Dubai: Ahmed Al Fahim, a 34-year-old Emirati serial entrepreneur, believes in taking calculated chances when it comes to managing money and investments. This was his strategy from the moment he launched his first business, an events management company, in 2016. He did this in 2016.
Al Fahim, an Abu Dhabi-born serial entrepreneur who has since launched an electric scooter business and a coffee brand, advised investors to never spend more money than they can realistically afford to lose.
He admitted that he picked up his first investment techniques by observing his father conduct phone-based stock trading. His father managed an oil and gas industry-focused recruitment firm and a construction company.
“Never invest more than you can afford to lose because if you invest more, you risk significant losses.” – Ahmed Al Fahim
Budgeting spending, saving for future from a young age
“My father would take my sister Hamda and me to his workplace so we could watch him work. Early on, I was given Dh200 per week as pocket money, which helped me learn how to budget, prepare, and save. It was thrilling because I could use that money to go to the movies or an amusement. Nevertheless, I was able to set aside money for savings and potential investments, said Al Fahim.
Then, for finishing with a scholarship in the US, I was given a cash gift of Dh36,729 ($10,000) at my graduation. A friend suggested buying Apple stocks when I was considering my stock investment choices. I was able to earn ten times as much money five years afterward.
Al Fahim started his first business and then went on to establish five more in various industries. He later established a food truck booking firm in Abu Dhabi in 2018 that offers locations to well-known food and beverage (F&B) companies in the UAE.
Why did you last venture into the F&B market for the business?
“As a social entrepreneur, I have always supported innovative approaches to resolving societal issues. The need to service the community in this way affordably led to the creation of a food truck booking company, he continued.
Before starting a series of successful businesses, Al Fahim spent two years in the tourism industry in Abu Dhabi and ten years working for the government. He originally funded his venture himself before finding an investor.
“As a humanitarian entrepreneur, I have always backed creative solutions to societal problems. He went on to say that a food truck booking business was founded as a result of the need to serve the community in this manner at a reasonable cost.
Al Fahim worked for the government for ten years and the tourism sector in Abu Dhabi for two years prior to launching a number of prosperous companies. Before securing funding from an investor, he initially financed his project himself.
“In 2019, we worked with various F&B start-ups to understand their pain points and paired with them at our first food truck park. We steadily increased to over seven locations across Abu Dhabi and Al Ain over the last three years, he added.
We introduced a drive-thru application in 2022 to modernize on-the-go dining because we were ready to grow as we moved into the post-pandemic recovery period.
Al Fahim disclosed that a significant part of the company’s expenses are related to marketing. “Our other expenses, besides marketing and sales, included start-up costs and the necessities of the restaurant business, like labor, insurance, licenses, and permits.”
Here are three money rules Al Fahim lives by:
Rule #1: “Always reinvest back into the business.”
“Reinvesting assures financial stability for the company,” said Al Fahim, who puts back 60 per cent of his profits back into his businesses, about 20 per cent into real estate, and the rest into stock and cryptocurrencies. “Also, much of my income from these streams go back into the businesses.”
Rule #2: “Excessive luxury goods are not penny-wise.”
In his early years, Al Fahim felt it was important to reward himself and bought an expensive car. He soon found that maintaining the vehicle and its running expenses were too high. This experience showed him that excessive luxury goods might not be penny-wise.
Rule #3: “Take risks while you are young.”
During his early years, Al Fahim learnt you can experiment and truly realise a possible career that fulfils your passion and is profitable because as you grow older, and as life commitments increase.
“When I was younger, I enjoyed coming up with creative answers to problems. I’ve always loved going to activities and interacting with the local population. I also realized how crucial food was to achieving that, which led to the company eventually providing the best food and beverage experience.”