Sie sind auf Seite 1von 4

[in-depth] FOCUS

32
HO DA R ES
W I N
Entrep

Sreneu r
sis is s
s
lo
a
w
n d
ly
in
to
e s se
the bus the hyper lo
s
ge
ca
shifting neurs in Dub reports
trepre
empha eral young en nce. Hisham W
ev
them, s ce and persis
compe
ten
te
ai
yne
n

h
d

a
e

v
r a

e
r

s
e

t
t h e

arted v
ca r
they en l. Despite the ble businesse
ia
d s
d
s
o
om
f t h
lifebloo etimes bein
e

s t h ro
o
gs
u
n o my

gh dint
where
new ec tacked agains
of
t

33
[in-depth] FOCUS

SOHRAB JAHANBANI
COO AND CO-FOUNDER, GONABIT
Jahanbani is one of those arcane people
typically identified as ‘serial entrepreneurs’
– people whose life is an endless iteration
of identified opportunities and niche ideas.
Jahanbani, a British citizen, has been in
Dubai for less than three years, but that
hasn’t hampered his enterprising ways.
Together with Canadian business partner
Dan Stuart, he has already set up GoNabit,
an e-commerce portal that leverages the
power of group purchases. Not surprising,
considering that Jahanbani has a track record
of spawning businesses where he goes.
Jahanbani recalls his first meeting with “Being focused, local and performance-based is
Stuart. “I had started pitching ideas on
group buying daily deals to a few people important for small businesses”
in Dubai, when I was told that someone
called Dan Stuart had also hit on the idea. according to the sales the portal generates GoNabit, Jahanbani says the success of the
Coincidentally, I ran into him at a dinner for them. For consumers, the value lies business stems from its local focus and
party that night and we got talking.” in exploring daily deals, hidden gems and its commitment to promoting each deal.
The result of their collaboration is a leveraging the power of group buys to Offering too many deals would dilute focus,
portal offering a marketing and sales tool achieve sizeable discounts. and hence efficacy.
for small firms and entrepreneurs. GoNabit was launched on May 26, The solution, he believes, is to go
The GoNabit model is simplicity 2010 in Dubai and June 26 in Abu Dhabi. hyper-local, for instance, setting up
itself. Small businesses are invited to Jahanbani says the portals have already discrete sites for deals in old and new
include GoNabit in their marketing mix closed over 90 deals, saving consumers Dubai. In addition, Jahanbani foresees
on a no-win, no fee principle. There is more than Dh700,000 in the process. expansion to other leading cities in the
no upfront risk, as GoNabit clients pay When asked what the future may hold for GCC region fairly soon.
MOHAMMAD ABEDIN “The only way to learn to “In Entrepreneurship class I noticed that
FOUNDER, THE FOO DOG Mohammad would stay in during the breaks
Mohammad Abedin combines student be an entrepreneur is to be and work on sketches of characters that were DANISH FARHAN a healthy turnover of over $11 million
an entrepreneur. Others

