• Majed Al Suwaidi, Board Member at Young Arab Leaders, is the Managing Director of Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, and Dubai Production City as well as Head of in5 – members of TECOM Group.

    He provides strategic direction and ensures steady growth of the Media business communities, home to thousands of media companies, and tens of thousands of creative professionals. As the Managing Director of this integrated creative ecosystem which is home to many Fortune 500 companies from around the world, entrepreneurs and startups alike, Majed plays a key role in positioning Dubai as an international media hub.

    Prior to this role, Majed was Managing Director of Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource City. Under his leadership, the integrated ICT hub became a strategic partner of the Smart Dubai initiative that is driving Dubai’s transformation into one of the smartest cities in the world.

    In a previous role as Director of Business Development for Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource City, he was part of the team that launched in5, a dedicated platform for emerging talent that supports innovation and entrepreneurship across TECOM’s business parks.

    Majed has also served as Director Commercial Operations and Director of Sales at Dubai Internet City and prior to that gained invaluable experience with Dubai International Financial Centre and Emirates Airlines.

    Amongst his other responsibilities, Majed is a member of the Dubai Future Council for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Ecosystems and a Board Director of SmartCity Malta. He also leads in5, TECOM Group’s incubator and enabling platform for technology, media, and design startups.

    Enjoy the show!

    Show Notes:00:30 – Growing up in Dubai02:00 – Pursuing MBA while being out-stationed with Emirates (in Africa).03:00 – “Emirates is a school itself”05:45 – Dubai’s many cities and what they are?  Majed shares the history of His Highness’ grand vision to shift away from oil dependency.13:30 – On building government services on the basis of a customer experience program.15:00 – How they are supporting businesses within the leading creative zones of Dubai.19:30 – The role of In5 in Dubai’s startup ecosystem.24:30 – In5 flying talent from across the globe come to offer expert workshops to the community.29:00 – Majed’s role on the Dubai Future Council for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.32:00 – YAL as a platform has shown there are a variety of people to learn from and interact with and the benefits he sees.34:00 – On attending YAL events and the network “has provided me with an angle I didn’t see before”36:15 – The importance of keeping things interesting.38:15 – “There are a lot of opportunities lying ahead, keep your head up and work hard”41:30 – Majed’s dream initiative to create a creator’s ecosystem to enable and empower creators of all types.44:00 – “Opportunities might be hidden but they are there”

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  • Helen Al Uzaizi is an established businesswoman and an active community member. With over 17 years of experience spanning marketing, non-profit management, and entrepreneurship, Helen has been supporting major brands, non-profit organizations, and startups across the region as a mentor and Board member and advisor. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of PACES Charity working with Palestinian refugee children through sports, and an Advisor and Brand Ambassador for SEP, The Social Enterprise Project working on empowering Palestinian & Syrian refugee women.

    Helen is the CEO of BizWorld UAE, Egypt, and Jordan, social enterprises that teach kids entrepreneurship skills. She is also the Founder of Future Entrepreneurs, a platform that aims to empower youth entrepreneurs in MENA. Most recently, she also took on the role of Director of Entrepreneurs hip & Youth Start up, Innovation & Social Impact with GEMS Education. She was recently named one of the UAE’s 100 Smartest People and one of the 50 Most Influential Women in the Arab World. She was also a TedX Speaker on the topic of entrepreneurship education. She is also one of the founding Co-Leads of the Founder Institute, Dubai Chapter launching in summer 2020.

    Helen studied Law & Government at the University of Manchester, UK and completed her executive education at Columbia University. As a believer in life long learning, she is currently enrolled at the London School of Economics reading International Development. On a personal level, Helen is a mother of 2, runner, triathlete and adventurer who believes in making dreams come to life and that anything is possible.

    Enjoy the show!

    Posted on September 3rd, 2020

    Show Notes:01:15 – Helen’s background and upbringing.02:15 – Pushing the boundary since a very early age.03:00 – Her childhood and education background.04:00 – Helen’s continuing education through out her life.07:30 – How everything in her life occurred by random chance and luck.13:45 – Her first venture into entrepreneurship as CEO.14:45 – What is the Future Entrepreneurs Platform?19:00 – Entrepreneurship is a learning tool for children of all backgrounds.23:00 – “Education is primarily delivered by educators”, the work they are doing to train teachers.25:00 – Giving back is in grained in everything she does.32:15 – The power of social enterprise vs. charity34:00 – One of her best decisions was joining Young Arab Leaders and getting access to its network.37:30 – On the opportunities to meet power players from corporates to government officials as part of YAL40:00 – Opportunities that exist within experimentation.42:00 – Adapting her own business to the pandemic.44:45 – On having multiple role models and not a specific role model to look to.46:15 – How she sets her goals at the end of the year for the following year.51:00 – The importance of dreaming big54:15 – Her triathlon and baking dual hobby55:45 – Helen’s dream initiative for Emirates Airlines to pursue.

