had the honor of hosting really pivotal figures of business at our Achieving Women’s Forum, an event staged under the Industry Intel banner of Entrepreneur Middle East. Our Industry Intel events are structured with three primary goals in mind: knowledge-building and sharing via discourse, creating opportunities for business development, and networking and access. During my opening remarks, I stressed on the importance of the third point- I told our guests that in that space they should “feel emboldened to approach other guests and especially the event’s speakers.” I encouraged the audience to network with one another heavily, and even more importantly, to take advantage of the direct access to our panelists who have all displayed significant talent and rare business acumen. I also shared my thoughts on the fact that we were staging a women-centric event; our speakers and our attendees both are not just significant in the realm of women in business, they are significant in business as a whole. That is partly what the Achieving Women’s Forum was about: being an effective force of commerce and enterprise as a figure of business, not being regulated to being an effective female figure of business. What do I mean by this? Biology should not be part of the descriptors used in a business context. It is often the clichéd case that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and if it weren’t for my occasional “squeaks,” I wouldn’t be where I am today. That was one of the mes-

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sages that we hoped to convey, and judging by our bold and engaged audience, it resonated. We’re proud of the fact that the Forum was heavily interactive (I took my phones on stage to continue to “talk back” via Twitter throughout the course of the event, something people who don’t use social media might find unusual), but it was and always will be part of Entrepreneur’s communication strategy: real talk in realtime. Our hashtag, #EntMEWomen, trended on Twitter for two straight days indicating to me that not only was the event widely discussed, it was much needed. For those that are interested, visiting the hashtag on Instagram and Twitter can give you a pretty comprehensive run down of the day’s discourse- I hope you check it out. Post-event, before I had a chance to sit down and write thank you notes to our speakers for giving up their time to participate, I began receiving emails from them thanking us for including them. These exceptional women were actually thanking us for inviting them to speak? It shocked me, but it says a lot about their ethics and their sheer dedication to using their respective experiences to make other women in business as successful as they are, and they do so with such pleasure and unparalleled relish! That’s one of the primary reasons our speakers from the Achieving Women’s Forum deserve to be heard far and wide: they are willingly part of the ecosystem whenever possible, and they want to participate in pushing us all forward.

To our Achieving Women’s Forum speakers, thank you for sharing your candid and frank opinions at the event. We appreciate your willingness to publically draw on your relevant personal anecdotes both positive and negative, and your valuable advice. You all brought things to the table that everyone can learn from, and put to work. I am humbled by your participation and your support of the magazine and the work that we do.

Fida Z. Chaaban Editor in Chief @fida editor@bncpublishing.net


IN THE LOOP FORMER EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT

MOHAMMED MORSI SENTENCED TO DEATH

A

North Korea Defense Minister reportedly “executed”

O

n May 13, several South Korean MPs said at a session that North Korean Defense Minister Hyon Yong-chol was executed in late April after falling asleep at an event that was attended by head of state Kim Jong-un. The details were eyebrowraising to say the least; the Defense Minister, who was a very close colleague to Kim Jong-un, was supposedly executed at a shooting range with an antiaircraft gun in front of a large crowd. That said, the fact that he was executed might not even be true: South Korean intelligence, the National Intelligence Service (NIS), stated that there was no confirmation of Yong-chol’s execution, let alone the method of execution. They do know that he has been purged, and that while some reports claim he was executed, it might not be the case.

While the story of Yong-chol’s execution went viral across the Internet, this isn’t the first time something like this has gone wild. In early 2014, Kim Jongun executed his own uncle. That was confirmed by both the NIS and North Korean state media, the reported nature of his execution (though not publically disclosed by either entity) went viral on the internet via multiple platforms; it was stated that his uncle was fed to 120 hungry, rabid dogs. An interesting fact-finding piece by the Washington Post shows that the original source of the story was a Hong Kong newspaper that did not mention any sources, and is among the least credible sources there. Not that we’re giving the North Korean state the benefit of the doubt, but maybe they didn’t use an anti-aircraft gun to execute Hyon Yong-chol.

Q Claridge’s luxury hotel in London

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Mohammed Morsi

QATAR SCOOPS UP (MORE) LONDON LUXURY HOTELS

atar hasn’t taken a break with their massive purchases, after purchasing a 64% stake in the Maybourne Hotel Group that owns Claridge’s, The Berkley, and The Connaught. The three luxury London hotels were scooped up by Constellation Hotels (part of the Qatar Investment Authority), and its former owners couldn’t be happier; Sir David

and Sir Frederick Barclay have been dealing with a four-year skirmish on purchasing their stake. The remaining 36% is owned by Irish businessman, Paddy McKillen. The price wasn’t disclosed, but rumor has it that Abu Dhabi offered £1.6 billion for the three hotels, though no official statements or developments were made on the matter.

NORTH KOREA IMAGE © ASTRELOK / SHUTTERSTOCK | MOHAMMED MORSI IMAGE © MOHAMED ELSAYYED / SHUTTERSTOCK | CLARIDGE’S HOTEL IMAGE © IR STONE / SHUTTERSTOCK

Pyongyang, North Korea

fter a long trial, former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi along with over 100 others were sentenced to death in May for involvement 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 caused outrage in the international community, including the United States, the European Union, and even Turkey. With all that said, the court’s decision must be revised by Egypt’s Grand Mufti, whose role is to interpret Islamic law on behalf of the government, but this won’t be clear until June 2.


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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.

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BUILDING THE (BEST) HOME GROWN BRANDS

THE PROPERTY PUNDIT ZIAD EL CHAAR MANAGING DIRECTOR DAMAC PROPERTIES

N

o one speaks for DAMAC Properties. DAMAC speaks for DAMAC.” If there was someone who could speak for the luxury developer, it would be Ziad El Chaar, appointed to the position of its Managing Director in 2011. Prior to assuming the role of MD, El Chaar served stints as DAMAC’s General Manager of Operations, International General Manager, and Vice President of International Sales since joining the company a decade ago. Taking his experience wearing different hats within the company into consideration, it’s safe to assume that El Chaar has mastered DAMAC’s message, internalized it, and pretty much made it his way of life. “Many real estate developers just go on building and selling without creating a brand. The main driver, in building a local brand, was the brand of Dubai, from which we have definitely benefitted from tremendously. We wanted to create a brand next to brand Dubai, and this is when we started working very heavily on establishing a brand of real estate, which very few developers do. The establishment of a brand isn’t just about plastering your billboards on roads, but also about developing a communication plan and then making sure that what you deliver is in line with that brand proposition.” It means you, as an entrepreneur or as a corporate executive, can’t just spout the party A villa at AKOYA Oxygen

line without having a solid product or service that actually does what your advertising promises. And in the event it doesn’t? You’ll be pigeonholed as an all-talk-no-action company- no matter how much promo you put out there or worse it might even backfire. “The value of the brand will not increase if it’s not delivering on its slogan and positioning,” and the message may even subsequently become an Achilles’ heel for the company. “The investor must be confident and believe that the developer, building this extremely complex 84-storey tower or developing a 42 million sq. ft. Gulf community, is credible and courageous. The chief concern of the branding is that you need to stand out in a massively cluttered market,” says El Chaar, and stand out they do with visual campaigns that are at once interesting and arresting. Even if you know next to nothing about the business side of DAMAC, the company’s comprehensive corporate communication strategy with a strong language of its own, and a distinctive visual identity, makes things abundantly clear. “The visual identity is that we are in the development of buildings, towers, retail shops- the visual identity has to be as bold and as credible as the actual construction operations themselves.” “In 2014, we changed the way that we are communicating. With Akoya Oxygen, we went into a fresher approach, we went into a more human approach- placing more people in our communication, and yes, we’re still bold and ‘living the luxury,’ but we’re closer to human beings and close to being attached to the environmental aspect of the developments. We’re not only steel and concrete.” DAMAC does undertake campaigns abroad but tailors their propositions based on “what cycle of awareness” the demographic is in regarding Dubai. As examples, El Chaar explains that recent messaging in Beijing at a large-scale event discussed property ownership in Dubai, and what DAMAC can offer those

Ziad El Chaar, Managing Director, DAMAC Properties

considering real estate in the UAE. He adds that the messaging in India, geographically closer and culturally more familiar with Dubai, is more in line with what people might see here in the GCC. The process goes as such: determining the chief concerns of the target market, crafting the message around those concerns, and injecting the elements of DAMAC Properties into the overall schema. El Chaar points out that while the process is care and labor intensive, often involving the senior management of multiple areas of the company, it has been rewarded richly with brand recognition and even brand admiration- no mean feat for a company founded just over a decade ago.

TALK THE TALK Founded in 2002, the DAMAC Properties messaging has evolved over the years. Current DAMAC Properties strategic communication dos: • The use of accurate comparative language to give prospective investors an idea of the standard, like “Beverly Hills.” • Choosing language that reflects the heritage of the local market. Current DAMAC Properties strategic communication don’ts • Celebrities are out, real people are in. • Avoid language and titling properties with descriptors that don’t reflect the local environment and topography like “hills.”

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR

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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

I

By H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum

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 community 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 visitors, with over 70% of them coming from beyond the UAE, setting a precedent for World Expos. This means that about 17.5 million people will conduct about 33 million visits to the Expo site. These figures confirm to me that every sector in the UAE will be involved in this mega project.

FOR EVERY 100 JOBS CREATED IN AVIATION, AN ADDITIONAL 116 JOBS ARE CREATED ELSEWHERE IN DUBAI. EVERYTHING POINTS IN THE DIRECTION THAT THESE FIGURES WILL GROW SIGNIFICANTLY IN THE COMING YEARS, AND WILL SPILL OVER TO THE REST OF THE REGION. 20

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As we approach 2020, the UAE will become even more ‘front and center’ on the world’s stage. This translates into opportunities for businesses to further link up with global value chains across several sectors, and our flourishing air transport sector will play a big role in that. Government plans have already been laid out, and they carry enormous opportunities for small and medium sized businesses. Within the nucleus of the private sector, the role of SMEs is becoming vital >>>


BUILDING THE (BEST) HOME GROWN BRANDS

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR

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BUILDING THE (BEST) HOME GROWN BRANDS in augmenting Dubai’s already diversified economy, helping to create more jobs in industries that underpin our place as a global epicenter for everything business. Dubai Expo 2020 will support Dubai and the UAE’s economy by creating more than 270,000 additional jobs between 2013 and 2021- with 40% of them in the travel and tourism sector.

ACCORDING TO AN OXFORD ECONOMICS STUDY DONE LAST YEAR, AVIATION SUPPORTED OVER 416,500 JOBS AND CONTRIBUTED OVER US$26.7 BILLION TO DUBAI’S ECONOMY IN 2013. THIS GROWTH WILL BE FURTHER STIMULATED AS EMIRATES EXPECTS TO CARRY 70 MILLION PASSENGERS BY 2020 ON OVER 300 AIRCRAFT

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Aviation and its direct, indirect and induced outputs will account to more than 17% of Dubai’s total workforce by 2020. Aviation is one of the main engines driving Dubai’s emergence as a global center for trade, commerce and tourism. That is why the government created a business and regulatory environment that supports its growth by encouraging open competition through Open Skies policies and efficient operations. For every $100 of activity in the aviation sector, a further $72 is added in other sectors of the local economy from supply chain connections and expenditures. For every 100 jobs created in aviation, an additional 116 jobs are created elsewhere in Dubai. Everything points in the direction that these figures will grow significantly in the coming years, and will spill over to the rest of the region.

According to an Oxford Economics study done last year, aviation supported over 416,500 jobs and contributed over US$26.7 billion to Dubai’s economy in 2013. This growth will be further stimulated as Emirates expects to carry 70 million passengers by 2020 on over 300 aircraft, and we are developing our workforce, and building leading-edge facilities to support operations of this scale. These are not ambitious figures. They are forecasts based on meticulously laid out plans to enhance the world-class infrastructure that has defined Dubai. It’s no accident that we are a global aviation and tourism hub that continues to power the engines of economic development. It’s taken years to build up the


BUILDING THE (BEST) HOME GROWN BRANDS 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.

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum

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 connectivity 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 people, or 13% of the world’s population.

AVIATION IS ONE OF THE MAIN ENGINES DRIVING DUBAI’S EMERGENCE AS A GLOBAL CENTER FOR TRADE, COMMERCE AND TOURISM. THAT IS WHY THE GOVERNMENT CREATED A BUSINESS AND REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT THAT SUPPORTS ITS GROWTH BY ENCOURAGING OPEN COMPETITION THROUGH OPEN SKIES POLICIES AND EFFICIENT OPERATIONS.

DUBAI EXPO 2020 WILL SUPPORT DUBAI AND THE UAE’S ECONOMY BY CREATING MORE THAN 270,000 ADDITIONAL JOBS BETWEEN 2013 AND 2021- WITH 40% OF THEM IN THE TRAVEL AND TOURISM SECTOR. fundamentals, and we will continue to take a consensus-based approach to infrastructure investment, embrace open competition, and focus on opening up and connecting mature as well as emerging markets. SMEs within a multitude of sectors have played a part in the development of this infrastructure and will continue

to be involved in a wide spectrum of the industries that surround it including building materials, construction, support for the over 400 hotels in Dubai in a sector that continues to grow, consumer products and supply chain projects including storage, logistics and packaging, to name a few. But infrastructure is just the start. Infrastructure and logistics help to define and enhance our strategic geographical position. Entrepreneurship will help unlock the potential of

This connectivity has provided greater access to foreign markets, encouraging exports, and increasing competition 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 their more sizable competition, helping to pioneer new products that will extend Dubai’s already burgeoning creative industries, tourism and technology sectors. As a result, new thinking and dynamic ways to attract business will raise the bar for innovation. The extent of the opportunities available for those who want to seize them are significant, and I am optimistic of the prospects that lay ahead of us in the upcoming years as aviation continues to be a key economic sector and driver in Dubai and the UAE, leaving a lasting mark for generations to come. JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR

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BUILDING THE (BEST) HOME GROWN BRANDS NUMBER CRUNCHING EMIRATES Established in 1985, Emirates today has an international route network that involves 144 destinations in 81 countries and territories, which includes 14 cargo-only services. The

award-winning carrier today has 219 passenger and 14 freighter aircraft in its fleet, a number that’s only set to further grow in the coming years, with Emirates having a pend-

ing delivery of aircraft worth over US$135 billion. For the financial year 2014-15, Emirates saw: • Revenue US$24.2 billion

• Net profit $1.2 billion • Passengers carried 49.3 million • Cargo revenues $3.4 billion • Cargo carried 2.4 million tons

Over the past 25 years, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum has been at the forefront of Dubai’s remarkable economic development spearheading the successful expansion of aviation and, more recently, formulating economic, investment and fiscal policies and strategies in support of the emirate’s overarching vision. Sheikh Ahmed embarked on his career in the aviation industry in 1985 when he was

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appointed President of the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), the governing body that oversaw the activities of Dubai International and Dubai Duty Free, among others. In the same year, Emirates Airline, Dubai’s international carrier, was launched with Sheikh Ahmed as its Chairman. He is now the Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, which includes dnata, the region’s leading travel services and ground handling company, and other aviation related entities. Sheikh Ahmed holds a number of government positions and plays an increasingly pivotal role in leading the Emirate’s finance and energy sectors; and despite his numerous business

activities, he is Patron to many charitable organizations. He has also received numerous recognitions and accolades from various Governments and multi-nationals. Semi-Government positions; patronages and accolades are also listed below. His Highness Sheikh Ahmed has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Denver, Colorado, USA. He is well known internationally for his contribution to the development of aviation in the region. The Royal Aeronautical Society, one of the industry’s oldest and most respected professional associations, honored his achievements in aviation with a fellowship of the Society at the 1994 Farnborough Air Show in the UK.

EMIRATES IMAGE © BYELIKOVA OKSANA / SHUTTERSTOCK

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group


BUILDING THE (BEST) HOME GROWN BRANDS

THE BRAND MAKER

FABRIZIO FERREIRA CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER KBW INVESTMENTS

W

hat we have observed with our own eyes is that the life of a mid-sized company completely changes when it finally makes the decision to take one more step and use highimpact marketing campaigns.” Fabrizio Ferreira is making the case for First, the newly launched media arm of KBW Investments, and he’s the man heading up the show. And a show it is, as First’s launch project centers around motorsport and what it can do for both SMEs and large-scale enterprises with their eyes on multinational business development… and

“WE LOOK FOR COMPANIES THAT WE CAN ACTUALLY CREATE VALUE FOR; THE COMPANY MUST HAVE THE MINDSET THAT WE ARE AN ACTIVE PARTNER AND THAT WE WORK HAND-IN-HAND. WE CONCEPTUALIZED FIRST AT THE END OF LAST YEAR, AND WE SAW THAT THIS MODEL HAD POTENTIAL TO SPIN-OFF AND HAVE ITS OWN LIFE, SOMETHING THAT BEGAN WITH THE RAIMONDI CRANES ACQUISITION.” potentially IPOs. As the Chief Strategy Officer, Ferreira recently relocated from his native Brazil to execute and implement First for KBW Investments. His professional background includes founding a private equity firm, and a number of restructuring deals- something that he says he is applying to First’s tactical market entry. “We look for companies that we can actually create value for; the company must have the mindset that we are an active partner and that we work hand-inhand. We conceptualized First at the end of last year, and we saw that this model had potential to spin-off and have its own life, something that began with the Raimondi Cranes acquisition.” The first of two 2014 European KBW Investments acquisitions, HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal became Chairman of Raimondi Cranes

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in January of last year, and since then, the heritage company has grown in both scale and multinational presence. “The First objective is to innovate in the way media and corporate performance intertwine, and we do this by merging the experience we have developed as an investment firm to that of the media activity,” explains Ferreira. Why is a newcomer in a section about the best home grown brands? Because First demonstrates the importance of brave market entry moves, and how a largescale company can and should dedicate significant resources to launching a new venture. When you’re fresh out of the gate, doing it bigger and better with an unconventional methodology will get your company noticed by the people who matter: those with an appreciative eye for bold maneuvers and unorthodox business approaches. First isn’t just looking at implementing external branding, corporate communications and public identity for your SME, Ferreira maintains that it’s also about “really helping companies achieve and perform better than they perform today. It’s not just about marketing and advertising, it’s about helping to shape corporate culture and how companies and the executives of those companies behave internally.

