Omar Al Busaidy – Interview
Author, Entrepreneur, Global Shaper
Young Emirati Omar Al Busaidy has come a long way shaping, sharing and mentoring the youth in the Emirates, striving to develop a well calibrated society that is side by side with the vision of a great and successful nation. Having more than 13 years of experience in various sectors across the UAE and the region, Omar Al Busaidy is part of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers community, a network of hubs developed and led by young people who are devoted to making a contribution to their communities.
Omar is the published author of the book ‘Just Read It’, an entrepreneurial guide to self-development. Since 2010, Omar has been invited to mentor several students and host youth discussions focusing on entrepreneurship and leadership at various universities across Abu Dhabi and Dubai such as AISEC, Khalifa Fund and Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, as well as Georgia Tech in the United States. Omar also frequently appears as a panelist and keynote speaker at events and conferences organized by prestigious organizations across the world, including Lead2Succeed with New York Times Best Selling Author John C. Maxwell, as well as TEDxYOUTH@AlAin, 37th World Diamond Congress, Harvard Business Club, and DP World; amongst many more. We spoke to Omar about his aspirations, his vision and his empathic endeavours in the society.
Tell us about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey, your aspirations as a writer and a global shaper?
Omar Al Busaidy: I have always been a very ambitious person since I was in school. I tried to be first in class in several subjects, and I’ve always tried to be very athletic and took part in several sports such as football, volleyball, and basketball. Since then, I’ve managed to do a lot of things on the side such as volunteering and taking part in different campaigns. For example, smoking awareness campaign and recycling campaign.
Moving on to university, I was a full-time employee and a part-time student. I worked on different businesses and tried opening up my own a few times. I opened an advertising agency, a boutique store, and now a gents’ salon. Because of all the experience I gained, I managed to write and publish a book, “Just Read It,” about my entrepreneurial journey. Currently, I am working on my second book which will talk more about Artificial Intelligence and Futurism.
Having done all these things, it shed lights on me with the World Economic Forum who identified me to be one of the Global Shapers in the Abu Dhabi hub. There are around 5,000 global shapers in the world, and we are around 25 in Abu Dhabi. Our role is to look into and support the objective of our hub, which in our case is the youth and women empowerment. Also, addressing environmental climate change as these are the sustainable goals for the United Nations. I talk about entrepreneurship at different schools and universities around the UAE, which is a way for me to contribute as a global shaper. I aspire to help people grow by building bridges for them and also by helping entrepreneurs to grow.
What does it mean to contribute to your community, and what are the challenges you face and work hard to address?
Omar Al Busaidy: Contributing to my community is a very big deal for me because I have seen how this country has grown over the past 46 years. UAE has given me so much including security, stability, and opportunities for growth. I feel as a way of respect and gratitude for my leaders I need to do something to give back in this life.
The main challenge I face is when people think you are helping them out for something in return. I actually never ask for anything back, I try to help as many people as I can and all I tell them is just to pray for me, that’s it.
In accordance with the 20/20 vision of Dubai, how do you plan to participate and contribute to the accomplishment of the vision?
Omar Al Busaidy: The 2020 vision has several points, and one of the most important ones is to place Dubai as a knowledge-based economy. I think we are already on the right path by transforming the economy into a digital economy. I believe that my second book will also help to support this main message as I will be talking more about AI.
You have been to many prestigious forums what has been your most productive platform in terms of what you do and look forward to achieving?
Omar Al Busaidy: I’ve been to many different forums, such as Women and Leadership, TedX, World Government Summit, World Economic Forum etc. I was also a speaker at one of the Women and Leadership Forum as well as TedX Youth in Al Ain in 2012.
All these forums and platforms have been ideal for me because it was here I heard leaders and thinkers discussing great ideas and sharing their experience and knowledge which has helped me personally to grow a lot.
Who inspires you the most in your life?
Omar Al Busaidy: I used to believe that I am inspired by only one person, but now I honestly feel like every person I meet inspires me in one way or another. From every single person you meet, you tend to pick up 1 or 2 things you learn and take with you. I am glad to say that I have learned a lot from my lovers and my haters.
Tell us about your book ‘Just Read it’, what was the motivation behind writing it?
Omar Al Busaidy: The book is a self-help book for aspiring entrepreneurs, and a series of reminders that touches upon social, emotional, and intelligence skills. I tried to “Omar-ize” it as much as possible trying to make it reflect my personality in the best way to help people to think of their day-to-day lives and how they behave with their surroundings.
What motivated me to write the book are my students. During one of the lectures I held at a university, I noticed that students never take notes which made me feel like I am not appreciated. I asked the students why aren’t you taking notes, and got the suggestion from one of the students to write a book because they would rather listen/ read to what I have to say than take notes themselves.
What are the projects that you are currently working on?
Omar Al Busaidy: Right now, I am working on a second book and I am also considering opening something within the F&B sector. I really love and appreciate specialty coffee and I am considering doing something within that industry.
What are the social causes that are close to your heart?
Omar Al Busaidy: The massive social cause is helping people to find their purpose and also helping people finding jobs. A lot of people need help with finding jobs and financial assistance, and I think that I do that on a daily basis without attaching myself to a fixed cause.
What advice would you like to give our readers to play a positive role in building the society?
Omar Al Busaidy: I think people need to learn to empathize more because there are a lot of people who need help out there. We can see that times are challenges and competition is getting very intense. We need to put our heads up, look around us, and ask someone if he or she needs any help. This is the least you can do as a human being.