7DAYS catches up with winner of 'The Entrepreneur' Loulou Khazen... [Seven Days (United Arab Emirates)]
(Seven Days (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Mark Summers catches up with the UAE’s latest business sensation Loulou Khazen Baz...
Last year Loulou Khazen Baz quit her full-time job to strike out on her own. It was a move, that initially left, the budding start-up boss, feeling “useless” and “pointless”.
Today she wakes up as one of the most hotly-tipped business hopefuls in the UAE after being crowned the winner of televised contest ‘The Entrepreneur’ last night - and bagging a prize worth Dhs2 million.
Mark Summers catches up with the UAE's latest business sensation Loulou Khazen Baz...
Having seen off 2,000 other applicants to emerge victorious on the eight-week Dubai One show, which follows a similar format to Donald Trump hit ‘The Apprentice’, she now has Dhs1 million to invest in nabbesh.com, the online portal she created with the aim of linking freelancers with work opportunities across the Middle East.
Thanks to telecoms firm du - creator of the show - and its other partners, she also has a year’s free office space, and expert marketing and accounting help. It’s all a far cry from early this year when - about six months into her entrepreneurial life - she blogged that she had been “to hell and back”.
Having reached her 30th birthday and started pondering “what life is all about”, she had something of an epiphany and came to the conclusion it was “now or never” if she wanted to start her own business. In the beginning, things were not easy.
“I did go to hell and back,” she tells 7DAYS. “When I quit my job it was one of the toughest years of my life. I had a lot of challenges - confidence and financial and career. I had no idea of what I wanted to do,” she adds.
Fortunately the Lebanese national, who is about to mark a decade living in Dubai, is an avid user of social media and she saw a tweet from du promoting ‘The Entrepreneur’.
When she saw the prize money up for grabs she immediately entered - and du would later tell her she was the sixth applicant for the show.
“Even if I didn’t win, I thought the exposure I would get would be great and it would be a good experience overall, to be on TV,” she says. Loulou soon had cause to reconsider that attitude when she found herself facing The Entrepreneur’s panel of four judges with 99 other hopefuls during a 16-hour day to identify the best 10 ideas submitted to the show.
“It was scary as hell. I was shaking from head to toe. It is very intimidating, because you think: ‘what if my pitch is stupid ’ and ‘what if they think I am an idiot ’” she explains.
By the time she made the final 10, she admits she thought she had “a massive chance to win”. She did - and today nabbesh.com lives, creating a regional talent pool of people who have given up the 9-to-5 to try and make a living from their particular skill - be it photography, website development or dozens of others.
She says her site has a greater purpose than other e-commerce start-ups selling the latest discounted fashion. “OK, fine, these are very cool concepts but I felt that what I am working on is not a luxury. It is actually a basic human need. You have a basic need to work.” And that’s what she’ll be doing in the months and years ahead as she looks to make her business “regional and profitable”.
The once-terrified hopeful who worried she was “useless” is now The Entrepreneur.
Visit the winner at www.nabbesh.com.
(c) 2012 Al Sidra Media LLC Provided by Syndigate.info an Albawaba.com company
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]