Fabrizio Ferreira, Chief Strategy Officer, KBW Investments

What we see in a mid-sized company is that most of the time, executives and employees are looking just to stay in the company for a while and then transition to a larger company later. We believe that if someone stays in the company and the company grows and does well, he or she will be much better off -if there is the right governance, profit distribution model, and culture in place- fantastic results can be had for all.” How does First plan to do this? They are already practicing what they preach via due diligence and close analysis of a potential


BUILDING THE (BEST) HOME GROWN BRANDS “MOST OF THE TIME, EXECUTIVES AND EMPLOYEES ARE LOOKING JUST TO STAY IN THE COMPANY FOR A WHILE AND THEN TRANSITION TO A LARGER COMPANY LATER. WE BELIEVE THAT IF SOMEONE STAYS IN THE COMPANY AND THE COMPANY GROWS AND DOES WELL, HE OR SHE WILL BE MUCH BETTER OFF -IF THERE IS THE RIGHT GOVERNANCE, PROFIT DISTRIBUTION MODEL, AND CULTURE IN PLACEFANTASTIC RESULTS CAN BE HAD FOR ALL.” partner company’s structure of the sort usually only applied to financial considerations- like M&A deals, and this is very much in line with Ferreira’s professional experience. “Of course we look at the marketing and communications at the start, but we delve deeper. We analyze what’s going wrong and make suggestions to adjust accordingly, and maximize what is going right,” he says, adding that the best in class are in all likelihood going to be considered for potential investment by KBW.

“The tagline for First is ‘brand maker’. Anyone can execute an outdoor campaign, but certain companies are looking for a more exclusive or exotic communication experience and we’re developing these tools. GP3 was very interesting for us; we found the affect of GP3 advertisement for a medium-sized company astonishing. It generates a lot of good results, internally and externally. Internally it changes the life of a mid-sized company, with nine different events across nine countries and executives begin to follow and really plot their marketing plans- depending on which markets you are looking to enter or expand penetration of.” The benefits of motorsport involvement? The positioning is promotional goldcompanies stand to gain a slew of arresting imagery and videography that emerges from every motorsport event. Regardless of whether or not the driver you are endorsing wins, you’ve got branding material that your com-

First starts big with GP3 FIRST’S KEVIN CECCON

“We are proud to launch with Kevin Ceccon as we believe he has the heart which every middle market company must have in order to expand, and to conquer market share in highly competitive niches. More than a

driver, Kevin has the ability to inspire executives outside the racetracks and to really make a difference to the companies, both in the strategic and tactical levels.” Ferreira is certain that Ceccon, a GP3 racer, has what it takes Kevin Ceccon

pany can cleverly leverage for a very long period of time. There is also the added benefit of the type of comradery and excitement that sporting events impart, and Ferreira points out that some of your best business development opportunities happen during the all-important social situations. “It’s an opportunity for business to business because the suppliers are there, the investors are there, the clients are there! It’s really a different environment completely from doing business in the boardroom than taking a client or investor for a full weekend of motorsport experiences.”

“ANYONE CAN EXECUTE AN OUTDOOR CAMPAIGN, BUT CERTAIN COMPANIES ARE LOOKING FOR A MORE EXCLUSIVE OR EXOTIC COMMUNICATION EXPERIENCE AND WE’RE DEVELOPING THESE TOOLS. GP3 WAS VERY INTERESTING FOR US; WE FOUND THE AFFECT OF GP3 ADVERTISEMENT FOR A MEDIUM-SIZED COMPANY ASTONISHING. IT GENERATES A LOT OF GOOD RESULTS”

to foster the ever-elusive cult of personality wielded by influencers globally to benefit companies of all sizes, both online and offline. The 21 year-old Italian has demonstrated strong career potential, having won the Italian Auto GP, and subsequently proved himself again in Monte Carlo in 2012 and in 2013 in Monaco. Like many young motorsport stars, the driver was in need of sponsors and patrons to further his already-impressive track foothold and in came First, under the KBW Investment umbrella. KBW Investments became aware of Ceccon after their Italian-based subsidiary Raimondi Cranes brought his marketable image and on-track prowess to their attention. What makes Ceccon brand-friendly? Marketeers will quickly note his charismatic disposition, confident grin, and attitude that conveys equal parts

HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal and Kevin Ceccon during the signing of the driver’s collabroation with First, the new media arm of KBW Investments

overachiever and relentless determination- qualities lauded in business and desirable for promotional potential. At the time of writing, Ceccone had just finished the GP3 Barcelona, Spain leg placing at eighth with 10 points. The next segment of GP3, June 19-20, is to take place in Austria, followed by England and Hungary legs both in July. For those wanting to see Ceccon perform on our turf, he’ll be in the UAE for the Abu Dhabi leg of the event November 27-29. www.gp3series.com

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BUILDING THE (BEST) HOME GROWN BRANDS

THE STRATEGIST RAMANATHAN HARIHARAN CEO, MAX

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t may be one of the largest value fashion brands in the Middle East today, but back in 2004, Max was just another startup (albeit from the stable of the Landmark Group conglomerate), trying to make inroads into what was then a relatively untouched market in the retail space of the region. Ramanathan Hariharan, CEO, Max, recalls how he and his team looked into the growing influence of value fashion retailers in Western markets, and wanting to replicate that success for their brand in the Middle East. “We realized that value fashion retailers are slowly carving out a niche in the market, and becoming stronger in their positioning and their offers to the customers,” he remembers. “That inspired us to say that if the value fashion segment is becoming more important, or if it’s trying to create its own niche in the retail landscape and taking a certain share of the fashion market, we realized that it’s important for us in this market to also play the game as Landmark Group and not be left out, in a manner [of speaking].” The market segment that Max was targeting was a pretty specific onethe brand’s consumer of choice lay in between those who shopped at mainstream retailers, and those who shopped at discount stores. “We felt that there’s a clear space in between the high-street retailers and the discounters, and that’s how we started researching more and more into the value fashion segment,” Hariharan says. “Our research made clear to us that, yes, we can create a niche in the market, and that we can create a sizeable business and scale [it up further], just by targeting that value fashion segment. Our positioning was always that we are going to be a value fashion brand: customers who shop with high street retailers, we wanted to offer them value, and customers who shop with discount retailers, we

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wanted to offer them the aspiration, so that they could move up to value fashion.” This principle served as the basis behind decisions on where Max stores would actually be situated- their locations were carefully plotted to be next to, you guessed it, high street and discount retailers. “I think, in terms of strategy, positioning and where to put the stores, all of that was fairly well researched and thought out,” Hariharan says. “But of course, the final piece is the execution.” To the brand’s credit though, Max didn’t falter on this frontRamanathan Hariharan and his Hariharan, CEO, Max team were keen on ensuring that every customer who visits a Max store were offered high-quality products in a pleasant, seamless environment. With this aim in mind, a decision was made to have all products at Max branded with the Max name- customers weren’t going to have disjointed experiences at these stores. All products Max sold had to thus meet high quality standards- this meant that Max’s suppliers and vendors had to be carefully chosen to ensure adherence to the requisite criterion. Similarly, no effort was spared in ensuring Max’s consumers got to shop in a pleasant setting- Hariharan says that he and his team didn’t want to “bring down” the experience people had in their stores: “We said we’d try to give them as rewarding and enjoyable an experience as they would possibly enjoy with a mainstream retailer.”

“OUR RESEARCH MADE CLEAR TO US THAT, YES, WE CAN CREATE A NICHE IN THE MARKET, AND THAT WE CAN CREATE A SIZEABLE BUSINESS AND SCALE [IT UP FURTHER], JUST BY TARGETING THAT VALUE FASHION SEGMENT. OUR POSITIONING WAS ALWAYS THAT WE ARE GOING TO BE A VALUE FASHION BRAND” This attention to detail, be it in terms of the desired customer experience or the quality of the products Max was selling, may seem like quite a basic principle that all retailers should follow- but realizing such a vision, especially when you are a newcomer to the business, is a lot easier said than done. After all, it must be remembered that Max was essentially a startup when all of these plans


BUILDING THE (BEST) HOME GROWN BRANDS “MOST THE TIME, EXECUTIVES AND Max store OF exterior, part of the ARE LOOKING JUST TO STAY IN THE EMPLOYEES Landmark Group COMPANY FOR A WHILE AND THEN TRANSITION TO A LARGER COMPANY LATER. WE BELIEVE THAT IF SOMEONE STAYS IN THE COMPANY AND THE COMPANY GROWS AND DOES WELL, HE OR SHE WILL BE MUCH BETTER OFF -IF THERE IS THE RIGHT GOVERNANCE, PROFIT DISTRIBUTION MODEL, AND CULTURE IN PLACEFANTASTIC RESULTS CAN BE HAD FOR ALL.”

and visions were being drafted, and Hariharan is candid enough to admit that finding suppliers and vendors for Max at that point in time was indeed a rather tough proposition. “Initially, our biggest challenge was one of volume,” he says. “Because when you go to a factory [that would be a potential supplier], they’d have to run their machines and everything for you, and they normally can only run it only if there’s a certain volume. We didn’t have as many stores as some of the other brands, and so, we didn’t even have the minimum to try and source the products.” So how did Max get past this hurdle? “When you’re a startup, it means you have to engage with your suppliers, give them the vision of where you want to go, and how you can help them to start and grow along with you,” Hariharan replies. “One of the things that we used to always talk to our vendors about was that most of them were only servicing the European and U.S. markets- they never

Max store, part of the Landmark Group

had exposure in the Middle East. So we would introduce the Middle Eastern market, and tell them how emerging it is, how important it is for them to have an account here, to start off business with us. We also had the benefit of being part of the Landmark Group, which had more than 20 years of history to showcase. So we told the vendors: Max may be a nascent brand, but given the backing of Landmark Group and the way Max had been conceptualized and positioned in the marketplace, it could grow in the next 10 years, and the vendors would be our partners in this growth.” Sure, Hariharan’s pitch was a compelling one, but that is not to say that it convinced suppliers to line up by the dozen to partner with Max at that point of time. “Of course, many guys will not accept you; they will say we don’t have time for you,” he admits. “But for every 10 guys that say no, there will be that one guy who will say okay, and is willing to invest with you and service you, in the hope that they will be one of your key vendors over a period of time.” With such partners on board and a carefully thought-out strategy that was both marketed and executed well, Max soon saw its fortunes scale up in the market- today, the company has over 300 stores spread across 16 countries around the world. With more than 7000 people employed across its network, Max now has a reported turnover in excess of US$1.2 billion, and aims to have it reach $3 billion in the next five years.

Max is also evolving with the times, and is moving beyond its brick-andmortar stores- the brand recently announced its entry into the e-commerce space by launching the sale of its products on landmarkshops.com. “We want to enrich the shopping experience of customers by providing them with an online platform,” Hariharan says, noting that the ultimate 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 in its business (besides its India operations, which was launched almost in tandem with its Middle East arm, the company is now making inroads into the African continent), the brand remains steadfastly true to its value fashion ethos- customers shopping at Max can remain assured of looking good, and feeling good as well.

GET TO KNOW THE CEO RAMANATHAN HARIHARAN Ramanathan Hariharan, or Ram, as he is popularly known, is the CEO of Max and a Board Member of the Landmark Group. Ram joined Landmark Group in Dubai in 1994 and played a pivotal role in launching the fashion brand, Splash. In June 1996, he moved to Kuwait to expand the Group’s operations in the new territory. Realizing the importance and potential of the Group’s India operations, Ram moved as Managing Director to head Lifestyle, India in 2000. Having successfully launched the brand in India, Ram took over the reins to conceptualize and build Max, the Group’s value fashion business in 2004. Under Ram’s leadership over the last 10 years, Max has grown to become the largest value fashion brand with over 300 stores in the Middle East, North Africa and India. Today, Ram is at the forefront formulating strategies and overseeing Landmark Group’s investments in India in the future.

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Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Founder, Barjeel Art Foundation

THE CULTURAL EMISSARY SULTAN SOOUD AL QASSEMI FOUNDER, BARJEEL ART FOUNDATION

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ow in its fifth year, the Sharjah-based Barjeel Art Foundation, conceptualized and executed by Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, has a few agendas on the go at all times. At the forefront of their mission is the presentation, promotion and perseveration of MENA region works of modern and contemporary art, and the artists behind those works of art. Increasing dialogue via participation in the global art scene, generating buzz locally for art, and the active pursuit and sourcing of rare works is only some of the initiatives that Barjeel undertakes. The driving force (and possibly the most valuable asset of the Foundation)? Al Qassemi himself. On the ground, as the face of Barjeel, Al Qassemi is a highly active in the cultural community, and considered the catalyst of some of region’s most spirited art discourse. “My aim for Barjeel is to establish a collection that has a unique identity: a collection of Arab artists that is accessible, approachable and available for loan, that kind of nurtures cultural

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understanding, tour-able in that you can take it out of the country, show it elsewhere and bring it back, and contributes to broadening the dialogue, and distancing ourselves away from the stereotypical discussions that we have surrounding the Middle East and Arab world.” One of the biggest indicators of Barjeel’s success as a home grown brand is the list of their regional and international alliances. In the region, the Foundation’s works recently visited Kuwait, and there are several UAE-based companies to whom Barjeel has loaned work to, including “Dolphin Energy and Tawazun [Holding] in Abu Dhabi, a couple of law firms in DIFC as well as the DIFC courts.” The Foundation also loaned works for the UAE Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale which will be

on display until November, while Whitechapel Gallery in London will be showcasing Barjeel collection works 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 exhibition is Home Ground.” As a journalist, speaker, commentator and digital influencer, Al Qassemi leverages his substantial digital footprint and online audience to further the conversation about art in MENA. He often tweets images of works and artists directly, shares details about upcoming exhibits, and articles about cultural endeavors. Joining Al Qassemi for dinner might include a private showing of some of Barjeel’s expansive collection, paired with an enlightened commentary and artist backstory à la museum audio guide. If you already follow Al Qassemi online, it won’t come as a surprise that Barjeel’s web presence is both expansive and extraordinary. Visiting the Foundation’s portal treats users to a rabbit hole experience- one click leads to another and soon you

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

BUILDING THE (BEST) HOME GROWN BRANDS


BUILDING THE (BEST) HOME GROWN BRANDS

understand firsthand why entities with content-heavy mediums experience less bounce rate and more overall sharing action. Barjeel’s portal allows you to browse by medium (including collage, installation, and video/multimedia), or by artist and by country (even listing “Iraqi Kurdistan” and the “Occupied Syrian Golan Heights”). You can also search for artworks by date added, by title alphabetically or by artist alphabetically, and while this may seem straightforward, the development of portals of this complexity involves serious coding and a lot of planning ahead. The website lists 720 works, and 430 of Barjeel’s works are also curated in the Google Cultural Institute. This all feeds into one of the Foundation’s core directives: “to make the artworks publically-accessible. We are a private collection that acts as a public collection. We’ve loaned to a number of corporations for free, as long as there is some type of security, and our guidelines are observed. I think we’re the only organization in the Middle East that has an art loan form for download on our website. If any corporation wants to borrow art, they can just download the form, fill it out and send it to us. It can’t be easier.” Al Qassemi can give you tons of reasons that your company should invest in a MENA region-based artist. To begin with, you are creating a distinct environment by injecting

culture into the space that makes a statement about your vision as a corporate leader. “It’s a unique statement about the corporation, it says that, ‘We differentiate 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 community- it’s not a CSR initiative that doesn’t have a direct return to the institution. These artworks will go up in value, the more people that buy quality work, the more certain the valuations are in these artworks.” Al Qassemi suggests that corporations can take “baby steps” by borrowing fine pieces, then gradually moving into ownership. “One of the biggest collections in the world maybe is Deutsche Bank’s collection; it’s a huge database. UBS and J.P. Morgan both have huge collections, these are some of the greatest corporate collections in the world, and you’ll notice some of the biggest and best corporate collectors are banks. Sadly, the Middle East corporations are falling behind in terms of corporate collections, but the most famous one by far is Abraaj Capital in Dubai. Not only do they have a major corporate collection going into the scores of artworks, Abraaj is also among the most transparent- they recently published a book about it, and their works are on public display and they are loaned. They also have an award for artists so they are a huge supporter of the arts, and their collection is predominately Middle Eastern. In Lebanon, Bank Audi has a huge collection; some of it is domiciled in Lebanon and some of it is in domiciled in Geneva so the collection is distributed. From what I understand, the Bank Audi collection that is in Lebanon is Middle East, and the Bank Audi collection that is in Europe is more international.” www.barjeelartfoundation.org

