Omar Al­ghanim par­tic­i­pates in dis­cus­sion dur­ing Tm­keen Youth Em­pow­er­ment Sym­po­sium

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL -

KUWAIT: Among the ac­tiv­i­ties in the Tm­keen Youth Em­pow­er­ment Sym­po­sium, held un­der the pa­tron­age of His High­ness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Omar Ku­tayba Al­ghanim, CEO of Al­ghanim In­dus­tries and Chair­man of Gulf Bank par­tic­i­pated in the first panel dis­cus­sion with Ian McNish, found­ing mem­ber of LinkedIn web­site.

Tm­keen, a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, launched its fourth con­fer­ence on Mon­day, Novem­ber 9, 2015 at the Ar­raya Ball­room. The Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion Sheikh Sal­man AlHo­moud Al-Sabah and the Am­bas­sador of the United States in Kuwait, Dou­glas Sil­li­man. As a na­tional youth ini­tia­tive, Tm­keen holds this an­nual con­fer­ence with the goal of spread­ing aware­ness, knowl­edge and in­spi­ra­tion to as­pir­ing en­trepreneurs in ad­di­tion to myr­iad other events through­out the year.

The ac­tiv­i­ties on the first day of the con­fer­ence started with a sem­i­nar pre­sented by Ian McNish, one of the found­ing mem­bers of LinkedIN, about the fu­ture of so­cial net­work­ing. This was fol­lowed by a panel dis­cus­sion which fea­tured Ian McNish and Omar Ku­tayba Al­ghanim, CEO of Al­ghanim In­dus­tries and Chair­man of Gulf Bank, spoke on the sub­ject: Re­defin­ing Suc­cess.

Re­defin­ing Suc­cess: Around this dis­cus­sion, Omar Ku­tayba Al­ghanim said: “In the re­gion, a chal­lenge we face is the stigma of fail­ure. When as­pir­ing en­trepreneurs are asked about the pri­mary rea­son they didn’t start a busi­ness, the an­swer we get is ‘fear of fail­ure’. That’s un­ac­cept­able. When asked the same ques­tion in de­vel­oped coun­tries, you hear ‘lack of cap­i­tal’ but in Kuwait and across the re­gion, the fear of fail­ure is so strong that it pre­vents peo­ple from even try­ing. Don’t let fear of fail­ure stop you. You will make mis­takes and at times you will fail. The lessons learned from mis­takes and fail­ures are in­valu­able.

In my com­pany, dur­ing the quar­terly re­view, I ask my se­nior man­agers ‘what mis­takes have you made?’ If the an­swer I get is that they didn’t make any mis­takes, I know some­thing is wrong. They didn’t take risks, they didn’t try to grow fast enough and they didn’t push the en­ve­lope. Tak­ing risks, but cal­cu­lated risks, is part of be­ing an en­tre­pre­neur. The two run hand-in-hand.”

On his part, McNish said, “It is very im­por­tant that we have a clear def­i­ni­tion of suc­cess and fail­ure. A lot of peo­ple think suc­cess is making for­tune and in­creas­ing the value of their busi­nesses, when in fact, the real suc­cess lies in im­por­tant achieve­ments that leave a mark on the world. As for fail­ure, it is well known that most of the star­tups fail but their own­ers com­monly suc­ceed af­ter­wards in ac­com­plish­ing an­other suc­cess­ful idea. So fail­ing an idea is not the end of the road”.

The Work­ing En­vi­ron­ment of Al­ghanim In­dus­tries

When asked about the work­ing en­vi­ron­ment in his op­er­at­ing com­pa­nies, Al­ghanim replied: “We, at Al­ghanim In­dus­tries, are a mer­i­toc­racy which means that we se­lect and re­ward peo­ple based on their ca­pa­bil­i­ties and con­tri­bu­tions; not by their back­ground or con­nec­tions. We cre­ated an en­vi­ron­ment where your suc­cess is de­ter­mined by the value you cre­ate. In a coun­try where the role of wasta or what I like to call, “wastacracy” is com­mon, I be­lieve this gives us a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage.

Merit goes be­yond peo­ple. It ex­tends to ideas. In Al­ghanim In­dus­tries, the best idea can come from the most ju­nior level em­ployee at the be­gin­ning of his ca­reer. We make sure that they are able to share those ideas through “straight talk­ing”. It’s one of our val­ues, and it al­lows peo­ple the abil­ity to say what­ever they want, with­out fear or hes­i­ta­tion. An idea can be great, re­gard­less of rank or ti­tle and this makes us more in­no­va­tive.”

Im­por­tance of Ed­u­ca­tion

On the sub­ject of ed­u­ca­tion Al­ghanim said: “Ed­u­ca­tion plays a key role in eco­nomic growth and set­ting the foun­da­tion for suc­cess­ful en­trepreneur­ship. Re­search from the In­ter­na­tional La­bor Or­ga­ni­za­tion (ILO) in­di­cates that en­trepreneurs are most suc­cess­ful when ex­posed to en­trepreneurism in pri­mary, sec­ondary and univer­sity lev­els. This is pre­cisely the rea­son I founded IN­JAZ.

On the same sub­ject of ed­u­ca­tion McNish said: “I can­not overem­pha­size enough the im­por­tance of ed­u­ca­tion as it is the frame that bor­ders pas­sion. With­out ed­u­ca­tion as a frame, your pas­sion may lose form. On a per­sonal level, I never com­pleted my stud­ies for the sake of work, but if I can go back in time I would not have taken the same de­ci­sion. And I hope the au­di­ence present will pursue higher ed­u­ca­tion.”

Ian McNish and Omar Ku­tayba Al­ghanim are seen dur­ing the panel dis­cus­sion.

Omar Ku­tayba Al­ghanim speak­ing

in the panel dis­cus­sion

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