Follow The Leader: Afraa Al-Noaimi, Founder And CEO, Incubate Qatar And Brain Trust
"I constantly strive to understand the market challenges, and facilitate milestones that can help businesses and entrepreneurs leap over the hurdles they face, as well as any discrepancies that may follow along their track to creating scalable businesses."
Qatari serial entrepreneur Afraa Al-Noaimi believes that being able to provide creative solutions that are in line with market needs is crucial for accelerating the development of economies within the Gulf region. And Al-Noaimi has personally acted upon that belief more than once. Her enterprises -Incubate, a business development and startup hub that offers entrepreneurs a complete set of services and tools, and Brain Trust, an educational platform that brings together community experts to enable the sharing of best practices, strategic guidance, and executive coaching for aspiring future leaders- stem from her desire to empower young adults. “I constantly strive to understand the market challenges, and facilitate milestones that can help businesses and entrepreneurs leap over the hurdles they face, as well as any discrepancies that may follow along their track to creating scalable businesses,” Al-Noaimi says. “That is how I aim to position myself and our value proposition in the business ecosystem.”
An artist by nature, Al-Noaimi has channeled her creative talent into developing initiatives that would support others too. In that manner, she started up ArtistiQ, a multi-sided e-commerce platform that enables artists to sell their art directly to consumers. “In addition to offering regional artists an online community where they can share knowledge, connect with other artists, and display their artwork, Artistiq also focuses on knowledge sharing among Arab artists through workshops, webinars, and networking events,” she explains. Al-Noaimi also has her own fashion label, AFRAA, which works on the principle of boosting women’s confidence to help them achieve their personal and professional goals. “With the use of rich, colorful, and high quality materials, the AFRAA brand assists women with tools to cultivate their imagination and to nurture their original taste,” she explains. In addition, her social media initiative, In the Hands of Venus, aims to connect women in Qatar of all ages, backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities to help and empower each other to become valuable members of society.
When speaking about the COVID-19 crisis, Al-Noaimi says it provided her with an opportunity to create a lean business approach that helped transition her business operations into online platforms. This offers an insight into how Al-Noaimi goes about creating business development strategies for her enterprises, and she uses Incubate to provide an example for her approach on this particular topic. “The marketing division is currently leading the revenue growth within our establishment, as a result of the vast pool of creativity for businesses to expand their online presence, along with configuring different marketing strategies from the business development division,” she says.
Brain Trust team
“Ultimately, they complement and complete each other. This pivot within our growth is primarily due to businesses transitioning into having a wider digital presence, and seeking solutions for online marketing and sales. Through our support, we have generated conversions from leads and stronger brand positioning.” In the same manner, Al-Noaimi uses one of her other ventures, Brain Trust, as an example of how she gained an insight that the scalability of all her entrepreneurial endeavors is limitless. “Brain Trust has gained wide attention and growth within its industry, because of our support,” she says. “And we seek to give that same support to many businesses in the coming years, in order to showcase the value of having an enterprise that gives the right tools for businesses to flourish.”
This particular mindset is why Al- Noaimi believes that having a vision is crucial for entrepreneurs to realize success with their businesses. “I believe that each industry has its own forthcoming boom, with respect to the constant room for growth, because the private sector never achieves timeless maturity without timeless vision,” she says. When asked about her leadership style, Al-Noaimi expands on the importance of having a vision, but now adds that the whole team needs to be aligned with it. Secondly, she believes in being proactive in seeking opportunities, and thirdly, in being able to observe and analyze different apertures for growth, while addressing the process framework to fit the targeted segments.
In conclusion, she adds that having determination and consistency for achieving one’s goals is crucial for any leader. “This has helped me strive to further develop myself and pursue my passions, along with setting up a business ecosystem that complements each division within the enterprise,” Al-Noaimi says. “As for the strategy, we need to constantly evaluate the market, and shift between having an adaptive malleability, a vision, and a shaping determination.”
THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: AFRAA AL-NOAIMI’S TIPS FOR ENTREPRENEURS
1. STICK TO YOUR CHOSEN PATH “Stay disciplined and focused on achieving your goals.”
2. BUILD YOURSELF (AND YOUR BUSINESS) “Understand what your best qualities are, in order to stay true to yourself while striving for growth everyday.”
3. CREATE YOUR OWN SELF-SUPPORT GROUP “Surround yourself with people who reinforce successful behaviors in order to attain a success mindset and positive reinforcement.”
4. FIND PEOPLE TO WORK WITH YOU, NOT FOR YOU “Build your team on the basis of understanding the value that each of them brings to the table.”
Tamara Pupic is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Middle East.