Text: Hisham Wyne, freelance writer; Image: Kishore Kumar, Silvia Baron, Grace Paras
life with a penchant for comic books and inspired by various cultures and themes. He CEO, XICHE per annum. With concerns including a
conceptual art. It was when Dubai Men’s has gone about starting his own business in Ask Danish Farhan why he chose to become technology house and an interior design
College flew him to Japan as a cultural can help and advise, but record time after graduating which reflects an entrepreneur and he shrugs wryly, company, the group does over $20 million
ambassador that he realised a latent love
affair with quirky Japanese toys and anime.
you only really learn your the clear thought process he had in mind,”
says Al Qassimi. “Mohammad will go on to
saying “I knew how to do little else.” The
autodidactic CEO of Xiche may have a
in business a year.
Farhan is determined to keep thinking
That initial impetus led to the creation business by going about be one of the most influential young artistic point. He did the rounds of the London big by thinking small. He makes clear that
of The Foo Dog, a company that supplies entrepreneurs in the UAE since he not only Film School, American University of Dubai Xiche is not a supplier for its clients but
eight-inch vinyl dolls to artists, painters and it. Tenacity, persistence pursued his dream but through a creative and American University of Sharjah before a representative that manages suppliers
customisers. The Japanese-inspired dolls and a sense of humour collaboration process with other artists gave realising academia was perhaps not his forte. on the clients’ behalf. He says, Xiche is a
are essentially a canvas in 3-D, offering a his peers an opportunity to create and so turn He worked with Emirates Airlines for three hybrid consultancy because it combines
form of self-expression not restricted to the are essential.” their own dreams into reality.” years, after which he took on a research and three basic tenets of business: the strategy
ubiquitous uniformity of traditional canvas. He is well on his way, with a larger forecasting role with IBM at 18. According that is the core of the business, the brand,
Abedin says the only way to learn the followed by an auction was an appropriate version of the MEGA in the works, and to him, Xiche was set up to “help businesses “A brand is the which is the strategy manifesting through
intricacies of entrepreneur activity is through launch, and set about recruiting artists. invitations to shows in London and New answer the very questions I had been asking tangible and intangible artefacts and
trials and travails. He designed his MEGA “I gave them the MEGA vinyl doll at no York to showcase customised toys. He them in my role as researcher.” manifestation of a business sprinkles of facilitating technology.
doll, and then commenced the search for a
manufacturer in China to produce in bulk
cost, and asked them to customise it. The
artists kept the auction proceeds. I decided
is helping the artist community, and
considers himself a member. But the MEGA
But Xiche was almost the victim of
its own success. It expanded rapidly,
strategy through tangible Fellow businessperson, ex-client and
former senior vice-president of Internet
according to his exacting specifications. on a hundred artists, including a baker, dolls, retailing at Virgin Megastores for and was acquired by once-client Future and intangible artefacts.” Pictures Corporation (iPix) Tim Brookes,
Umpteen video demonstrations and emails an illustrator and a photographer. It was a Dh149 a piece, will only generate sufficient Pipelines. Soon, Farhan found himself being says that Farhan, originally from India, has
later, Abedin received his first prototype. He showcase of diverse urban talent,” he says. revenue to cover sunk costs by 2011. marginalised and the company he founded organically. He has never had more than 20 been impeccable in maintaining a people-
also acquired a license, available to Emiratis Emirati columnist and commentator “The only way to learn to be an entrepreneur being taken in directions he did not like. people on the payroll since, and is anxious centric innovative streak.
from the Dubai Department of Economic Sultan Al Qassimi is Abedin’s mentor is to be an entrepreneur. Others can help and Eventually he decided to exit, keeping the not to lose the intimacy and flexibly his “It’s been interesting to say the least
Development (DED) for approximately and former teacher. He notes that Abedin advise, but you only really learn your business brand name he had legally registered. In small business offers. watching this young man and his firm
Dh1,600 a year, to run a business from home. always had a penchant for exploring by going about it. Tenacity, persistence and a 2004, Farhan decided to rebuild Xiche. He While Xiche may have the soul and spirit consistently stay ahead of the curve for
He decided an exhibition of customised dolls expression through illustration. sense of humour are essential,” says Abedin. had learnt his lesson and decided to grow of a small boutique consultancy, it boasts almost a decade now.”

34 35
[in-depth] FOCUS

SOHRAB JAHANBANI
COO AND CO-FOUNDER, GONABIT
Jahanbani is one of those arcane people
typically identified as ‘serial entrepreneurs’
– people whose life is an endless iteration
of identified opportunities and niche ideas.
Jahanbani, a British citizen, has been in
Dubai for less than three years, but that
hasn’t hampered his enterprising ways.
Together with Canadian business partner
Dan Stuart, he has already set up GoNabit,
an e-commerce portal that leverages the
power of group purchases. Not surprising,
considering that Jahanbani has a track record
of spawning businesses where he goes.
Jahanbani recalls his first meeting with “Being focused, local and performance-based is
Stuart. “I had started pitching ideas on
group buying daily deals to a few people important for small businesses”
in Dubai, when I was told that someone
called Dan Stuart had also hit on the idea. according to the sales the portal generates GoNabit, Jahanbani says the success of the
Coincidentally, I ran into him at a dinner for them. For consumers, the value lies business stems from its local focus and
party that night and we got talking.” in exploring daily deals, hidden gems and its commitment to promoting each deal.
The result of their collaboration is a leveraging the power of group buys to Offering too many deals would dilute focus,
portal offering a marketing and sales tool achieve sizeable discounts. and hence efficacy.
for small firms and entrepreneurs. GoNabit was launched on May 26, The solution, he believes, is to go
The GoNabit model is simplicity 2010 in Dubai and June 26 in Abu Dhabi. hyper-local, for instance, setting up
itself. Small businesses are invited to Jahanbani says the portals have already discrete sites for deals in old and new
include GoNabit in their marketing mix closed over 90 deals, saving consumers Dubai. In addition, Jahanbani foresees
on a no-win, no fee principle. There is more than Dh700,000 in the process. expansion to other leading cities in the
no upfront risk, as GoNabit clients pay When asked what the future may hold for GCC region fairly soon.
MOHAMMAD ABEDIN “The only way to learn to “In Entrepreneurship class I noticed that
FOUNDER, THE FOO DOG Mohammad would stay in during the breaks
Mohammad Abedin combines student be an entrepreneur is to be and work on sketches of characters that were DANISH FARHAN a healthy turnover of over $11 million
an entrepreneur. Others

