Middle Eastern business trends, innovation and entrepreneurship were the topics discussed by two of the region’s most savvy business leaders, in a Twitter discussion hosted by Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) last night.
Media personality, and the first woman from Saudi Arabia to be appointed by the United Nations Development Program as a Goodwill Ambassador, Muna AbuSulayman, and managing director of the Bahrain-based Khalid Almoayed & Sons, Sofyan Almoayed, used the popular social media platform to exchange ideas, share insights and provide their experiences in the lucrative business world of the Middle East.
Both Muna AbuSulayman (@MunaAbuSulayman) and Sofyan Almoayed (@almoayed) are members of YPO, the world’s premier network of more than 23,000 chief executives and business leaders in 130 countries.
The pair described the challenges that businesses can face while launching a business in the region, as well as the wealth of opportunities the market has to offer for budding entrepreneurs.
When asked about the business opportunities in the Middle East, Almoayed highlighted: “Governments in the region are looking for sustainable businesses, this is a huge opportunity for investors.”
Both participants agreed that petrochemicals, finance, banking, IT, and government related services were the fastest growing sectors in the region. Technology was cited as a huge area for growth in the Middle East, AbuSulayman reinforced this by commenting: “I’m looking at the Internet of Things to level the playing field allowing innovation from the government right through to the public sector.”
AbuSulayman observed that in the Middle East there was a “real drive and desire to diversify from oil.” And that this is “driving all the change in the region.”
On the topic of key regional business trends, Almoayed stated, “I think privatisation is picking up and will grow. Saudi Arabia has just announced privatising of public education. Economic development is taking place because of private initiatives, just as much as government in the Gulf.”
Both business leaders shared some insights into the best business advice they had ever been given, while Almoayed said his was “for me to be myself. If it doesn’t feel right, then it’s probably not.” AbuSulayman said: “Perhaps the best is knowing my True North, my values and acting upon it.” She also added, “never work with someone you don’t respect as it never ends well.” Her third and final best piece of advice was to “focus, focus, focus, but don’t burnout. Give yourself support and meditate.”
When the pair were asked why they felt Dubai was the choice for the upcoming YPO EDGE event in March, AbuSulayman was quick to highlight, “Dubai has established itself as the networking capital of the world.” On talking about the event’s theme ‘Vision to Reality’ she added: “Dubai, more than any other place in the world, symbolises that for the 21st century.” Almoayed concurred and stated that the theme “shows the true spirit of this region.”