“Your corporate space is a reflection of your company culture.” MENA artworks worth the investment selected by Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi

ALGERIA Driss Ouadahi Zinnober, 2014, oil on canvas 190 x 240 cm

UAE Ebtisam Abdulaziz Untitled, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 101 x 201 cm

PALESTINE Kamal Boullata Bilqis 5, 2014, acrylic on canvas 120 x 328 cm

UAE Noor Al Suwaidi Landscape of Colour (triptych), 2008, acrylic on canvas 91 x 61 x 4 cm

PALESTINE Samia Halaby Grey and Pink, acrylic on linen canvas, 121 x 150.5 | 126.5 x 153 x 6

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Platinum Ally

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A production by


BNC Publishing Director Mr. Wissam Younane

HRH Prince Khaled Bin AlWaleed Bin Talal with Mr. Wissam Younane

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n the occasion of the first annual KSA Enterprise Agility Awards, BNC Publishing as part of the Entrepreneur MENA franchise, awarded businesses and individuals across multiple categories on May 18, 2015 at The Four Seasons Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The relevant Enterprise Agility Achievers have established themselves as clear industry innovators who have made significant contributions to the Saudi business arena, and set the benchmark for corporations operating across the region. A total of 16 awards were presented, with all of the winners having set themselves apart from their peers in the region by showcasing a commitment to excellence and thereby raising the bar of their respective industries. “We were honored to have some of Saudi Arabia’s most enterprising business people present at the KSA Enterprise Agility Awards 2015,” said Wissam Younane, Director, BNC Publishing. “The attendance of the Chairman of KBW Investments, HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, meant a great deal not just for the figures of business in attendance at the event, but also us as a company affirming our ties to the Saudi Arabia’s entrepreneurial and commercial space.” On behalf of Riyadh Chamber of

Commerce and Industry, Vice Chairman of the board of directors Khalid Abdulaziz S. Al-Mukairan presented the trophies to the 2015 Agility Achievers. Organized by Entrepreneur MENA, the 2015 KSA Enterprise Agility Awards recognized and honored enterprise leaders and individuals who have distinguished themselves and shown sector significance and outstanding business conduct across a variety of industries that are key drivers of Saudi Arabia’s economy. The Enterprise Agility Awards, Entrepreneur of the Year seeks to acknowledge agility across a variety of industries including retail, healthcare, construction, hospitality, aviation, education, banking, and energy, amongst other key drivers of the Middle East’s economy. “The winners of the KSA Enterprise Agility Awards 2015 are not just a significant part of the enterprise space in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but in the entire region. Since this is the country with the biggest GDP in the region, having market share here means that the client base and potential profits of our Award winners outstrip tons of similarlypositioned companies across the Middle East. We applaud their penetration of the Kingdom’s sizeable market, and we look forward to continuing to recognize innovative 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

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KSA ENTERPRISE AGILITY AWARDS 2015 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT MR. FARHAN AL JARBA CSR INNOVATION CPC HOLDING PAYMENT SOLUTIONS INNOVATION PAYTABS MOBILE APP INNOVATION FEELIT 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

Dar Al-Arkan accepting the Real Estate Development Innovation award

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

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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 the Responsible Leadership award

Abdul Samad Al Qurashi & Sons 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

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KSA ENTERPRISE AGILITY AWARDS 2015 Mr. Ali Ahmed Bin Ofai accepting the SME of the Year award on behalf of Mohammed A. AlSulaiman Group

Downtown Rikaz accepting Project of the Year award with Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vice Chairman of the board of directors, Mr. Khalid Abdulaziz 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. Saygin Yalcin receiving the Technology Innovation award

Awab Holdings CEO Mr. Fawaz Alotaibi receiving the Family Business Innovation award

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Mr. Fahad Albutairi receiving the Digital Influence award

Drake & Scull receiving the Construction Innovation award


THE DIGITAL INFLUENCER FAHAD ALBUTAIRI

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erforming artist and social media enthusiast Fahad Albutairi, awarded the KSA Enterprise Agility Award for Digital Influence, says that while his main medium is Twitter, he is fairly active on both Instagram 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 numbers with the comedian describing his strategy 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 competitors 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 be fleeting if you don’t make regular enough appearances and provide your followers with fresh material, and visible outreach efforts to convince the audience that you are not just using the social media platforms to broadcast. Albutairi does talk back, and regularly uses popular hashtags. As a verified tweep, his account wields both heft in numbers and SEO weight, and he is a recommended MENA account to follow. “There isn’t a specific formula

to be successful when using social media. It all depends on many factors related to the type of content posted, audience demographics, regional social media penetration, and community guidelines relevant to the local culture. Furthermore, the aforementioned factors are ever-changing; some of the things that are normal and acceptable nowadays have been considered unacceptable and foreign (and at times even malignant) in the past,” explains Albutairi, who also hosts La Yekthar.

One KSA-based digital influencer Albutairi finds worth the follow? Dr. Tawfiq Al Rabiah, Saudi Arabian Minister of Commerce and Industry, who is also an active verified tweep with one million followers. “Not only is he one of the most influential Saudi officials on many social media platforms, but he has also capitalized on his knowledge of the latest technological advances and social media trends to advance the Ministry’s 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

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THE RECAP ACHIEVING WOMEN'S FORUM 2015

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omen in business came together at the Ritz-Carlton JBR in Dubai, UAE on May 25, 2015 for the first Achieving Women’s Forum, which featured some of the region’s most prominent leaders sharing their insights with over 200 attendees of the half-day conference. The Achieving Women’s Forum, the second event staged under the Entrepreneur Industry Intel banner, was moderated by Anna Roberts of Dubai Eye 103.8, and began with opening remarks by Entrepreneur Middle East Editor in Chief, Fida Chaaban. Chaaban 40

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addressed the assembly, directly calling on the event’s guests to become engaged and interactive to set the tone for the rest of event. Chaaban also discussed one of the Forum’s main drivers: that there is a wealth of business development and networking potential to be had for those who could take advantage of the space structured to embolden the event’s attendees. The keynote address was executed by Noor Sweid, Managing Partner, Leap Ventures, and Board Director of Endeavor UAE, who acted as the

voice of entrepreneurship. Sweid also participated in the second panel discussion of the day, which centered around leadership and how to bridge corporate influence. Sweid drew on her past experiences both in the corporate world and in entrepreneurship to impart anecdotal advice and inspire the audience. Sweid’s address was followed by a question and answer segment with the audience, and acted as the kick off for the three panel discussions planned for the day, which focused on problems and solutions for women in business.


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 forward ideas under the title of Tech Ticker: Staking Your Corporate Claim, which had as its panelists Maha Abouelenein, founder and Managing Director of OC, Racha Ghamlouch, Entrepreneur and Speaker Relations Manager, ArabNet, Firdaus Shariff, Head of Marketing at SAP for South Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Rosemin Manji, founder, RR&Co. The second discussion for the day brought forward tenets of strong leadership and how that can be leveraged to help other women in business, under

the title of Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way: Bridge Building and was headlined by Nisreen Shocair, President, Virgin Megastore Middle East and North Africa, Noha Hefny, Director of Corporate Affairs for the Middle East and Africa at PepsiCo, Rania Rostom, Chief Innovation Officer, GE Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, and Noor Sweid. The third and final panel of the event revolved around financial literacy, funding and strategic steps toward seeking capital injections under the title of Show Me the Money: Female Access to Finance with panelists

Ghada Abdelkader, Corporate Development and Investments Manager, Crescent Enterprises, Ambareen Musa, founder and CEO, souqalmal.com, Chantalle Dumonceaux, co-founder and Operations Director at WOMENA, and Nina Curley, Managing Director of Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi. The Achieving Women’s Forum was conducted with the support of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, together with Platinum Ally Intercoil, Gold Allies Paris Gallery, Drake & Scull, and Skyline University College. JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR

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THE METHODOLOGY OF BUSINESS An

Industry Intel event

BUSINESS LEARNING CURVES Twelve points of reference on the methodology of business Noor Sweid @nsweid

1. WANT TO BE SUCCESSFUL? KEEP AN OPEN MIND. NOOR SWEID

In her keynote address at Entrepreneur Middle East’s Achieving Women’s Forum, Noor Sweid, Managing Partner, Leap Ventures and Board Member, Endeavor UAE, noted the importance of one being open to opportunities in order that one may indeed find them, and then capitalize on them. “If you’re looking to succeed, keep your eyes and heart open to opportunities,” she said. “You’ll miss opportunities that come to you if you’re not open to them. Success is about seizing the opportunities that present themselves to you.” Sweid also counseled the Forum attendees on strength in numbers. If you’re launching an entrepreneurial endeavor, look for likeminded associates to team up with. According to Sweid, entrepreneurs who are trying to get their respective enterprises up and running would be wise to find a partner to help them through what is almost certainly going to be a grueling journey. “Don’t go at it alone,” she said. “It’s really key to find someone to work alongside you to get you through those rough days.” Of course, this 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 over and supervise a company’s setup and execution could play a key role in ensuring its success in the long-term. 2. WHEN LOOKING TO RAISE FUNDS, MAKE SURE YOU CAN SELL YOUR STORY. CHANTALLE DUMONCEAUX

According to Chantalle Dumonceaux, co-founder and Operations Director at WOMENA, entrepreneurs hoping to raise money for their startup ventures need to show their passion for what they are do-

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Chantalle Dumonceaux @ChantalleALD

ing, as that will almost certainly have an impact on the investors they are trying to impress. “Believe in yourself,” Dumonceaux said. “Passion speaks more than experience. Investors will respond to it- they’re people too.” Ghada Abdelkader, Corporate Development and Investments Manager at Crescent Enterprises, added, “You’re selling your business- make sure you can sell your story.” Ghada Abdelkader @g_abdelkader

3. AN IDEA IS JUST AN IDEA WITHOUT THE METHOD OF EXECUTION. BACK UP YOUR CONCEPT. GHADA ABDELKADER

“It’s not just the ideas. It’s the ability to show that you can execute on the idea,” explained Abdelkader during the third panel of the day. She suggested that when considering capital injections to scale your business, flexibility is needed when evaluating funding options. Several alternatives may present themselves, and you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons carefully before committing to one or more options. Another important finance tip? “Make sure your projections are validated based on market expectations” before you go searching for funds. You need to be able to back up your numbers. 4. PITCHING TO INVESTORS? FINANCIAL LITERACY IS IMPORTANT. AMBAREEN MUSA

“Whether you have a finance background or not, if you will be running a business, [you need to] get your num. bers right.” That was souqalmalicom founder and CEO Ambareen Musa’s matter-of-fact response as to why entrepreneurs need to keep a tab on all money matters relating to their respective businesses. “If you’re smart enough to start a business, then you should be smart enough to understand your financial numbers,” Musa said. It is of

Ambareen Musa @ambareenm


primary importance for those launching enterprises to be able to understand how the mechanics of the business works, and that means being able to crunch figures right alongside a CFO. Start by getting handle on the basics, then try and move along to the more complex aspects of your financials. 5. FIND THE INVESTOR THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU AND FOR YOUR BUSINESS, AND THAT DOESN’T JUST MEAN LOOKING AT THE DOLLAR SIGNS. NINA CURLEY

“When you’re pitching to investors, you think you’re pitching for money,” said Nina Curley, Managing Director, Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi. “But you’re actually pitching for their trust.” Research is integral to the success of your operation, and when pitching you need to be able to show that you are more than just familiar with the market that you want to enter. She also noted that investors, Nina Curley @9aa

VCs included, need to share your goals in terms of exit and potential IPO scenarios. The entrepreneur-investor relationship needs to be one that works both ways- as Musa noted, if a potential investor was offering her only money for her business, she wouldn’t take it. “A good VC can accelerate your business,” Dumonceaux explained. “A bad VC can destroy your business.”

brands and companies as well, saying, “With regard to the most negative commentators on your brand- if you can learn how to convert them, they can then become your best assets.” Ghamlouch pointed out that

Maha Abouelenein @mahagaber

Racha Ghamlouch @__racha

6. YOU HAVE TO CREATE THE IMAGE YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW YOU FOR; WORK ON YOUR MESSAGE. MAHA ABOUELENEIN

While there is hardly a need to talk about why having a digital presence is important in today’s world, there is still quite a bit of confusion on how one presents one’s profile on the Internet. “It’s not so much about influencing people, as much as it is about really wanting to connect with people,” said Maha Abouelenein, founder and Managing Director, OC. “You want to make sure when people search for you they find something that’s relevant, they find something that’s positive, and you have [to take on] the responsibility to get that information out there. You have to drive your brand, you have to drive the persona, you have to create the image that you want people to know you for.” 7. TAKE TIME TO CULTIVATE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE AND A SOLID DIGITAL FOOTPRINT. ROSEMIN MANJI

It’s easy to be bowled over by the sheer number of followers that Rosemin Manji, founder, RR&Co., has on her Instagram page, but it’s important to note that this digital influencer got to where she is because she took time to actually work on and develop her social media presence- a practice that she continues to cultivate even to-

day. “I try to do things that are of interest to me and to my followers,” Manji said. Strategic content planning is also needed when you are presenting the brand of “You”, and that means originality and timeliness. Think before you post, and ask yourself if this represents the

Rosemin Manji @RoseminManji

persona you want the world to see. “I do spend time to make sure that the right photo goes out; that it’s not super repetitive.” 8. FIELDING NEGATIVE COMMENTS? DON’T IGNORE THEM- TRY TO CONVERT THEM INTO POSITIVE ONES INSTEAD. RACHA GHAMLOUCH

every company at some point will be dealing with the odd naysayer; have a plan in place ahead of time. Firdaus Shariff, Head of Marketing at SAP for South Europe, Middle East and Africa, agreed with the use of such an approach to deal with critics of your brand on social media, noting, “The minute you start engaging with people, that’s when their perceptions change.” Of course, doing this requires time and effort, but it does pay rich dividends. 9. BRINGING YOUR BRAND ONLINE, NO MATTER HOW LARGE OR SMALL, REQUIRES A TOUCH OF HUMANITY. FIRDAUSS SHARIFF

Shariff stressed that a company’s communication schema online can no longer have that cut and dried (robotic) edge. >>> Firdaus Shariff @fishariff

When asked about her strategy in responding to negative online comments, Manji replied that she often tried to spin them into something positive. Racha Ghamlouch, Entrepreneur and Speaker Relations Manager, ArabNet, noted how this methodology could be put to work for

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THE METHODOLOGY OF BUSINESS Industry Intel event

An

No matter the size of your venture or the type of business that you conduct, there must be a humanizing element- even if you are running the communications of an enterprise as big as SAP. She also pointed out that what was once a clearly drawn line, between the personal and professional information spheres, no longer truly applies due to the nature of today’s Internet. In addition to posting material about your professional endeavors, she suggests making an effort to share content that might actually shed some light on you as a person, and this too can help your brand- so long as it’s appropriate to your line of business, and what message you are trying to send.) 10. IF YOU ARE A WOMAN IN BUSINESS, THEN MENTOR ANOTHER WOMAN IN BUSINESS. NOHA HEFY Given how useful she found the support from mentors throughout her career, Noha Hefny, Director of Corporate Affairs for the Middle East & Africa at PepsiCo, encouraged women in the business world to take on mentorship roles to help and support their contemporaries in the workplace. “I think, as women, 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. Noha Hefny @Koukou2009

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 Middle East and North Africa, noted that companies by themselves should make it a priority to become a more inclusive environment, and ingrain gender diversity Nisreen Shocair in the way they work on a @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 anything- 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.”

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12. FEELING OVERLOOKED? ASSERT YOURSELF, AND MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD. RANIA ROSTOM While there may be an increase in the number of women in the business arena today, there’s still a long way to go to correct the skewed gender balances Rania Rostom in the workplace. As a @raniarostom result, it’s possible that women at work may be overlooked, or worse, steamrolled by their male peers- but the solution here is not to allow this to be the status quo. Rania Rostom, Chief Innovation Officer at GE Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, said that women should never give up on their individuality, and if required, shout to make their voices heard. “Be yourself,” Rostom declared. “Authenticity is the key. You cannot progress in your life or career if you compromise who you are.” She also advised that women in business should ensure that their values, and that of their organization need to be in-line with one another to facilitate success. Otherwise, you probably need to look elsewhere. Fida Chaaban @Fida


ACHIEVING WOMEN'S FORUM 2015

THE METHODOLOGY OF BUSINESS An

Industry Intel event

Anna Roberts @ImAnnaRoberts

Tamara Clarke

@GlobalGazette

Pamella de Leon @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

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TREPONOMICS

ETHICS | ESQUIRE GUY | SKILLSET | MARKETING | PRO

INNOVATION IS THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR ORGANIZATION

INVIGORATE YOUR TEAM IN 10 STEPS By Lama Ataya

T

here was a time when the concepts of creativity and innovation were only associated with artists and scientists. But with the ever-increasing necessity of cultivating a unique brand and value proposition, the need for innovation and creativity has transitioned from science and arts into everyday business. But what is innovation? What is creativity? What is the difference between innovation and creativity? But most importantly, which is more important to your organization?

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY?

When it comes to innovation versus creativity, opinions diverge. One of the definitions out there relates to the practicality of these terms. Some say that creativity refers to the ability to come up with new ideas or new ways to approach old problems, whereas innovation is the ability to confine these creative ideas and make them turn into reality. In other words, creative ideas are thought experiments within one person’s mind. Innovation, on the other hand, is concerned with the

actual implementation of an idea. An organization can use innovation to convert its creative resources into appropriate solutions and reap a return on its investment. Because people are often unclear about the exact meanings of these two terms, organizations often chase creativity, but what they really need to pursue is innovation. HOW INNOVATIVE ARE ORGANIZATIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST?

