Too Young with Kaoutar Abdallah
Technological advancements and social media platforms have definitely opened wide doors to young entrepreneurs. Innovative products and services are rapidly rising in different niche markets on social media apps. It is extremely inspiring to see young ladies chasing after their dreams and succeeding. However, harsh judgments and lack of support is often a tough obstacle that faces many young women entrepreneurs. The idea of an “independent and successful young lady” is still unfortunately deemed as too “ambitious” and sometimes even a threat to others.
Kaoutar Abdallah is definitely a role model to look up to if you are a young entrepreneur. Being the founder of DataXHub UAE, an educational platform that aims to educate and support entrepreneurs through different courses and programs. Kaoutar is an entrepreneur who takes pride in a journey of ups and downs. We spoke to her recently about the topic of young women entrepreneurs and the initial process of launching a startup, she humbly shared all the pieces of advice she has collected and lived by throughout her journey.
Q: Before starting a business, how can a young female entrepreneur gain a sufficient amount of knowledge to get her started?
A very important point of the process is "knowledge", indeed many young women and men fail whilst starting their business because of the lack of knowledge. It is important to attend workshops on entrepreneurship, and to do research on key points:
1) The market you will be establishing your business in
2) The main regulations applicable to the field you are undertaking
You can seek help by applying to startup programs Hub71, ADGM, DIFC, Youth Hub, and of course at Dataxhub. We are launching the second educational program, that gathers entrepreneurs from around the World with potential new founders of startups, in order to guide them and help them grow.
Being surrounded by the right people is also very important, think about mentors that will also guide you and give you the right knowledge that you need.
Q: How can you start with a small investment and be able to succeed?
The majority of startups start with a small and tight budget. The goal is never to launch a perfect product but to launch what we call MVP (minimum viable product) to test the market.
The less you create or develop, the easiest it will be to control it and adapt it. I advise you to not focus on the details, but on the major features that make your product unique and competitive.
There is no correlation between your budget and success, success is a consequence of hard work.
Later on in the process, you will be able to raise funds if your project attracts investors and to develop your product further. As his highness, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, once said: “The race for excellence has no finishing line”
Q: What are the possible and effective methods of funding your business?
Starting your business will require a budget, to register your company, to develop your product, marketing, etc. So the very first way is what we call "Love Money" your own savings or family's money. A second way is to submit your pitch and deck presentation to an Accelerator, after a review of your project if they are interested, they will fund you. The third way is sponsoring, you should seek sponsors that are involved in the field you are targeting, if your project is interesting they will help you as well.
Q: How do you weigh the risks and decide if you should invest in one area or the other?
All ideas are not necessarily a solution. Your concept should be a solution to a problem or the answer to a need in the market. Nowadays it is very difficult to be innovative because, in 2021, technology and concepts are at a very high level. The best advice I could give is to focus on a niche in the market and to do surveys to see if people are looking at your project as a solution or just a TikTok business.
Q: What are some effective investments an entrepreneur can make for her business for long-term benefits?
The biggest investment is hard work, resilience, patience, and passion. Being an entrepreneur is a long-term role with many responsibilities. You need to be focusing on the points mentioned above. You will go through ups and downs, you need to be mentally prepared for that.
Mental and emotional challenges are more difficult than physical challenges such as lack of money, workforce, or rejection. So invest in yourself as an individual.
Q: How can a young entrepreneur expand her networking circle and establish herself as a serious figure in the business world?
Networking is very important. Through conferences, webinars, and programs you can expand your network. But also by helping others through mentorship, education, or even charity.
Establishing yourself as a serious figure will be possible only if you are loyal and hard-working. People will trust your vision and passion only if they see that you are able to deliver results and to keep your promises.