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Ksa Entrepreneur, Interview Example

Pages: 1

Words: 625

Interview

Saudi society has historically placed huge emphasis on adherence to traditional customs, thus, the concept of women having full-time career is still a novel one. But times have changed and if the opinions of female entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia are any indication, significant progress has occurred in recent years. In order to better understand the factors that inspire Saudi females to become entrepreneurs and the challenges they face in running their business, we turned to Areej AlQahtani, owner of Leo’s Boutique at AlKhobar’s Al-Turki Shopping Center.

Even though Areej opened her boutique only last year on 23rd December, opening her own business was not a spur-of-the-moment decision. Areej informed she has had the business idea at least since 2007 and during all this time, she had been planning different aspects of starting a business including funding, HR needs, supplier sourcing, and marketing strategy. Areej’s Leo’s Boutique is aimed at women who want dresses with the best combination of quality and price.

Areej claimed she had always wanted to start her own business that is why she decided with study Business Administration with focus on Management at college. Areej informed us she had always been good with new business ideas and even helped some of her friends. Areej didn’t randomly choose a business but instead took a methodical approach in order to identify an opening in the market and target it. Areej observed and analyzed different markets and discovered an opportunity in Eastern Province. Areej found that 60 percent of the population in the Eastern Province is under 20 and young people tend to be more open-minded towards fashion and new trends. Fortunately, fashion is also a personal passion for Areej, thus, it only sounded right to combine personal passion and business opportunity the result of which culminated in Leo’s Boutique.

Areej informed one cannot overestimate the importance of having a business plan no matter what industry or the size of the business is. As expected, Areej spent lot of time and efforts on creating a business plan so that she has a clear road map of what she needs to start a business and how she plans to run it.  Despite proper planning, it was still a challenge because Areej took personal responsibility for all aspects of the business including store interior designing, accounting, marketing, and dealing with government agencies. But she is thankful for the support she got from her husband, family members, and friends who kept encouraging her to keep her spirits high.

Areej also emphasized the importance of education in having a solid foundation to starting a business. Areej agreed college education cannot teach us everything about starting and running a business but it does give us strong basics which increase the probability of success. While Areej understands the importance of mentor and professional guidance, her business has mostly been her own achievement without any guidance. Everything Areej has learnt so far has been by actually running Leo’s Boutique.

Areej is proud of the fact she didn’t have to get external funds. Using only personal funds means she has full control over operations of the business and doesn’t have to share profits with any investor or pay interest to banks. But Areej understands the need for external funding may arise in the future even though she hopes the business generates enough profits that she never has to borrow.

Regarding advice to upcoming entrepreneurs and especially female entrepreneurs, Areej stated that it is extremely important to carefully choose the market and one should also spend lot of time and efforts on a business plan because business plan helps you identify potential opportunities or weaknesses of the business you might not have found out otherwise. A business plan also ensures you have carefully considered all aspects of running a business.

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