PODCAST

empowerME Conversations

empowermeconversations

Featured conversations with business and government leaders shaping the Middle East. empowerME Conversations is a project of the Atlantic Council’s empowerME initiative.
Season 2 Episode 6 - The Evolution of the Food and Beverage Sector in MENA with Tamer Mosalam
PepsiCo Vice President and General Manager for GCC and the Levant Tamer Mosalam joins Atlantic Council empowerME Conversations host Amjad Ahmad for a conversation about innovation and emerging opportunities for the food and beverage sector, the increase in women’s employment in Saudi Arabia, and ways governments and corporates can support entrepreneurs.  Key Takeaways: 0:00 Intro 1:58 Tamer talks about the change in consumers over the last 24 months, and how they've now been defined as consumers at home 4:05 Tamer talks about the the younger population in the Middle East and how they are the key to shaping the future 6:04 Tamer talks about the effect Covid has had on innovation and supply chain of manufacturing materials for companies 8:36 Tamer details the importance of startups in the region and how growing the economy is reliant on their success 10:38 Tamer explains how PepsiCo is working with these startups and the programs they have created to help them launch and grow 13:35 Tamer talks about his excitement in the growth of e-commerce and digitization for entrepreneurs 16:16 Tamer talks about women empowerment and participation in Saudi Arabia 19:48 Tamer talks about consumers in the Middle East and how they are driving investors and companies into the region 25:30 Tamer explains the importance of the coming five years for healthier innovation 27:50 Tamer talks about how direct to home will transform supply chain in various industries and regions 32:14 Tamer details their recent investments in US plant based companies 33:35 Tamer talks about recycling and how it is a key factor for companies in the future Resources Mentioned: PepsiCo - PepsiCo, Inc. is an American multinational food, snack, and beverage corporation headquartered in Harrison, New York, in the hamlet of Purchase. PepsiCo's business encompasses all aspects of the food and beverage market. It oversees the manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of its products.   Quotes Mentioned: "The first advice I would give that you have to read a lot. You have to educate yourself about the area where you're building your idea about. You're learning the different trends across the region and the world is very important and critical for ideas to shape up. And the minute those great ideas are shaped up, the appeal of funding is more comes their way as well." "That also will make you think whether you replace your own delivery trucks with the delivery companies or that you will have more friendly and more environmentally friendly trucks going around the city or the consumer will go and pick their products from a distribution hub that will work with technology as well. I think the sky's the limit when it comes to that."   Guests Social Media Links:  LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tamer-mosalam-6a996348/?originalSubdomain=sa Twitter: https://twitter.com/tmosalam?lang=en
Nov 2 2021
37 mins
Season 2 Episode 5 - Building Growth: The Future of MENA‘s Construction Sector with Samer Khoury
Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) Chairman Samer Khoury joins Atlantic Council empowerME Conversations host Amjad Ahmad for a conversation about the future of the construction industry, how companies can partner with and support startups, policies needed to boost the region’s economic growth, and ways to improve the talent pipeline and bring more women into the workforce. Key Takeaways: 0:00 Intro 1:36 Samer gives an overview of the region as it comes out of Covid and the push for megaconstruction across the Mena region 3:19 Samer talks about civil infrastructure and big commercial cities on rise like Neom, and how they are pushing towards greener energy 7:13 Samer explains how Covid slowed the process of project completion due to materials having slower transport times and being stuck outside of the countries 10:58 Samer talks about the countries currently with the highest FDI and how they are opening up to be more attractive to investors 12:50 Samer talks about how companies are creating STEM programs through universities to help college graduates enter the field of work with the knowledge needed to succeed 16:48 Samer talks about how Covid changed the work from home model and how online meetings can truly save on time and travel expenses and be beneficial to many companies 19:03 Samer breaks down the number and percentages of women in the workforce and how they are trying to grow with more women in the industry 21:52 Samer talks about the use of small companies and their partnerships so they can help develop their products in a beneficial way for both parties 27:27 Amjed raises a question on geopolitical risk and temperatures in certain regions being a risk factor for investments 30:17 Samer gives his three general trends that have him excited for the future 35:46 Samer gives his predictions and updates on where he see's his company CCC moving in the next decade Resources Mentioned: https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/  CCC: the largest construction company in the Middle East and ranks among the top 25 international contractors with a revenue of US$5.3 billion in 2013 and 7.4 billion by 2017. FIFA World Cup: an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the sport's global governing body. ExxonMobil: an American multinational oil and gas corporation headquartered in Irving, Texas. It is the largest direct descendant of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil, and was formed on November 30, 1999, by the merger of Exxon and Mobil. Chevron: an American multinational energy corporation. It is the second largest oil company in America. One of the successor companies of Standard Oil, it is headquartered in San Ramon, California, and active in more than 180 countries.   