In 2014, Bayt.com conducted a poll to measure the extent to which organizations in MENA are perceived to be innovative– 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 example, the poll showed that 83% of respondents claim their organizations have long-term innovation strategies. The poll revealed improved financial performance within participating companies, with seven out of 10 (69.4%) claiming that their companies are up to date with other establishments in their domain. The majority (82.9%) said that their companies instill long-term innovation plans rather than short-terms ones, which has put them ahead in the industry. Teamwork and collaboration play an important role in the rise of a company’s success, having 81.1% of respondents claiming that pitching ideas and reaching

IMPORTANCE OF ATTRIBUTES IN A JOB COURTESY BAYT.COM

INNOVATION IN THE MENA

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out to other divisions is highly encouraged and supported, to the point where involving customers in feedback is essential in the betterment of the company’s success. INNOVATION AND THE ECONOMY

The Bayt.com Education and Innovation 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 respondents. On the career front, the majority of respondents (88.5%) agree that creative thinking and related skill sets are important 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 respondents. 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, focusing 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 >>>

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ETHICS | ESQUIRE GUY | SKILLSET | MARKETING | PRO

Workplace poll say that innovation has led to improved financial performance for their company; 64% agree that their organization is more innovative compared to their competition. There are many pieces to the innovation puzzle, and they will come together differently for each organization. How one goes about building an innovative organization ought to be unique. But for every organization, innovation starts with the following steps:

Encourage people to look at how other businesses do things, even those in other sectors, and consider how they can be adapted or improved. 6. CHALLENGE THE WAY STAFF WORK.

Encourage employees to keep looking anew at the way they approach their work. Ask people whether they have considered alternative ways of working and what might be achieved by doing things differently.

1. GIVE EMPLOYEES A REASON TO CARE.

The fact is, if people aren’t feeling connected to your company, there’s little incentive for them to be innovative. Make sure your employees are in the loop on your firm’s strategies and challenges, and invite their input. Employees who are involved early on in processes and plans will be motivated to see them through to completion. 2. STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF INNOVATION. Ensure all your employees

know that you want to hear their ideas. Unless they understand how innovating your business processes can keep your firm competitive, your efforts at encouraging creative thinking risk falling flat.

RESPOND ENTHUSIASTICALLY TO ALL IDEAS AND NEVER MAKE SOMEONE OFFERING AN IDEA FEEL FOOLISH. GIVE EVEN THE MOST APPARENTLY ECCENTRIC OF IDEAS A CHANCE TO BE AIRED. 3. SCHEDULE TIME FOR BRAINSTORMING.

Allocate time for new ideas to emerge. For example, set aside time for daily or weekly brainstorming, hold regular group workshops and arrange team days out. A team involved in a brainstorming session is likely to be more effective than the sum of its parts. You can also place suggestion boxes around the workplace, ask for solutions to solve particular problems, and always keep your door open to new ideas. 4. TRAIN STAFF IN INNOVATION TECHNIQUES. Your staff may be able to

bounce an idea around, but be unfamiliar with the skills involved in creative problem-solving. You may find training sessions in formal techniques such as lateral thinking and mind-mapping extremely worthwhile. 5. ENCOURAGE CHANGE. Broadening people’s experiences can be a great way to spark ideas. Short-term job swaps can introduce a fresh perspective to job roles. 48

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7. BE SUPPORTIVE. Respond enthusiasti-

cally to all ideas and never make someone offering an idea feel foolish. Give even the most apparently eccentric of ideas a chance to be aired. You can’t force creativity, but the right support system will put your team in the right frame of mind to find imaginative solutions. 8. TOLERATE MISTAKES. A certain amount of risk-taking is inevitable with innovation. Allow people to learn from their mistakes. Never put off the creative flow by penalizing those whose ideas don’t work out. 9. REWARD CREATIVITY. Motivate

individuals or teams who come up with winning ideas by actively recognizing innovation, for example, through an awards scheme. You could even demonstrate your recognition that not all ideas work out by rewarding those who just have a rich flow of suggestions, regardless of whether or not they are put into action at work. 10. ACT ON IDEAS. Remember, innova-

tion is only worthwhile if it results in action. Provide the time and resources to develop and implement those ideas worth acting upon. Failure to do so not only means your firm will fail to benefit from innovation, but flow of ideas may well dry up if employees feel the process is pointless. HOW IT WORKED FOR US

Over the years, Bayt.com has won numerous Great Place to Work awards. What makes Bayt.com a top place to work is a very firm belief that is proudly shared across the organization; it is the belief that the work we do at Bayt.com is very directly and profoundly helping the communities we serve. In fact, the overall feeling throughout Bayt.com’s offices is that employees are involved in something much bigger and better than

merely a job; they are involved in making the region a better, richer, more prosperous place. At Bayt.com, our most important asset is our people. We put considerable time and effort to ensure that we have an empowering culture that focuses on innovation. This includes providing top-class training, ongoing support, and a working environment that fosters creativity, teamwork and the development of new ideas. It is this combination of sophisticated training, mentoring opportunities and the culture of innovation that have allowed Bayt.com to remain at the vanguard of its industry both in terms of cutting-edge technology and in terms of client service and support. Today, our team is able to proactively anticipate the needs of our communities rather than simply reacting to them. This is very evident in the number of pioneering product and service offerings and enhancements we have introduced to serve our communities better, including Bayt.com Branded Career Channels (also known as ‘Talentera’), Bayt.com Virtual Job Fairs, and other enhanced jobseeker and employer solutions that remain the most sophisticated tools in our industry today. INNOVATION NEVER ENDS

There’s no shortage of books and resources with varying methodologies that can help you get started if you’re looking to adopt more formal innovation processes. If you’re not quite there, encouraging employees to become more curious thinkers could be a first step toward a culture that seeks new solutions for everyday challenges. In fact, it is human curiosity that leads people to pioneer new cures for diseases, more efficient forms of energy and new ways to see the world. You don’t need to hire a team of geniuses to achieve innovation, but you do need to give your workforce the confidence, support and incentive to solve the problems around them, until problem-solving becomes just another part of the company culture.

Lama Ataya heads the Marketing department at Bayt.com and within that role is also responsible for communications, content, community experience, and corporate social responsibility.


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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. BRAVEHEART HONOR 6 PLUS

Huawei’s Honor 6 Plus

Huawei soars to new heights with the release of its premium smartphone, Honor 6 Plus. The device, launched by Honor (Huawei’s e-commerce only brand), is outfitted with a Kirin 925 intelligent octa-core processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB ROM and supports an SD card up to a 128GB, but the device wows with camera and battery technology. Honor 6 Plus is the first smartphone to feature bionic parallel and dual rear cameras- meaning it doubles the capture and

conversion of light for photographs. It also boasts superior battery life with super-fast charging allowing the phone to be fully charged in 2 hours and 51 minutes lasting 1.25 days with heavy usage. Even more, the device is capable of charging a second mobile device using its OTG (on-thego) battery charging function. Honor 6 Plus was made for the digital power user who dares to be different. It’s not just a smartphone; it’s a movement for the brave.

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

YotaPhone 2 in white

KNOW YOUR LIMITS YOTAPHONE 2

Yota Devices unveiled a limited edition YotaPhoneI2 in white. The unique, dualfront smartphone has an inverted screen to make apps, notifications and the “Always On” display meld with the overall look of the device. The color isn’t the only new 50

ENTREPRENEUR MAY 2015

element of YotaPhoneI2. Other enhancements include an upgrade to Android 5.0 Lollipop, YETI 2.0 to customize your display, new widgets and the introduction of the Yota Wireless Powerbank for effortless charging while on the move.


BlackBerry Leap in white

Beam Pro by Seed Robotics, 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 available in white too. Imagesavvy smartphone users can have the same communication brevity and business-friendly dependability that they’ve always enjoyed in a new color variant. The Blackberry Classic features a QWERTY keyboard, BlackBerry web brows-

er, and all of the features of BlackBerry 10 OS. At the time of writing, BlackBerry had just released the BlackBerry Leap in white as well. Is the snowy look suitable for the executive look? Perhaps not; we still expect to see boardroom tables stocked with the main staple black devices.

#TAMTALKSTECH

improves day-to-day life to how to coordinate your smartphone accessories. Visit www.theglobalgazette.com and talk to her on Twitter @GlobalGazette.

Tamara Clarke, a former software development professional, is the tech and lifestyle enthusiast behind The Global Gazette, one of the most active blogs in the Middle East. The Global Gazette has been welcomed and lauded by some of the most influential tech brands in the region. Clarke’s goal is to inform about technology and how it supports our lifestyles. See her work both in print regional publications and online on her blog where she discusses everything from how a new gadget

BEAM ME UP SEED ROBOTICS

Seed Robotics introduced Beam Pro, a futuristic video conferencing robot that enhances remote communication. The robot is managed by software on your Mac or PC via Wi-Fi or 4G LTE connections and can be controlled with the touch of a button on your personal keyboard. Beam Pro is equipped with two wide angle video cameras, an echo-

canceling microphone, a 17 inch display and motorized casing so that it can walk and talkliterally. A fully charged battery can last up to eight hours and when you need to recharge, there’s a dock for that: simply drive Beam Pro onto its electrical contacts. Want to add dimension and presence to your multinational conference calls? Get bionic.

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CULTURE

BUSINESS UNUSUAL | LIFE | TRAVEL | DESIGN | TRAPPINGS

Popular Japanese F&B model comes to UAE Ailuromania Café is purr-fect By Pamella de Leon

different aspects of launching their idea. And after a year and four months of hard work, on the weekend of its launching week, they welcomed over 100 visitors. Ailuromania rescues and adopts stray cats, giving them a home at the café. All 14 of the cats –which are all adopted except for two- are checked and vaccinated. And as for the logistics? The food is prepared in the outside kitchen or delivered fresh from suppliers, with the animals’ provisions kept completely separate. For marketing, the sisters focus on social media with Facebook and Instagram used heavily to share people’s experiences at the café (user generated content). The feline inhabitants are easily spotted from the windows, and while the establishment welcomes walk-in visitors, Al Aulaqi advises to book online especially on week-

| LIFE |

WATERWORKS

LEGOLAND Water Park planned for Dubai

I

f you like theme parks and have an affinity for LEGO, this might be your new happy place. U.K.-based Merlin Entertainments plc, the

LEGOLAND Germany

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company behind the global chain of LEGO-themed parks, is partnering with Dubai Parks and Resorts to bring the first LEGOLAND Water Park to the

ends. There’s a 50AED entry charge per adult in the cat section, and there’s a no children policy in the cat room on weekends. Their future plans include opening another outlet in Abu Dhabi, and later on, they hope to expand to other Emirates and then the rest of GCC.

Middle East- in addition to the bigger LEGOLAND Dubai theme park opening next year. Targeted at children ages two to 12 (although we know that won’t stop adults from visiting as well), the water theme park will feature well-known attractions including the LEGO Wave Pool, Build-A-Raft where guests can build their own personalized LEGO raft, and the Imagination Station that lets children build toy constructions and test endurance against water flow. Currently in Denmark, U.K., the U.S., Germany and Malaysia, LEGOLAND

LEGOLAND California

Dubai –a AED10.5 billion worth project- is to have six themed lands: LEGO City, Adventure, LEGO Kingdom, LEGO Create, LEGO Factory and Miniland, displaying LEGO-replicated trademark buildings and structures from the Middle East. Along with Dubai, Merlin Entertainments plc also has projects under development in Japan and South Korea.

LEGOLAND GERMANY IMAGE © SENOHRABEK / SHUTTERSTOCK | LEGOLAND CALIFORNIA IMAGE © OCULO / SHUTTERSTOCK | AILUROMANIA INSTRAGRAM ACCOUNT

L

ove cats, but can’t have any? The Ailuromania Café, UAE’s first cat café, is here to fill your feline-loving hearts. Saudi-born sisters 23 year-old Iman and 25 year-old Alla Ahmed Bin Farid Al Aulaqi have imported the cat café trend to Dubai. The business model, a fully operational café with cats, already does well in Taipei, Tokyo, parts of South Korea, London, and New York, among others global cities. The Al Aulaqi sisters had to sort out the legal and health requirements (with special rules made for the atypical business), and then renovated a villa, transforming it into a café. The siblings say that as co-founders, they found their relationship helped in constructively conveying opinions, and their different educational backgrounds (finance and marketing respectively) were valuable in


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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 IT COMES TO SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook Creative Shop’s Rob Newlan makes the case for tailored, targeted marketing By Aby Sam Thomas

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ith Facebook reporting that it has 79 million monthly active users in the MENA region, that stat by itself is reason enough for why brands and companies here would be wise to invest in marketing their offerings on this 54

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particular social media network. But this doesn’t mean that one is guaranteed a spike in business with just a perfunctory presence on Facebook- on the contrary, if one wants to make their voice heard among all of what’s happening on the platform, then one needs to really step up on the creative

front to put together messages that are not just alluring to the consumer, but beneficial to the brand as well. However, marketers don’t have to go at this challenging task by themselves- Facebook Creative Shop was essentially created to help in this particular regard. Described as “a team of brand marketers, creative directors and strategists who help clients grow their business,” Facebook Creative Shop provides marketers with guidance and tools they can use to better their advertising efforts on the social media network. “We are a group of creatives and strategists and entrepreneurs based around the world,” explains Rob


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 platforms 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 is where Facebook’s analytics, insights and targeted marketing tools have a significant function- these can, according to Newlan, play an important role in enhancing the interactions between a brand and a consumer. “If we understand what different people find valuable, and what different people want as reward, then we can start to really tailor our creative so that it’s not an ubiquitous piece of work that we hope lots of people are going to be interested in,” he says. “It’s [going to be] a well-crafted piece of work, which, by testing and understanding, we have greater assurances of [whether] this is going to work.” Examples of such creative marketing efforts can already be seen on the social media network- in March, Facebook Creative Shop revealed its Creative Accelerator program, which worked with brands such as CocaCola, Durex and Nestlé to boost their storytelling prowess in “high-growth

markets” like Kenya, Indonesia and India respectively. In the Middle East specifically, Facebook Creative Shop collaborated with Etihad Airways to launch the airline’s new ground and cabin crew uniform, with acclaimed New York-based photographer Norman Jean Roy shooting the work in question. Adding to the campaign’s appeal was the use of Facebook’s tools to get it targeted better and reach the right type of consumers. “It was intelligent, and it was beautiful,” Newlan recalls. “And the more of that kind of work we see, it starts to just, sort of, reset the bar.” When asked about the fairly commonplace complaint by users that there are just too many ads on Facebook, Newlan says that the problem actually lies elsewhere. “People don’t mind advertising- it’s just that they don’t like bad or irrelevant advertising,” he explains. “And that’s where I think the shift is [needed]… There has been this big technological revolu-

tion, but I am not sure if we have necessarily seen sort of the corresponding creative revolution [for that]- I think we are stuck at the early parts of that.” So does Newlan have any tips for the marketers out there on how they can utilize Facebook’s platforms in the best way possible? “In a world of relevancy, there’s no one answer to that,” he replies. “There’s no one way of saying it’s this, or it’s that. And I fundamentally believe it- it’s part of what I think is the most exciting thing about the industry at the moment, which is that there isn’t one answer. It’s not, ‘Oh, you need to do it like this.’ But you need to do things. You need to try things. You need to be out there doing, testing and learning… And that’s where the future of marketing is going. You need to go out, you need to understand the industry, and you can only understand it by being present on these platforms, doing work, and understanding that there isn’t ubiquity.” JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR

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T Russia’s Gazprom continues flexing its muscles despite EU antitrust concerns

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n late April, the European Union (EU) formally charged Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned natural gas giant, over violating EU antitrust laws, also known as the EU competition law. The law is meant to protect the market by making sure businesses don’t abuse their large market shares and become monopolies. Political and economic analysts believe that the EU has the upper hand in this case. Gazprom’s response? The Russian government owns 50.23% of the company, and therefore, it’s not subject to the law’s jurisdiction. The EU won’t budge though, with EU energy commissioner Günter Oettinger saying that Russia is playing an economic “game of divide and conquer,” thus destroying the EU’s gas market. This scenario couldn’t come at a worse time, given the EU’s current relations with Russia; however, Russia might need EU customers more than the EU needs Russian gas. At the same time, Gazprom is still making business in Europe, especially in Ukraine. The company recently announced that it had received a US$32 million instalment from Ukraine- its third in May alone. If you add that up with the other instalments, it means that Ukraine has already paid Russia $102 million for its May gas supply in less than 20 days.