Text: Hisham Wyne, freelance writer; Image: Kishore Kumar, Silvia Baron, Grace Paras
life with a penchant for comic books and inspired by various cultures and themes. He CEO, XICHE per annum. With concerns including a
conceptual art. It was when Dubai Men’s has gone about starting his own business in Ask Danish Farhan why he chose to become technology house and an interior design
College flew him to Japan as a cultural can help and advise, but record time after graduating which reflects an entrepreneur and he shrugs wryly, company, the group does over $20 million
ambassador that he realised a latent love
affair with quirky Japanese toys and anime.
you only really learn your the clear thought process he had in mind,”
says Al Qassimi. “Mohammad will go on to
saying “I knew how to do little else.” The
autodidactic CEO of Xiche may have a
in business a year.
Farhan is determined to keep thinking
That initial impetus led to the creation business by going about be one of the most influential young artistic point. He did the rounds of the London big by thinking small. He makes clear that
of The Foo Dog, a company that supplies entrepreneurs in the UAE since he not only Film School, American University of Dubai Xiche is not a supplier for its clients but
eight-inch vinyl dolls to artists, painters and it. Tenacity, persistence pursued his dream but through a creative and American University of Sharjah before a representative that manages suppliers
customisers. The Japanese-inspired dolls and a sense of humour collaboration process with other artists gave realising academia was perhaps not his forte. on the clients’ behalf. He says, Xiche is a
are essentially a canvas in 3-D, offering a his peers an opportunity to create and so turn He worked with Emirates Airlines for three hybrid consultancy because it combines
form of self-expression not restricted to the are essential.” their own dreams into reality.” years, after which he took on a research and three basic tenets of business: the strategy
ubiquitous uniformity of traditional canvas. He is well on his way, with a larger forecasting role with IBM at 18. According that is the core of the business, the brand,
Abedin says the only way to learn the followed by an auction was an appropriate version of the MEGA in the works, and to him, Xiche was set up to “help businesses “A brand is the which is the strategy manifesting through
intricacies of entrepreneur activity is through launch, and set about recruiting artists. invitations to shows in London and New answer the very questions I had been asking tangible and intangible artefacts and
trials and travails. He designed his MEGA “I gave them the MEGA vinyl doll at no York to showcase customised toys. He them in my role as researcher.” manifestation of a business sprinkles of facilitating technology.
doll, and then commenced the search for a
manufacturer in China to produce in bulk
cost, and asked them to customise it. The
artists kept the auction proceeds. I decided
is helping the artist community, and
considers himself a member. But the MEGA
But Xiche was almost the victim of
its own success. It expanded rapidly,
strategy through tangible Fellow businessperson, ex-client and
former senior vice-president of Internet
according to his exacting specifications. on a hundred artists, including a baker, dolls, retailing at Virgin Megastores for and was acquired by once-client Future and intangible artefacts.” Pictures Corporation (iPix) Tim Brookes,
Umpteen video demonstrations and emails an illustrator and a photographer. It was a Dh149 a piece, will only generate sufficient Pipelines. Soon, Farhan found himself being says that Farhan, originally from India, has
later, Abedin received his first prototype. He showcase of diverse urban talent,” he says. revenue to cover sunk costs by 2011. marginalised and the company he founded organically. He has never had more than 20 been impeccable in maintaining a people-
also acquired a license, available to Emiratis Emirati columnist and commentator “The only way to learn to be an entrepreneur being taken in directions he did not like. people on the payroll since, and is anxious centric innovative streak.
from the Dubai Department of Economic Sultan Al Qassimi is Abedin’s mentor is to be an entrepreneur. Others can help and Eventually he decided to exit, keeping the not to lose the intimacy and flexibly his “It’s been interesting to say the least
Development (DED) for approximately and former teacher. He notes that Abedin advise, but you only really learn your business brand name he had legally registered. In small business offers. watching this young man and his firm
Dh1,600 a year, to run a business from home. always had a penchant for exploring by going about it. Tenacity, persistence and a 2004, Farhan decided to rebuild Xiche. He While Xiche may have the soul and spirit consistently stay ahead of the curve for
He decided an exhibition of customised dolls expression through illustration. sense of humour are essential,” says Abedin. had learnt his lesson and decided to grow of a small boutique consultancy, it boasts almost a decade now.”