Quotes Mentioned: "Women are more meticulous, they're more hardworking, and they care a lot about their continuity because they have a family to care for. So I think this is a trend in the Middle East that we have lagged behind. And I can see it accelerating in the next few years somewhere." "This is where you help your small, innovative ideas. You are their pilot projects and you can then scale them up. When they go out and they say we tried this on this project with CCC and now it's very good and we have all the data, all the history. They can get other clients and they can get more capital and then they can grow faster." "There's a lack of cash, lack of funds. So basically, when you are on a limited budget, rather spend it on your own people rather than spent it somewhere else." Guests Social Media Links:  Website: https://www.ccc.net/ Info: https://www.mei.edu/profile/samer-khoury LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samerkhoury/?originalSubdomain=gr
Oct 26 2021
38 mins
Season 2 Episode 4 - Rejuvenating Retail with Alain Bejjani
Majid Al-Futtaim CEO Alain Bejjani joins Atlantic Council empowerME Conversations host Amjad Ahmad for a conversation about the future of retail in the Middle East, consumer desires for more modern and fulfilling experiences, and policies that will promote talent from the inside and economic growth. Key Takeaways: 0:00 Intro 1:13 Alain talks about the pandemic and what he is now seeing post pandemic given that he operates in different countries and its impact on business in the Middle East 5:20 Alain explains if the pandemic was the turning point of the economy especially in the Middle East region  12:19 Alain talks about the key areas that people need to focus on to keep the momentum of growth going and to even accelerate it especially in the Middle East  19:32 Alain talks about the importance of regional integrations and how he feels about where it’s headed to especially in the Middle East Region  21:10 Alain talks about the consumer trends that he is seeing in the Middle East region that have come up due to the pandemic  29:35 Alain also talks about retail, how the retail space is changing, how he sees retail going forward and if it’s dying  36:35 Alain shares his thoughts evolving around the digital entrepreneurship that's happening and how he sees that playing out 39:43 Alain talks about the lessons that he has learnt through the failures that he has encountered 41:44 Alain shares his advice to other entrepreneurs and also talks about the space that would invest in that would be good for business  Shows Mentioned: https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/  WHO: http://www.who.int/  FDI: https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/knowledge/economics/foreign-direct-investment-fdi/  Carrefour: https://www.carrefour.com/en  Mall of Oman: http://mallofoman.net/  Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/  Quotes Mentioned: “The pandemic was a wakeup call on many aspects and a wakeup call for everyone, with no exception.” “Different markets, different realities.” “The well-being and the happiness of your citizens and residents matter.” “You only know the value of what you have until you don't have it anymore.” “One shouldn't waste any crisis or shouldn't let any crisis go to waste.” “Retail is not going to die, retail will continue to be here, but it's going to be here in different ways.” Guests Social Media Links:  Website: https://www.majidalfuttaim.com/en  LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alainbejjani/  Twitter: https://twitter.com/alainbejjani  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alain.bejjani/
Oct 19 2021
44 mins
Season 2 Episode 3 - The Path to 25 Healthcare Breakthroughs with Patrick van der Loo
Pfizer Regional President for Africa and Middle East Patrick van der Loo joins Atlantic Council empowerME Conversations host Amjad Ahmad for a conversation about the COVID vaccine rollout in the region, prospects for machine learning and AI to revolutionize healthcare, policies that will promote innovation, and ways companies can nurture women leaders in the workplace. Key Takeaways: 0:00 Intro 1:30 Patrick talks about his observations of what is happening in Africa and Middle East regions after rolling out the vaccine and other initiatives and what they are focused on 5:33 Patrick talks about the significant areas specifically in the Middle East that they are present in in the 19 country portfolio  7:39 Patrick talks about how the pandemic has affected their strategy or way of operating in the region 11:11 Patrick talks about the current trends and the role that Pfizer is playing in the SME and entrepreneurship and what he would tell the entrepreneurs to focus more on 15:53 Patrick talks about some of the interesting models of distribution that he is seeing in the Middle East  17:48 Patrick talks about the establishment of a manufacturing hub for the vaccine and where he sees that playing out during the pandemic  22:48 Patrick also explains if there is a more important than the other in terms of regulations to drive change in the positive direction 23:59 Patrick talks about what he has found to be interesting managing Middle East and Africa region and he is from Asia  28:07 Patrick talks about what it is about Pfizer that made him the most attractive place for women in the Middle East to work for and why they actively encourage the exchange of talent 34:30 Patrick talks about policies that are instrumental in allowing for retention of women employees at Pfizer and what other leaders should do  37:55 Patrick talks about what he thinks the government needs to do to increase the talent base in the Middle East region and specifically in his sector  41:08 Patrick talks about what he is expecting to see in the near future with regards to new variants of the pandemic popping up and with the manufacturing of the vaccine  Shows Mentioned: COVAX: https://www.who.int/initiatives/act-accelerator/covax  Glaxo: https://www.gsk.com/en-gb/home/  B-Imtiyaz: https://twitter.com/ambalgindc/status/1389283107837186050?lang=en  African Union: https://au.int/  BBBEE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broad-Based_Black_Economic_Empowerment  DICO: https://www.dicogroup.com/  Quotes Mentioned: “Breakthroughs change patient lives.” “Many of our go-to-market initiatives now are not the traditional rep just visiting a doctor model, but it's really driven by the use of A.I.” “In every business, customers should come first.”  “We’re constantly searching for solutions that simplify that patient experience.” “It takes a little bit more time to get also to the right level of vaccination.” “You need a strong IP culture to help promote medical progress.” “Many employers don't really listen to what the colleagues have to say.” “Nobody had made or thought about a covid-19 vaccine until this pandemic.” Guests Social Media Links:  LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/patrick-van-der-loo-42048b2/?originalSubdomain=ae  Company Website: https://www.pfizer.com/  Twitter: https://twitter.com/PFJvanderLoo  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vanderloopatrick/
Oct 12 2021
47 mins
Season 2, Episode 2 - Democratizing Commerce with Ramez Shehadi
Key Takeaways: 0:00 Intro 1:23 Ramez talks about digitization of the Middle East economy, what it means and what he is seeing on the ground  3:40 MENA internet penetration higher than global average (https://www.statista.com/statistics/265171/comparison-of-global-and-middle-eastern-internet-penetration-rate/) 5:22 Ramez shares some of the reasons why he feels that businesses are still struggling to join the digital world  7:55 100,000 UAE Golden Visas for coders: Who can apply and how (https://www.khaleejtimes.com/news/100000-uae-golden-visas-for-coders-who-can-apply-and-how) 8:53 Ramez talks about what he does with his role at Facebook to get more of the SMEs online and be digital  9:30 New unicorns spike 491% to 136 in Q2, says report (https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/business/story/New_unicorns_spike_491_to_136_in_Q2_says_report-SNG_226689313/) 11:10 Facebook launches #LoveLocal initiative in MENA (https://www.sme10x.com/10x-industry/facebook-launches-lovelocal-initiative-in-mena) 14:22 Ramez talks about how the pandemic has been kind of a wake up call for the SMEs to go big and digitalize  17:09 Huda Beauty (https://hudabeauty.com/us/en_US/home) 17:44 Will conversational commerce be the next big thing in online shopping? (https://www.economist.com/business/2021/07/10/will-conversational-commerce-be-the-next-big-thing-in-online-shopping) 18:04 Ramez talks about e-commerce and c-commerce and how they are evolving in the Middle East region and what plans Facebook has towards that  22:42 Dubai 'ghost kitchen' Kitopi is adjusting to life in a pandemic (https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/ghost-kitchens-kitopi-spc-intl/index.html) 27:06 Ramez talks about the transformation of Facebook in terms of the revenue structure and how it changes as the environment changes  29:15 Ramez talks about advertisements in the Middle East and if it has fully digitalized in terms of even putting the advertiser's money online  32:18 Ramez also talks about scalability and how brands are being able to scale globally thanks to platforms like Facebook especially in the Middle East  36:16 Ramez talks about what people should be focusing on in the ecosystem for them to be successful especially in the Middle East  39:15 Ramez talks about entrepreneurship and why we need to widen its definition so as to even accommodate the small businesses and what can be done to help the SMEs  42:36 Ramez talks about how Facebook balances its business goals and the social issues especially in the Middle East region  Shows Mentioned: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/  WhatsApp: https://www.whatsapp.com/?lang=en  Messenger: https://www.messenger.com/  MENA Region: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MENA  Huda Beauty: https://hudabeauty.com/us/en_US/home  WeChat: https://www.wechat.com/  Quotes Mentioned: “If we want to evolve the general wellness and well-being of communities in our part of the world, we must significantly invest in enabling, equipping, and supporting micro, small and medium enterprises.” “The lifeblood of communities in our part of the world is the micro small and medium enterprises.” “Covid-19 forced us to rethink the power of digital connectivity out of existential need.” “Our journey is only 1% complete.” “The only thing standing in our way is ourselves.” “The pessimist may be right, but the optimist will be rich.” “Failure is the path to success.” “We have to invest in our small and medium businesses.” “70% of job growth in the US comes from SMEs.” “Half the battle is just getting out of everybody's way.” “Throwing money at the problem is not the issue.” “Be committed to learning, improving, evolving.” Guests Social Media Links:  LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ramez-shehadi-0b395512/?originalSubdomain=ae  Website: https://www.facebook.com/business/m/sharedbyfacebook/viewpoints/ramez-shehadi
Oct 5 2021
45 mins
Season 2, Episode 1 – Transforming Logistics with Jean-Francois Condamine
UPS President for Indian subcontinent, Middle East, and Africa Jean-Francois Condamine on the e-commerce boom in the Middle East, promoting sustainability in the logistics industry, and empowering small and medium enterprises to become regional and global exporters. Key Takeaways: 0:00 Intro 1:10 Jean-Francois talks a little bit about the current state of the logistics industry in the Middle East 2:00 Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince launches National Transport and Logistics Strategy (https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/06/30/Saudi-Arabia-s-Crown-Prince-launches-National-Transport-and-Logistics-Strategy) 5:05 E-commerce in the region set to be worth $48bn by 2022 (https://www.thenationalnews.com/business/technology/e-commerce-in-the-region-set-to-be-worth-48bn-by-2022-1.745643) 6:16 2020 UPS Corporate Sustainability Report (https://about.ups.com/us/en/social-impact/environment/climate/2020-ups-corporate-sustainability-report.html) 8:55 