Opinions & People WYN

Staying In Focus with…Abd Elmohaimen Mansi

by Su Aziz

An Egyptian born in Jeddah and now residing in Kuala Lumpur, Abd Elmohaimen Mansi lacks no passion and drive, his entrepreneurial journey is mainly driven by his want to be master of his own time and destiny.

Born in Jeddah, 31-year old Abd Elmohaimen Mansi started Elmangos in January of 2016, and has offices in Kuala Lumpur, where he currently lives, as well as Dubai. His six-man (and woman) strong company, ‘focuses on organising socially impactful ventures, events or exhibitions, develop technologies or apps, and business consultancy for entrepreneurs from emerging markets.’

‘The awesomeness of being your own boss, the freedom entrepreneurship gives you is a freedom of spirit to control your own destiny, shape the future the way you wish to shape it. But it’s not easy. It requires hard work. However, it’s a rewarding journey if you have faith and tawakul.’

During the CEOs’ dinner where 24 participants of WIEF’s leadership empowerment programme Young Fellows 2017, Mansi got the chance to share with them his favourite topic – owning a business versus being employed and the satisfaction he got from it.

He can’t stop reminding those who’ll listen,‘The awesomeness of being your own boss, the freedom entrepreneurship gives you is a freedom of spirit to control your own destiny, shape the future the way you wish to shape it. But it’s not easy. It requires hard work. However, it’s a rewarding journey if you have faith and tawakul.’ Mansi had spent over a decade working in the hospitality and events management as well as tourism industry, in Dubai. ‘These are areas in which I not only have expertise and knowledge but they’re also my passion. Events are a great element in driving forward economies and an effortless way to reach a mass audience if your intention is to create an impact, especially on their lives.’

Today, as chief executive officer of his own company, Mansi believes in direct, open communication with his employees. ‘I’m a naturally very high energy person. I lead with energy and passion. My managing director, Huda Ibrahim, leads with more emotional leadership. This fills the gap of nurturing our employees.’ Mansi motivates them by, ‘tapping into their potential and vision of who they want to be…giving them room to innovate and create, nurture their potential by aligning their job scope to their talent as closely as possible’.

Here, he motivates us through his entrepreneurial experience.

Describe your entrepreneurial journey.
Being an Egyptian and living in a tough environment like Egypt’s forced me to be an entrepreneur at an early age. Together with my brothers, we started an internet café company in Ismailia, Egypt. Then, I worked in the corporate world for 10 years in Dubai. After making over USD9 million in revenue for my employers, I realised it was time to do something for myself. So, I quit in mid 2016 to focus on building Elmangos.

How did you build a network at the beginning?
To me the easiest way to get connected with like-minded people from the same field is meeting them at their meeting point – it’s important to identify exhibitions or events related to your industry. Most important thing in business is relationships. The key to building a network is helping people– connecting them to someone, giving them advice or supporting their goals in small ways. Give before you take.

What was your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur?
It was challenging to structure an idea or build an idea from scratch. It required so much work and intelligence. Especially to get people from all over world to meet on one platform and who basically are being sold an idea as yet unrealised.

What are Elmangos’ strength?
We have many. We have over 10 years experience in executing and conceptualising our own conventions, and programming with a dynamic global team that has worked in over 5 continents. But mostly our passion to bring good ideas to life within emerging economies with positive social impact.

What is Elmangos when its grown up?
We believe it’ll be a billion dollar company that creates a social impact for millions of people. It’s a creator of the world’s first Islamic economy accelerator program in 2017. A leader in the entrepreneurship field in the global halal economy space. And it will launch a new project in 2018 with focus on digital transformation.

Why target the global Islamic digital economy?
It’s one of the fastest growing market in the world with a relatively untapped consumer base. Also, much more attention should be given to developing better products or services within this growing USD2.1 trillion economy.

Any differences when conducting business between Malaysia and Dubai?
There are more similarities than differences in our globalised world when conducting business, particularly internet-based business. Dubai has a very Western-oriented business culture where processing times are fast, costs are high and the regulations are quite strict. Whereas Malaysia’s an emerging market that’s rising fast as a digital hub and even though it’s not yet time-efficient, it’s quite cost efficient. Malaysian government’s helpful to foreign entrepreneurs interested to start a business in Malaysia. Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation’s (MDEC) recently launched Malaysian Foreign Tech Entrepreneur Programme certainly helps too.

Besides China, where in Asia is best for startups?
Malaysia is the best place! Coming from Dubai, it’s extremely important to lower the cost of starting up, have a vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurs and a supportive government. Malaysia has all three. It’s not perfect, nowhere is, but there’s a lot of opportunities in Malaysia, particularly in the digital space for entrepreneurs.

What do you think are the obstacles faced by the business communities today?
Many businesses are failing to take the digital revolution seriously. It’s vital that the business community realise that the world’s going digital and they must follow suit in order to survive.

Jack Ma recently said at the Global Transformation Forum 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, where Elmangos was a marketing partner, that 90 per cent of businesses will be online in the next 20 – 30 years. Social media and internet marketing have become as critical as human resources as well as accounting departments in your businesses.

Besides technology, enviable human capital and an expanding economy, what do you think can be the one other thing that can elevate business?
This might be an odd answer, but one thing that can really help leverage a business is intention and focusing on social impact. Your intention and passion to build something great can help a business where talent, money and economy can’t. Instilling strong core values and a mission for your employees can make the biggest difference to a business especially when your team members feel they’re on a mission.

What’s your golden rule for starting a business?
Success, love, preparation and dedication – you’ve to go 100 per cent in. You can’t play it safe. The best advice is to do your preliminary work, just do it, nothing happens if you don’t get started and take the risk. My simple steps to quit and start your business can be found here.

Finally, your advice to budding entrepreneurs?
Cash is oxygen in a business! I’d focus on saving more money before I quit. I’d recommend that you’ve at least six months financial reserve and a clear plan on how to become profitable as quickly as possible.

13 Jun 2017
Last modified: 9 Apr 2018
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