An interview with Wassim Al Sayegh, Co-founder of Iqtesadi.
Please tell us about your company and how it started. IQTESADI was founded in 2013, as a Worldwide Corporate Services provider that delivers international business solutions focusing on Company Incorporation (Onshore/Offshore), Business Start-Up Advisory, Business Plans & Feasibility Studies, Foreign Market Entry, and Immigration & Citizenship. When we started out, we found that most local providers are only focused on the local market. We wanted to do a one-stop shop for investors and be the first consultancy firm that provides international solutions. We don’t just establish companies, we give start-ups a business study and guide them to opportunities available for them outside of Bahrain. Maybe they want to establish another business in India or Dubai. We can help them with that too. We also provide other services related to company set-up such as trademark registration to protect and build the brand. Another service that we offer is second citizenship through investment for High Net Worth Individuals. Due to the political issues in the MENA region investors from certain nationalities are finding it more difficult to travel, and are now looking for a second passport to be able to travel and conduct their businesses easier. We help these investors to obtain second citizenship through investment programs; whether it is through investing in real estate, government bonds or donations. We have those programs in almost 25 countries.
In 2015, we became a member of Adam Global (AG). AG is an international network that has 120 offices around the world. Its members provide corporate services and consultancy to international businesses. Partnering with Adam Global has given us access to 120 cities and made it easier to provide global services to our clients.
What were the challenges you faced when starting out?
The challenges we faced are the same as every startup which is financing issues. We had to depend on ourselves for almost all the investment. The first six months were very nerve wracking, with no income at all. It was very difficult to manage operations while keeping our expenses in check, but, since we established our company with an opening for the international markets, that enabled us to provide unique services and helped us break even in the first eight months.
We also received additional support from Tamkeen, “a semi-government authority” supporting Start-Ups and SMEs in Bahrain. Tamkeen helped us to build our brand and finances all our marketing materials. There is no other country that provides such a support so we were lucky to start here in Bahrain. So please allow me to say thank you to Tamkeen.
What advice can you give to young entrepreneurs?
For a start, I’m not really a fan of the word ‘young’; it implies that only people of a certain age can set out on an entrepreneurial journey and that’s simply not true. If you are an entrepreneur, whatever your age, you must seize the moment. Time is the key to success, it’s not how much money you make, it’s how you spend your time. Do not try to be the richest, but try to be the best at what you do. Never compare yourself to others, just keep challenging yourself, take pride in what you do. Don’t over polish your product to make it look better, be proud of what you have. Ask for help, look for the skills that you don’t have and learn from your mistakes.