Get The Best To Come To You: How To Build The Best Team For Your MENA Startup
If you plan on having a successful startup, you are going to need a team.
At this year's edition of STEP Conference, we talked about how and where UAE-based entrepreneurs can find the right talent to boost their businesses. Ammar Al-Malik, Managing Director, Dubai Internet City, believes that being a flexible employer is a must if one wants to attract the best of the MENA's young, educated, and ambitious youth population. PK Gulati, President, TiE Dubai, differentiates two different approaches to the hiring process: hiring employees vs. hiring teams. The latter, he says, entails sharing the company's vision as well as its outcome with one's current and prospective team members. "Here as well as anywhere else in the world talent is the most difficult ingredient to find," says Muhammed Meki, Founding Partner, AstroLabs.
Samer Choucair, Director, CE-Creates, says, "The UAE is a very small market, everybody knows each other, so it's very easy to get referrals... You can never ever judge whether a person is the right fit [just] from interviews and testing. It is always about working with a person for some time because, in the end of the day, what matters most is cultural fit within the team rather than knowledge which is very easy to gain."
Salem Al Qassimi, founder, Fikra Design Studio, echoes the same sentiment by saying that he involves his whole team in the hiring process. Philip Bahoshy, founder and CEO, Magnitt, lists the risks that entrepreneurs in the UAE are exposed to when hiring, such as visa and insurance costs. "Everyone says that there is a lack of talent here. I disagree," Bahoshy says. "It is just very difficult to convince them to jump ship, and you to take a risk for that to potentially fail ... Therefore, you are so risk averse when making a hire here."