UK LEBANON TECH HUB UP AND RUNNING

he UK Lebanon Tech Hub was finally unveiled in Lebanon at the Beirut Digital Park, after British Ambassador to Lebanon Thomas Fletcher announced the program at the Banque du Liban Accelerate startup conference back in November 2014. Ambassador Fletcher said that he hopes that UK Lebanon Tech Hub will provide a “launch pad” for emerging tech startups, given the limited tech infrastructure available. The launch event, which featured speeches by Ambassador Fletcher and Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, was met with an overwhelmingly positive response. Governor Salameh’s talk was incredibly promising for Lebanese entrepreneurs, given that the Central Bank pledged to play a major role in boosting local startups with their Circular 331 initiative. Some of Lebanon’s most promising tech startups now have the opportunity to take their endeavors to a global level with help from Britain’s top-notch infrastructure and training person-

British Ambassador to Lebanon Thomas Fletcher and Governor of the Banque du Liban, Lebanon’s Central Bank, Riad Salameh, Nicolas Sehnaoui, former Minister of Telecommunications

nel. Prior to the official launch, some of Lebanon’s tech startups presented their businesses for the press, including Bitcoin-powered e-commerce payment platform Yellow, and mobile videogame developers Game Cooks. While some of Lebanon’s best upand-coming startups will enjoy the boost that they deserve through this program, we could only hope that bringing out the potential in some of the country’s most talented entrepreneurs could finally make way for better tech infrastructure and facilities. British Ambassador to Lebanon Thomas Fletcher and Governor 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

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he Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) has presented the designs for Al Rayyan stadium- the proposed fifth stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. According to SC, the stadium has a capacity for 40,000 audiences and will feature a “sustainable cooling technology” as well as “renewable energy”- designed to acquire certification from the Global Sustainability Assessment System and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ratings. Designed by U.K.-based architecture firm

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Ramboll and Pattern Design, it pays homage to Qatari culture and heritage by incorporating local patterns and elements in its design, with materials reused from the deconstructed Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium. Nearby the stadium will be a mosque, aquatics center, athletics track, cricket pitch, tennis court, hockey pitch, and a new branch of Aspetar, a sports medical hospital. Other stadiums under development are the Qatar Foundation stadium, Khalifa International stadium, Al Bayt Stadium and Al Wakrah stadium.

GAZPROM IMAGE © MERKUSHEV VASILIY / SHUTTERSTOCK | FIFA.COM

Gazprom, Russia


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Anticipation ahead of demands GM Bill Keffer leads the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai with instinctual excellence

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xecutives choose us based on our business-oriented facilities and 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 different 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 their group between numerous different hotels within the same city.”

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Appointed in January 2012, the GM has built up his hospitality repertoire across continents, 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 Operations 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 strategic 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 downtown 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 obviously at the heart of our offering, and we focus on training and upskilling our associates as an absolute priority to ensure we provide exceptional service that is crafted, intuitive and authentic– the central pillars of the JW Marriott brand.” Finally, no one knows the brand’s strengths like someone who has spent 25 years in the company; his favorite of the group’s international properties? “The Marriott Beach Resort Fort Lauderdale in Florida, one of my first positions, and where I first met my beautiful wife Stephenie.”

Prime 68 Private Booths


RECOMMENDED BY THE GM EXEC STAY “Guests can reserve an Executive Level room for special benefits like complimentary hors GM Bill Keffer d’oeuvres and cocktails in The Executive Lounge. The lounge is open 24/7 for business travelers to relax and enjoy snacks and beverages in privacy, both day and night. They also benefit from access to complimentary business facilities including secretarial services, a meeting room for up to eight people, and a business center equipped with fax machine and printer. We strive for ‘no distractions’ around the clock to allow business travelers to focus on the actual business they are doing.” CONFERENCE CAPABILITIES “Our owners Emirates Group had the vision to build a convention hotel with scale and facilities on par with those in New York, Hong Kong and Paris,

making Dubai a viable and attractive option for high volume international conferences. As a result, we hosted the largest segment of the NuSkin group from China in 2014, the largest incentive group ever received in Dubai. Not only do we have Dubai’s largest ballroom which can accommodates a large number of conference attendees, but we have enough hotel rooms to comfortably host them during their visit. JW Marriott Marquis also recently launched a brand new initiative called ‘Meetings Imagined,’ allowing for businesses to get creative when holding conferences or meetings on a large scale. Meeting planners can facilitate modern meetings with a creative spin that stimulate attendees through cutting-edge approaches; big screen multimedia, energizing breaks, interactive activities and relaxed meeting configurations are all part of out-of-the-box ‘Meetings Imagined’ experience.” MUNCH “JW Marriott Marquis is home to nine award-winning

Saray Spa Dead Sea Floatation Pool

authentic restaurants and five lounges which offer world class dining options suited to both business and pleasure. We also host international concepts such as the VIP Room and GQ Bar within the hotel, further cementing our position as a destination hotel. Prime 68 is a personal favorite of mine, with panoramic views of the urban skyline complimenting delicious cuts of steak. Of course, I have enjoyed countless business lunches and dinners here- the New York Strip with mushroom truffle sauce is sensational. I also am also very fond of Rang

Mahal, with Michelin-starred Chef Atul Kochhar at the helm. It is a multiple award-winning modern Indian restaurant, presenting an exciting menu in a vibrant ‘Palace of Color’ (Rang Mahal)- it really is a feast for the senses, and a great venue for a more relaxed business dinner.” DOWNTIME “I recommend a session in the Dead Sea Floatation Pool, a hammam, massage or steam room session in Saray Spa. Work off stress in the gym, take a dip in the outdoor pool, have some shisha, or indulge in cuisines from around the world.”

IMAGES COURTESY JW MARRIOTT MARQUIS

Executive Lounge

The Club Lounge

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BUSINESS UNUSUAL | LIFE | TRAVEL | DESIGN | TRAPPINGS

‘TREP TRIMMINGS

THE EXECUTIVE

SELECTION

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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

“Our clasps are hand crafted in Tuscany, Italy, and I work personally with the artisans. I wanted to go back to the era where clients could meet the designer and have bespoke creations made, tailored to their personality and a symbol of the connection between the artisan and the client.” This is Ethan Koh, a Central Saint Martins educated designer who knows what you’re looking for in an accessory simply because he’s an entrepreneur, much like yourselves. Your better leathers are one Ethan K, Hardshell way to let your personality shine Briefcase in Shiny Black Cumin through, in what might be more of Crocodile a conservative wardrobe depending 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 Collection was unveiled in January 2011, consisting of 18 bags for men and women at Claridge’s in London- marking the moment that Koh transitioned from being a designer to being a designer and an entrepreneur. “My great grandfather was a fisherman in Singapore, when it was [still] a British colony. 62

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WATCH ME GO CHANEL J12-G.10 CHROMATIC

Gaspard Ulliel certainly knows how to cut a striking figure: the actor and face of CHANEL Bleu made an entrance in superbly tailored achromatic tones of grey at the launch of the Cruise Collection 2015/16 in Seoul, Korea. Taking a page of Ulliel’s book; when dressed in understated shades with the cleanest of cuts, choose a Gaspard Ulliel at CHANEL Cruise 1516 show in Seoul, Korea on May 4, 2015

timepiece that makes a statement. In an appropriate nod to the House, Ulleil opted for the CHANEL J12-G.10. Crafted in titanium and ceramic, the grey nylon strap is steel-looped paired with a steel pin buckle. Specs we find that pay for themselves? The 42-hour power reserve, scratch resistance, durability, and water resistance up to 200 meters. www.chanel.com Ethan K wallet

CHANEL J12-G.10 CHROMATIC IMAGE CREDIT GASPARD ULLIEL BY ALDO CASTOLDI

Ethan Koh

He learnt the art of exotic tanning from British traders and passed on this knowledge to his son,” explains Singapore-based Koh. After his grandfather and father opened the family tannery, Heng Long Leather in Singapore, Koh grew up surrounded by the tanning process and being inducted into the ways of leather craftsmanship. The designer spent his teenage years in Italy at bag and shoe ateliers, and crafted his first handbag for his mother while he was still a student. So yes, he’s got the background and the market know-how to address the niche of ‘treps looking for a good leather piece with some dignified punch. www.ethan-k.com


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 made it their business to get your skin in shape since 1851; that’s a century and a half of experience. We’ve got a few picks in mind that you can count on to keep you looking your best, with minimal effort and

time. Start by determining your needs, then choose the products you can use consistently to achieve results. Is your skin in the combination to oily range? Treat your complexion and control shine with the Kiehl’s Oil Eliminator 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

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IN THE LOOP

Meet and greet The Ritz-Carlton Riyadh releases app for real-time event and meeting services

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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 confirming 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

The Jaguar XE S makes for an interesting (and agile) ride Want to be aerodynamic? Want to feel control and seamless response times? Then we suggest taking the new Jaguar XE S for a spin so you too can experience the precision handling. The lightweight, slick-lined body, and second look-worthy interiors do make for a fashionforward executive statement, but the ergonomics of the interior and exterior engineering is what we find most impressive. Tailored to the investment savvy luxury-lover, the newest vehicle in the range is great for maintaining owner affordability, and if you’re eco (and wallet) conscious, the XE S is fuel efficient and low on emissions. And now for the specs: go 0-60 in 4.9 seconds with the supercharged 3.0 liter V6 engine, and eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shift controls. Switching lanes has never been so… stimulating. www.jaguarmena.com

‘TREP TALK ME THE BUSINESS hellofood Middle East THE ‘TREP Founder and CEO Beschir Hussain Q What are some consumer trends you have noticed in F&B and online and mobile platforms with hellofood? A “In the food online ordering industry, timing is crucial. People eat at certain times

during the day, which means that we also have to approach potential customers at specific times, which is the moment they start thinking about what to eat and where. In this sense, the need we satisfy has a daily time constraint. One interesting insight is that countries in the Middle East have significantly different lunch and dinner peaks. In Saudi Arabia, for example, dinner peak starts at 10 p.m., while in Jordan it’s at around 8 p.m. This has various operational implications for the business and for our partner restaurants, such as the call center capacity planning and the delivery staffing.” www.hellofood.sa

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The


www.etro.com

e Jaguar XE S


CULTURE

BUSINESS UNUSUAL | LIFE | TRAVEL | DESIGN | TRAPPINGS

Tarek Atrissi

SEEING DOUBLE ENTREPRENEUR AND DESIGNER TAREK ATRISSI

A well-executed typeface can become the voice of your brand By Pamella de Leon

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ood typography is when you look at them [type] as one logo design, not letters,” said Tarek Atrissi emphasizing how a well-executed typeface can become the voice of a brand at a session for the 2015 Dubai International Arabic Calligraphy Exhibition. The session explored supporting traditional art and including it in contemporary typographic expression. And Atrissi has definitely made it his life’s work to explore the branding possibilities of typography- particularly bilingual typography. Born in Beirut, Tarek Atrissi has worked, lived and studied in

ing him to take advantage of his creative background and pursue his entrepreneurial endeavors. His entrepreneurial training helped in understanding his clients- who are also often entrepreneurs. Acting 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 courses being held for teams and academic institutions. So why did his design studio hone in on bilingual typography? Atrissi explains, “Our market in the Middle East is, at the end of the day, a bilingual market communicating often in more than one language.” It’s true, but in terms of deciding to focus his

Lebanon, The Netherlands, Qatar, Dubai, Spain, and the U.S. His enthusiasm for cultural endeavors began after being exposed to classic artists at a young age, while his interest in graphic design stemmed from how it’s a relatively new discipline in the region. The 36-year-old LebaneseDutch citizen holds a Masters of Arts in Interactive Multimedia from Utrecht School of the Arts, Holland, MFA in Design Entrepreneurship from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York and a Postgraduate degree in Typeface Design from the Type@ Cooper Program in New York. He later credits SVA for pushPoster Design Series for Identity Design Conference at Dar El Hekma College, Saudi Arabia

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VISUALS COURTESY TAREK ATRISSI DESIGN WWW.ATRISSI.COM

design practice on typography as a solution for branding projects, Atrissi points out how typography is a visual language on its own and in branding contexts –especially in logo design- using typefaces as main elements turns it to being “minimal, abstract and timeless.” The lack of minimal design in the region is also one of Atrissi’s motivations for mainly utilizing typography in graphic design. The challenge is keeping it legible when needed. It’s essential 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 multilingual 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, making 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 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

it for our current times. In Holland, I was inspired by the Dutch design approach, and by being in a country with a high level of visual culture and a methodological approach to the design process. New York was a school of design that stamped me with a hard-working and ambitious

character, and allowed me to observe and study closely some of the living legends in design today and the way they work. The combination of these very different design cultures made me as a designer, and is a continuous rich blend of inspiration.” His advice for graphic design

and creative professionals thinking of venturing their own business in MENA? Go beyond design and build an interest in business- starting off with a business plan. After all, one needs to make sure one’s creativity finds commercial viability in order to survive.

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FIVE ARABIC DESIGN CLICHÉS

COLOR OVERUSE Golden color to suggest luxury, and green as an Islamic color.

“I am always fighting design clichés in our region that are used, abused and are wrongly associated with our Arabic culture and identity. There is a need to start thinking beyond the superficial and to create designs that are unique, and not too commonly illustrative.”

LITERAL TRANSLATIONS Western brands translated into Arabic without any consideration as to how these would work in the local market.

GENERALIZATIONS Typical visuals and icons to illustrate Arabic culture such as the camel and the palm tree.

ALL INCLUSIVE LOGO Telling too much in a logo, instead of subtle messagesMENA is not yet used to minimalism.

ALI BABA TYPO Putting logos or words as English with an Arabic-looking font.

In conversation INNOVATE NOT IMITATE “We should not blindly copy the design process and solutions created in the West as these could often not work with our local culture. It is important to keep the essence of our design solutions purely conceived to fit our culture, and hence end up representing our identity and be a unique design to our region.” EXECUTIVE EDUCATION “My entrepreneurial spirit was certainly what helped get into all my ventures, so the graduate studies I did in New York was certainly a turning point and I do advise any designer aspiring starting an own business to support their creative profile with business education.”

THE BUSINESS OF DESIGN MEET HALFWAY “Any design is the collaborative work of the designer and the client, so I do my best to have this relationship as collaborative as possible.” PROJECT MANAGEMENT “As a businessman, I try to keep in mind the timeframes and restrictions every project has and work on a design solution within it, because design is not [just] art, and it is tied to budgets and to commercial contexts.”

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Metro Riyadh Arabic and Latin typeface design by Tarek Atrissi

PASSION PROJECTS “I remind myself to keep having fun and enjoying my work, because this is [the] reason why I got into design in the first place- my love for the design practice.” EXPLAIN YOUR STANCE “I try to [convince clients to forgo clichés] by building arguments based on real case studies and showing the many examples of how these clichés are used wrongly. Sometimes, it is best to explain good design by showcasing and analyzing bad design.”

VISUALS COURTESY TAREK ATRISSI DESIGN WWW.ATRISSI.COM

SAUDI DESIGN WEEK “It gives me the opportunity to share my design philosophy and try to reach the wider mass in explaining the design needs of our region, and be critical about the pitfalls we often see in common design solutions. I [also] spoke about my project for the Riyadh Metro, the new public transport system in Saudi Arabia. As part of the branding of the metro, I have developed custom bilingual typeface design for the metro, to be the ‘written voice’ of the brand. It was a good case study to share with the audience, as the new font for the metro is literally everywhere in the city of Riyadh, and it gave the audience a good practical sense of how a typeface can act as a recognizable component of any brand.”


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

As it was essential for the building’s shape to be in the logo, the team studied the architectural concept of the building in depth. Eventually, instead of making a drawing of the building, they got inspired by the square-like forms of the iconic architecture and translated it into a typographic solution- where the museum name was designed in a square kufi style that reflected the floor plan of the museum.

JEEM TV

For Al-Jazeera’s children’s channel JEEM TV,, the aim was to create a logo design that appeals to the aesthetics of children. “This was not easy. I, as a designer, had to step out of my own preferences to create what really appeals to kids of various age groups.” It involved setting up workshops with children to get them involved in the design process.

QATAR’S NATIONAL BRANDING

“This was a very unique and challenging project- for me to understand well the culture of a country and able to frame it into a brand, I had to move and live in Qatar for a year.” In the end, it was a minimalist logo with a calligraphic style of the Arabic word Qatar that was constructed. To Arab readers, the logo was a visual signature of the nation, while non-Arab readers would see it as an aesthetic calligraphic shape- appealing to both demographics, particularly to outsiders, which was the goal for the tourism campaign.

VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM EXHIBITION

The museum had a photography exhibition about the Middle East called Light from the Middle East: New Photography. The project’s goal was to create an exhibition space that reflected the Middle East culture, without imposing over the

works displayed. To avoid typical Arab design clichés, the design house used a hand-lettered street sign in Beirut as its main inspiration and theme for the design. The main entrance of the exhibition, large murals, introduction and section panels consisted of multiple layers of Latin and Arabic typography from the sign, while the negative space of the Arabic letters contributed to the concept of light, and at the same, depicted an accurate landscape of Middle East.

Tarek Atrissi’s sketchbook

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TREPONOMICS

ETHICS | ESQUIRE GUY | SKILLSET | MARKETING | PRO

LEADERSHIP TRAINING

SPONSORED BY CADILLAC IN THE SPIRIT OF EDUCATING TOMORROW’S ENTREPRENEURIAL TALENTS

Five leadership characteristics that entrepreneurs need

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n my role as Associate Professor at the University of Wollongong in Dubai, heading up the institution’s MBA program and with a keen research interest in entrepreneurship, I often get asked two questions: “What exactly is leadership?” and “What characteristics do I need?” If I was

By Dr. Melodena Stephens Balakrishnan

given a dirham for every time somebody asked me these questions, I’d be a very rich woman indeed! The answer to “What is leadership?” is a relatively simple one in my book- it’s an innate ability to motivate, influence and lead people in an organization towards a common goal or purpose. Leadership as

Assessing strengths, opportunites, and problems

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a quality, however, is a much harder subject to broach as it’s a constantly evolving phenomenon. My overriding opinion is that there are different answers to “What characteristics do I need to be a successful leader?” depending on which stage of business growth an entrepreneur is currently facing.

