Helen Al Uzaizi - The Triathlete Entrepreneur

Helen Al Uzaizi
Founder, Future Entrepreneurs
CEO, BizWorld UAE & BizWorld Jordan

 

She is the kind of achiever who makes other women want to up their game. Helen Al Uzaizi is an established businesswoman and an active community member. With over 15 years of experience spanning marketing, non-profit management, and entrepreneurship, Helen, has been supporting major brands, non-profit organizations, and start-ups across the region as a mentor and Board member and advisor. Helen is the CEO of BizWorld UAE, Egypt, and Jordan. She is also the Founder of Future Entrepreneurs, a platform that aims to empower young entrepreneurs in MENA. Helen is a mother of 2, a triathlete and an adventurer who believes in making dreams come true.

What do you do and how did you get to where you are today? What drove you to success?

I have been working in various fields for over 15 years.  My journey has been diverse, taking me through positions in marketing, non-profit management, business development and entrepreneurship.

I began my career in the communications industry working with brands such as LG Electronics, Porsche, Audi, EMAAR International, Royal Jordanian, and Zain Telecom. I have also worked in key management and business development functions for some of the most recognized agencies in the marketing and advertising field.

After nearly a decade of agency experience, I transitioned into the field of community development, serving as the International Relations and Fundraising Manager for the Jordan River Foundation(JRF), an NGO chaired by Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan. During my time there, I represented the foundation at a number of high-profile speaking engagements and events, including at the European Council in Strasbourg, France. It was with JRF that I became immersed in the world of youth entrepreneurship, a cause I continue to champion actively to this day.

After several years, and as I became more involved in the entrepreneurship field, I took on the role of CEO of the Mowgli Foundation, a UK-headquartered organization that provides support and mentorship to budding entrepreneurs and leaders. This experience has further immersed me in the entrepreneurship world.

After extensive experience with various start-ups and seeing the need for developing an entrepreneurial mind-set early on in the region, I founded the regional kid’s Entrepreneurship Education platform, Future Entrepreneurs. Within this platform, as part of my greater mission of supporting entrepreneurship in the region, I established BizWorld UAE, Egypt, and Jordan (bizworlduae.org) to bring real life leadership and entrepreneurship experience for children as young as 7-15 years old.

Achieving this level of success has motivated me to give back to the community and serve as a mentor and role model for young, aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs. I am a member of the Young Arab Leaders network, Oasis 500, and Jusoor (a Syrian Entrepreneurship and Education NGO). I am a tireless advocate for women in leadership.

What drove me to success was my relentless drive to accomplish goals that create a positive impact on my community. I am a firm believer in persistence as the key to success , which is true in business and in life. We all face challenges and obstacles, but it is how we choose to face and overcome them that define our success. I approach all my pursuits with this mindset. I also surround myself with positive mentors and role models, and I always remember to give back to my community and empower others to succeed as well.

What brings you joy?

So many things! On a personal level, I love being able to see people achieve their dreams. I love achieving my own dreams. I love being able to take on a challenge and make it happen. I love crossing finish lines in races whether running or triathlon. I love seeing young people dreaming big and striving to achieve their dreams. I love being in nature and hiking or trekking and mountain climbing.

On a professional level, being able to align my passion for children and education through Future Entrepreneurs and being able to make that my career has really brought me a lot of joy. There is no better feeling than having that balance every day. I have been very fortunate to be able to say that I don’t feel like I work any more because of how much I love what I do.

The children that we have worked with since we started have brought me so much joy because I have been able to see, first hand, their passion shining through and how much they have developed through the programs. In particular, I had a wonderful experience working in the refugee camps in Jordan and seeing the learners come in as early at 7am to start working on their projects as opposed to their usual 1pm wake up time. When mothers came to me with tears in their eyes because of the hope they felt we instilled in their children, I feel complete joy and happiness.

What would you tell a young graduate today? 

I want to tell young graduates that entrepreneurship is a viable option for their future. We follow in the footsteps of the generations before us and we grow up constrained by a certain mould. However, the future doesn’t necessarily mean finding a traditional corporate or government job. If that is what you want to pursue, then by all means do, but you also have the opportunity to cut your own path, start your own business, social enterprise, or non-profit Organisation. In the coming years, with greater competition for employment, combined with the forces of automation and artificial intelligence, you will enter a world vastly different from your parents. Keep that in mind when choosing your professional course.

Be open to the idea of entrepreneurship. It will be challenging and it will require a specific mind-set to succeed. You may also face failure as an entrepreneur, but at the same time, the returns can vastly outweigh the risks. If you remain persistent in the face of headwinds, be able to think critically and creatively, and push yourself to achieve your goals, then entrepreneurship has its rewards.

I also want to tell young graduates that they are never too young to be an entrepreneur. They can even start before graduating. Entrepreneurship and leadership are already within them, they just need to be in an environment that nurtures these skills and promotes them.

Why is UAE a great place for women to succeed?

The UAE is a great place for women to succeed because the leadership and all the people in the UAE are progressive and enable women just as much as men. HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has been quoted as saying that most of his team are women and that sentiment is carried through all the entities in the UAE and with all the people.

The UAE also has some incredible female role models that make it easy to relate to and aspire to be.

 

 

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