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  • Farah Al Qaissieh is a mother of three boys and social entrepreneur and motivational speaker; she holds a Bachelors of Finance from Zayed University.

    Farah launched Stutter UAE in 2013 to raise awareness and support people who stutter through various workshops and events.

    In 2016, Farah was featured in a book chapter titled “Game Changers: How Women in the Arab World Are Changing the Rules and Shaping the Future”.

    In 2017, a short film documentary ‘Just Another Accent’ premiered at the Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner and Malmo Arab Film Festival in Sweden; shedding light on Farah’s journey with Stutter UAE.

    In 2018, Farah was awarded the Abu Dhabi Award; the highest civilian medal and recognition granted by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi for her positive impact in the community.

    In 2020, Farah launched iStutter Center in partnership with SpeechCare Center in Portugal, an online speech therapy center focusing on treatments for stuttering.

    Also in 2020, Farah co-founded Guiding Stars, an online platform guiding mothers to a more mindful way of raising twins.

    Show Notes:

    01:45 – Farah’s Emirati background05:45 – What is Stutter UAE?07:15 – How she overcame her own stutter.10:15 – Stuttering more in our mother tongue and her struggles with Arabic.12:15 – iStutter Center launched in collaboration with Speech Care Center in Portugal.15:15 – Farah being awarded the Abu Dhabi Award.19:15 – Launching her next venture, Guiding Stars22:30 – Going through the Ma’an Social Incubator program.23:30 – Why Farah decided to join Young Arab Leaders.24:45 – Access to mentorship and providing guidance to the next generation.26:15 – The role of Young Arab Leaders in empowering women entrepreneurs29:45 – Farah’s role models; she’s even met and interacted with them33:00 – Farah’s routine of reading to her children before bed every night.34:45 – “What would you want to be remembered for?”36:15 – How testing out the theories in a book actually started to manifest for her37:45 – Her joy of writing and painting.39:45 – Focusing on the fact that happiness starts from within.41:45 – “Do not be afraid to take risks” and how the calculated risks she took, brought her to where she is today.

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  • Muna Easa Al Gurg is the Director of Retail of Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, a multidivisional conglomerate with 27 companies. The Group is active in several industry sectors that include retail, building and construction, industrial, real estate and joint ventures.

    Since 2008, Al Gurg has been Chairwoman of Young Arab Leaders UAE, where she promotes education, entrepreneurship and youth development.

    Al Gurg has been advocating a greater role for women in business. In 2015 she launched the Muna Al Gurg Scholarship at London Business School, supporting female students studying in the school’s MBA and Executive MBA programme.

    Al Gurg is on the board of several non-profit organisations, such as the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development where she works closely with its Chairman, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. At the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Charity Foundation, she is responsible for strategy and initiatives both in the UAE and internationally. She is a member of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sustainability Board, which is mandated to provide innovative and sustainable solutions to refugees in the MENA region. Finally, she is a founding board member of Endeavor UAE, a non-profit organisation promoting high-impact entrepreneurship in emerging and growth markets.

    Muna Al Gurg is an active investor; one of her most publicized successes was the $3.1 billion exit from the Middle East's largest technology startup Careem which was acquired by Uber in March 2019. Al Gurg was one of the only female investors and the sole Emirati.

    She started her career with Saatchi & Saatchi in Dubai, and consequently joined the family business in 2001. She holds an MBA from London Business School in the UK and is also a Fellow of the Middle East Leadership Initiative of The Aspen Institute.

    Enjoy the show!
    Show Notes:01:45 - Muna’s background and growing up in Deira.3:45 - The Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group’s wide-ranging portfolio of companies.5:00 - Becoming the head of retail during the last recession.6:45 - Having a presence online and dealing with the current Pandemic8:45 - Being part of the UN Refugees Sustainability Board10:45 - Her learnings from Saatchi & Saatchi12:15 - Expressing herself on her blog and writing for Gulf News16:15 - Her ‘baby project’ in Zanzibar.18:45 - About the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Foundation and various initiatives it supports.20:15 - The Young Arab Leaders network.21:45 - The launching of Young Arab Leaders at the Dead Sea.22:15 - Young Arab Leaders’ Power Lunches and meeting prominent figures.24:15 - Giving back to the community as a YAL member and impacting the youth of the region.25:45 - The role of mentorship in a youth’s learning.26:30 - The learnings and ‘mentorship’ she received from her own father.27:15 - Her tea party at Buckingham Palace.28:45 - Being a Founding Member of Endeavor UAE.30:00 - “It’s a small world”31:15 - The need for entrepreneurs to solve problems that aren’t as capitally intensive in the current climate.33:30 - Her mentor at the time when she got started.36:15 - “Change begins with you”.39:15 - The Acumen Academy and it’s global network of fellows creating a domino effect of impact.40:45 - Her travels exploring the continent of Africa.41:30 - Her weekend passion at Al Serkal Avenue and Jameel Arts Centre.43:00 - Muna’s wish for the UAE to become a leader in Intellectual Property and Research.44:30 - How to make it happen by supporting the growing talent within local institutions and by having the private sector contribute.47:00 - Muna’s advice on envisioning your end goals.

