Dubai: Saeed Khalifa Mohammed Al Fuqaei Al Ali, 43, chairman of Shuraa Group, is an Emirati who has become a multi-millionaire by relying on his own effort and hard work. “Trust me, just because I am an Emirati, it is not that I have had it all too easy. I come from a humble background, but our values are strong. My father taught me two things and they are firmly etched in my memory: Honesty and hard work are the keys to success. And I have stuck to this mantra,” said Saeed.
His father's values
His father, Khalifa Mohammed Al Fuqaei, is often referred to as the ‘King of the Sea’. Born in 1921, Khalifa, who died in 2014, was known for his foresight and resourcefulness to develop shipping trade with numerous countries -- even before the UAE was formed. The same ambitions have trickled down to Saeed, who has also worked hard to maintain his ideals.
As the chairman of Shuraa Group, Saeed runs a number of businesses with 105 employees. The company was founded in 2001. The turnover runs into several millions of dirhams.
Back in 1999, Saeed had no clue that he would one day head a big firm like the Shuraa Group.
“My father used to captain big wooden ships. You can imagine life in those days. My father used to share stories of how he would travel to Africa, India and other places in his wooden ship, transporting people from Dubai. He was a very skilled person. Just imagine, he was manning a ship without an engine and travelling all the way to Africa and India. It used to take him almost a month to reach India from Dubai. Navigation was not as advanced as it is today. So it was his foresight and vision that helped him complete his voyage successfully. And so when he tells me that hard work pays, I believe him,” said Saeed.
Saeed said he belongs to a family of 16 siblings. “Sadly, I lost an elder sister in 2016.”
My father was not born rich... He used to initially work from Ras Al Khaimah. Life was hard back then. No electricity, no water, and the houses were not made of concrete either. But by the time I was born, my parents' lives had improved. They had moved to Dubai and their life-style greatly improved.
“My father was not born rich, as a lot of people think about Emiratis. We were all not born with a silver spoon, so to speak. My father, for example, worked for a living. He used to initially work from Ras Al Khaimah. Life was hard back then. No electricity, no water, and the houses were not made of concrete either. But by the time I was born, my parents' lives had improved. They had moved to Dubai and their life-style greatly improved.”
Starting out on his own
Saeed is pretty much a self-made man who has stuck to his ideals.
“I started a typing centre in Rashidiya in 1999. But soon after opening the centre, I realised that there were many people who were clueless about so many things like procuring a trade licensc, a visit visa and other documents. They were clueless about the paper-work required, the documentation process,” he said.
And so Saeed decided to set up Shuraa Management consultancies. As demand grew, so did his business.
Setting up Shuraa Business
Today, Shuraa Business is a leading firm that helps in company formation in the UAE. It offers business set-up service in the region. Other services include obtaining UAE trade licence, business sponsorship, obtaining investor visas and other PRO services. The company also does licence renewals and has a dedicated in-house Tasheel Centre at its head office.
“There was little help available to advise or guide people. So I took the opportunity and started Shuraa Management consultancies two years later.”
Building a reputation
Through the decades Saeed has established a reputation of a prominent businessman in the UAE and the region. People far and wide come to seek his advise on how to set up a company in the UAE. He has developed opportunities not only for himself but for several other ambitious entrepreneurs in the UAE.
When he launched the Shuraa business set up in 2001, the agenda was to help business personnel with the documentation of a business set up in Dubai. “Since I was a child, I have always been interested in global and local business environment. I explored and understood that international companies find it hard to start a company in the UAE. I decided to do something about it."
We help companies liase with Dubai Department of Economic Development. The fastest trade licence we have acquired is within three hours. The best thing about UAE government authorities is that if you have all the paper work in place, the process of completing the formalities gets done really fast.”
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Saeed attributes much of his success to the 105-strong team of people who work for him. “My success is not a result of me alone. My team is responsible for it. We are like one big family.”
Being an Emirati in the UAE
“We are seeing a rise in the number of Emiratis, especially millennials, who want to be on their own and run their own businesses. This is very encouraging. There is a lot of potential among Emiratis that still needs to be tapped. I am also seeing a lot of women coming out of their comfort zone to be independent and I am very proud of that as an Emirati," he added.
“We have come a long way. Emiratis have come out strong to show their potential. I am glad I am part of this fraternity.”