Sadiq Al Lawati, Omani entrepreneur and director of EO Majlis
Give us a 60-second lowdown on your career.
After graduating in the UK, I started my career in banking before joining the family business. I took over one of our companies in food manufacturing and alongside my team and family, revamped the factories, which became Mehdi Foods. We worked with international companies to rebrand a whole range of products and tripled our capacity in production and packaging. We then went into juices in 2005, getting involved with Tetra Pak and buying state-of-art machinery. We were also the first in the GCC to have Disney-branded products. But last year, an Omani company approached us to take over our snacks division, so we sold it. Then an Emirati company came to us about our juices division, so we sold it. We exited from manufacturing peacefully. Since I had all this experience in food, I thought why not focus on restaurants? In March 2009, we opened B+F Roadside Diner and then, working with the same Kuwaiti people, brought Slider Station here. We now have a new concept called Fresh Plus, which is a premium convenience shop with a premium bakery, Arabic coffee and sit down area.
You’re also a director of EO Majlis in Oman and helped organise the latest celebrity-packed event. Tell us more about that.
Entrepreneurs’ Organisation (EO) is a dynamic, global network of more than 8,700 business owners. It was founded in 1987 by a group of young entrepreneurs and has a lot of chapters around the world with annual revenues of $17.3m. It allows entrepreneurs to grow and learn from each other, leading to business success and an enriched personal life.
EO Majlis is a yearly regional event, hosted by EO Oman. It brings together entrepreneurs and world-class speakers. It’s about learning and socialising.
We formed a committee of EO Majlis and I was elected to become a director. I have a lot of work to do such as getting speakers, venue and getting connected with EO Global to finalise the schedule for the event. Being an EO member, it’s been great to contribute my time to both EO and the community.
Who would be your dream guests – dead or alive?
Steve Jobs and Richard Branson.
What is your ultimate ambition?
I like innovative ideas, so I’d like to get involved with more unique franchises that have a touch of entrepreneurship. They motivate me to work harder.
What do you do in your spare time?
Outside work, I spend time with my children. Being with them is really important to me. I also collect stamps and notes. Two to three hours a week, I give time to my hobby, from reading about the subject to connecting with people.
What three words describe you?
Innovative. Passionate. Patient. Anyone who can wait more than ten years to see one stamp has to be patient.
What’s your business philosophy?
It’s a group policy to be about people, whether they’re your team or guests.