- Tell us about your journey so far and what are some of the learnings and insights you’ve gathered? I’ve been lucky with several opportunities in my career to take on various roles that cut across multiple sectors, supporting leaders within small and large organizations enabling them to unlock their full potential and become better and more inspiring leaders. This lends itself nicely to my current role at Hub71 especially as our aim is to build a community of founders and exceptional talent. I’m passionate about the subject of talent development and helping emerging talent become influential thought leaders in their fields. I am particularly excited to be applying my gathered learnings and experiences to help startup founders become leaders and enable them to grow their capabilities, their teams and eventually their businesses from Abu Dhabi.At Hub71, we want to build a strong culture based on collaboration, resilience, and growth. And to achieve that we need to give our community the optimal environment to innovative, take risks and venture forward.What will ultimately define us as a tech hub is the culture that we build, the startups that we attract and the amazing teams that they build within.At the end of the day – we are here to help startups be successful. I look forward to connecting with each one of them, to hear their stories and to understand their businesses to help them grow and succeed.
- In your opinion, what are the fundamentals of a good leader?
To me, being a good leader starts with building strong relationships based on the foundations of trust, integrity, and hard work. The way you foster those relationships and manage key stakeholders is important, especially in the Arab world where relationships are key elements that increase your chances of success.Something that has been fundamental in my journey so far, has been the ability take risks and embrace the lessons learned. In my career, I’ve taken calculated risks moving into new sectors and navigating different roles. It might sound cliché, but it is being outside of your comfort zone that makes you grow.But, for a person to really thrive, one needs to be comfortable with what the ‘unknown’ brings and be confident in embracing new challenges (and opportunities), and to leverage the power of your team and the resources available.They say ‘the only constant in life is change’, so it is important to build resilience and to keep reinventing ourselves and our businesses. What matters is what you do, not what you know when faced with new situations.
- You have been with Hub71 for a month now, what is your impression so far?
Firstly, it is important to highlight that the Hub71 team have accomplished a lot in only 18 months since the launch. That is a testament of Abu Dhabi’s strong and committed government, the hard work, passion and drive of the team as well as the founder’s commitment to ensuring the community’s success.The energy within the Hub71 community is vibrant, collaborative, friendly and aspirational. We hope to foster that as we grow even further and continue to attract more startups from different sectors and from different parts of the world.
- What do you want Hub71 to accomplish in the next year?
I’m keen to look into supporting Emirati founders and youth – opening up the entrepreneurship world to them as a real and exciting career direction in Abu Dhabi.I’m also keen to focus on empowering and attracting female founders, to help tell their stories, bringing their ideas to life and to empower them to grow their companies all while keeping their priorities intact.Finally, through the right partnership models, and as we look to attract more corporates to engage with Hub71 startups, we are looking at ways to further cultivate a sustainable tech ecosystem that is truly global in nature. We are looking for ways to encourage more corporates to be part of our mission; helping them to overcome their challenges and operational issues through our agile and innovative pool of global startups.
- What is your advice for startups as they look at expanding their businesses globally?
I encourage startups to really prepare before pitching to investors. Ask yourselves, do you have a technology roadmap with a clear vision and clear attainable goals with appropriate time frames? Is your product fit for the market you’re approaching? If not, how can you develop it, so it provides a solution to a challenge specific to that market? Does your team comprise of the right talent to expand your company across borders, or will you need to hire in-market? These are important things to think about to make sure you make a solid case as to why an investor should invest in your business or why an ecosystem or accelerator program should accept you.I also encourage them to remain resilient, persistent, and agile in order to face challenges and setbacks that may come their way.