Follow The Leader: Shailesh Dash, Founder And CEO, Al Masah Capital
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“People are a huge asset, and one of my main functions is to hire the right kind of people, form a business strategy, put in the place the right corporate governance structures, and then let the team do their work of growing the business.”
Al Masah Capital founder and CEO Shailesh Dash had more than 15 years of experience working in industries like corporate finance, manufacturing companies and private equity before he set up his own alternative asset management and advisory firm- this could be one of the reasons that explain how this relatively young enterprise managed to attract more than US$1 billion in funds since its inception in 2010. With operations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Singapore, Al Masah Capital has structured its private equity portfolios into four main sectors –education, healthcare, logistics, and F&B- all of which have been chosen on account of them being rather strong sectors, driven by consumer demand for such services. “Our business model is based on the investor’s needs,” Dash explains. “It is one of the primary reasons why we are where we are, and why we are successful today.”
As someone who sits at the helm of an enterprise that is concerned with helping other companies raise capital and scale up, Dash is quite clear on the most important element for building a successful business, and it’s safe to say that he has used the same principle at Al Masah Capital as well. “We are in the services industry,” he says. “In this business, the most crucial part is your team. People are a huge asset, and one of my main functions is to hire the right kind of people, form a business strategy, put in the place the right corporate governance structures, and then let the team do their work of growing the business.”
As per Dash, CEOs who are keen on boosting their respective businesses should be very clear about the kind of teams they have onboard their enterprises. “The critical thing is to surround yourself with exciting people who have new ideas, people who are ambitious, people who are hungry to achieve something in life. And you must give them a reason and strategy, which are important, along with the freedom to deliver- this is critical to any business, and I try to follow that path as much as possible too.”
At this point, I ask Dash about the factors one should look out for when hiring people for growing entrepreneurial ventures. “You need to be able to identify the right person who would want to be a creator rather than just an employee,” he says. “You need to find people who are trying to achieve something in life, who are bored of doing routine work in large organizations, who have an entrepreneurial zeal.” But once you have got this kind of people on board, Dash notes the importance of managing them the right way as well- this is essential if you want to create a long-lasting company. “It is important to give people the independence to achieve their goals, as well as have the right corporate governance structures in place to make achieved goals sustainable.”
ASK THE EXEC: SHAILESH DASH
Q Given the number of years you have been a part of the MENA business arena, what are your thoughts on the region as a place to do business today? What, according to you, are some of the main considerations that entrepreneurs should keep when starting up a business in the MENA region?
A “I think it is a very exciting time to do business in the region. We are very optimistic. The world is changing every day, and that again is a very positive outlook. I also think that there is an opportunity with people like us, with the skillset that we have, to make a difference to the region. Before starting up a business, it is very important to know the laws of the land and to have the right partner. Also, it’s equally important to have done a proper feasibility study about the business you want to do so as to ascertain the demand for the same in the local market, identify the gaps, do the right strategy, have the correct implementation plan and to have the right funding available for your business.”