Jean-Francois explains if the new Saudi strategy is trying to compliment or  compete with UAE in terms of positioning in the logistics industry  12:08 Jean-Francois talks about the trends in terms of the e-commerce companies looking to enter the Saudi market, the challenges they face, and if the market is expanding  14:01 Jean-Francois talks about digitalization and how it enables the ease of doing business and facilitation 15:25 Jean-Francois talks about the similar characteristics that the best-emerging markets have other markets could learn from for them to also be good 17:36 Jean-Francois talks about how different economies pivoted and sort of transformed themselves during the pandemic  18:00 Dubai restructures business chambers to lead 'economic transformation' (https://www.arabianbusiness.com/politics-economics/465250-dubai-restructure-business-chambers-to-lead-economic-transformation) 19:44 Jean-Francois talks about the role that UPS is playing and the programs that it has embarked on in helping the SMEs expand in the market  20:28 The impact of SMEs on the UAE's economy (https://u.ae/en/information-and-services/business/crowdfunding/the-impact-of-smes-on-the-uae-economy) 21:24 UPS Women Exporters Program (https://www.ups.com/us/en/services/small-business/women-exporters-program.page) 25:14 Jean-Francois talks about why the SMEs need to be exporting their products outside of their own geography 26:18 UPS Smart Logistics Challenge - AstroLabs (https://astrolabs.com/ups-smart-logistics-challenge#:~:text=UPS%20partnered%20with%20AstroLabs%20in%20advance%20of%20Expo,solutions%20with%20UPS%20in%20an%20emerging%20markets%20context.) 26:45 Jean-Francois talks about why they decided to partner with logistics startups rather than compete with them  29:30 Jean-Francois talks about what they are focusing on in the logistics technologies that they need to pay attention to that could be exciting in the next decade  30:53 Jean-Francois explains if we should expect to see an all-electric lead in the region and why it is important  31:54 Jean-Francois talks about the short term changes that he would like to see in the region pertaining to increase in GDP and economic activities  Shows Mentioned: Atlantic Council: https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/  G-Market: http://global.gmarket.co.kr/Home/Main  Expo 2020: https://www.expo2020dubai.com/  SMBs or SMEs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_and_medium-sized_enterprises  AstroLabs: http://astrolabs.com/  Quotes Mentioned: “You cannot be unsustainable.” “The biggest mall in Dubai is open during the night.” “There is always room to grow.” “What the pandemic brought very clearly is a change in consumption.” “Be humble because if you are not humble, you miss a step.” “Delivering a package will still remain A to B and doing it right the first time.” “Put people at parity with compliance.” “Compliance is the key.” Guests Social Media Links:  Website: https://www.ups.com/us/en/Home.page?  LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jean-francois-condamine-b634318/?originalSubdomain=ae
Sep 28 2021
33 mins
Must See (Saudi) TV with Alaa Fadan
Saudi Arabia-based Telfaz11 has long been regarded as one of the leading players on the MENA region’s digital media scene. 2020 has been a year in which Telfaz11 (whose creative content had garnered it more than 2.3 billion views and 24.8 million subscribers) has had to pull the shutters down on some of its productions owing to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis- but it’s also been a year where it inked a multi-picture deal with Netflix. We're joined by CEO Alaa Fadan who talks the rise of the business, and where it could head in the future. Key Takeaways: 0:00 Intro 1:01 Alaa talks about the journey and the opportunity that he saw in creating Telfaz especially in an era when entrepreneurship was not fashionable  9:06 Alaa talks about how they reduced cost of running their business and how they distributed it to the people and became huge in Saudi Arabia in terms of content  11:14 Alaa talks about how their content resonated with creating an outlet for Saudi creatives and a Saudi voice as they grew  14:21 Alaa also talks about how the globalization of their content will look like after signing the deal with Netflix and being given that global exposure with their shows  17:41 Alaa talks of the movie industry in Saudi especially opening of the movie theatres in time when others countries are retreating from it going virtual and if the industry will survive 20:40 Alaa shares some of the ecosystem changes that he has seen in the industry in the last 10 years that he has been in this business  22:35 Alaa also talks about if the talent pipeline has become more robust in Saudi now that there's a professional outlet for creativity 23:03 Alaa talks about what needs to happen for the talent pipeline to improve especially in Saudi Arabia  25:08 Alaa also talks about what needs to be done in Saudi to motivate the big companies and the government to start working with the local talents  26:26 Alaa explains from an educational side how they are investing in it to create a sort of vertical and creative arts 27:26 Alaa talks about the engagement of women in arts and creatives and if the participation of women in this industry in Saudi is increasing  30:10 Alaa talks about the funding side and some of the challenges that he faced in getting the capital and especially the venture capital  32:13 Alaa explains if there will be more Saudis starting companies today in the entertainment industry and viewing it as a career 34:47 Alaa talks about the importance having the role models in an industry that are doing well and how it encourages young entrepreneurs  36:29 Alaa also talks about the big observations that he is noticing about the culture change in Saudi in the past few years 39:14 Alaa talks about how digitalization has accelerated due to the pandemic and how the pandemic has impacted Telfaz  40:59 Alaa also talks about if there are more international players approaching him and Telfaz for more Saudi specific content  43:06 Alaa