Sheraa Community Talks marks UAE Month of Reading

March 13, 2023 / 12:23 PM
Sharjah24 : Celebrating the UAE’s Month of Reading, Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (Sheraa) hosted an inspiring panel discussion in partnership with the Sharjah Book Authority, Sharjah Publishing City, and The House of Wisdom titled “Success Stories in Book-Based Entrepreneurship.”
The talk highlighted the stories of successful Emirati entrepreneurs who have built thriving businesses around their love for books. The roundtable was part of the Sheraa Community Talks series, which aims to showcase businesses and industries that have driven community engagement. 

The panel was moderated by Shatha Al Khumais, founder of Sakin, and featured three successful entrepreneurs in the book industry: Nada AlAwadhi, Founder and CEO of The Bookshelf, Abdulla AlKaabi, Founder of Dar Al Ramsa, and Iman Ben Chaibah, Founder of Sail Publishing. From starting publishing houses to launching innovative children's book subscription models, panellists shared their insights and experiences on how to turn their passion for books into profitable businesses.

Al Khumais opened the discussion by highlighting the importance of the books and publishing industry as a vital element within society, emphasising that every individual has a unique journey in entrepreneurship.

Nada AlAwadhi discussed her journey of turning her love for reading into a business idea that would benefit children and their families. “My company offers a monthly subscription service in both Arabic and English, where we send monthly boxes of books to parents. I started this journey in 2019 intending to open a private company within five years, and with the help of a business coach, I was able to move quickly and take advantage of the available tools on social networking sites. I believe that experience is not a product, but rather something that can be used to add value to the customer.”

She added: “It's been a struggle to bring my idea to life, but seeing people believe in it has made it all worth it. My ultimate goal is to deliver to every home in the UAE, the Arab world, and beyond. I encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to always search for their goals in the things they love, and to remember that passion is the key ingredient to success."

Abdulla AlKaabi spoke about the challenge of entering the world of publishing in the UAE and the importance of delegation in achieving success. “Publishing a book involves a complex and intricate process, from the initial idea to the final reader. As an entrepreneur, I face many challenges, but I believe that delegation is crucial to achieving success. Balancing my time between entrepreneurship, sports, and family is not an easy feat, but it is essential to invest in my comfort to achieve long-term success.”

He added: “As a book publisher, I understand that the standards of influence have evolved from sales figures to providing valuable information that can influence the knowledge of the next generation. Leveraging technology to simplify the customer journey and offer multiple payment options is a key factor in winning and retaining customers. At the end of the day, being your influencer and spokesperson is essential in building a brand that resonates with your audience."

Iman Ben Chaibah talked about the importance of being flexible and pivoting when necessary and the significance of self-marketing in any business venture. “I have learned that business is not just about making money, but it's also about having a passion for what you do and making a positive impact on society. Our journey started as an electronic magazine, and we have since expanded into printed books and digital books and book fairs. The publishing industry has gone through significant changes in the past 13 years, and it's important to be flexible and pivot when necessary. I believe that any business idea that starts with a passion can help you overcome any difficulty.”

She added: It's important to experiment, dig deep, and learn from each stage. We need to be open to listening to the public and entering new fields. If you have the desire to write on a specific topic, know that there is someone out there who wants to read about it. Lastly, self-marketing is key in any business venture, and it's crucial to allocate time for both work and business management to achieve success."

The panel discussion was a testament to Sheraa’s commitment to promoting community engagement through knowledge sharing and celebrating local talent. Sheraa aims to foster an entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports the growth and success of local businesses, including those in the creative economy, such as book publishing. It's important for Sheraa to contribute to this industry with knowledge and connections, and these community talks play an essential role in achieving this noble vision.
March 13, 2023 / 12:23 PM

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