LEADERSHIP STAGE ONE CREATIVITY

All successful entrepreneurs have something in common: creativity. Sure, maybe other people have had a similar idea 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. Many entrepreneurs find that early on in their idea’s lifecycle, creativity is the biggest trait they need to be a successful 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 fundingand see things that other people can’t, including having faith in your own vision when others may not.

CHARTS: RESEARCH REPORT TEAM COLLABORATION STUDY © ESI INTERNATIONAL

Running a tighter (and more fruitful) ship

It’s imperative that as an entrepreneur 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 make the effort to do this are clear: research has shown that very few founders were successful as CEOs once their companies went public, hinting that the leadership skills that are required to be successful change as a company grows in size. To help budding entrepreneurs navigate their changing business environments, here are my top five leadership characteristics that you should take time to develop over the course of your career:


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

LEADERSHIP STAGE TWO DIRECTION

As your business starts to enter its first stage of growth, you need to be able to articulate your direction in measurable goals. As one venture capitalist told me, “There is no formula for investment at the seed stage because there are no numbers and tractions for us to look at- but the team is everything. If you can measure what the entrepreneur is speaking about and express it in numbers, then they are up to something.” Although financial goals are of course extremely important, direction is not limited just to money matters. It also includes having a clear idea about your target market, articulating your vision in a sentence which is measurable, inspiring and achievable and communicating effectively with key stakeholders. Focus on being fluid in ALL SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON: CREATIVITY. SURE, MAYBE OTHER PEOPLE HAVE HAD A SIMILAR IDEA 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.

your direction too- it may need be redefined as circumstances change, more investors come on board, resources change, or indeed, you change! LEADERSHIP STAGE THREE DELEGATION

As your business grows, you may find yourself getting increasingly inefficient as you handle more responsibilities. The key to combating this is delegation, delegation, delegation! Hiring the right team who you trust to believe in and respect your vision is of upmost importance at this stage. Knowing your weaknesses and hiring people for their competencies, concentrating on building up a diverse workforce made up of different genders, background and skills, developing mutually agreed goal posts and investing in good governance to track finance and business relationships have all been proven to contribute to successful growth. What’s more, you shouldn’t be afraid to take tough decisions as the organization evolves. Be clear about your own accountability and role within the business too.

LEADERSHIP STAGE FOUR COORDINATION

As your organization grows further, silos might develop within your business which could lead to inefficiencies, miscommunication and loss of trust. If this happens, you should focus on effectively and skilfully coordinating between various personalities, expertise and management levels. Concentrate on creating a strong corporate culture where the business’ vision and

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 strategic alliances and seek external advice on business strategy and staff recruitment from suppliers, customers, legal teams and other business sounding-boards. Focus your energies on effectively networking too, building strong relationships which might help you to discover opportunities, source resources and get that all important foot-in-the-door with potential customers, clients and future opportunities.

Dr. Melodena Stephens Balakrishnan is an Associate Professor at the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD), and the UOWD MBA Program Director. Dr Balakrishnan’s research interests include branding, destination marketing, entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship. As founder and President of the Academy of International Business MENA Chapter, Dr. Balakrishnan has organized five international conferences, bringing together over 300 participants from across the region to discuss business issues. She has 16 years of industry and education experience, beginning her career at Citibank India and spending over eight years in marketing in India, including a stint setting up a division in Eureka Forbes Ltd. She is currently researching into the business stages facing social entrepreneurs or organizations who have a strong embedded purpose their business model. If you are one such entrepreneur and would like to participate in her research, visit: https://uowdoie.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_0B7P4iUcZF3u9Mx&Q_JFE=0 JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR

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traditional management style focusing on planning and evaluating 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-performing 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?

Yes, you can do better

Re-evaluating the approach to performance management

I

By Salma El-Shurafa and Veronique Ademar

n any company, ensuring that goals are captured, measured and periodically evaluated is a critical exercise to manage performance and outcomes. Most companies have some sort of performance management system, be it online or in paper format. However, most managers describe it as painful and time consuming, while employees feel like the process is contrived and often have the impression that it’s ‘just a tick-in-the-box’ exercise for their senior management. So, is PM becoming redundant? According to a 2014 Global Human Capital Trends report, led by Deloitte Consulting LLP and Bersin by Deloitte, which surveyed over 2,500 business and HR leaders across 90 countries, two conclusions stand out: • Only 8% of companies report that their performance management process drives high

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levels of value, while 58% said it is not an effective use of time. • Today’s widespread rankingand ratings-based performance management is damaging employee engagement, alienating high performers, and costing managers valuable time. Well, maybe you don’t want to throw away your process just yet. The same survey showed that 70% of the survey re-

spondents are either “currently evaluating” or have recently “reviewed and updated” their performance management systems. Also, it reveals that some of these organizations are scrapping the annual evaluation cycle and replacing it with ongoing feedback and coaching designed to promote continuous employee development. This means that the more

1. LISTENING TO UNDERSTAND People want to be listened to, that’s a fact. But more than that, they want to be understood. In order to become an effective listener, ensure you don’t only listen to what the person says, but also pay attention what the person doesn’t! Observe non-verbal messages, and feelings, which are usually ignored. Give your full attention to your employee without necessarily having the intent to answer…but just listen, understand and be present. 2. EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION This seems like a given, however, having great communication skills doesn’t mean just talking for the sake of passing on a message to someone. Judgment, attacks and emotional outbursts have no place here. When you are conveying a message, keep in mind that what others perceive is also important. Your body language, facial expressions and tone of voice will convey your attitudebe it positive or negative.


CHART © DELOITTE UNIVERSITY PRESS - GLOBAL HUMAN CAPITAL TRENDS 2014 REPORT

the walk and dare to ask feedback from your staff. You want to create an environment of openness with your team so that they feel supported and consider themselves free to come to you in times of need.

3. IMPARTING MOTIVATION The words ‘thank you’ go a long way, and managers tend to forget the importance of small gestures. Appreciating someone’s hard work and lending a hand or a compassionate ear will make your employees feel valued! Giving them new challenges and ensuring they have clear goals and responsibilities are simple, yet powerful, ways to gain engagement and motivation! And remember, 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 their jobs.

5. GIVING FEEDBACK Do this on a regular basis and not just once a year! It always has to be done in a timely manner and not a week after the fact. Remember that feedback should be conveyed in a constructive manner, (no blaming!), and instead of asking: ‘Why did you do this?’ ask instead: ‘What’s gone wrong?’ and ‘How can we do it better next time?’ And

don’t forget to give positive feedback also when the job has been well done! It doesn’t stop here. Feedback is essential, and it also has to be partnered up with regular check-ins on accountabilities and progress especially if development areas were established. The performance management process as we know it is becoming obsolete, and whether you need to review it or scrap it altogether will depend on a number of factors. However, what is becoming obvious is that companies have to embed a new way of managing people. The truth of the matter is that employees don’t merely want to be given a rating at the end of the year, but instead crave for regular feedback, understanding, guidance and recognition. When an ownership-driven performance management process is paired with managers applying coaching skills, not only will you accelerate change and growth, but you’ll also boost employee morale and engagement which will ultimately result in higher

performance. The way performance is managed has to be redefined and managers have to be stretched beyond their current skills so that they don’t just remain evaluators, but they become success-enablers.

Salma El-Shurafa and Veronique Ademar, drawing on over 20 years of combined experience, are Executive Coaches and founding partners at The Pathway Project (TPP). TPP provides tailored executive leadership and career development coaching to professionals who are navigating the dynamics of the global UAE market. They have worked with a wide variety of individuals in the Middle East, Asia and Europe, ranging from directors and managers at Fortune 500 companies as well as entrepreneurs, across industries, and other professionals. www.pathwayproject.ae

Regions where top five trends are most important

WHEN AN OWNERSHIP DRIVEN PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT PROCESS IS PAIRED WITH MANAGERS APPLYING COACHING SKILLS, NOT ONLY WILL YOU ACCELERATE CHANGE AND GROWTH, BUT YOU’LL ALSO BOOST EMPLOYEE MORALE AND ENGAGEMENT WHICH WILL ULTIMATELY RESULT IN HIGHER PERFORMANCE.

4. ESTABLISHING TRUST Create a blame-free environment where employees are challenged, supported and not afraid to make mistakes. Walk JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR

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Small talk 101

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

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eople say they don’t like small talk. But what those people are saying is that they don’t like people. They are -and I’m not using this word without some serious deliberation- talkists. Also, they are denying an essential truth about every great thing that has ever been done: before you do it, you have to talk about it. And before you talk about it, you have to talk about something else. And what that is, is small talk. Small talk is a not a glorious thing. But it is the gateway to a thing that is... also not glorious, but a lot more interesting: medium talk. Which is something. But this is about small talk- at a party, at a networking event. Which we’ll take in stages. The stages are 1, 2 and 3, and there’s no telling how long each will last. STAGE 1 ANYTHING YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT, INCLUDING THE WEATHER With small talk, you are advancing the conversation. But in an extremely restrained way. You are giving something of yourself. But you’re not giving actual ideas. You are offering up the simplest of observations. People think they hate small talk because it is boring. But it has to be boring. The splendor of small talk is its banality. Because small talk is a signal.

The words are irrelevant. The act is what’s important. And you have to stay small. Really small. You want to avoid what’s large, including the thing you’re probably most prepared to talk about: business. “The key to small talk is to avoid in any way making conversation that has to do with business,” says Daniel Menaker, author of A Good Talk, about how conversations work. “By definition, small talk is not goal-oriented. Or if it is goal-oriented, the goal is to make yourself conversationally available to other people in a way that shows you are not just single-mindedly entrepreneurial, but that you’re a human being, and that you can find common ground.” Common ground is the whole point. Similarity breeds attraction. The more you have in common with someone, the more you like them. The subject of business is slightly too fraught. So, what to talk about instead? It’s difficult for your opening line to be too small. “Hi, I’m Kevin” is not too small. “Hot out today” is not too small. You’re not really giving the other person much to work with, but it’s not too small. “So, you’re a groomer of animals?” Also not too small. “Thank God it’s Thursday morning,” while odd, is not too small. (“We are in a room” is probably too small.) And here are some examples of small talk that is too big: “I’m Kevin!” Too

KEY TECHNICAL MATTERS > There’s no shame in opening with the following subjects: the weather, the fact that it is Friday, sports. > Unadvisable: the weather on another celestial body, the fact that it was Friday three days ago, obscure sports (standing high jump, for instance). > No squinting, which is threatening. > Head-nodding should be limited. > Head-shaking should be employed only as a gesture of sympathy. > Head-rolling should be eschewed.

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big. “An iceberg exploded yesterday.” Too big. “You have a good cheek.” Too big. “Why are we here? On Earth, I mean.” Too big. Stay small. STAGE 2 LISTENING MOSTLY The second stage of small talk can happen only after receiving a response that is equal to or greater than the content of your opener. The signal from the other person is: I’m not threatened, so

> It’s important to fill silences with a conversational bridge to something more interesting. “You don’t say.” Or: “Amazing.” Or: “Really?” > The following are not to be used as bridges: “Well, my, my, my.” Or: “I like what I’m hearing.” Or: “I’m so lonely.” > When approaching a stranger, approach from the front with intent, but not aggression. Also, do not flank them. Do not charge them. Do not approach a stranger in a way that seems vaguely military. > Eye contact is extremely important. > Shoulder contact is not important. > Hip contact is not relevant in any way.

> Elbow contact is hilarious.


let us continue this mundane banter. There’s this thing psychologists call a “promotion orientation.” It involves thinking of the conversation as a series of opportunities rather than a minefield of embarrassment (thinking of it that way is “prevention orientation”). The promotion orientation involves making eye contact and smiling. (Which are the two most powerful tools a person having a conversation has at his or her

disposal. You can say, “I’m into string” to a total stranger, and if you say it with eye contact and a smile, it can seem brilliant.) The second stage of small talk is all about promotion orientation. “Don’t think, don’t say this, don’t do something stupid, don’t go on too long,” says Sam Sommers, associate professor of psychology at Tufts University and author of Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World. “If you have all these don’ts and negatives in your head as you go into an interaction, you tend to come off looking like someone who had a bunch of negative thoughts in their head and distracted and not engaged.” The second stage also gives you an entrée to be mildly interesting. And slightly personal. Del Pedro -a bartender who has about 50 small-talk conversations a night at New York’s Pegu Club says, “I try not to offend, but occasionally I will push things a little further just to get the conversation flowing and get people a little jacked up. For the sport of it, for fun.” His small-talk hours have increased lately, as he’s opening up his own establishment, Brooklyn’s Tooker Alley. “There are times when it’s awkward,” he says. “When I had to go out to raise money for this new [outlet], I found that’s a form of small talk I’m not good at. But I got better.” Which is backed up by the scientists: “Research suggests people who are viewed by others as socially adept and good at networking actually view themselves as somewhat shy and withdrawn,” Sommers says. “There’s not a set personality type you have to have to make this work. It’s more about practice.”

STAGE 3 HOW TO GET OUT, OR NOT It helps to have fallback questions: two or three questions or topics you know you can pull out when you’re on the spot and nervous. “We don’t think quite as quickly and clearly when we’re under pressure, so the more wellrehearsed any behavior is, the better we’re able to pull that off when the spotlight’s on. Having a good exit line never hurts,” Sommers says. At a party or a networking event (as opposed to a meeting, where the duration of small talk is somewhat fixed), there is a point at which you must decide if this is a conversation worth continuing or a conversation worth ending. The eyes are the deciding factor, not the conversation. If the other person’s eyes wander, even a little bit, you should get out. If the eyes wander, you throw out your exit line. “I see a friend I need to speak to; it’s been great talking to you.” Or, more generously: “It’s been great talking to you; I’ll let you get to some other people now.” Or, the best exit line ever developed: “I’m going to the bar. Can I get you something?” If the other person wants to continue the conversation, they will say yes. If they don’t, they will say no. And so you act accordingly. Or maybe it keeps going. Maybe you get somewhere. Maybe it really gets somewhere. Maybe you eventually start a business with the person you engaged in harmless banter at a party. Maybe you end up getting key advice from them. Or an important contact. Or maybe it’s just social. Maybe you just pass the time talking to another human being in a generous way. The thing about small talk is: Even if it’s awkward, it’s worth it.

See this article in its entirety at Entrepreneur.com

SCHMOOZING VS. SMALL TALK It’s important to make a distinction between schmoozing and small talk. Schmoozing is an attempt to get somewhere. Small talk is an attempt to fill a silence and make things less awkward. Schmoozing is an ulterior act. Small talk is transparent. Schmoozing is a wolf in the forest. Small talk is a fawn eating clover in a meadow. A few examples: Small talk “Cold enough?” Schmoozing “That is the nicest scarf I’ve ever seen.” Small talk “Great canapés.” Schmoozing “What do you think they spent on this spread?”

Small talk “I’m Steve.” Schmoozing “I’m Steve. You look like a Steve, too.” Small talk “Gin and tonic. Safe choice.” Schmoozing “Gin and tonic. Safe choice. Don’t drink too many, though.” Small talk “You don’t say.” Schmoozing “Would you mind repeating that figure so I can commit it to memory and then leverage it during the conversation I’m about to have with that guy over there? Did I just say that out loud? Nice scarf, Steve. Hell of a scarf.”

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BUSINESS UNUSUAL | LIFE | TRAVEL | DESIGN | TRAPPINGS

WANNA WORK FROM HOME AS SENIOR MANAGEMENT? THE GOOD (AND BAD) NEWS By Angie Nassar

T

echnology and stuff, it’s great. With the introduction of telepresence robots , combined with cloud-based systems, VPNs, instant messaging, Skype, and phone forwarding and conferencing, you can work thousands of miles from the office with just as much effectiveness and clarity as if you were physically there. As executive editor of Beirut.com, I manage the content and direction of the leading lifestyle-travel directory in Lebanon, and I do this from nearly 6,000 miles away in Upstate New York. But that also means I work according to the Eastern European Time Zone, a sometimes grueling schedule. Every single person you know -including your colleagues, close friends, family, neighbors and basically anyone who finds out you work from home– acts like you are unemployed. My own brother asked me when I was going to get a “real job.” Also, if you live with someone, they don’t understand why you can’t just drop everything and go grab a coffee with them or sit around and talk about the latest episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians for 45 minutes (because I have to do things, yo). Of course, it goes without saying that there are

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a lot of perks to being in this position. Not having to commute to work offers the most precious gift of all: extra time. It also saves cash. I don’t spend money on unnecessary expenses like overpriced coffee, unhealthy lunches or vending machine snacks. Headphones? I barely remember those. I blast whatever music I want, and as loud as I want. 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 everyone. Here’s everything you need to know to survive working from home.

1. THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. You are about to

spend an inordinately long amount of time in your home. Outside of purchasing food and other necessities, I have no pressing reason to leave my pad during the week. So take the number of hours you spend at home after you finish your regular workday, and add 16. That’s how much time you will have to stare at the neon orange wall you painted in the living room last week because you thought it would look more edgy. My advice: get as comfortable as possible and invest in a proper office setup with an ergonomic chair, sticky notes, calming colors, whatever it takes to make you feel levelheaded, resolute and ready to work.

2. ONE IS THE LONELIEST NUMBER. If you’re one

of those people who need constant attention and recognition from other human beings, this is probably not the job for you. As far as I’m concerned, solitude is bliss, but some people go nuts when they don’t have human contact.