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  • Najla Ahmed Al-Midfa, Vice-Chairwoman of Young Arab Leaders, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), a government-supported entity launched in January 2016, with a mandate to build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sharjah, and support entrepreneurs as they build and grow innovative startups that will contribute positively to the region’s economy. To date, Sheraa has built a portfolio of over 100 startups, which have raised over $50m in investment, created over 600 jobs, and generated over $35m in cumulative revenue. Sheraa also hosts the annual Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SharjahEF), a gathering of over 3000 entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, and ecosystem supporters.

    In her previous role as Senior Manager at Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Najla led a team of business counselors through the due diligence process of selecting ventures for financing. She also set up and operated the Northern Emirate branch of Khalifa Fund, covering Ajman, Dubai, and Sharjah.

    Najla holds an MBA from Stanford University. Prior to joining Khalifa Fund, Najla was a senior associate at McKinsey and Company’s New York office, primarily serving clients across the financial institutions sector. Her experience also includes roles within PricewaterhouseCoopers and Shell.

    Najla is also founder of Khayarat, a platform that empowers young, high-potential Emiratis to make informed career choices, and enables them to succeed in the private sector. With a community of over one thousand young Emiratis, and over 100 placements in leading international private sector companies, the platform is influencing the next generation of Emiratis to raise their ambitions and fulfill their potential.

    Najla is a board member of United Arab Bank, where she chairs the Board Audit Committee, and a board member of Endeavor UAE. She is also a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Leadership Initiative. In 2019, she was selected to be an Eisenhower Global Fellow.

    Enjoy the show!

    Show Notes:01:30 - Najla’s beginnings and travels.02:45 - Describing her first job at PWC.05:45 - The genesis of Sheraa, born from an idea.07:45 - Continuous cohort improvement at Sheraa.08:45 - Her entrepreneurial venture with Khayarat.12:30 - The bridge for Emirati graduates and the private sector.14:15 - Her McKinsey story and what happened at her first interview.17:00 - Endeavor’s UAE Chapter and supporting scale-ups of the region.19:00 - Sheraa’s iterations, from seed to grants20:30 - Access Sharjah program and thematic competitions21:30 - On disbursing over$700k, Equity-free, non-dilutive grant funding22:45 - Different tracks with multiple corporate partnerships for startups.24:00 - Three ways you can support entrepreneurs as an entity25:00 - On being the only female board member of a bank26:30 - Being a part of the Aspen Institute, beyond reflection it inspires leaders to act.27:30 - The regional focus of Middle East Leadership Initiative of the Aspen Institute29:00 - The network effect of the Aspen Institute, the Resnick Action Forum31:15 - How she manages her time with so many initiatives and organizations on her team // the importance of building a team you can trust33:15 - “The first step on your entrepreneurial journey”37:00 - Entrepreneurship is inter-disciplinary and Sheraa is democratizing access to entrepreneurship.38:15 - On the false narratives around entrepreneurship.40:45 - The COVID-19 solidarity fund.41:45 - Revealing Sheraa’s yet to-be-announced initiative!43:30 - The move of Sheraa’s HQ to SRTIP (Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park)44:00 - What is Young Arab Leaders, in the Vice-Chairwoman’s words45:15 - Supporting young Arabs to become the next generation of leaders45:45 - Disheartened entrepreneurs, remember as all previous crises, it will eventually pass.47:30 - “With every crisis comes new opportunities” and how 3Dinova, a Sheraa supported startup, pivoted during pandemic.49:45 - “Don’t die with your music still in you”51:15 - Rarely gifting business books, but instead of novels and stories that will resonate with the recipient.55:45 - The UAE itself is an incubator for dreams, whether those are dreams and hopes of individuals, or organizations or even nations.57:30 - The COVID19 situation and remembering that life is short and we are all interdependent.

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  • This week on Streams of Progress, while at the 2020 Step Conference we sat down with various speakers who were in Dubai for this occasion.

    This episode’s guest is Robert Scoble from Infinite Retina, where he shared some highlights from his keynote talk about Spatial Computing.

    These mini episodes offer insights into the trends they are seeing from their respective roles as well as their thoughts on the MENA startup ecosystem and their takeaways from the 2020 Step Conference.

    Please enjoy this discussion with one of our guest speakers and be sure to check out more episodes from the 2020 Step Conference.

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  • This week on Streams of Progress, while at the 2020 Step Conference we sat down with various speakers who were in Dubai for this occasion.

    This episode’s guest is Hasan Haider from 500 Startups, where as a regional venture capitalist, provides us some insights into the 500 Falcons Fund.

    These mini episodes offer insights into the trends they are seeing from their respective roles as well as their thoughts on the MENA startup ecosystem and their takeaways from the 2020 Step Conference.

