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Fatima Al Jaber: An Influential Emirati Woman Entrepreneur Case Study

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Updated: Apr 22nd, 2022

Fatima Al Jaber’s entrepreneurial history

Fatima Al Jaber is one the top most influential women entrepreneurs in United Arab Emirates (Augsburg, 2009). She has stood against the UAE’s unfavourable cultural background for women entrepreneurs and professionals. Al Jaber has been involved in construction and industry business ventures. She is currently the chief operating officer at Al Jaber Group, which is one of the successful companies in United Arab Emirates.

The foundation of her entrepreneurial excellence started back at UAE University, where she graduated in 1987 with a Bachelors Degree in Architectural Engineering. Since 1988, she has worked in Government of Abu Dhabi at both technical and management levels. At one time, she held a position of an assistant technical secretary at public works in the Abu Dhabi Municipality. Al Jaber was later promoted to the Building projects department at Abu Dhabi Municipality. There, she served as an assistant secretary.

Her working history shows that she is an influential person in United Arab Emirates (Augsburg, 2009). In the year 2007, the Arab Forbes voted her the seventh most influential businessperson in the entire Arab region. Subsequently, in 2008 she was voted the most influential woman in UAE by the MEED. During the same year, she doubled as the businessperson of the year according to the Arabian Business. In the year 2009, she was voted as the Industry personality.

Al Jaber serves in various positions such as being a board member in different companies. She is the chairperson of the Abu Dhabi Business women Council that seeks to bring together the women executive in the UAE (Augsburg, 2009). Al Jaber has been involved in business conferences as a speaker across the UAE and the Arab world at large. She encourages women to seize all opportunities in government jobs, education, and the establishment of businesses. In the year 2009, her efforts earned her a prize and she was elected as board of directors for the Abu Dhabi Chambers of Commerce. Based on her life history, it is apparent that Jaber has the best entrepreneurial qualities.

Why I choose Al Jaber

Al Jaber like any ordinary woman in UAE faced the challenges of the unfavourable cultures and practices (Augsburg, 2009). She is a great entrepreneur and role model to many in the UAE and around the world. The various positions she has held in different organizations and the successful projects she has been in charge of demonstrate her entrepreneurial skills. She has worked hard from the time she schooled at the University. She managed to accomplish the architectural engineering course.

Normally, such professions belong to the men and the other hindering factor was the negative norms and cultures in the UAE, which discriminates against women. In the UAE, women are not favoured in organization as well as at the workplace. Women find it difficult to be leaders, managers and even attaining high education levels. However, Al Jaber showed that it is possible to overcome all the above challenges. She has managed to hold various management and leadership positions in various organizations. Al Jaber has demonstrated several qualities. The qualities have been illustrated below.

Representative of an organization

As an entrepreneur, Al Jaber has shown leadership qualities in the areas she has worked in. While working for her private business, Al Jaber Group, she liaises with partners and government organs on behalf of the company. The way she leads and manages the company determines the success of the company. Notably, other employees rely greatly on the leadership and directions of the manager to achieve the goals of the organization. The personality of Al Jaber helped to maintain good reputations of the Abu Dhabi Municipality.

Strategist and coordinator

In her work history, Al Jaber has demonstrated high levels of coordination and strategic planning in the various organizations and companies she has led. She was appointed the chairperson of Abu Dhabi women business council when she was a board of directors at Abu Dhabi chambers of commerce. Similarly, has been promoted to be the assistant secretary of Abu Dhabi Municipality. The numerous positions she has held at workplace shows the quality of coordination and strategist as an entrepreneur.

Solver of conflicts

After she took leadership of her father’s construction investment, Al Jaber Group, the company has not encountered any major conflict cases. The company has run smoothly and this is the main reason for its success and growth. If she did not possess the quality of solving conflicts among the employees and clients, the company could not have succeeded. For an entrepreneur, the ability to solve conflicts is essential for one to create a favorable environment for the development of the organization.

Mistakes acknowledgement

Usually, all human beings are prone to errors. The company leaders and managers obviously make mistakes in their daily activities and hence the need to accept them. Acknowledging mistakes will create room for improvement and avoidance of the same problems in the future. Men managers find it hard to accept the blunders they are responsible for, but women counterparts have an ease in accepting them. Al Jaber is a woman and she accepts her mistakes as the chief operations officer of Al Jaber Group.

Business venture

Al Jaber has been involved in several businesses within the United Arab Emirates (Augsburg, 2009). The major business venture is the Al Jaber Group where she is the chief operations officer. She was appointed into the position 4 years ago. Prior to her appointment, she had been working at Abu Dhabi Municipality as technical and managerial positions. Her father founded Al Jaber Group about 40 years ago and it has about 60,000 employees and is valued at $4.9 billion. The company deals mostly with industrial, logistics, heavy lifting, trading, and construction projects within the UAE. Actually, the company carries out government construction and building projects. The Al Jaber Group aims at meeting the market demands of the changing information technology and engineering designs.

