Tag Archives vision 2030

The Art of Success

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In this, the last episode of the Bahraini Views series for this season, Nawal Al-Sabbagh takes the seat to talk about her experience in business and how, even after she has lost everything when a partnership failed, she picked up the pieces and started again to create another very well known and successful business.

How did she restart? She turned to her passion for art and launched an art exhibit containing her own paintings. Riding on the sales achieved through that exhibition, she relaunched her business career and started Nawal Flowers, now one of the most successful florists and chocolatier in Bahrain.

Nawal doesn’t come from a trading background. Her family – she says – are really more for being employees rather than employers. What made her tick then and what got her to win the top prize in the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum’s prize, competing against 120 veritable entries from all over the Middle East?

Watch the episode and come to your own conclusions!

I so look forward to the next season and hope that you’ve enjoyed and benefited from the 26 episodes and the initiative I created with the Economic Development Board who have been courageous enough to back such an endeavour.


Nawaf Saeed, another Bahraini electronic innovator

Nawaf Saeed, another Bahraini electronic innovator

I don’t know why it didn’t really cross my mind that we could have “inventors” in Bahrain. Maybe because we never really hear of them, but they do exist as Nawaf and before him Hessa and Yahya have proven, and I for one am glad to have witnessed these innovative Bahrainis first hand, and have had the opportunity to talk to them one-to-one, albeit for a short time. Still, it fills me with not only hope, but wonder and admiration that they have gone completely against the grain and threw away that shackles of tradition to pursue their dreams and make a success out of their passions.

Nawaf, young though he is, I think is destined to greatness. Just graduating from Bahrain University in IT, he has successfully transformed his study project into a very viable business through which he not only employs 7 full time staff, but also has some 24 other professionals available on his books for ad hoc work as freelancers. The common denominators between them is that they’re all Bahrainis and are all highly skilled in computer programming and various other interconnected tasks.

I’m also glad that there are some initiatives from the private and government sectors which nurtures such talent. Nawaf was one of the winners of Zain Dream initiative. He used the cash received to initiative his company. That cash was augmented by another win, this time from the Bahrain Development Bank which offers Seed Capital grants for new and innovative businesses.

Good luck Nawaf! I’m sure that he will serve as an excellent inspiration for others to pursue their passions.


The Conscience of Bahrain’s Environment

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How many of you haven’t heard, read or seen the work of Khawla Al-Muannadi?

Like thousands like me, us Bahrainis think that she epitomizes the conscienceless of the Bahraini environment. Through her work, columns and appearances she reminds us of the dying palm groves, the soiled sea, the suffocating mangroves and the urbanization that is threatening indigenous wildlife and their habitat. Her passion alone awakens in us that yearning for times gone by and pushes us to demand that the remaining environment be protected.

Khawla Al-Muhannadi’s journey started with an epiphany in 2000 and has since achieved a lot in the short 10 years to bring environmental awareness to the fore of the public’s consciousness and to even the policymakers’ agendas. She has written many articles, started a children’s school in which the environment is a central theme and campaigned for the environment in various situations in Bahrain.

Her ways and methods raising the awareness of the need to protect the environment has been adopted in many areas of he world. So much so that when they refer to it, they now proudly call Khawla’s method “The Bahraini Environmental Experiment”. This experiment is recognised and lauded in various venues around the world and she and the Environment Friend Society – the society she inaugurated – has been invited to various high level environmental conferences around the world to share their experiences.

The lady is full of passion for the environment, extremely charismatic and a true modern Bahraini leader who is full of zest and a clear love of this country.


Bahraini Views – Abbas Mahdi Hassan – Clear Vision

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Abbas is a fascinating person with a determined personality. He was one of the political prisoners in the 90s. He was released in ’96 with the only thing on his mind was to find a job and restart his life.

He realised that he missed out on education, so the alternatives left to him were bravery and hard work to make it on his own. He joined Mina Sulman as a labourer for 3 months, then left to Bahrain Pack where he worked for 8 months at BD90 a month. He left that company to join a carpentry firm from which he fell in love with that trade and within a year he was able to start his own carpentry shop with a friend.

