Could Tamakkan unearth UAE's next Steve Jobs?
Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are just three examples of entrepreneurs who have gone on to change our world.
While we’ve yet to see an era-defining idea such as Apple, Microsoft or Facebook from this part of the world, efforts are being made in Abu Dhabi to help the country’s ambitious entrepreneurs hit the big time.
Tamakkan is a knowledge-sharing platform set up to encourage and help thinkers and innovators in business development. The name translates as ‘empower yourself’ in Arabic, and tonight’s seminar at Al Mamoura Auditorium in Abu Dhabi kicks off a new season of lectures and talks aimed at helping UAE nationals and expats get ahead with new ideas.
Founder Sana Bagersh showed a bit of entrepreneurial savvy herself when she came up with the idea in 2009, and she believes the monthly events will be of great value to a certain type of person.
Sana, who is also CEO of advertising agency BrandMoxie, explains: “I think an entrepreneur is a restless soul, somebody with energy and spirit who might wake up in the middle of the night and think ‘wow!’ with an idea. That energy is unquenchable.
“We do see a lot of people who have that streak that is quite recognisable. These people have something within them that is quite unusual. Some might come with ridiculous ideas but sometimes they do work and other times they lead elsewhere.”
While we might dream of stumbling upon the one big idea that will change our lives forever, Sana insists entrepreneurs are not just in it for the money. She says: “It is all about doing something that satisfies your own spirit. You feel a sense of calling almost, and I see that with entrepreneurs - they’re always onto the next thing and they never give up. It’s not always about the money.”
One of the four guest speakers in an all-Emirati line-up tonight is Amal Al Agroobi, a Sharjah-born entrepreneur and founder of the ‘I Love UAE’ website, a ‘virtual ambassador for all things UAE.
Fluent in six languages, she also holds a BSc in Biomedical sciences and MSc in Neurosciences.
On top of that, she’s an actress and a filmmaker.
As someone who simply decided to go against the grain, she’s hoping that her own story might prove the catalyst for change.
Amal says: “Through change and effort you evolve as a person - I was working in the medical field and I quit my job and started from scratch because I felt miserable at work and just didn’t want to do it.
“Even with all the family pressures and societal pressures, I felt I had to change. And I really wanted to go out and do what I love - and take people with me too, make sure they get the opportunities so they don’t have to sit there and be miserable doing a job they don’t want to do.”
Sana is confident many others will have the same spirit and creative thinking as Amal. And she believes many new ideas and start-ups simply need a little bit of guidance. Sana says: “We see a lot of people - young and old - who have the vision and passion but maybe they lack the fundamentals and we’re trying to give that stuff you need as a default - your idea is wonderful but you need good common sense or planning.
“Maybe you need help in sales, marketing or distribution. We try to offer encouragement and support while also teaching the fundamentals of business, little things to guide them with.”
BRIGHT IDEAS - WHAT’S ON THE AGENDA AT TAMAKKAN
Amal Al Agroobi, the founder of the I Love UAE website, shares the vision behind an organisation aimed at nurturing new enterprises in a talk titled ‘How I Love UAE Boosts Emirati SMEs’.
Abdullatif Al Sayegh, CEO of Al Sayegh Media shares the challenges and inspirations behind the empire he built from the ground up, and also dishes out some practical advice on how to succeed in ‘How I Set Up A Media Company In Three Months.’
Fareed Esmail, co-founder of X Architects, offers tips to small companies looking to mix it with the big boys in ‘How To Manage Small And Compete Big.’
Talib Al Hashemi, co-founder of the first and only Emirati recruitment company, gives tips on running healthy and sustainable enterprises in the talk ‘The Vitamin Cs That All Leaders Need’.