talks about where he sees Telfaz in the next five years given all of this acceleration of the industry in Saudi  44:34 Alaa talks about their audience and if he sees it expanding locally and even globally in the near future  Shows Mentioned: Netflix, Inc. is an American over-the-top content platform and production company headquartered in Los Gatos, California. Netflix was founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in Scotts Valley, California. STV is a Scottish free-to-air television channel owned by STV Group plc and is a part of the ITV network. It operates the two Channel 3 licenses in northern and central Scotland, formerly known as Grampian Television and Scottish Television. https://www.venturesouq.com/  Clubhouse is an invitation-only audio-chat iPhone app launched in April 2020 by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth of Alpha Exploration Co. In May 2020, the social networking app was valued at nearly $100 million. On January 21, 2021, the valuation reached $1 billion. Amazon.com, Inc. is an American multinational technology company based in Seattle, Washington, which focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence. Home Box Office is an American premium television network owned by WarnerMedia Studios & Networks and the flagship property of parent subsidiary Home Box Office, Inc. The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney, is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios complex in Burbank, California. www.AtlanticCouncil.org  Quotes Mentioned: “When you focus on your strengths, you're going to excel in it and you're going to be on par with all the excellent people in the world.” “If you're working in something that you don't really love, the best you can be is mediocre.” “Comedy travels much further on social media.” “We’re all different.” “For the longest time, Saudi has been a black box in terms of stories from the people.” “A lot of the governments actually would not support arts degrees outside in many cases.” “Today at Telfaz maybe 50% of our leadership is female.” “The more success stories we have like Telfaz, the more you'll see entrepreneurs sprouting up and coming up and trying to do things.” “For firms to sustain, they can't just stay in the states anymore.” “Saudi hasn't been really known for making content that travels.” Guests Social Media Links: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alaa-fadan-7998808/  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alaafaden/?hl=en  Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlaaFaden  Website: https://telfaz11.com/
Mar 2 2021
46 mins
Transforming Homz with Mahmoud Ibrahim
Key Takeaways: 0:00 Intro 0:59 Mahmoud shares a little background of what made him choose the path of founding startups  3:18 Mahmoud talks about the challenges that he and the company faced especially with regards to the market  5:29 Mahmoud also shares some of the lessons he learned in Pakistan and how that market developed in terms of e-commerce in those early stages  7:59 Mahmoud shares his thoughts on why he thinks Alibaba were attracted to the Daraz as a marketplace  11:11 Mahmoud talks about success in startups and if he has seen a ripple effect of success stories in the case of Daraz  12:52 Mahmoud talks about what made him start Homzmart, the three factors to starting a new business, why he chose that particular industry and why in Egypt  18:45 Mahmoud talks about the difference between when he operated Jumia versus now Homzmart specifically with regard to government 20:42 Mahmoud talks about digitization and the common thing that he has noticed in the e-commerce markets that creates a business opportunity  23:17 Mahmoud explains how the positive government regulations of making it easier to do business has made young people want to be entrepreneurs   25:00 Mahmoud talks about what he perceives now as his biggest challenge to scaling his business across the region  26:51 Mahmoud explains how talent has played part in the success of his business  30:07 Mahmoud talks about the experience he has had with Homzmart when it comes to women and women inclusion in the business  32:42 Mahmoud shares his point of view as a CEO on women moving up the ladder within Homzmart and taking on leadership positions 36:05 Mahmoud talks about the one thing that policymakers could focus on that would really move the needle in terms of having more companies started 39:32 Mahmoud explains how he finds the financing environment to be and at the various stages of startups in Egypt 42:35 Mahmoud talks about how easy it would be to start a business especially for the youths especially in Egypt  45:36 Mahmoud talks about the next big area that he would tell a young entrepreneur with a million dollar seed funding to focus on  48:36 Mahmoud shares the vision of Homzmart in the next 12 months  Shows Mentioned: Jumia is an online marketplace for electronics, and fashion among others targeting several African countries. Alibaba Group Holding Limited, also known as Alibaba Group and as Alibaba.com, is a Chinese multinational technology company specializing in e-commerce, retail, Internet, and technology. Amazon.com, Inc. is an American multinational technology company based in Seattle, Washington, which focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence. Cisco Systems, Inc. is an American multinational technology conglomerate headquartered in San Jose, California, in the center of Silicon Valley. Cisco develops, manufactures and sells networking hardware, software, telecommunications equipment and other high-technology services and products. Daraz is an online marketplace and logistics company which operates in markets of South Asia and Southeast Asia. It was founded in 2012 as an online fashion e-commerce marketplace in Pakistan by Muneeb Maayr & Farees Shah at the based venture builder, Rocket Internet. Tesla, Inc. is an American electric vehicle and clean energy company based in Palo Alto, California. Tesla's current products include electric cars, battery energy storage from home to grid scale, solar panels and solar roof tiles, as