Family background/ role models

After graduating from UAE University as architectural Engineer, she has worked in various organizations and companies. She has worked for several years in the Abu Dhabi Municipality at technical and management positions. Her father, who is the founder of Al Jaber Group, has played a great role in Al Jaber’s life of entrepreneurship (Augsburg, 2009). Her appointment as the chief operations officer at Al Jaber Group has promoted her entrepreneurial skills in business. Because managers are required to be hard working and innovative, it can be argued that Al Jaber is hard working and innovative. Her family heritage has created a good environment for the growth of the company. The owners and directors work closely in ensuring a stable teamwork among employees. The Al Jaber Group acknowledges that their employees are the greatest asset and determines the success of the company. All these have influenced the entrepreneurship of Al Jaber in the world of business in UAE.

Critical incidents that influenced her entrepreneurship career

The major incidents that determined the entrepreneurial skills of Al Jaber are her profession qualifications (Augsburg, 2009). Al Jaber holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering from the prestigious University of UAE University. This has enabled her to work with numerous organizations. After working for a number of organizations, she has been in a position to nature her entrepreneurship skills. Similarly, her positions as a board of directors and chairperson at various organizations also contributed significantly in nurturing her entrepreneurial skills. In general, the various positions she has served at the workplace, technical, and managerial have enhanced the entrepreneurial skills.The foundation of Al Jaber Group by her father created an opportunity for her where she was appointed as the chief operations officer. The position of chief operations officer entails good qualities of an entrepreneur and Al Jaber has learned and acquired these skills.

Entrepreneurial orientation of Al jabber Group

The Al Jaber Group, which is a family owned corporation, is successful because of its diversity and persistent growth (Augsburg, 2009). The company has shown great potentials by utilizing resources and adopting division of tasks. The company has also adopted a strategy of new talents to promote growth while meeting the growing economy in the United Arab Emirates and the neighbouring Arab world. The company has gone a step ahead in training employees resulting in diverse talents. Al Jaber Group has shown a positive attitude towards the workforce as the company has prioritized on their safety.

The owners of the company have created enabling environment, which allows collaboration with board of directors. The company has been able to build a strong and stable teamwork among employees. Employees work under directions and guidance of both the owners and directors. In terms of leadership, the company enjoys the able leadership of directors and the chief operations officer Al Jaber. Al Jaber represents the company in terms of liaison, speaking, figurehead, and interactions with all the partners involved.

Al Jaber as the chief operations officer ensures the contracts with the government of UAE are dealt using the right procedures. The Al Jaber Group is on high alert when it comes to risk and uncertainty. Al Jaber advises the corporation accordingly during the hard economic times. During such times, she has been able to stabilize the company letting it focus on its core business. The above is possible due to well-established communication within and outside the company. Proper communication with the financial institutions such as Abu Dhabi commercial banks, Union National Bank, and HSBC, ensures that the company access finance for development.

Business model of Al Jaber Group

A business model is a formal stipulation that explains how the business venture is going to generate income and how profit is determined. It includes target customers, strategies, infrastructure of the organization, policies, and trading activities. The Al Jaber Group is an industry and construction oriented business venture (Augsburg, 2009). The company engages in various services, which include heavy Lifting, logistics, trading, and construction and building projects. The Al Jaber Group investment utilizes all these lines of operation to generate income and consequently profit. The company relies on the construction contracts from both government and private sectors.

The other ventures include trading and logistics. By rolling out these services within the UAE and the Arab world, the company creates revenue and thus profit making. The main expense that the company is incurring is the salary payment to employees. The company has around 60,000 employees the salary to workers actually contributes to the expenses of the company. After all the revenue is collected and the expenses factored in, the profit of the company is calculated. The Al Jaber Group is strategic in sourcing finance for investment, the main being loans from banks such as HSBC and Abu Dhabi commercial banks (Augsburg, 2009).

The company management and leadership should clearly stipulate its ways of generating income and this is by stating clearly purposes and goals of the company. The business model of Al Jaber Group is a good model since it has stated vividly ways of earning income. The Al Jaber Group model is sustainable. However, the company should get proper financial advice, especially concerning the loans to avoid the problem of huge debts. In fact, in 2011 the company got into a crisis since it had encountered huge debts from the banks (Augsburg, 2009).

The company considered restructuring hence exposed some of its assets. Thus, any business should appropriately choose a business model for the success of the company. From the lessons of Al Jaber Group business model, the entrepreneurs are able to enhance and improve on their entrepreneurial skills in the future. Equally, from Al Jaber’s history, I have learnt that for the success of any business, its leadership should be focused, creative, and come up with appropriate business model that is well designed to capture all the risks and opportunities.

Reference

Augsburg, K. (2009). Leadership and the Emirati woman: breaking the glass ceiling in the Arabian Gulf. Münster: Lit.

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