34 35
FOCUS [in-depth]

MOHAMMAD AL AWADI
CO-OWNER, WILD PEETA
“All foods undergo evolution, but this
didn’t seem the case with the shawarma,”
explains Mohammad Al Awadi. He says the
goal was to offer the shawarma its rightful
place in international cuisine, which led to
the idea of fusion restaurant Wild Peeta.
Mohammad and his brother Peyman
contacted malls to ask for space confident the
high footfall would translate into promising
sales. Al Awadi notes, with a hint of annoyed
disappointment, that they never received
a reply; at least not in the affirmative. He
professes to not comprehend this disdain for
new business ideas. Malls had empty spaces, “The shawarma should evolve and take its rightful place
he explains, and were not cash strapped. A
new culinary venture had very little in the in international cuisine”
way of risk, yet there was no interest in the
creation of something new and local. and the enterprising brothers invested over is a priority. It’s important to be ethical in
After trying for a decade, the brothers Dh600,000 of their own savings to get business.” Wild Peeta was up and running
revised their business plan. They decided their idea off the ground. again after four months.
to operate as a delivery business, and Their travails had not as yet concluded. With brisk business, Wild Peeta is now
moved into a restaurant space in Healthcare A few months after opening, Wild Peeta heading down the expansion trail. Two new
City, where rents were competitive and suffered massive flooding that caused havoc. outlets are planned in Dubai, with Abu Dhabi
the location central. Al Awadi notes The business was insured, but Al Awadi and other emirates next on the agenda. The
that the Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid recalls having to “dog the insurance company” brothers are looking for a franchise licensing
Establishment for Small and Medium Size for a payout. During this time, the Al Awadi scheme where operators can access expertise,
Enterprises was very supportive. They brothers continued paying staff salaries. recipes and proprietary information for a
offered to fund 30 per cent of the business Al Awadi insists, “Looking after the staff licence fee estimated at Dh300,000 a year.

ASHRAF GHORI duty to express oneself,” he says. He


FOUNDER, XPANSE is working on a new script, FOB city,
Ashraf Ghori started out as an artist and whose subject matter centres around
illustrator who drew and scripted comic books. expatriate kids growing up in a city very
In his current guise as entrepreneur, he has not similar to Dubai.
moved too far from his initial passion. While Ghori’s films stem from the love
Ghori has been mostly self-employed as of the sci-fi genre, he feels his projects are
a 3-D animator during his time in Dubai. commercially viable and will eventually
When his freelance ways could no longer do well. At the same time, Xpanse is also
keep pace with demand, he started Xpanse expanding by focusing on very high quality
in 2007. It’s a tight-knit community of four animation at affordable prices. Ghori feels
people, offering animation for websites, the new wave of advertisement is heavily
concept designs, walk-throughs and reliant on online animations that can
television commercials. Xpanse is doing “If technological prowess capture attention, and that Xpanse stands
sufficiently well to generate revenues that poised to deliver.
can be diverted to Ghori’s first passion:
and imagination is at hand, Farhan of Xiche agrees. “I’ve known
sci-fi superheroes. one has almost a duty to Ashraf for over a decade, and it wasn’t
“Xpanse’s success gave me the means to always for business. One doesn’t need to
actually put together plans for Dubai’s first express oneself” look further than him to see the key to
animated sci-fi film,” he explains. success is in the passion,” says Farhan.
The initial script, about a time travelling his temporally displaced historian. Ghori “Over the last ten years, besides
cyborg charged with recording important has been to the Cannes Film Festival to building one of the most creative animation
historical events, was a bit ambitious. showcase his short film, and is now looking outfits around, he has built immense
Hence, Ghori pared it down to an eight- for funds to extend the concept to feature goodwill among his peers and clients that
minute short film called Levity: Xero Error, length. “If technological prowess and is possibly unrivalled in this business,”
which is one of the events witnessed by imagination is at hand, one has almost a he adds

36