Qatari woman entrepreneur recounts tale of success

Qatari woman entrepreneur recounts tale of success


Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Source ::: The Peninsula

Al Sulaiti broke traditional barriers to emerge successful.

DOHA  She had dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur when she was a child but
having been born into a conservative Qatari family she was married off
at 13.

But marriage and children couldn’t stop Mona Al Sulaiti from pursuing her
dream. Fighting all odds, she continued attending school and eventually
graduated with a business administration degree.

She wanted to set up a fashion design business but didn’t have the means to
start off on her own. Determined, she took up a job at the Virginia
Commonwealth University Qatar (VCUQ) as an assistant to the dean.

Al Sulaiti gradually succeeded in convincing students and staff of VCUQ of
the immense scope of the business concept she had in mind ever since
she was a child.

Sulaiti soon resigned and plunged into the world of business headlong and success is hers today.

But the ambitious lady doesn’t think she is successful. "The moment I think
I have achieved what I wanted to, I would cease to grow," she told an
audience at a seminar on entrepreneurship held by the British Council
here at the Four Seasons Hotel yesterday.

"You can do whatever you wish to provided you believe in yourself and think positively," said Al Sulaiti.

She said she wrote her business plan on a piece of paper and put it in a
drawer in her house while she was a child. Pursuing the plan remained
her passion all through. As a grown-up, she got an opportunity to
discuss the plan with people who were experts in the field. But they
didn’t believe it would work.

But she didn’t give up and continued to dream of the venture. A group of
local investors eventually agreed to put in money and set up a private
shareholding company with Al Sulaiti as general manager. The venture is
known as ‘YD09’ and its products are gradually gaining in popularity.

Asked by The Peninsula, how she managed to become an entrepreneur in a
society which is known for being traditional, conservative and
male-dominated, she said: "Women in Qatar are highly intelligent and
educated. They have freedom but are scared of breaking social
barriers."

Even while following her religion and social customs and wearing the
traditional Qatari dress, she said she didn’t ever hesitate to travel
alone for business.

Nor did she hesitate to speak to men. "What’s wrong in being independent," she said.

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