well as other related products and services. Quotes Mentioned: “There are two kinds of people alive, which are, people embracing change and people creating the change.” “After the currency dilution in 2017 in Egypt, they had to allow a lot of like fundamental changes in the way the economy operates and one of the core industries that Egypt is good at is furniture.” “Change is coming and we have to adapt to it and cope with it.” “Just learn before getting up your startup, is not that easy.” “When there's a good supply and a good demand, then the company is growing faster than its people.” “For guys to get on the ground more, you need to take it from scratch.” “Business owners need to understand you would never find the 100% fit for the business except the 60, 70% and work on the other.” “It just takes the courage to think out of box.” “An idea itself is not just enough to kick off a business.” “Anything can be successful.” Guests Social Media Links: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mahmoud-ibrahim-889ab553/?originalSubdomain=eg  Website: https://homzmart.com/
Feb 9 2021
48 mins
From Fashion to Fintech with Hosam Arab
Key Takeaways: 0:00 Intro 0:41 Hosam shares a little background of what made him to become an entrepreneur he is now 2:29 Hosam talks about the history of his company and why he decided to venture into fashion industry 4:23 Hosam talks about e-commerce and what led them to take their fashion business online and how convenient it is to both the businessman and the customers  6:37 Hosam talks about how it was becoming an entrepreneur and starting a business in times when entrepreneurship was not so common  8:06 Hosam also talks about their growth process and the positive and the negative things that he and the company encountered  11:07 Hosam shares his experience with e-commerce and the challenges that he faced while scaling specifically with e-commerce  13:00 Hosam talks about cross-border scaling challenge that they faced as a business and how they dealt with it 15:16 Hosam shares an advice to entrepreneurs who are planning to be in the e-commerce, what to do and what not to do 16:50 Hosam also shares his thoughts on vertical e-commerce and horizontal e-commerce and which is more convenient especially in these times  19:02 Hosam talks about Omni-channel retail and shares his thoughts around it if it’s important  20:49 Hosam talks about what prompted him to move from the fashion world to FinTech and how that has been for him 24:25 Hosam explains different reasons as to why FinTech is doing well in some regions than others 25:26 Hosam also explains why FinTech is growing quicker nowadays as opposed to earlier days  27:27 Hosam compares his early stage back then in his first company and early stage now in his new venture Tabby  28:50 Hosam talks about the challenges that he and the company are facing today as a startup and if they are different from ones from initial company 30:36 Hosam talks about the advice he would give to someone in power with the ability to change entrepreneurship if he was given the chance  31:23 Hosam also shares advice to the young that are planning on starting their entrepreneurial journey   32:44 Hosam talks about the impacts that the pandemic has caused especially in the e-commerce 34:40 Hosam shares the vision of Tabby in the near future  Shows Mentioned: https://tabby.ai/  https://en-global.namshi.com/  Zappos.com is an American online shoe and clothing retailer based in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. Amazon.com, Inc. is an American multinational technology company based in Seattle, Washington, which focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence.  BeautyCart is a dynamic and rejoice online seller. Omni-channel retail is a multichannel approach to sales that focus on providing seamless customer experience whether the client is shopping online from a mobile device, a laptop or in a brick-and-mortar store. Emaar Properties is an Emirati multinational real estate Development Company located in the United Arab Emirates.  FinTech is a portmanteau of the terms “finance” and “technology” and refers to any business that uses technology to enhance or automate financial services and processes.  Quotes Mentioned: “Fashion was one of those that everyone globally was sort of questioning whether it could work online.” “Offering customer convenient option needs to come at the same time as a great experience overall.” “Unless you're very clearly differentiated don't get in to e-commerce.” “Don’t get in e-commerce if your expectations are becoming number one and dominating the market.” “When you invest too quickly in inventory, you end up making way too many mistakes that end up killing the business.” “You can't do entrepreneurship as a side hustle.” “Unless you're able to invest time and effort into a startup, it's definitely not a hobby.” Guests Social Media Links: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hosam/?originalSubdomain=ae  Twitter: https://twitter.com/hosamarab?lang=en
Feb 2 2021
37 mins
Double Vision with Anass Boumediene and Mehdi Oudghiri
Eyewa was founded in 2017, with a purposeful intent to offer an advanced and easy-to-use platform to purchase high-quality eyewear at affordable prices, creating a unique, efficient, and memorable shopping experience to all. Ever since, we became the largest and most trusted online eyewear store in the Middle East to provide the finest brands of prescription glasses, sunglasses, blue light glasses, color contact lenses, and corrective contact lenses. Key Takeaways: 0:00 Intro 1:02 Anass talks about why they decided to leave their jobs and be entrepreneurs  2:05 Mehdi shares a little background on their first venture in food delivery as entrepreneurs and how their journey in the tech world started 6:14 Anass also explains what he thought was unique in Saudi Arabia in 2015 that caused the significant growth of the Foodpanda  7:55 Anass talks about the demand that was there in Saudi but the supply was less which gave them the opportunity  8:38 Anass also talks about how profitable the business of food delivery