    Please enjoy this discussion with one of our guest speakers and be sure to check out more episodes from the 2020 Step Conference.

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  • This week on Streams of Progress, while at the 2020 Step Conference we sat down with various speakers who were in Dubai for this occasion.

    This episode’s guest is Alicia Sornson from Village Capital, where she gives us some highlights into their recent Finance Forward initiative in the MENA region.

    These mini episodes offer insights into the trends they are seeing from their respective roles as well as their thoughts on the MENA startup ecosystem and their takeaways from the 2020 Step Conference.

    Please enjoy this discussion with one of our guest speakers and be sure to check out more episodes from the 2020 Step Conference.

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  • This week on Streams of Progress, while at the 2020 Step Conference we sat down with various speakers who were in Dubai for this occasion.

    This episode’s guest is Jeremiah Owyang from Kaleido Insights, where he provides some highlights from his keynote talk about the six digital eras.

    These mini episodes offer insights into the trends they are seeing from their respective roles as well as their thoughts on the MENA startup ecosystem and their takeaways from the 2020 Step Conference.

    Please enjoy this discussion with one of our guest speakers and be sure to check out more episodes from the 2020 Step Conference.

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  • Stuart Oda is an investment banker turned urban farmer with a passion for innovation and sustainability. In 2013, Stuart founded Alesca Life, an agricultural technology company that builds indoor, vertical farms and farm management software to make food production more localized and data driven.

    Stuart is a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer and Alesca has been part of multiple prestigious accelerator programs including Stanford StartX, Thrive Agtech, Unreasonable Impact, Pearse Lyons, BitsxBites, and Dubai Future Accelerator as an innovator in the field of controlled environment agriculture, hyper-local urban farming, and Farming-as-a-Service.

    Alesca’s focus on emerging markets and re-framing our conversation around food and agriculture is making positive changes on a global scale for all of humanity.

    Stuart is an UCLA alumni and previously worked in the investment banking division of Merrill Lynch Japan Securities in Tokyo and the emerging market business strategy team at Dell China in Beijing.

    Enjoy the show!

    Show Notes:01:15 – On being a second generation Japanese American, born in Colorado.02:30 – Exposure to finance and technology through Merrill Lynch.4:00 – Impacting the lives of many through finance mechanisms.9:00 – Maintaining a healthy level of disrespect for things that are legacy.9:30 – Growing up in Singapore and what life was back then.13:00 – The challenge and thrill of starting over and rebuilding.16:30 – On moving to China to work for DELL China.20:30 – On Lenovo’s strategy of exporting China’s roadmap.22:45 – Some of the major trends across every geography the research looked at, from income to technology trends.25:30 – Alesca Life, an agriculture technology company, building indoor farms and farm management solutions.25:35 – Bundling and unbundling of the software and hardware.29:00 – If only one form of transportation, we would be severely limited to inefficient modes depending on the situation.30:45 – Difference between indoor vertical farms and greenhouses.35:15 – Alesca Life’s two business models – Producer & Enabler.38:00 – Simulating four natural disasters to adapt taste.40:00 – Defining fleets in 4s and 5s for efficiency (per Urban Grower).45:00 – Everything they do is hydroponic.48:15 – Fiber optics, lasers and the future of AgriTech is ambitious.50:00 – Looking to cloud server management for best practices in the future of AgriTech.56:00 – “We have a lot of opinions, as consumers of food, of what agriculture should look like…”60:00 – On using the term agriculture and foods.61:45 – The emerging market focus of Alesca Life.65:45 – Showcasing the Alesca Life ‘farm’ and the Mercedes Benz cafe case.66:45 – The fun things they are planning to do in R&D.69:15 – Personalized customizations for growing.71:45 – Exposure to new innovative business models due to his exposure to the Chinese market.73:30 – Alesca’s moonshot of ‘Free Food’.77:30 – Thoughts on giving food (or even money) away to people and finding life fulfillment.80:30 – On never using the word ‘farmer’.82:00 – Alesca’s experience with various startup accelerators and Stuart’s takeaways.87:30 – On his lack of time to watch movies or TV shows since founding Alesca Life.92:00 – His current role as a ‘Bible salesman’95:45 – On having a VR/AR enabled pitch deck.97:30 – His thoughts on colonizing the moon and growing food on Mars.101:30 – The coincidence in his family name and finding his life purpose.102:30 – Hard work is superior to talent.110:45 – “Constellating” in R&D projects.

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  • Asunción Molinos Gordo is a research-based artist strongly influenced by disciplines such as anthropology, sociology and cultural studies. In her practice she questions the categories that define ‘innovation’ in mainstream discourses today, working to generate a less urban-centric way of understanding progress.

