Life Lessons: Souad Al Hosani
Souad Al Hosani speaks about her hopes, fears and everything in between
Souad Al Hosani, who set up her own company at the age of 22, is a successful female entrepreneur. She tells Oil & Gas Middle East all about her hopes, fears and everything in between on the way to building her business up.
I saw a huge demand on the market. British companies would come to the British embassy, where I used to work, and ask for help to open a branch in the UAE, so I set up a company that provides those services.
Wherever you go in the world no one can help you better than the local people themselves. You can get services, yes, but in the end of the day you need the Emirati to support you in the UAE, because we know our culture, we know our ways and we have the right connections.
It took me one year to get my first client. I was so frustrated I thought my business was not going to go well. I have huge competitors on the market. Why would people come to me? I said to my dad I want to close down but he asked me to show some patience. “You are new to the market, he said, until you get your name out, people will not trust you.”
To open my company I had to sort out my license. I asked my dad to send someone to do it for me. His answer? “No. You have to go and finish the licensing by yourself.” It took one me one month and a half just to open my company.
Today I employ 12 full-time and six part-time workers. Some of our clients include Statoil, Parker Drilling, etc. I have helped more than 50 companies to set up in the UAE. I have represented my country abroad and presented before more than 2000 people around the world to encourage foreign investment.
You have to learn to say no. In the first year I did not travel for my summer holidays. I worked so hard attending every event in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to promote my business. It’s very important to have priorities in life and believe in what you do.
Believe in the services you put on the market. You have to believe in what you provide and make sure you yourself use it first before selling it to the public.
Take risks. There is nothing wrong in failing. You have to believe in yourself and the services you provide on the market. I wake up every morning believing that there is enough for everyone in the market and the best is yet to come.
My siblings are all typical government employees. I can’t imagine sitting in an office from 8am to 5pm just looking at a computer screen. I like to talk with people. I love networking. The only government job I see myself doing would be either for an authority that helps improve investment in the UAE or a diplomat.
When I was at school I used to hate chemistry and physics. I’m very proud of women engineers because it’s not easy. The oil and gas sector is one of the best paying sectors in the UAE. I myself could never be an engineer. But I would definitely encourage women to get into the industry.
There are a lot of women in oil and gas but they tend to be in the offices not offshore. This is a problem all over the world. The industry needs to be more ready for women to be working offshore and the women themselves should be ready and willing to move from onshore to offshore. The sector itself is not ready to have women offshore. Maybe there is no camps for women, maybe there are security or safety reasons.