Innovation needs perspective not isolation Break free from the entrepreneurship dream bubble

I was honoured to be invited to Bahrain this week to give a talk at an event organised by Bahrain Development Bank’s Rowad Programme, a comprehensive platform providing multiple layers of support to Bahrain’s entrepreneurs and start-ups. Rowad’s breadth and depth are far greater than anything else that I have seen in the region, and addresses multiple facets of the

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Entrepreneurs don’t need the state to do their work

Last week I was honoured to participate in the Ministry of Economy’s seventh Annual Investment Meeting, a conference focused on foreign direct investment in growing markets, as well as the associated AIM Startup, held in Dubai. A large part of the conference – the talks and panels, as well as private conversation – revolved around entrepreneurship and venture capital. There

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My Zawya Story, 2nd Edition

In 2012, Zawya, a UAE-based business media company, was sold to Thomson Reuters for a 20 times cash return by Saffar, a low-profile private equity company. I am the founding chief executive of Saffar and became chairman of Zawya after we acquired it, between 2001 and 2011. This is my story of how I bought a bankrupt, London-based company with

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Venture capital as a substitute for oil in driving economic growth

Venture capital is critical to the future success of not only the UAE but also the GCC. To understand this we first need to understand the historic formula for our success – oil leads to financial capital, which leads to real estate development, which creates social and business communities that attract people. Repeat. Even if oil prices had not collapsed,

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Preparing for your Start-up

Many people dream of starting their own business, but in nearly every single attempt that I have invested in, mentored and even directly experienced, the preparation has been woefully lacking. The trigger for starting a business should be the completion of a preparation phase. Unfortunately, the reality is that the trigger has no correlation to preparation. In its most basic

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Improving Your Work / Life Balance

It seems appropriate that my first article after my time off from writing should focus on the work/life balance. This topic has gained tremendous attention over the past few decades and is sold to the public as a crisis of work overwhelming personal life that is in need of urgent resolution, usually by buying a self-help book. Leaving aside the

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