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//Tarfa Alfarhan//

We have all seen entrepreneurs in Kuwait thrive in their homeland, however with such skill set and progress why not take it global? This has been a hot topic of our young generation. The Kuwaiti youth have been exposed through studying abroad to start with. This has encouraged them to seek opportunities wether its working or collaborating with establishments outside Kuwait. As well as setting their place in a foreign land. Now this idea has been unfamiliar. Kuwait has offered its citizens lots of enticing benefits to maintain them within the country. However with the growth of knowledge, experience, and adaptability these entrepreneurs decided to risk what they know and open abroad.

Successful businessman raising his hand in the air

The idea of conducting business abroad has existed within history. If we look at the past we had various countrymen going to places and settling in there. Lets date it back to even when Christopher Columbus set out his journey to the “New World”. During the 15th and 16th century international trade was already thought of. Finding new routes for trade, setting bases, and offering services was survival. These voyages has shown us how businesses can be done, and influenced the way we do business today. At a more familiar scope we can also look at the way Kuwait used to trade with neighboring countries and the pearl diving industry in the 1940s. They travelled around to trade and sell goods obtaining spices, boat oil, dates, wood to build houses from India. They even went to Africa to explore and obtain more wood. Therefore Kuwait has developed excellent relations with neighboring countries.

Looking at today in the corporate world we have seen companies such Alshaya branch out. They have extended their business within the GCC region and other international countries. With a set vision and promising service they were able to meet global standards. Another favorite was Talabat that revolutionized food ordering process in Kuwait went regional. What they both have in common was providing products that were in demand. With Kuwait being the hub of innovative restaurants, we have witnessed a boom in the food and beverage sector. The classic restaurant Fireej Swaleih serving authentic Kuwaiti cuisine has branched out to cater to Kuwaitis and the community in London United Kingdom. Many others like Pick and Choowey Gooey went regional to Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. The restaurant industry is not the only sector, marketing and pr expert Talal Alrashed has started The Contourage in Dubai then moved to Turkey to promote what the country has to offer as a travel destination. Since Turkey has become one of the top destinations for Kuwaitis to travel, Mr. Talal Alrashed used his influence and expertise to base himself there. Another interesting story coming from Mr. Talal Alyousuf which I had the pleasure to get a few remarks from him. He started a business based on his hobby which was Scuba Diving. In 2009 Mr. Talal Alyousuf travelled to Thailand in search of clarity and a career break from the corporate world. “Diving is my hobby and there was no Arabian dive instructors” as he stated. He found an opportunity where Thailand is a scuba diving haven, the fact he spoke Arabic, and had great social skills.He was driven by desire which lead him to open a dive center there within a few weeks. “The paperwork and legalities were simple at the time, we hired an Accountant to do so as we don’t need to do the ministry runs ourselves. However it was quite expensive to obtain the permits but the return was worth it” – (Talal Alyousuf).

Personally I have had the experience as well myself to start a base in Singapore for our skincare brand Souffle Beauty. Singapore had the right attributions to innovate and mass produce products. Once this was all done it was a great experience to work over there and then come back and designate a branch in Kuwait. Total opposite to some as most would start in Kuwait then branch out. However this was a great confident booster as we saw that Kuwaitis can really do it. Especially as a woman there was a lot of backlash to being “alone” in a foreign country, and even the language barrier. However my entrepreneurial skill set was developed immensely in Singapore.

The common question arises which is “Why branch out to other countries?”. The entrepreneurs can see the opportunities are feasible. The feasibility would be the ease of setting up, passion, and profitability. Now with many Kuwaitis seeking elsewhere are we loosing them to help fuel up the market in here? The sad truth is Yes. With rigid regulations this has pushed Kuwaiti entrepreneurs to open up elsewhere. With a fast paced environment and different innovations some regulations are outdated which creates an obstacle for them to pursue their businesses. Though we can see some positive changes happening. The country started KBC an offline and online platform that deals only with registration and providing services to obtain permits and licenses. This progression is a good indicator that Kuwait has taken action to facilitate future business enterprises. As well as attract potential investors to invest in Kuwaiti businesses.

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