UM analysis: Proud of young Somali entrepreneurs

Somali Annual Business Awards 2018 logo Photo: Twitter

Mogadishu (UM) –  UM congratulates the organisers of the Somali Annual Business Awards (SABA) which took place on Thursday in Mogadishu. The awards were given out for the second time to successful Somali businesses which are thriving despite the many challenges in Somalia.

There were the traditional big business winners and some familiar private sector faces who were honoured but the real winners on the night were the young Somali entrepreneurs who are making a positive impact, and profit, in different sectors including technology, aviation and advertising.

Despite the continuing Government efforts to improve the ease of doing business in Somalia there remains a challenge of innovation due to monopoly, lack of intellectual property protection and poor economic policy implementation. However, despite these difficult obstacles, young Somali entrepreneurs are finding a way to succeed. The SABA awards were a testament to the determination, skills and entrepreneurial spirit of the Somali people, in particular, the youth who are otherwise facing massive unemployment and lack of meaningful prospects in the country.

UM recognises the successes of Ocean Airlines, SOSTEC and Daauus advertising agency at the SABA awards, among others. Abdiqani Mahamud Ali, the CEO of Ocean Airlines, established a successful airline which connects Somalia internally like never before while still allowing the Somali passengers to reach Nairobi comfortably. His ambitions are even greater than this and no doubt at the next SABA awards he will bring forward new innovations.

Zahra Abdikarim Ibrahim is an inspirational business woman in the male dominated field of technology in Somalia. Her once start-up dream is now 12 years old and the most successful Somali technology business in the country. Her growth plans are fascinating, and no doubt will cement her companies position as the technology leader in the Somalia. Her business is helping other start-ups and established businesses with technology solutions which will revolutionise many service and product markets, while creating space for new ones.

Mohamed Bashir Osman is too busy putting the shine on other people’s businesses while growing his own. The Graphic design company he established is now quickly expanding into a successful advertising agency which will no doubt grow as Somali businesses seek to compete in tough markets, and impress foreign partners and investors.

In addition to the above, there were many worthy winners in distinct categories and UM salutes them all and wishes them operational and financial success for the upcoming year. Even those businesses and entrepreneurs that did not win an award this time round are still winners for seeking solutions to their personal and the national economic challenges. With continued effort and confidence, they will no doubt reach their goals too.

The Somali Federal Government, through the Ministry of Commerce, must work with the Somali business community to build on their strengths and address their weaknesses with effective policy solutions. The current financial difficulties of the nation can only be overcome through domestic revenue generation. This means the Government must become best friends with the business community and aspiring entrepreneurs who must also fulfil their obligations to their shareholders, communities and the nation.  It is time to take Public Private Dialogue further quickly.