    Her latest work, In Transit: Botany of a Journey, is on display at the Jameel Arts Centre's Artist's Garden until May 2020. It consists of a garden grown from seeds that have travelled in the intestines of people that either live in or visit the city of Dubai. Most of the seeds we eat in our daily meals pass unnoticed and survive the process of human digestion, leaving our bodies undamaged and remaining germinable. Dubai as a global city and the business hub of the Middle East receives an average of 90 million travellers a year, coming from 270 destinations, across six continents. The culinary habits of such a heterogeneous population is incomparable; all of the seeds ingested by Dubai’s fluid and transient population make their way to the same location — the city’s main sewage treatment plant in Al-Aweer. If given the appropriate conditions, the seeds contained in the plant’s final, clean ‘sludge’ will germinate and grow into adult plants.

    Asunción's Artist’s Garden is grown from the seeds that survive. The project reflects on ideas around globality, interconnectivity, mobility and cohabitation, and challenges the nature-culture divide that places human activity as a separate category from other natural phenomena; through the artist’s long-term research and the germination of the seeds, Asuncion redraws a way back to human/nature interconnectedness.

    The main focus of her work is contemporary peasantry. Her understating of the figure of the small or medium farmer is not merely as food producer but as cultural agent, responsible for both perpetuating traditional knowledge and for generating new expertise. She employs installation, photography, video, sound and other media to examine the rural realm driven by a strong desire to understand the value and complexity of its cultural production, as well as the burdens that keep it invisible and marginalised.

    She has produced work reflecting on land usage, nomad architecture, farmers’ strikes, bureaucracy on territory, transformation of rural labour, biotechnology and global food trade.

    Molinos Gordo won the Sharjah Biennial Prize 2015 with her project WAM (World Agriculture Museum) and represented Spain official section at the 13th Havana Biennial 2019. Her work has been exhibited at venues including V&A Museum (London), Delfina Foundation (London), ARNOLFINI (Bristol), The Townhouse Gallery (Cairo), Darat Al Funun (Amman), Tranzit (Prague), ART BASEL Miami Beach (US), Cappadox Festival (Uchisar-Turkey), The Finnish Museum of Photography (Helsinki), Museo Carrillo Gil (Mexico), MAZ Museo de Arte de Zapopan (Mexico), MUSAC (León, Spain), CA2M (Madrid, Spain), CAB de Burgos (Spain), Matadero (Madrid, Spain) and La Casa Encendida (Madrid, Spain), among others.

    She obtained her B.F.A. from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, where she also pursued her Master in Contemporary Art Theory and Practice. She is currently studying Anthropology and Ethnography at UNED (Spain).

    Molinos Gordo is represented by Travesia Cuatro gallery and lives between Spain and Egypt.

    Enjoy the show!

    Show Notes:01:15 - Growing up in a small rural village in Spain.01:45 - What is International Peasantry?3:45 - Communication without language, but through commonalities.4:15 - Her background in fine arts5:00 - The diversity of professions in small rural villages5:45 - Moving to Egypt for a research residency.6:30 - The rural theme she explores in her works.7:15 - The ongoing research and artworks.8:30 - Being part of the Sharjah Bienniale with her work, the World Agriculture Museum10:45 - On representing Spain at the Havana Biennale, campesino campesino (from Peasant to Peasant)13:30 - The knowledge sharing aspect of the project.14:30 - Taking part in the V&A exhibition, “food bigger than the plate”.16:15 - Crafting the CVs of farmers through hyperboles.18:00 - In Transit: Botany of a Journey22:30 - On working with collaborators to bring her idea to life: Dawn Ross and Nadine23:45 - What they did with 2 cubic meters of fecal matter to grow a garden.28:15 - Bacteria & the Star Wars Cantina.29:30 - The reason why the first batch is not recommended / suitable for human consumption.31:00 - Why the UAE is an ideal location for such an art installation project.32:15 - Being inspired by the works of Timothy Morton.35:30 - The way she learns about things is through hands-on experiences.36:20 - “Each individual renders information differently”37:30 - The things she has the tendency to do.40:00 - The idea of nature-culture divide; interdependence and mutual recognition44:30 - Documenting Darwin’s Nightmare.48:15 - Companion planting in the terrace garden.

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  • Jasper Hope has had a prestigious career in the music and entertainment industry over the last 2 decades and continues to impact our region's arts and entertainment scene. Since departing from his role at the Dubai Opera, he has continued to engage with various figures and entities in the promotion of the arts and music industries in the MENA region, through his work at Proscenium Arts.  

    He is considered one of the most influential figures in Dubai, as voted amongst the 100 most inspirational leaders in the business world for the year 2018. Driven by a passion for enticing creative performances, he travelled worldwide to renowned performance halls, going from being the Head of Operations in Royal Albert Hall in London to be the CEO of Dubai Opera.

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  • Marc Cirera is the founder and CEO of Companies for Good, a social enterprise designed to help businesses change for good. Marc is a business ethics, CSR and sustainability specialist with a clear vision: a world where companies operate in a more sustainable and responsible way. He strongly believes that good business practices help companies outperform, while benefiting employees, the environment, and society at large.

    He believes doing business in a more ethical and sustainable way not only benefits society and the environment, but it helps companies outperform too.