The partnership disintegrated after a year so back he went to the marketplace to get a job where he was made redundant in 6 months due to the company losing its main supply contract. He elected to restart his foray into private business with his brother and brother-in-law this time in aluminium, which he says is very similar to carpentry. His partners left within a couple of years having made their money so he was left on his own to peruse his vision with determination.

He heard of the premier EDB program to help small and medium businesses which provided them with business consultancy through a friend and was lucky enough to be selected out of the first batch of 10. His company – Quality Aluminium – was the smallest of that batch.

Being on that program was the main turning point in his professional life. Since then, he increased his business to include 3 aluminium factories with approximately 40 staff and a turnover of over BD1 million annually.


Bahraini Views – Sayed Fadhel Shubbar – Forging Ahead

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Abandoned by their father at an early age and raised by their grandmother, Sayed Fadhel and his brother worked at the Central Market gutting fish and as porters (coolies) in the weekend to eke out a living.

After dropping out from school at the first year of high school to continue to earn a wage, Sayed Fadhel took on many jobs over the years, proudly working as a driver and furniture installer. He recognised an opportunity to break-out on his own with little money, he took that chance with one of his friends. A year later, the friend left leaving him with just one employee to take care of the business.

To expand the business, Sayed Fadhel applied to and received money from the Labour Fund to purchase his first 6-wheeled truck which he uses for deliveries. He further then applied for a development loan later from the BDB, this he used to purchase more furniture making machines.

He now runs a small but successful furniture manufacturing business with 8 employees, turning over approximately BD100,000 annually.


Bahraini Views – Abdulla Al Mabad – Raising the Bar

Not succumbing to frustration of having to wait for games to be brought to Bahrain and then made available at extortionist rates, Abdulla took matters into his own hands by researching the games market in Bahrain more thoroughly to take established businesses head-on. A challenge he was happy to take.

He successfully gained the representation of the largest games distributor in the region giving him the opportunity to release games on or before their international debut: even at 1 minute past midnight – resulting in queues of gamers waiting in the dark outside his shop to lay their hands on the latest release at the games suggested retail price or even lower, equating to less than half of what they were regularly sold at his competitor’s!

Abdulla talks here about the birth of Game District and his plans for it in the future.


Bahraini Views – Aisha Al-Alem – Living the Moment

Would you stick with a job that you discovered that you did not like? Would you leave the security of that job to the unknown to chase another dream? Would you stand against common wisdom to reach that dream?

That’s what Aisha decided to do; she threw caution to the wind and pursued a career which is not unfamiliar to Bahraini ladies. And now she’s living her moment being happy to have taken that brave decision.


Bahraini Views – Sayed Sharaf Hashim – Methodical Steps

I really enjoyed interviewing Sayed Sharaf, a soft spoken unassuming man who started his journey while working at a local elevator distributor as a fabricator since he left technical school. A couple of years later, at the behest of one of his work colleagues he started his business journey by establishing a small workshop near his home in Sitra.

At that workshop, he recognised a niche in the market – stainless steel fabrication and welding – he hired an experienced fabricator, actually started paying him more that he used to get as a salary at his own job, and, well the rest is history.

It’s worth noting that he started his workshop a mere 9 years ago with one employee. He now owns a group of companies employing 50 people catering for mechanical works, carpentry, interior design, building material supply and other related businesses.

I hope you enjoy watching his episode. Do let me know your feedback please, I would love to hear back from you.


Bahraini Views – Raoof Hujairi – Unearthing Opportunities

Not getting the responses he required, Abdulraoof Hujairi chose to do it his way. A serial entrepreneur by nature, he finally started a business providing civil works services which he found very rewarding, and more importantly founded this enterprise – Serendipity Civil Works – to be a catalyst for much bigger projects in his pipeline.

Listen to his story, his ups and downs, his philosophy and where he ultimately wants to do in this Bahraini Views interview.