UAE success story: Syrian expat offers up Dh22,000 wage to start out Dh1.7m enterprise in Dubai, this is his mantra

It has been 12 years since UAE-based Syrian expat Dr Elias Abboud, 42, moved to Dubai to pursue entrepreneurship within the pharmaceutical trade. However lengthy earlier than he did, Abboud labored as a medical consultant in Syria, a rustic he spent his rising years in.

“My first job as a medical consultant in 2003 fetched me a month-to-month pay of $250 [Dh918]. Later, I joined a pharma firm as a supervisor for $800 [Dh2,938]. Quickly after, I used to be promoted to the function of selling supervisor with a wage of $1,200 [Dh4,407],” he mentioned, when talking on his work profession.

“Three years later, I accepted a wage provide of $3,000 [Dh11,017] from one other pharmaceutical firm. Later, I moved to Dubai, incomes Dh8,000 in 2011 as a advertising and marketing supervisor and later about Dh22,000 wage in 2014, proper earlier than I ventured out by myself to launched a ‘FemTech’ firm specialsing in nanotechnology-based sanitary merchandise for girl.”

What’s ‘FemTech’?

Femtech is a time period utilized to a class of software program, diagnostics, merchandise, and providers that use know-how to concentrate on ladies’s well being.

The time period ‘FemTech’ was first coined in 2016 by Danish web entrepreneur Ida Tin. In the middle of just some years, it has grown to embody a variety of technology-enabled, consumer-centric merchandise and options.

Constructing a base for entrepreneurship

Academically and professionally certified as a pharmacist and with work expertise as a medical consultant, he gained insights into the workings of the pharma trade. This data, except for his MBA in advertising and marketing, turned grounds for beginning his enterprise.

Abboud revealed how all his financial savings till that time went into the start-up, after which he acquired his brother to speculate. Abboud gathered Dh400,000 in financial savings since 2011 when he launched his enterprise in 2020. “I’ve stored issues on a good keel with regards to cash — which continues to be mirrored within the firm’s financials.”

When Elias Abboud moved to Dubai, he was incomes a $6,000 [Dh22,035] Wage in 2014. This was when he determined to enterprise out on his personal to launch a ‘FemTech’ firm specialsing in nanotechnology-based sanitary merchandise for girls.

How did you fund your start-up prices?

When bootstrapping the enterprise from the get-go, Abboud has re-invested all the firm’s turnover for development and growth. Nevertheless, he intends to carry the corporate’s first funding spherical in 2023.

He mentioned, “We’re at present in talks with a number of VCs [Venture Capital investors] for a similar. Concurrently, as the corporate is rising and the orders are growing month-on-month, I am seeking to optimise each upstream and downstream processes, particularly logistics, by placing new offers and re-negotiating for higher worth factors.”

What’s Enterprise Capital (VC) or Enterprise Capitalists (VCs) in start-up financing?

Enterprise Capital (VC) is mostly used to help startups and different companies with the potential for substantial and speedy development. VC companies increase cash from restricted companions (LPs) to put money into promising startups and even bigger enterprise funds.

Early-stage startups usually can’t entry loans or capital markets immediately, so that they depend on VC funding as an alternative. In change for VC funding, founders provide traders a share of possession and maybe a board seat. VCs is usually a crucial supply of funding.

What led you to do enterprise in feminine hygiene merchandise?

“In 2012, once I was exploring entrepreneurial alternatives and brainstorming, I got here throughout an article that mentioned 70 per cent of girls worldwide confronted menstruation-related challenges as a result of using extraordinary sanitary pads accessible available in the market. For somebody with a medical background and consciousness of the pharma panorama, that was a “Eureka” second for the entrepreneur in me,” he added.

“I started to reinforce my understanding of menstrual challenges, acquired in contact with a number of female hygiene trade professionals worldwide, and began product growth. I used to be properly conscious of the challenges forward however was equally assured in regards to the viability of my merchandise. Though such merchandise existed partially in patents, I might give them the go-to-market readiness by way of my enterprise.”

Nevertheless, though Abboud efficiently operated on a B2B (Enterprise-to-business (B2B) mannequin, which is a transaction or enterprise carried out between one enterprise and one other, similar to a wholesaler and retailer), he quickly realized that influence was not sufficient, and his merchandise had been mendacity on distributors’ cabinets with out reaching the end-users.

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When bootstrapping the enterprise from the get-go, Elias Abboud re-invested all the firm’s turnover for development and growth.

Being pressured to vary to a hybrid e-commerce mannequin

“I noticed that direct promoting was not financially possible on the time. Quickly, to make issues worse, the pandemic upended the operations, issuing a clarion name to both adapt or stop. Because the latter was by no means an possibility, I made a decision to pivot to a hybrid e-commerce mannequin by going all in and receiving some monetary help from my brother,” Abboud added.

“We launched the web site in August 2020, processed three orders within the first month, adopted by 15 within the second and, two years on, processing over a thousand orders month-to-month. There have been many trial-and-error cycles until 2020, however I succeeded in promoting over two million packs in 14 international locations, ” he mentioned, whereas including that inside a yr of launching the enterprise it made Dh760,000, and in 2022, the start-up made Dh1.7 million.

Listed below are another key classes he realized when beginning out as an entrepreneur

Lesson #1: Earmark a majority of enterprise turnover in advertising and marketing

Among the many notable financial methods Abboud adopts, earmarking about 70 per cent of the turnover to advertising and marketing has been essential that he realized early on. He thought-about that, even when you’ve got an amazing product, prospects will solely gravitate in direction of it in the event that they realize it within the first place.

So, for Abboud, bridging the product’s consciousness hole available in the market is important. “I undertake a long-term funding method, which is why I’ve deployed a good portion of my funding capital into my firm’s advertising and marketing, upskilling, and crew constructing,” he mentioned.

We launched the web site in August 2020, processed three orders within the first month, adopted by 15 within the second and, two years on, processing over a thousand orders month-to-month

– Elias Abboud

Lesson #2: Monitor buyer necessities, tweak accordingly

He highlighted certainly one of his current challenges after launching the e-commerce mannequin. “The primary batch of merchandise had three sizes. Nevertheless, after receiving early buyer suggestions, we realized that our merchandise didn’t have sizes that had been significantly in demand within the GCC market.”

“We wasted no time and elevated the overall variety of merchandise to eight. The method was exacting and financially difficult, however we ended up catering to prospects’ expectations and being purpose-driven.”

Lesson #3: Reduce spending by buying uncooked supplies in bulk

“I am continuously searching for aggressive worth factors and market circumstances that enable me to barter higher charges with suppliers and logistics companions, however I’ve realized that it is key to attenuate spending by buying uncooked supplies in bulk.”

When requested whether or not he makes use of another saving methods with regards to his enterprise and private funds, Abboud revealed how he divides his and firm earnings throughout a number of classes.

“As a rule of thumb, I put aside about 10 per cent of my month-to-month earnings as private financial savings. In terms of cash made within the enterprise, about 60 per cent goes to advertising and marketing, 30 per cent to salaries, and the remaining 10 per cent to miscellaneous.”

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