I’ve been planning to put up this interview for the last couple of weeks, but I’ve just too busy. Anyway, here’s an interview with the Qatar / Middle East edition of Entrepreneur Magazine. Hope you like it, and thanks to Fida Chaaban for getting in touch.
The co-author of 101 Great Ways To Improve Your Life Volume 2, Suhail Algosaibi also publishes the Transformation Times news- letter. The founder of Ghazi Algosaibi Holding BSC (c), and its two divisions, Safeen Books and Safeen Properties, Algosaibi is also co-founder and chairman of Falak Consulting WLL. A member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and Young Arab Leaders (YAL), Algosaibi holds two degrees in business and is a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer, and holds a third degree Black Belt in Zen- Do Kickboxing, presented to him by World Champion Master Rafael Nieto.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE REGION’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR ENTREPRENEURS?
There are very many challenges to being an entrepreneur, I’d say here in the region the biggest is bureaucracy. It take so long to get government approvals. It can often take weeks or months to get a commercial registration. In Western countries one can often get the company registered and running on the same day, we need this to happen here.
DESCRIBE AN ENTREPRENEUR IN THREE WORDS.
Audacious, creative, and determined.
WHAT IS YOUR SOURCE OF PERSONAL MOTIVATION?
Great question… I am highly self-motivated and have a burning desire to achieve something. It’s hard to describe; it’s like an inner fire that can’t be put out. I think all successful entrepreneurs are driven like that. The motivation is internal, they cannot fathom a world in which their product or service does not exist. I also am very passionate about helping people, and if I can do so profitably, I’m doubly happy.
There are way too many people I admire to list them all by region. I guess a common one for most young entrepreneurs is Richard Branson. He’s a rebel, and I like that. He started thinking of buying an island long before he could afford it. He wasn’t -and isn’t- afraid to think unconventionally, and to take risks.
WHERE DO YOU THINK THAT THE MENA REGION’S GENDER DISPARITY IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP STEMS FROM?
Admittedly, I haven’t read many reports on the gender disparity in the region. I guess it has to do with traditional views that women should have more conservative jobs or are even expected to stay home. Having said that, here in Bahrain there are a lot of young, ambitious female entrepreneurs that are making a name for themselves. The best way to address any societal issues in my opinion is through education. We need top-notch school education, coupled with educational programs from NGOs, government entities, and the private sector to help address any societal disparities.
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A PUBLIC SPEAKER?
It almost happened by accident some years ago, people started inviting me to speak at events, and I loved it! I enjoy educating and inspiring people. It gives me a rush! And it gives me a great joy to hear from someone that something I said or wrote has helped changed their life. The best way to reach an audience -any audience- is by relating and empathizing with the challenges they are facing. If you can empathize, then you can connect.
WHAT MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER WAS THE MOST DISCOURAGING?
I don’t think there are enough pages in this magazine to describe all the massively discouraging moments I had in my career. For entrepreneurs it’s one crisis to the next. It’s not really about the problem, it’s about the importance you decide to give it. For the sake of answering your question, back in 2005 66% of my workforce left me. We were only three, but the other two left at the same time. It was very difficult, but somehow I persevered. I also went to Hajj to get divine inspiration and hope- that made a big difference.
WHEN IN YOUR CAREER DID YOU FEEL THAT YOU’D FINALLY “MADE IT”?
I don’t think I’ve reached that point yet. I’m not sure any entrepreneur is ever satisfied, but what gave me satisfaction was being invited to speak at events and being recognized publicly for my entrepreneurial efforts. I particularly enjoy mentoring start up entrepreneurs.
WHICH MENA COUNTRY DO YOU THINK HAS THE MOST SUPPORTIVE STARTUP SPACE?
The MENA region is huge, so I couldn’t really say, but based on what I hear I’d say it’s Dubai.
HOW MUCH “RISK- TAKING” PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTIC IS INVOLVED IN BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Entrepreneurialism equals risk! Entrepreneurs are not only risk tolerant, they embrace risk! Anyone looking for stability and normality cannot be an entrepreneur- it would be too stressful. But the rewards are great too. There is nothing greater than the feeling of being in charge of your own destiny! ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