    Enjoy the show!

    Show Notes:02:15 - His love for traveling and meeting new people03:00 - Studying economics, realizing how lucky he was and his decision to pursue business ethics and giving back.04:30 - Setting up his first business in Barcelona while being bored in university classes.05:30 - On moving to London for love05:45 - Moving to London and working there.07:15 - At the age of 25 in London and not knowing how the corporate world works after graduating06:45 - Coming from Tona in Catalonia and setting up the Itaca Cultural Space.08:00 - On selling his first business08:45 - His first sustainability role at Radley Yeldar.10:45 - Hungry for more experiences11:15 - Small world connections that lead him to Dubai.11:45 - The story on how he met his wife.14:00 - Joining Chalhoub Group in Dubai as part of the sustainability team.15:00 - Pillars, KPIs and Objectives for sustainability.16:00 - The drive and need to create something of his own.17:45 - What is Companies for Good? Good on-demand.19:45 - The types of engagements Companies for Good offers.21:15 - Engagements all across UAE and Spain.22:00 - What motivates Marc22:45 - On how his role models inspired him - his grandfather and Mohammed Yunus24:30 - On his thoughts on routine and being self-disciplined without routines.26:00 - His hobby revolving around making someone special laugh.27:45 - “Do Good” and what it means to everyone.28:45 - His favorite books, from Game of Thrones29:00 - Political documentaries focused on the Catalonia - Spain debate32:30 - His dream initiative would be for all companies to join forces to come together for a common goal for Expo 202036:00 - The importance of taking action and doing things rather than just complaining about it. Just take action.

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  • As a dynamic entrepreneur in the automotive industry, Oweis Zahran is the force behind launching innovative solutions in this sector in the Middle East. Born and educated in the USA, Oweis has a strong affinity to this region since his father set up businesses in the UAE under MZ Holdings in the early 90s. The Holding company’s 16 subsidiaries, in three continents, are primarily in the field of equipment supply, industrial manufacturing, automotive R&D, oil and gas as well as construction.

    Before he joined University of Maryland as a business undergrad, Oweis was being mentored by his father and unlike other teenagers he was involved in major international business deals. This hands-on experience prepared him for a leadership role, which helped in the evolution and expansion of MZ Holdings’ B2C business. From setting up the largest auto remanufacturing unit in the UAE and expanding it to seven countries, to developing exclusive auto solutions with international celebrities, to launching a joint venture with the Government of Sharjah, Oweis, at the age of 28, manages three of its companies that include OWS Auto, Tatra Middle East and Transaxle ME.

    As a serial entrepreneur, Oweis established Rafid Automotive Solutions in 2017 as a joint venture between Sharjah Asset Management and OWS Auto. Today Rafid operates diverse services that includes an accident reporting app, fleet of electric cars and provides vehicle emission testing to quick service and parts supply and more. In 2017, Oweis Zahran also launched Voltron Motors in the UAE and the US with Hollywood actor Tyrese Gibson, mostly known for his roles in The Fast and The Furious franchise. Customizing cars for corporates or individuals, Voltron Motors’ clientele range from Hollywood celebrities to corporate fleets to high profile people in the Middle East.

    Oweis’s philanthropic endeavors match his business ambitions. The company runs a small yet significant operation of providing clean drinking water to families in Nigeria and Ghana. Established in 2015, with the collaboration of Nigerian ambassador to the UAE, H.E. Mohammed Gello, Oweis along with his brothers, have since established six drilling rigs in Africa.

    Enjoy the show!

    01:15 - What it was like being born and raised in Brooklyn as an African American.

    06:30 - His father’s decision to move the family to the Middle East to pursue his entrepreneurial career.

    07:30 - The FMS, Foreign Military Sales business of his father’s big initial success

    08:15 - Moving from Dubai back to the US for university

    10:30 - On getting his GED.

    12:30 - Learning from real life projects and case studies at work.

    13:00 - Taking Harvard Online Business school programs to further his own learning.

    13:45 - The mentorship of his father and how it played a role in shaping his own entrepreneurial journey.

    15:30 - Setting up OWS Automotive with his brothers.

    18:00 - Shadowing his father, including be his personal driver.

    21:45 - Joint venture with Sharjah Government

    27:45 - The story behind Tyrese Gibson and Voltron Motors

    32:00 - His views on the luxury car market in the UAE

    34:30 - Philanthropic work, clean drinking projects in West Africa

    38:45 - Turning off his phone for the weekend and realizing you won’t really mis out on anything.

    42:00 - The importance of being healthy and working out

    44:15 - His message on a billboard, “train hard, fight easy”

    46:30 - Tyrese’s Book, Getting out of my own head

    47:30 - His hobby of browsing the internet and researching what’s out there

    48:45 - UAE’s role and opportunity to extend its arm to support and help other emerging markets.

    52:30 - His message to all entrepreneurs out there.