SETTING PRECEDENTS

The corporate take on working from home

3. MAKE A SCHEDULE AND STICK TO IT. It can be hard to

draw the line between work stuff and home stuff. I think people have this idea that when you’re working from home you get really distracted by things like the TV or other modern amenities, but if you’re serious about what you do, then the opposite is true. You’ll find yourself waking up in the morning, sitting down at your computer to check emails, and then all of a sudden it’s 8 p.m., you’ve been working for 11 hours straight. This leads me to my next point.

MARISSA MAYER IMAGE © JSTONE / SHUTTERSTOCK

4. WATCH OUT FOR POTENTIAL WEIGHT GAIN. I am by no means a shining example of health and fitness, but if you’re like me and you enjoy food, then it becomes much harder to exercise self control with your entire fully-stocked refrigerator at your disposal. At first, my lunch break consisted of going to the next room, opening a cupboard, grabbing a spoon and a jar of peanut butter and walking back to my desk. Now, I plan out my meals for the whole week on Sunday and refrain from purchasing unhealthy snack foods because I simply don’t want to be tempted. The idea of being discovered unconscious and in the fetal position with crusty PB&J all over my mouth after falling

into a self-induced food coma is just not a possibility I’m willing to entertain.

5. PLAN WHEN YOU’RE GOING TO LEAVE THE HOUSE. Even if it’s just to

go for a walk outside or run to the store to grab some groceries, make time away from your living space.

6. MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS. As with any other activity, you simply will not be as effective at work if you’re trying to focus on too many things at once. That means, leave the TV and radio off and keep all other forms of entertainment out of sight. Also, do not try to work from your couch or bed. While insanely comfortable, these positions will do the exact opposite of engendering thoughtful production. Instead, invest in a real desk and sit there. The underlying feature of all these points is the importance of maintaining discipline and boundaries in your life. That’s why you must create a schedule for doing things, and when work is done, be done with it completely. It takes more effort than I could possibly explain to stop myself from responding to emails during non-work hours, but it also gives me a level of sanity I could not otherwise attain.

While Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer didn’t made it fully clear as to why her company decided to ban its employees from working remotely in 2013, her few comments on the topic have suggested the workfrom-home ban is to be a move towards increasing collaboration among employees, and thus raise the standard of work delivered at Yahoo’s offices around the world. But putting a stop to telecommuting may not necessarily be the right way to go about this- after all, as Mayer herself has admitted, people are most productive when they work alone, and so, a company that forces remote employees to come into the office to work in a bid to improve their performance on the job may end up seeing an undesirable dip in the same. So, if the target is to see a better output from one’s remote employees, then a better way to achieve that could perhaps be by rethinking the strategies used to manage them. The focus should be on monitoring their work, as opposed to monitoring their presence at work- and this can be done by setting goals for remote employees that fit the SMART criteria, and then being clear on what the desired outcomes are. Also, given the different kinds of technologies we have at our disposal today, building a collaborative work environment in a team doesn’t require all of its members to be in the same physical space anymore. For instance, faceto-face meetings can be virtually (and more easily)

conducted over online chat applications like Skype and Google+ Hangouts. Similarly, enterprise social networks like Yammer and Socialcast allow for real-time interactions and collective conversations Marissa Mayer

among employees over the Internet, no matter where they may be actually located. Keeping track of what employees are doing can also be enabled through daily status updates via a phone call or an email. In addition, research is indicating that Yahoo may be well off the mark when it says that “speed and quality are often sacrificed” when people work from home. A ninemonth-long experiment conducted by Stanford University at a Chinese travel agency showed working from home lead to a 13% increase in performance, with home workers reporting improved work satisfaction as well. If these results are any indication, then allowing employees to work from home is something that can work out extremely well for the company that employs them. However, the key to achieving success in this regard is to ensure the effective management of these remote employees, and therein lies the challenge for companies.

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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 success 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 FOR TAKE OFF Six (hard) lessons we learned launching our own venture By Sara Trüschler and Terry Dehdashty

W

hen we founded Lotus Communications, we had a combined four decades worth of work experience between usso we knew our industry inside out, and we were fortunate enough to have clients lined up wanting to work with us before we even started. That doesn’t mean it was easy; even though we rode on a wave of very early success, we soon learned that we had plunged into the world of entrepreneurship without looking at the fine details of what was involved in setting up and running a business. For us, this worked to our advantage as we didn’t have the chance to be afraid of the challenges. We simply had to land on our feet and learn along the way. Here are six lessons we learned the hard way:

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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 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 your network and ask for help. We were actually surprised to find how many people were genuinely willing to help us, from friends and clients referring new business, to family members who were a dab hand at IT offering us advice on our website and technical issues, to a close friend who is good at finance and accounting. People are often inspired by the fact that you’re following your dream and taking a risk they wouldn’t take themselves, and they are also flattered that you are asking them for their expertise. Don’t assume that because you’re very good at what you do, that this will translate into setting up a business with ease.


3. DRAFT A BUSINESS PLAN

It can be quite surprising that even after months of talking about it, planning, and even actually setting up and doing it, you will struggle to write up a proper business plan. It is easy to say, “I want to run a boutique in a mall” or “I’m going to set up a marketing agency”, but a business plan is extremely useful as it makes you think about how much money you are planning to spend, how many employees you plan to have down the line, who the customers are that you are targeting, how you envisage your company growing, and how you plan to actually manage everything. It is particularly important when you have a business partner as it forces you to reexamine exactly what each of you wants to get out of this, and how you plan to divide up responsibilities and profits. Having a plan written down on paper makes things more concrete and forces you to look at areas you might have been avoiding or might not have even been aware of. The business plan will prove very useful when dealing with your bank or getting your trade license, so get it done early on. YOU MAY BE WILLING TO DONATE YOUR PERSONAL TIME FREE OF CHARGE, BUT DONATING YOUR BUSINESS’ TIME IS A VERY DIFFERENT ISSUE AND YOU HAVE TO SEPARATE THE TWO. YOU WILL HAVE TO BE TOUGH SOMETIMES AND USE THE OLD CLICHÉ, “SORRY IT’S NOT PERSONAL, IT’S BUSINESS” – GET USED TO SAYING IT, AND START BELIEVING IN IT, OTHERWISE YOU WON’T GET ANYWHERE.

4. START THINKING LIKE A BUSINESS OWNER

You have to balance thinking with your heart and thinking with your head. Just because you’re now your own boss doesn’t mean you can sleep in every morning and only work with clients you like. Sometimes you have to turn down a project very close to your heart because it’s not profitable or feasible. Other times you have to take on projects you don’t particularly enjoy because it makes sense for the business. There are times you will have to turn down friends’ requests to do them a favor because it would not make sense for the business to work on a project free of charge at that moment. You may be willing to donate your personal time free of charge, but donating your business’

time is a very different issue and you have to separate the two. You will have to be tough sometimes and use the old cliché, “Sorry it’s not personal, it’s business” – get used to saying it, and start believing in it, otherwise you won’t get anywhere. PEOPLE ARE OFTEN INSPIRED BY THE FACT THAT YOU’RE FOLLOWING YOUR DREAM AND TAKING A RISK THEY WOULDN’T TAKE THEMSELVES, AND THEY ARE ALSO FLATTERED THAT YOU ARE ASKING THEM FOR THEIR EXPERTISE. DON’T ASSUME THAT BECAUSE YOU’RE VERY GOOD AT WHAT YOU DO, THAT THIS WILL TRANSLATE INTO SETTING UP A BUSINESS WITH EASE.

5. BE PROFESSIONAL AND DON’T COMPLAIN

When you are first setting up your own business, you will be incredibly busy. You will find you are the toughest boss you have ever worked for and you literally will work round the clock. Your friends and family won’t see you for a while. You will be too busy to talk, too busy to go out and too exhausted to make any kind of social plans when you finally have time to switch off. At the same time, you will probably be asking these same people for help and maybe even borrowing laptop, equipment or even money from them and then telling them you are too busy to see them! The last thing they want to hear is you complaining when they’ve just put up with you being awful while helping you build your dream. When you finally return to the folds of normal humanity, you want people to still be happy to see you, and not retreat in fear from a miserable, complaining monster. Remember, everyone around you is a potential client or potential referral opportunity. Act professional, tell them everything is going well, be positive and show you are on top of things. They will assume you are well on the road to success and will want to work with you or refer business to you. If you are always complaining and miserable, they will assume things are not working out and that you probably can’t cope with any new projects.

6. DON’T GIVE UP

One of the best pieces of advice we were given by an extremely successful entrepreneur is that lots of people have great ideas and dreams of setting up their own company, but most people

talk about these things one evening, and then they get up and go back to their regular job the next day and never actually do anything about it. The successful entrepreneurs are the ones who actively take a risk, quit their job, make a change and actually see things through and keep at it. Giving up is not an option in business. If necessary, assign yourself a mentor. Whether it’s someone who is already successful in business who you admire, or even just your best friend who is tasked with always pointing out your successes when you’re down, and refusing to let you get weighed down when you’re about to give up, make sure you have a dedicated cheerleader to keep you on track.

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.

Sara Trüschler and Terry Dehdashty are entrepreneurs, media gurus and yoga lovers who founded Lotus Communications in 2014, after meeting on a yoga retreat in Bali. Both founders brought with them many years of experience in marketing, PR, events and media, and wanted to move away from the traditional PR agency model and offer a more holistic approach to brand management. Both founders have a Middle Eastern background and Western education, and have worked in the U.S., U.K., the Far East and the Middle East which gives them a truly international outlook and an in-depth insight into the region. With a growing number of lifestyle, wellness, and corporate clients, Lotus Communications has rapidly established itself in the market and is proof that two businesswomen can succeed by offering their own unique approach.

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FACING OUR FEARS MENA TALKS BACK

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

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ala Fadel, Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum for the Pan Arab Region, opened the 8th MIT Pan Arab Conference in Kuwait by emphasizing the need for Arab entrepreneurs to protect the innovation of the present from the fear of past generations. While a growing number of young entrepreneurs in the Arab world have started to disrupt traditional markets with innovative ideas, they are still being met with great resistance from traditionalists. In a region that prides itself on preserving its cultural authenticity, the Arab entrepreneur is forced to fight two battles. The first battle is assuaging the fears of Arab communities around innovative entrepreneurship, and second, establishing and monetizing unconventional business models in existing MENA ecosystems. While these challenges may seem daunting, many young Arabs are plunging forward because they recognize that there is a gap in our various market sectors and they want to see it change. Five startups from the 8th MIT Arab Conference, from across the Arab world, discuss the biggest obstacles that young Arab entrepreneurs face in their ecosystems. 1. FEAR OF SMALL ECOSYSTEMS QATAR KHALID ABUJASSOUM Co-founder & CEO, Tahi Technologies Inc. Khalid Abujassoum

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Do you think that there is a fear of investing in the small startup ecosystems in the Gulf? “There is, and I think it’s natural due to the history of business in this region and how the economy has evolved. In the Gulf, the major business contributors to the economy were traders and merchants, so the whole technology entrepreneurship realm is new, and as the old saying goes, ‘A person is an enemy to whatever they ignore.’ Such fear is natural and understood. We need to ensure that all stakeholders in the ecosystem including entrepreneurs, investors,

policymakers, incubators etc. are playing their roles correctly. An entrepreneur should have the tenacity to listen, learn and grow. A policymaker should engage stakeholders to understand their needs and incorporate them in the policy making process. The same applies to investors and other players in the ecosystem. By working together, all these stakeholders can build a strong and trustworthy ecosystem for everyone. There is no one hero that will make it work, I believe that it is our collective responsibility to build and strengthen Arab startup ecosystems.”

2. FEAR OF INVESTING MOROCCO AMINE TOUMI Project Manager, Yuzu Do you think that there is a fear of investing in startups in Morocco and North Africa? “When I started Yuzu with my team, we didn’t find any investors or funds to help support or accelerate the development of our startup. I don’t know what the real problem is- is it a lack of information about startups in the region, the legitimacy of our project or simply the lack of investors? While the Moroccan startup scene is still very young and lagging behind some countries in the Arab Amine Toumi region, it’s slowly catching up. At Yuzu, we understand that fear is an investor’s natural state of being, whereas courage is an entrepreneur’s natural way of life. In order to increase investment in the North African startup ecosystem, we have to find the crossroads where these two stakeholders can meet. Firstly, we have to be willing to admit that startup success is hardly predictable. On the other hand, we must fight to nurture and invest in entrepreneurship, because startups will build the future of countries and people across North Africa and the Arab world. If we make it a priority, we can encourage decision-makers to take more risks, thus ensuring that more investments and resources are available for entrepreneurs to go on dreaming of a better world.”


David Al Achkar

3. FEAR OF COMPLICATED FINANCIAL SYSTEMS UAE DAVID AL ACHKAR Founder, Yellow Do you think that there is a fear of investing in the Arab world, because of their existing financial systems? “I see the main financial problems in the region as being ones of fragmentation, high cost, and high complexity. Whether you’re a startup or an established business, few options, besides standard wires and credit cards, exist that cover the region as a whole and the latter still has a low penetration. Most available options, however local, are still on average more expensive than abroad. And finally, in many cases, getting set up to accept or “WE BELIEVE THAT IN THE MIDTERM THE INNOVATION BROUGHT FORWARD BY BITCOIN, WHICH IS FASTER, CHEAPER, GLOBAL PAYMENTS, HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BRING THE ARAB REGION TO THE FOREFRONT OF PAYMENTS. THUS, EFFECTIVELY LEAPFROGGING MANY INTERMEDIARIES, AND IN MOST CASES ONLY INCREMENTALLY BETTER PAYMENTS SOLUTIONS.”

send payments is a complicated, lengthy, and costly process, which is a recurring setback for most startups in the region. The approach we’ve decided to follow at Yellow is the transition from

traditional payment methods to the cutting-edge of financial technology, i.e., Bitcoin. We believe that in the midterm, the innovation brought forward by Bitcoin, which is faster, cheaper, global payments, has the potential to bring the Arab region to the forefront of payments, thus effectively leapfrogging many intermediaries, and in most cases, only incrementally better payments solutions.” 4. FEAR OF INVESTING IN NEW IDEAS JORDAN SAMER TARAZI Founder and CEO, RedTroops Do you think that there is a fear of investing in Arab tech startups in Jordan and the MENA region? “I wouldn’t say there is fear, I would say there’s an immature attitude towards tech startups in the region. We don’t Samer have highly Tarazi experienced investors who are truly visionaries. Unfortunately, most investors tend to follow rather than lead, either by following another investor or investing in an Arabic version of a business model that has already been proven abroad. When you’re working on a disruptive technology or trying to build something that hasn’t really been done in the Arab world before, this mentality makes it extremely difficult to raise the funds needed to keep a startup going. Nurturing the maturity of both founders and investors in the region will help, because we currently lack people who really understand what a startup is and how

“I WOULDN’T SAY THERE IS FEAR, I WOULD SAY THERE’S AN IMMATURE ATTITUDE TOWARDS TECH STARTUPS IN THE REGION. WE DON’T HAVE HIGHLY EXPERIENCED INVESTORS WHO ARE TRULY VISIONARIES. UNFORTUNATELY, MOST INVESTORS TEND TO FOLLOW RATHER THAN LEAD, EITHER BY FOLLOWING ANOTHER INVESTOR OR INVESTING IN AN ARABIC VERSION OF A BUSINESS MODEL THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN PROVEN ABROAD.”

to scale quickly on both ends. While I’m sure that Arab ecosystems will mature with experience in time, I still believe we suffer in the region because the market itself is still lagging and it’s definitely lacking in terms of early adoption.” 5. FEAR OF LACKING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PROTECTION EGYPT MOHAMMAD GAMAL Founder, Kotobna Do you think that there is a fear of starting a startup in the Arab world because of the weak intellectual property laws in Egypt and the rest of the MENA region? “Yes, there is a fear, but there shouldn’t be, because firstly, innovative young, business leaders should find solutions for the problems of intellectual property (IP) protection. Secondly, they should create new localized business models that understand target market’s needs, their social environments and their motives for breaking IP law. By creating relevant and innovative solutions to real problem in the market, young entrepreneurs will find new and efficient ways of providing and capturing value in Arab markets. A very good example of such a ‘market hack’ is Abjjad, a social network for books based in Jordan, which offers Arab

readers e-books for free. The Abjjad team make revenue from the Google Ads that are embedded in the pages of each book. As entrepreneurs, especially in the Arab world, we must strive to understand our customers’ needs and their social environment. Regardless of where you are or what the startup ecosystem is like, it is the responsibility of an entrepreneur to reinvent their business model until they can find one that serves their customers. I also believe that it is our responsibility as entrepreneurs to educate our target audience about the benefits of protecting IP by creating multi-sided platforms here, content providers with content consumers in a secure, beneficial way for both parties- that’s exactly what we’re doing at Kotobna. We are linking young Arab authors with Arab readers who are interested in e-books. On the Kotobna platform, books are encrypted and secured and offered to readers at very competitive rates, with very easy and accessible payment methods.” Mohammad Gamal

“AS ENTREPRENEURS, ESPECIALLY IN THE ARAB WORLD, WE MUST STRIVE TO UNDERSTAND OUR CUSTOMERS’ NEEDS AND THEIR SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT. REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU ARE OR WHAT THE STARTUP ECOSYSTEM IS LIKE, IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF AN ENTREPRENEUR TO REINVENT THEIR BUSINESS MODEL UNTIL THEY CAN FIND ONE THAT SERVES THEIR CUSTOMERS.”

