Mohamed ALTAWASH, Founder & MD, CH9, MBAN & MRT Investment, talked with Dr. Tausif Malik, Founder-Editor of GCC Region’s First Startup & Entrepreneurship News portal ‘GCCStartup.News’. Here are the excerpts of the Interview.
Dr. Tausif Malik. Please give us brief background about yourself and your co-founders?
Mohamed ALTAWASH – Founder & Managing Director
As an Entrepreneur with more than 15 years of accomplishment-laden experiences in the GCC and global investment in real estate and construction fields within the private sector as well as the public sector. Leveraging an ever-expanding portfolio of qualifications below specialities proved time and again flexibility in responding to changing market conditions and ability to “wear many hats” in the effort to meet and exceed corporate goals and challenges. Tasked with providing leadership through start-up, growth, and turnaround situations, repeatedly proved the ability to deliver strong and sustained results.
Dr. Nazar ALBAHARNA – Founder & Chairman
An academic, entrepreneur, and former Government Minister with considerable expertise in the areas of education, training, energy management and technology. Spearheads reforms in policy and strategy, influencing critical decisions at the highest level and developing mutually beneficial alliances internally and externally. Experienced in managing projects and change initiatives from the initial concept through to completion, with the organizational skills required to meet the most challenging deadlines and budgets.
Dr. Abdulmalik ALJABER – Founder & Vice Chairman
A full time angel investor, believing that Arab Youth can contribute to global innovation. Invested in more than 20 start-ups and focused on building an innovation friendly Eco-system in MENA. I was leading the two most prominent telecom operators MENA. Managed to turn around the companies in term of profitability, commercial strategy, capacity building of the human cadre as well as introducing and running a very active CSR program with multi initiatives.
Dr. Tausif Malik. Please tell about your entrepreneurship journey ?
Mohamed ALTAWASH: As an Entrepreneur & Philanthropist with more than 20 years of accomplishment-laden experiences in the GCC and global investment in real estate within the private sector as well as the public sector. Tasked with providing leadership through start-up, growth, and turnaround situations, repeatedly proved the ability to deliver strong and sustained results.
Beginning official career as an internship in Ministry of Oil and Industry then shift to private sector with demonstrating strong leadership & management skills of investment & real estate organisations during all cycles of the real estate market. Trained and managed a dynamic team in the time as a founder & CEO of TAMEER (known as Inovest now) where the vision and leadership propelled the company in 2005 to become first publicly held real estate company in Bahrain & parallel listing Kuwait Stock Exchange then moved forward to setup & became the Founder & CEO of RealCAPITA has shown more solid base for expansion. Now leveraging in expanding my own entity MRT Investment as well as a founder and managing director of Corporate Hub CH9 as both the Founder & Managing Director.
Mohamed ALTAWASH: CH9 is a short for Corporate Hub, as we deal with startups and scale-ups in a corporate level and the number 9 referring to the Nonagon which is the shape identity of CH9. Number 9 has a unique characteristics related to people belonging to it as Number 9 people are known to be intelligent, good orators, intuitive and highly decisive. They usually are marked by an aristocratic personality, which looks quite impressive to some. They always set high morals for themselves and strive to work towards it. They tend to be quite graceful, elegant and charismatic. They are broad-minded, idealistic and compassionate.
1.Ambition Seek, pursue and challenge all limits
2.Intelligence Be curious, hungry and awake
3.Creativity Have the courage to change and disrupt
4.Expertise Live the spirit of excellence
5.Focus Stay continuously and consistently on target
6.Balance Be the medium that bridges extremes
7.Diversity Celebrate deep and broad talent
8.Trust Inspire confidence and integrity
9.Success Aspire and achieve
The AMBITION of minds needs the INTELLIGENCE to perform it with CREATIVITY, CH9’s EXPERTISE trigger the right decisions and FOCUS on creating BALANCE by providing DIVERSITY of opportunities which results in TRUST for the brand to the long run of SUCCESS
Mohamed ALTAWASH: CH9 encourages innovation, investing in startups and connecting startups with Business Angels. Our co-working office space provides startups with Mentorship programs and workshops, and access to a third-party funds as a facilitation.
We engage with young entrepreneurs, developing their vision, knowledge and leadership skills through collective expertise and solid investment backup to build confidence and accelerate growth of enterprises.
Dr. Tausif Malik. How do you appoint mentors? what is the criteria?
· Have the skills/knowledge/experience that matches the learning goals desired by mentees.
· Desire/commitment to help others.
· Full commitment to provide a minimum of 4 hours a month per mentee.
· Where possible, a mentor should have current or recent experience of working in Higher Education.
Dr. Tausif Malik. How many startups have benefitted from CH9?
Mohamed ALTAWASH: CH9 held more than 5 pitching and excelrating programs helping more than 30 startups from the Gulf region. In addition, CH9 has been partnering with universities and other initiatives within Bahrain to provide all the necessary guidance and mentoring that young entrepreneurs need.
Mohamed ALTAWASH: At CH9, we regularly host events that are open to the public. This includes pitching events, workshops and talks to promote the startup ecosystem within Bahrain.
Dr. Tausif Malik. What are your future plans?
Mohamed ALTAWASH:CH9 plans to build an Excelerate program with YoStartups prepare entrepreneurs for building their dream startups in Middle East and specifically the GCC region. Also with our partnership with Microsoft, CH9 will be building Microsoft Innovation Center in the Hub to provide entrepreneurs and startups with creative/innovation lab that utilises the IP’s and learning methodologies by Microsoft.
Dr. Tausif Malik. Based on your experience, what are the challenges Entrepreneurs and startups face in the GCC region?
Mohamed ALTAWASH: Issues related to investment and cashflow can be key challenges for startups in the GCC region as well as lacking strategic planning and decision-making skills.
Dr. Tausif Malik. Finally, a message to Entrepreneurs, especially Bahraini entrepreneurs?
Mohamed ALTAWASH: At CH9 we give opportunities to develop and grow. More importantly, we empower entrepreneurs to navigate their own career development and to be accountable for knowing what is expected from the regional market. Since entrepreneurship means different things to different people, the content of each individual will be different. The creation of new ideas will be unique and special, we want to motivate, help and develop all the talents that need a little push. Our main objective is to accelerate these talents to prepare for regional and international markets.