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  • Briar Prestidge is the CEO and founder of Briar Prestidge International, a high-profile marketing, branding and reputation building agency operating in Dubai, London and New York. Working with world leaders, top CEOs, government, entertainers and strategists, they boost client’s prestige and elevate them to become impactful international business influencers.

    A qualified digital marketer with an international career spanning across Dubai, New York, London and Australia, Briar specialises in building engaging and ‘human’ content strategises in what she refers to as ‘new-age PR.’ In 2018, Briar and her team launched a leading regional podcasting series with experts and were part of a global Amazon Prime TV series, overseeing teams of well-known entrepreneurs in the Middle East and APAC regions. Speaking on international stages, Briar delivers engaging keynotes on personal branding, “no-fluff” Instagram and LinkedIn strategies, new-age PR and digital media, and building an online-offline reputation.

    Briar practices what she preaches and has built an engaged business community in Dubai of over 35,000 people - online and offline - who attend her monthly Deals in High Heels talk shows to discuss personal and professional development. She had over 2000 business women attend her talk show events in one short year.

    As a young entrepreneur originally from a small farm in New Zealand, Briar is driven to inspire people to be brave, strategic and work hard to follow your dreams. Her first book, ‘Building A Reputation for Business Success’ is being launched this year, along with her new fashion fitness and sunglasses label.

    Enjoy the show!

    Show Notes:

    7:30 - Starting her side hustle8:45 - On being fired from her last job and the lack of passion for that.10:45 - Her MO for moving to cities she had never visited before.13:15 - Starting her “Deal in High Heels” talk show14:30 - Her strategy for Hashtags to grow her following16:45 - Filming of an Amazon Prime series18:45 - Looking to Oprah Winfrey & Ellen DeGeneres as role models for the talk show19:45 - The power of repeat network events and building trust with others20:30 - One of various series they produce21:30 - Starting a sunglass and fashion label23:30 - Writing a book, “Building a reputation for business success”25:15 - The importance of controlling your online presence26:15 - Identifying what kind of brand you want to build with your vision28:15 - Documenting your life vs. ‘creating it’32:15 - Challenging the status quo34:45 - Her hobbies and routines35:45 - Briar’s view on the great initiatives coming out of Dubai to be a leader in sustainability and technology innovation

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  • Karl W. Feilder is a serial entrepreneur, Founder and Chairman of The Neutral Group and CEO of Neutral Fuels. “I’m not an environmentalist, I’m just trying to save the planet,” Karl says, and his direct actions to mitigate climate change have already resulted in over 10.5 million tonnes of CO2e savings from global corporations, such as DHL, Del Monte, Anglo American, and McDonald’s. 

    In the last decade, Karl has built up The Neutral Group from a two-person start-up to an international business, and is now preparing its Neutral Fuels LLC subsidiary, a company that produces biofuel from used cooking oil, for an IPO on the London AIM stock market in 2023. Simultaneously, Karl is building another subsidiary Neutral Assets LLC into an “Internet of Things” asset management company. 

    Since starting his first company in 1990, and selling it to Microsoft, Karl has built and sold five companies, and led two companies to their Initial Public Offering. He has conducted business in 46 countries and has created a world first this year – a highly innovative strategy to turn human faeces into reusable energy. 

    Karl mentors start-ups across industry, and was the first Adjunct Lecturer at the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi. He has worked as a Catalyst at Hult International Business School in both Dubai and San Francisco. Karl holds an B.Eng. (Hons.) in Industrial Engineering, an executive MBA, and is writing his thesis on “Psychological profiling of start-up teams.” 

    As the regional expert on biofuels and their adoption in the Middle East, Karl and his company have won regional and international awards and Karl delivers keynotes on entrepreneurship, business and sustainability, all over the world. 

    Enjoy the discussion.

    Show Notes:

    01:30 - On being an entrepreneur for all his life, he was just born to be an entrepreneur04:45 - First startup in the UK and selling to Microsoft05:45 - How Microsoft courted them to sell07:15 - Joining a biker gang post exit11:00 - His multiple ventures and IPOs following the biker gang years14:15 - The founding of the Neutral Group15:15 - What is the Neutral Group?23:30 - Getting a fuel production license in the UAE25:45 - Opening more facilities in other countries in the region27:15 - The different types of fuels they produce at Neutral Fuels30:30 - The challenge of building a great diverse team32:45 - “Never meet your heroes”35:00 - On being a lead singer of a rockband38:45 - How Dubai is perfectly suited for an entrepreneur like Karl41:00 - How redtape is seen as an opportunity in Dubai42:30 - On the merits of making time everyday to think45:15 - The benefits of discovering what makes you happy55:15 - His ‘non-words of wisdom’ wisdom to share

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  • In this episode, we sat down with Dr. Corrie Block, CEO of Paragon Consulting, where he shared some great stories about his experiences in Estonia & Yemen prior to making Dubai his home.

    Dr Corrie Block is a leading business strategist and CEO of Paragon Consulting, Professor of Strategic Management at Monarch Business School, and certified NLP Executive Coach, with over 20 years’ experience working on more than 100 companies.