is in the Saudi Arabia as compared to other regions  11:33 Anass shares a little background of the Eyewa company and how it all started and why they decided to be in the eyewear space 12:46 Anass also shares the reasons that made them decide to be an e-commerce company and focus on the online sales  14:11 Anass also talks about the ecosystem they were operating in while growing Eyewa in raising the capital  15:30 Anass also talks about how they made sure that they had the right talents in their team and the right culture in their business 18:40 Mehdi talks about what he feels has been the most significant challenges in the ecosystem of building a company 20:18 Anass talks about what it would take to cultivate local talent in their region rather than having exported talent  21:56 Anass shares what he thinks needs to be done to encourage and push more people to entrepreneurship  23:33 Anass also shares his thoughts on why there is less unicorns in their region in the business world  24:56 Mehdi explains how having significant access to scale funding, would it make your journey a lot easier to scale especially in overcoming laws and regulations  27:33 Anass and Mehdi share the impacts that Covid has made in their business and how it has impacted the macro of e-commerce 31:16 Anass talks about the future of retail and how they are going to be different from other retailers  35:39 Mehdi talks about the ways they are creating innovation in their company, how they’re using virtual reality Try-on, how they're using A.I., how they're using machine learning 39:09 Anass and Mehdi explain why they were able and successful in hiring so many women in Saudi Arabia and why women and not men 42:34 Anass talks about if we're going to see more women moving up to the C Suite and to boards as the entrepreneurial landscape continues to increase 45:23 Mehdi and Anass talk about the next big investment trends where people should put their money specifically in the region Shows Mentioned: Bain & Company: is a top management consulting firm. Rocket Internet: incubates and invests in internet and technology companies globally.  Foodpanda is a mobile food delivery marketplace owned by Berlin-based company Delivery Hero SE and operates in about 50 countries.  HungerStation delivers your favorite food and grocery nearest to you in Saudi Arabia. Otlob is the number one online food delivery in Egypt.  24h.ae is active in the UAE and provides a convenient way to order food in seven cities - Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah. Quotes Mentioned: “In Saudi, we have a very young population, very high Smartphone penetration and 100% of the Internet penetration.” “The penetration of food delivery via apps in Saudi is much higher than it is in the US or in Europe.” “To push people to entrepreneurship, we have to be more comfortable with failures and that things can go wrong and that's fine.” “The pandemic completely shifted customer behavior towards actually being a lot more comfortable paying online.” “About 80% of customers are paying online today.” “Startups tend to be more flexible.” “Retail banking in general is still something that's outdated in the region.” Guests Social Media Links: Anass Boumediene:  LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/boumediene/  Website: https://eyewa.com/us-en/  Mehdi Oudghiri:  LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mehdioudghiri/  Website: https://eyewa.com/us-en/
Jan 26 2021
48 mins
It's a Mumz World with Mona Ataya
Mona Ataya, CEO and founder of Mumzworld.com, has proven to be one of the Middle East’s most prominent of women entrepreneurs. Beyond leading a successful and growing SME, and inspiring her employees and communities, Mona is on a mission to change the region, one mum at a time. A transformational leader and a change agent in every sense of the word, Mona has managed to grow Mumzworld from a business plan on paper to an enviable brand reaching more than 2 million mothers across the region in 7 years. Founded in 2011, Mumzworld has pioneered a revolutionary and gold standard e-commerce shopping experience for all things mother, baby and child in the ME region. Today, Mumzworld prides itself with being the leading, trusted and definitive source with over 200,000 products, an engaged community, exclusive product offerings and delivery to over 20 different countries in the fastest, most convenient and cost-effective way, at everyday low prices. Key Takeaways: 0:00 Intro 0:41 Mona shares her journey of entrepreneurship and what really made her become an entrepreneur 3:23 Mona talks about three things that are necessary when starting a new business, that is, the people you are starting the business with, capital and your risk appetite 5:02 Mona talks about how entrepreneurship has changed or developed from back then when entrepreneurship was not fashionable till today  8:18 Mona also talks about capital, talent, laws and regulations and corruption and how she would rank them in today’s environment 8:44 Mona shares the reasons why she ranked laws and regulations as number one specifically in her sector 9:49 Mona talks about why she would rank capital as number two also in her sector and why the scale capital in the e-commerce sector is lacking  12:43 Mona also talks about what impacts the scalability of her business more in terms of challenges and the two most important drivers for growth 13:53 Mona speaks of what she has done at Mumzworld proactively to increase the participation of women in the economy  17:32 Mona gives advice to the private sector on what they need to do to increase the participation of women in the economy 19:15 Mona talks about how COVID has accelerated flexibility to work from anywhere and anytime and how it has also impacted the e-commerce sector 22:29 Mona shares the vision of e-commerce sector now that it has been impacted by the pandemic  25:24 Mona talks about how and why vertical players are working and also not being crushed by the horizontal players such as Amazon 28:38 Mona shares what to focus on technologically in e-commerce as a vertical player due to the innovations