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All for one, and one for all

It takes a global village to raise an entrepreneur By Soukaina Rachidi

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orking with Melltoo Marketplace, a Dubai-based mobile app for buying and selling used items in the UAE, I’ve started to learn a lot about entrepreneurship and the startup scene. Over the past couple of months, I’ve met a lot of young entrepreneurs with all kinds of startups and I’ve come to one very simple conclusion: true success cannot be achieved in isolation. Nowadays, more and more young Arab entrepreneurs are getting mentorship and financial support from the private and public sector. That being said, these entities shouldn’t be the only ones that are supporting and promoting young Arab entrepreneurship. We all have a responsibility as a community to support Arab innovation by encouraging our home grown innovators. If it takes

a village to raise a child, then it takes a global village to raise an entrepreneur. What can we do as a community to support the young Arab entrepreneurs in our lives, who are trying to make it in the Dubai startup scene? Here are three things you can start doing today:

1. BE THE FIRST INVESTOR

Unfortunately, most young innovators in the Arab world suffer a great lack of moral support from their communities in general. Having grown up in this part of the world, I am very familiar with the region’s response to new ideas. When it comes to unconventional business ideas or models, most young Arab entrepreneurs are faced with three possible reactions: either one of great suspicion or one of great skepticism, or sometimes even a combination of both. Understandably, 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 ‘unconventional’ career paths. What these families don’t realize is that ‘conventional’ 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. While it may be difficult for many Arab families to accept such a career path in the beginning, it is our responsibility as a community to stand by the young pioneers of Arab innovation. 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 ‘UNCONVENTIONAL’ CAREER PATHS. WHAT THESE FAMILIES DON’T REALIZE IS THAT ‘CONVENTIONAL’ 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.

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THE BIGGEST THING THAT YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS LACK WHEN THEY START OUT IS CONTACTS. LUCKILY, DUBAI IS NOTORIOUS FOR CONTINUOUSLY 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.

2. HELP COVER THE LITTLE EXPENSES

Anyone who lives in Dubai knows how expensive it can be, especially if you are a young entrepreneur. While it’s not possible for everyone to invest the kind of money needed to maintain a startup, almost anyone can help a young entrepreneur pay the daily expenses that they inevitably incur. Here’s an example: networking is essential when it comes to pitching or getting your ideas out there. However, even the free networking events in Dubai aren’t really free, because entrepreneurs still need to drive there, which means that constantly have to spend money on filling their gas tanks, topping up on SALIK or recharging their RTA parking app. Alternatively, they might have to take a taxi or refill a NOL card- either way, moving around in Dubai can be quite expensive. So, the next time you’re taking your aspiring entrepreneur out to lunch, show them your support for their startup by offering to help them pay their travel expenses. WE ALL HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY AS A COMMUNITY TO SUPPORT ARAB INNOVATION BY ENCOURAGING OUR HOME GROWN INNOVATORS. IF IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD, THEN IT TAKES A GLOBAL VILLAGE TO RAISE AN ENTREPRENEUR. WHAT CAN WE DO AS A COMMUNITY TO SUPPORT THE YOUNG ARAB ENTREPRENEURS IN OUR LIVES, WHO ARE TRYING TO MAKE IT IN THE DUBAI STARTUP SCENE?

Another huge expense for young Arab entrepreneurs who commute to Dubai for work and work-related events is lodging. Unfortunately, most networking events in the UAE are held in Dubai and they are hosted at night, which means that entrepreneurs who don’t live in Dubai have to deal with endless rush-hour traffic and drowsy drives home. So, the next time an entrepreneurial friend has a conference or a meeting in Dubai, offer them your couch to crash. It doesn’t cost you anything and it will help your friend grow their startup and protect their savings. Ultimately, by helping young Arab entrepreneurs pay their daily expenses, we can help them alleviate some of their financial responsibilities, so they can spend more time and money investing in their startup. 3. BE A MENTOR WHENEVER YOU CAN

The biggest thing that young entrepreneurs lack when they start out is contacts. Luckily, Dubai is notorious for continuously 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. So, the next time a young entrepreneur you know expresses interest in attending a networking event in Dubai, offer to go with them so you

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 business card to a new contact. When you’re mentoring your young entrepreneur, make sure to share your best practices when it comes to conducting research on events and their attendees. By sharing your strategies, entrepreneurs can start to develop their own networking strategies, which will ultimately give them more confidence. That being said, you don’t have to take a young entrepreneur to a networking event to help them network. Introducing your aspiring young entrepreneurs to a relevant contact over a meal or a cup of coffee is yet another simple way that you can help them make valuable contacts. At the end of the day, it’s not about the quantity of contacts; it’s about the quality of contacts. By helping our young Arab entrepreneurs develop proper networking skills, we can ultimately help them expand their business networks to include people who can help them take their startup to the next level.

Soukaina Rachidi works as Melltoo Marketplace’s Media Relations Coordinator, where she is responsible for forging new partnerships with like-minded entrepreneurs in the Dubai startup scene and promoting Melltoo’s core values of trust, sustainability and privacy to the larger UAE community. With a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Delaware, Rachidi is passionate about global issues and frequently writes about trending cultural issues and entrepreneurship.

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

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hings often change unexpectedly- and in this particular startup’s case, it changed for the better. “Yebab started back in

2008 as a localized wedding directory due to the market need at that time,” says its co-founder Mareyah Mohammad. So now that Yebab isn’t a platform that caters

to brides-to-be, what is it? “Yebab is about instant photo messaging, real-time photo messaging,” says Mareyah. “All its features are focused on improving the way people communicate using pictures.” On Yebab, rather than the conversation happening in one stream, each picture posted contains conversations under them. Using myself as an example, if I post a picture about the magnificent Justin Bieber and talk about it with a friend, and my friend later posts a picture about legendary film High School Musical, each picture will have separate conversation “streams.” However, the potential Yebab has goes well being a casual social media platform. Users with “public” settings can follow up on their pictures’ action: views, discussion, shares, and more. Sounds like something a few startups can get behind- more on that later. Commenting on Yebab’s development process, Mareyah says that back when Yebab was being developed as an online

THEY RECEIVED FUNDING FROM WEB/MOBILE INVESTORS N2V THAT SAME YEAR, AND THAT PROBABLY MADE THINGS EASIER FOR THEM AS THEY DECIDED TO EVOLVE YEBAB INTO A MOBILE APP, SOMETHING THAT MAREYAH BELIEVES HAS A “GLOBAL APPROACH TO COVER ALL TYPES OF CATEGORIES AND GENDER AS WELL.”

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DESPITE YEBAB BEING AN INSTANT MESSAGING AND EVEN A SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM IN ITSELF, MAREYAH MOHAMMAD GIVES CREDIT TO SOCIAL MEDIA IN ITS MARKETING SCHEME, CLAIMING THAT SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS CREATE MORE “BUZZ” AROUND COVERAGE COMING FROM “TRADITIONAL MEDIA.”

wedding directory in 2010, she relied on AED2700 (approximately US$735) that she saved up and used to develop the website on her own, alongside co-founder Murshed Mohammadwhich means this is another bootstrapping success story. That said, they received funding from web/mobile investors N2V that same year, and that probably made things easier for them as they decided to evolve Yebab into a mobile app, something that Mareyah believes has a “global approach to cover all types of categories and gender as well.” Costs naturally went up later on: “When we shifted to be an established company and started hiring talents, costs naturally increased to reflect market rates.” While Yebab the online website directory was a huge hit, with the co-founder claiming that it became the go-to place for brides in the


Co-founders of Yebab Murshed Mohammad and Mareyah Mohammad

region, how has Yebab, as a more versatile mobile app, been received? “Currently the user base is mostly from the GCC, and we are having marketing and PR plans in place to move out to be a global app.” Their current marketing strategy seems to be working well, with Mareyah explaining that the focus has been on promoting Yebab as an instant messaging tool and is shifting away from its wedding-centric identity of the past. However, she says that THE CO-FOUNDERS ARE ALSO WORKING ON “EXPANDING TO USERS IN OTHER MARKETS OUTSIDE THE REGION,” AS WELL AS SOME NEW FEATURES THAT THEY CLAIM WILL “HUGELY IMPROVE THE COMMUNICATION EXPERIENCE AND TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL.”

users interested in Yebab’s old services can still “use and benefit from the app.” After all, despite such a radical shift in focus, it’s always a plus to not compromise your former target audience or users. Despite Yebab being an instant messaging and even a social media platform in itself, Mareyah Mohammad gives credit to social media in its marketing scheme, claiming that social media platforms create more “buzz” around coverage coming from “traditional media.” Her personal favorite social media platform? Yebab, of course. Speaking of Yebab as a social media platform, Mareyah also sees the potential of the app as an m-commerce platform.

She’s noticed how businesses use “photos to drive decision making,” and mentioned that the Yebab website “still covers companies’ profiles to make it easy for people to find them.” We could see some interesting developments on that end in the future. So what are Yebab’s future

plans? In short, it’s going to be all “about user growth.” The co-founders are also working on “expanding to users in other markets outside the region,” as well as some new features that they claim will “hugely improve the communication 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.

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SEEING DOLLAR SIGNS

My startup got funded in Dubai… and it was much harder than you’d think By Sharene Lee

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aising funds is something almost every startup has to contend with at some time. Even a successful and profitable startup needs to raise funds to grow faster than what their revenue would allow. The current climate of high valuations and large rounds has pundits screaming: “Bubble!” However, the bubble is in Silicon Valley; (un)fortunately there’s no bubble in Dubai. If you’re part of the startup ecosystem in here, you’ll soon realize that fundraising is the bane of our existence. It’s one of the three questions that gets asked

each time you meet up with another startup founder: 1. “How are you?” 2. “How’s business?” 3. “How’s funding going?” Suffice it to say getting funding in the region is challenging (grossly understated). Our startup, Melltoo, just closed our seed round. We have several awesome investors including TURN8, i360, WOMENA, Dubai Silicon Oasis, and a handful of angels. It took us almost eight months to close our seed round, and here are some hard lessons we learned along the way.

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 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 them from investing in you. Very often, 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 10 times, continually tweaking it until we got it right. We also identified the common objections investors had and worked those into our pitch. By now, there really isn’t a question an investor can ask us that we don’t have the answer to. Startup competitions may also be helpful in helping you finetune your pitch. I say “may” because there are many competitions that provide no feedback to participants so you don’t actually learn from those experiences.

YOUR STARTUP IS WORTH WHATEVER INVESTORS ARE WILLING TO PAY. WHATEVER FORMULA YOU USE TO JUSTIFY YOUR VALUATION IS IRRELEVANT IF INVESTORS 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 tinkering 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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Melltoo co-founders Morad Irsane and Sharene Lee

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. BUILDING A PRODUCT IS CHEAP AND IS ONLY THE FIRST STEP IN A LONG JOURNEY TO STARTUP SUCCESS. SO MANY TECH PRODUCTS ARE LAUNCHED DAILY THAT NOBODY HAS EVER HEARD OF. YOU NEED TO SELL INVESTORS MORE THAN A LIVE PRODUCT.

pitch investors, make sure you know what your strengths and weaknesses are. Focus on your strengths and be ready to explain how you will address your weaknesses. Don’t waste time on peripheral things that are neither strengths nor weaknesses; you’ll just bore your audience and leave insufficient time to talk about what really matters.

That’s how you build trust and credibility with investors. We started building relationships before we even launched. This helped us because we had street credibility. People knew us from day one and saw our startup grow and evolve. Because building a peer-to-peer marketplace is extremely difficult, people doubted us at first but became believers as they saw how quickly we executed and grew. Not only that, they got to know us as people and as entrepreneurs and that goodwill pays off. Every so often we hear: “I didn’t think you would last three months when we first met. But what you guys have accomplished is amazing and I told so-and-so exactly the same thing.” In a small ecosystem like Dubai, word gets around quick, so be sure it’s a good word.

Your startup is worth whatever investors are willing to pay. Whatever formula you use to justify your valuation is irrelevant if investors are not willing to pay this. Go in with a ballpark figure in mind but stay flexible and reactive to market forces. We began with a certain valuation that we derived from looking at similar startups at similar stages globally. We struggled to raise money at this valuation and quickly realized that being stubborn would lead us to the wall. We went back and forth with various investors carefully until we agreed on a figure that they jumped on. Lowering our valuation brought on investors that even increased traction wouldn’t have brought. Once we loosened up on valuation, it was smooth sailing. We received more interest than we were willing to entertain.

C. KNOW WHAT YOU’RE SELLING. THE TEAM? TRACTION? REVENUE?

Above and right: Melltoo app

Why should he trust you with his money, especially at an early stage where it isn’t clear whether your startup will make it? You have to earn an investor’s trust and that means building a relationship over time. That also means being a professional from the beginning till the end; answer your emails in a timely manner, and learn to take negative feedback graciously. Most importantly, earning an investor’s trust means growing your business from the first day you meet till the day you receive a check.

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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. Building a product is cheap and is only the first step in a long journey to startup success. So many tech products are launched daily that nobody has ever heard of. You need to sell investors more than a live product. What is it that you’re selling? Our investors invested in us for two reasons: traction and team. We have yet to start monetizing, so revenue is non-existent. However, we know our strength lies with our strong traction and a team that executes quickly and effectively. These are the things we can prove and therefore what we emphasized. When you

D. VALUATION IS WHAT THE MARKET OF INVESTORS IS WILLING TO PAY.


E. GET THE FIRST ONE DONE AND THE REST ARE IN THE BAG.

Human beings feel safety in numbers, and investors are no different. A startup that already has an investor on board is much more attractive than a similar startup that doesn’t. Call it the herd mentality if you like, but once you get your first term sheet, other investors are soon to follow. So focus on closing your first deal. Do your homework on your first real investors, give them everything they ask for, don’t hold anything back. If they show some doubt about something, make sure you clarify it until it’s crystal clear. One of our early investors raised a doubt about our monetization strategy. We explained in some detail over a voice conversation and via email. However, in order to drive the point home, we prepared a 15-slide deck explaining our strategy in detail, including other channels we discounted, details on procedures, partners, market research done, and cost structure. While that took a long time, this investor committed soon after he received this and we were able to use this subsequently with other investors.

Your first investor is your most important 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 being the smallest cheque. F. THERE ARE TIME-WASTERS OUT THERE, SO CUT THEM LOOSE IMMEDIATELY AND DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME IN PURSUIT.

Don’t be fooled; there are a lot of selfproclaimed investors in Dubai who are simply time-wasters. Startups deserve respect just as investors do. Do not be afraid to ask potential investors what they have invested in previously (and preferably in the last six months), and don’t be surprised by those who have no answer, they are many. While there are legitimate first-time investors, they don’t usually call themselves angel investors or VCs. Those who do but haven’t invested in anything in the last year are wasting your time, so cut them loose, and just as an aside, owning shares in Facebook or Apple doesn’t count.

HUMAN BEINGS FEEL SAFETY IN NUMBERS, AND INVESTORS ARE NO DIFFERENT. A STARTUP THAT ALREADY HAS AN INVESTOR ON BOARD IS MUCH MORE ATTRACTIVE THAN A SIMILAR STARTUP THAT DOESN’T. CALL IT THE HERD MENTALITY IF YOU LIKE, BUT ONCE YOU GET YOUR FIRST TERM SHEET, OTHER INVESTORS ARE SOON TO FOLLOW. SO FOCUS ON CLOSING YOUR FIRST DEAL.

We wasted too much time on socalled angels and VCs who we quickly discovered don’t invest in startups in Dubai. They led us on and asked for meetings and info only to disappear when we asked for a commitment. However, don’t let these people get you down. Just recognize them and move on to the real investors that are the lifeblood of our startup ecosystem.

JUNE 2015 ENTREPRENEUR

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

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

Five tips on becoming a successful social entrepreneur

W

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 OF ACTIVITY OF THE BUSINESS

Your business model has the potential to have a positive impact on your employees, supply chain and end consumers, as well as serving a societal need. The model needs to be designed with multiple, mutually reinforcing impacts in mind from the outset. That will make it more successful and allow you to turn a profit.

“SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT IDEAS ARE VERY VALUABLE, BUT THE IDEAS ONLY GET THEIR VALUE WHEN THEY ARE DONE. SO WE ALWAYS TELL ENTREPRENEURS THAT IF YOU HAVE AN IDEA, YOU HAVE TO [TAKE] IT TO THE MARKET.” 90

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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 talks about the importance of getting your idea from being conceptual and out into the marketplace, “Some people think that ideas are very valuable, but the ideas only get their value when they are done. So we always tell entrepreneurs that if you have an idea, you have to [take] it to the market.”

2. SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS

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. 3. PARTNER WITH BIG BUSINESS

Not only will established enterprises have potentially helpful connections for you and your business– they can include you in their supply chains and you may in turn inspire them to adopt social entrepreneurial practices within their own company as well.

SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR SAHAR WAHBEH ADVANCES TO THE VENTURE GLOBAL FINALS “I believe through design, we have the power to shape our world for the better.” That was Dumyé founder Sahar Wahbeh’s pitch at the Gulf finals of The Venture, a global competition seeking the most promising social entrepreneurs around the world for a chance to win a share of a US$1 million fund. Vote for Sahar Wahbeh and her social enterprise to win at the global finals of the Venture: www.theventure.com/gb/en/finalists/dumye


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