Entrepreneurship is a lonely business and it is hardly as glamorous as Hollywood (or non-entrepreneurs) wants you to believe. The reality is that it is a life always on the go. Non-stop. The constant work is not the issue that entrepreneurs complain about most; however. The most pressing issues they face include finding those whom they can turn to for support when problems occur. Entrepreneurs can hardly turn to their employees, or even family, to receive the insight they require in this regard. Those have not gone through the experiences based on which resolutions could be shared. This is why a professional body like the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is much needed. EO provides its members with a tried and tested structured platform for sharing experiences and a path for further learning and growth.
We met with EO Bahrain’s president Mahmood Al-Yousif to reflect on some of these points
Mahmood, congratulations on being recently elected as the President of EO Bahrain, Can you talk to us about the organization’s priorities?
Creating and Sustaining Member Value is this year’s top priority. This is central to our Top 5 Priorities:
- Emerging Programs
- Making a Mark
- Marketing & Communication to keep you and the external world informed
- Engaging Members, all of which will result in
- Creating and Sustaining Member Value
These priorities offer us an opportunity to deliver and engage with our community. They transcend the individual and benefit our beloved Bahrain by capitalizing on our intangible resources through coaching, mentoring and experience sharing, and leave a true mark on the entrepreneurship horizon that will be physically felt beyond an individual year of EO Bahrain.
What is the biggest challenge the new board is facing and how do you plan to tackle it?
With a diverse newly inducted members over the last two years, representing approximately 65% of our membership, indicates that the challenge the incoming board faces is consolidation and engagement. We accepted this challenge and made an engagement, specifically, our top priority. The incoming board resolved to deliver on that promise through expressing the values both tenured and new members require.
We also recognize that engagement – to be effective – must be holistic and go farther than the individual. We must include the elements you most care about: your family. With this vision, I have decided to introduce an Annual Presidential Theme to serve as a guiding light for the Chapter. With this theme, visions are better achieved and consolidation and engagement attained.
Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to announce that the 2013/2014 Theme is: FAMILY MATTERS! Engaging the family.
What are the major programmes or initiatives planned for the year?
We shall introduce two key programs this year: Accelerator – a program that helps young entrepreneurs exceed the U$1 million mark, and the Global Student Entrepreneur Award which is a competition that recognizes the most innovative business idea by university students. The GSEA culminates in the Chapter sponsoring the winner to be sent to Washington, DC to compete in the global award ceremony in November of every year. See http://accelerator.eonetwork.org for more information about the Accelerator, and http://gsea.org for GSEA.
Beyond these programs, I am thrilled to officially let you know that Bahrain has been selected to host the regional EO Majlis in FY14! This is the third iteration of this event and preparations are already taking place to ensure that it becomes the best Majlis ever held, and bring many regional and international entrepreneurs to Bahrain to show them that not only are we open for business, but continue to lead the way in innovation and creativity. EO Majlis Bahrain will take place from 21-23 February 2014 and promises to host more than 70 of the region’s entrepreneurs for exclusive and intense learning & growth seminars and workshops conducted by world-renowned speakers.
What does it take to become a member of EO Bahrain?
Membership in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization is by invitation only.
To qualify, you must:
- Be the founder, co-founder, the owner or controlling shareholder of a company.
- Hold one of the above titles for a company that grosses more than US$1 million annually.
For venture-backed companies to qualify for membership they must have privately raised funds of US$2M or publically raised funds of US$5M, and 10 full-time employees. Venture-backed companies have three years before they must meet the standard qualification of US$1M in gross annual revenue.
What are the benefits granted to members, and what are the obligations?
Every entrepreneur’s continued path to success is different and the benefits of EO membership reflect that diversity. We have tools to help you solve business challenges, learn in different ways, network locally or globally, and much more.
How do you see EO Bahrain complementing or adding value to the local Entrepreneurship scene?
Providing a structured, and well tested peer-to-peer sharing and learning environment designed by and for entrepreneurs through the various phases they go through in their business and personal lives. Our Learning and Social calendars for FY14 is full of programs to help the entrepreneurs and their families go to the next global level of entrepreneurship excellence.