happening in e-commerce  30:22 Mona shares two things that has been the trepidation of the foreign investors investing in e-commerce especially in the Middle East region  33:23 Mona talks about the gap or what’s missing for people to be able to create real innovation  35:55 Mona also talks about the ripple effect of Bayt and of Mumzworld especially to the Middle East region 38:55 Mona explains the biased and non biased way where she would invest in, in the Middle East if she had $10 million and why  Shows Mentioned: FMCG: Fast-moving consumer goods, also known as consumer packaged goods, are products that are sold quickly and at a relatively low cost. P&G: The Procter & Gamble Company is an American multinational consumer goods corporation headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, founded in 1837 by William Procter and James Gamble. Johnson & Johnson: is an American multinational corporation founded in 1886 that develops medical devices, pharmaceutical, and consumer packaged goods. Bayt: is the Middle East's #1 job site in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region) today.  Amazon: is an American multinational technology company based in Seattle, Washington, which focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence.  Souq: is an English-Arabic language e-commerce platform, owned by Amazon, Inc. It is the largest e-commerce platform in the Arab world.  Quotes Mentioned: “Businesses don’t grow without capital.” “Entrepreneurship today has become almost the flavor of the decade.” “Success breeds success or success breeds ecosystem courage.” “Businesses are built to create intrinsic value that gives a company the ability to scale and be sustainable and stand the test of time.” “Mumzworld is not only in a transactional website, we really are a community.” “Demand is always the easiest part of building e-commerce.” “Avoid dependency on any one single supplier ever.” “M-Commerce is the future.” “The brands that are succeeding are the brands that have unfair advantages across the entire supply chain.” “You need the capital, and you need the talent to create vicious success stories.” Guests Social Media Links: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/mumzworld-com  Website: https://www.mumzworld.com/
Jan 19 2021
42 mins
Translating Business with Tarjama Founder and CEO Nour Al Hassan
In Season 1, Episode 1, Tarjama Founder and CEO Nour Al Hassan discusses what drove her to become an entrepreneur, her company’s prescient flexible work model that has promoted women’s economic inclusion as well as resilience, and her policy wish list to help more endeavors like hers succeed in the Middle East.   Key Takeaways: 0:00 Intro 0:49 Nour shares her entrepreneurial journey, how she started her business and importance of working from home 2:49 Nour talks about how it was like to start a business in Jordan and how the ecosystem was back then 3:54 Nour shares the reasons that made her move from Jordan to UAE  5:56 Nour also talks about the importance of education and making people aware that working from home doesn't mean the quality of the work is bad 7:43 Nour talks about why women participation rate in the economy is low despite them having a very high literacy and educational rate such as flexibility 10:36 Nour also talks about flexibility and the impact that COVID has made on flexibility and how nowadays people can work from anywhere  11:35 Nour explains why culture or husband not wanting his wife to work are not the only issues that causes low participation of women in the economy 12:42 Nour also shares her sense of the entrepreneurial ecosystem today and how she sees it differently 13:37 Nour shares her thoughts on where she thinks still a lot more needs to be done in concern with the ecosystem and how they hinder scalability of a business 15:31 Nour talks about government regulations, how some of them hinder businesses from scaling up and what could be done 16:35 Nour shares her thoughts on if the UAE is headed in the right direction in terms of ownership and if it’s impacted her 18:28 Nour talks about the importance of technology in a business and why she is digitalizing her company 23:14 Nour talks about how the Ureed.com platform is unlocking more women to participate in the economy  24:14 Nour also talks about how Ureed.com has unlocked more clients globally for her company 25:00 Nour shares the vision of Tarjama and where their focus will be in the next few years to come 26:41 Nour shares her thoughts on what it’s going to take to be innovative and stop borrowing ideas from others in terms of AI, machine learning and all the new technology 28:59 Nour talks about the positive and the negative changes that she is seeing in Saudi in terms of business 31:53 Nour shares the role that Amman plays in terms of connecting talented humans with businesses for them to grow 33:38 Nour also talks about what her biggest challenge in the business is and what needs to be done  Shows Mentioned: Ureed.com will connect you with over 35K vetted freelance talents across all professional domains. You think big, you get big! https://www.tarjama.com/  https://twitter.com/acmideast?lang=en  www.atlanticcouncil.org Quotes Mentioned: “The power of network, when it comes to females is very strong.” “There was no ecosystem that actually looked after entrepreneurs the way the ecosystem is built now.” “Customer is always right and comes first.” “If women are given the opportunity, they'll be able to do anything.” “When the woman gains financial independence, she feels completely empowered, totally capable of actually having her own opinion and participating in the house.” “People want to see more scalable companies to attract investment and foreign direct investment.” “If they sell locally, they're good enough.” “In the long run, it's better to have more competition.” Guests Social Media Links: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nour-al-hassan-106778138/?originalSubdomain=ae  Twitter: https://twitter.com/nouralhassan?lang=en
Jan 12 2021
38 mins
Pilot Episode

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