    Dr Corrie has provided strategic consulting for the Council of Europe and World Bank, tech start-ups, multinationals and governments, across more than 30 continents. He’s founded 5 successful businesses in Europe and MENA and received awards for his product innovations.

    As both an academic and practitioner, he completed all of his post-grad studies (including master’s in business administration & Global Leadership, a Doctorate in Business Administration and a PhD in Arab and Islamic Studies), all while working full time. He has been published in Gulf Business, Forbes, CEO Magazine, Entrepreneur, Business Islamica, Oxford Journal of Islamic Studies and Routledge Academic Books.

    As an international speaker, Dr Corrie is often asked to speak on stages around the world. He delivers workshops and deep insights on employee engagement, meaningful management, A.I, culture, tech, innovation and the organization of the future. Dr Corrie believes that “business is personal” and runs a leading, regional podcast featuring panels of experts.

    As a strategic consultant to multinationals, governments and startups alike, he shared his insights into many thought provoking concepts such as the ‘work life blend’ and how business is personal.

    Show Notes:

    * 1:30 - From Canada to Estonia

    * 2:45 - 2 Masters and 2 Doctorates

    * 3:00 - Arab Islamic Studies & moving to Yemen

    * 6:30 - War seems like a good reason to leave a country

    * 10:00 - Explaining “line of fire” to a 7 year old

    * 12:00 - Coming to Dubai as the war in Yemen intensified

    * 15:00 - The chemical formula for happiness

    * 17:30 - “People want to be the best they can be”

    * 18:45 - Business is personal

    * 21:15 - Engagements with the Al Masood Family

    * 26:00 - The Chicki Chunk story

    * 28:15 - Emirates Macaroni Factory

    * 31:45 - Resentment for the other half of a father’s life

    * 35:45 - Work life blend

    * 39:45 - His daily routines and the discipline to write 2 books concurrently

    * 41:00 - Who Dr. Corrie looks to for inspiration or as role models

    * 42:30 - His top 3 books to recommend to people

    * 45:30 - His addiction to Spartan Races

    * 52:15 - Dr. Corrie’s outlook on the potential of Dubai as a R&D hub for future health technologies

    * 55:30 - “Do something meaningful or find meaning in something you are doing”

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  • This week on Streams of Progress, we met up with the startups taking part in this year's Techstars Dubai program.

    These mini episodes offer insights into what the startups are working on and the founders behind the startups. The guest for this episode is Toghrul Samadov, CEO of Buglance.

    Buglance is a crowd testing company that connects software testers with software development companies all over the world. We test mobile apps, games and websites for bugs, security and UX/UI issues.

    Toghrul is a serial entrepreneur and growth hacker. All his businesses combine 3 ingredients: Technology, Art and Science. He has been building teams, developing products such as e-commerce websites, entertainment and productivity apps and mobile games for the past 14 years. 

    Please enjoy this discussion from the Techstars Dubai program and be sure to check out more episodes from the 2019 Techstars Dubai Program.

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  • This week on Streams of Progress, we met up with the startups taking part in this year's Techstars Dubai program.

    These mini episodes offer insights into what the startups are working on and the founders behind the startups. The guest for this episode is Patrick Rogers, CEO of Clara. 

    Clara is a SaaS platform that digitises and automates startup legal expertise. Clara empowers founders to efficiently set up and manage their legal structure to ensure their startup's venture-readiness while providing unmatched portfolio management and market intelligence to investors.

    Patrick has been a previous guest on Streams of Progress, as a partner at the law firm, Support Legal. The founding team of Support Legal are the same founders behind Clara Technologies, joined alongside their CTO, Arthur Guest.

    Arthur is an MIT-trained systems architect with a speciality in complex decision modelling. While at MIT, he helped conceive and design the 20-year program human spaceflight strategy known as Flexible Path for the Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee in 2009. 

    Arthur was also co-founder and CTO of a San Francisco-based e-commerce company, BeautyArmy, that provided personalized beauty sample subscriptions to its over 300,000 members.

    Please enjoy this discussion with one of our guests from the Techstars Dubai program and be sure to check out more episodes from the 2019 Techstars Dubai Program.

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  • This week on Streams of Progress, we met up with startups taking part in this year's Techstars Dubai program.

    These mini episodes offer insights into what the startups are working on and the founders behind the startups. The guest for this episode is Lance Lin, CEO of LuggAgent.

    LuggAgent is a Global Concierge that offers the luxury of Time and Freedom. It started with the goal of eliminating the burden of luggage hassles. 

    Lance is an Economics major with a deep interest in numbers and analytics. He dabbled in the insurance industry leading a team of 20 before founding LuggAgent where he excelled at networking across multiple regions and building meaningful relationships and opportunities.

    Please enjoy this discussion with one of our guests from the Techstars Dubai program and be sure to check out more episodes from the 2019 Techstars Dubai Program.

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