Lateefa AlWaalan named ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’

Updated 07 May 2015
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Lateefa AlWaalan named ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’

Lateefa AlWaalan, founder and CEO of Yatooq, has been named Saudi Arabia’s “EY Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) 2015” by an independent panel of judges at the EOY event.
The event was held under the patronage of Dr. Tawfiq Al Rabiah, minister of commerce and Industry, the Strategic Partner of the event.
Lateefa was chosen from a group of 11 finalists from 10 companies, each a dynamic and gifted business leader. The award was presented yesterday evening at a gala dinner.
The event was sponsored by Eye of Riyadh,  Riyadh Bank and Endeavour Saudi.
Fahad Altoaimi, office managing partner, Riyadh and Entrepreneur of the Year leader, EY, says: “We congratulate Lateefa on being named Saudi Arabia’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2015.”
He added: “Lateefa truly deserves this award which honors her business achievements, innovation and contribution to her community. Lateefa will join the Entrepreneur Of The Year award winners from over 50 countries at Monte Carlo in June 2015, where she will be inducted into the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Academy and will vie for the World Entrepreneur Of The Year award.”
The independent judging panel comprised: Abdallah Obeikan, CEO of Obeikan AGC Co. Ltd; Abdulaziz Al-Omran, co-founder, a member of the board of trustees and chair of the Riyadh Chapter of Oqal; Abdul Rahman Ibrahim Alrowaita, managing director and general manager — Aseer Company; Ali Al-Othaim, chairman of the National Committee of Young Businessmen Council of Saudi Chambers; Fahad A. AlKassim, chairman of Amwal Financial Consulting; Khlood Abdulaziz Aldukheil, founding partner and an executive transactor at MKD Financial and Business Advisory; Mohammad A. Abunayyan, chairman of the Board of ACWA Power International.
Lateefa was chosen by the independent panel of judges after an extensive process of evaluation.
The judging process was based on numerous criteria that included entrepreneurial spirit, financial performance, strategic direction, social impact and influence.
The program celebrates the success of entrepreneurs who build and lead successful, growing and dynamic businesses.
 The event has been running for 28 years by EY in 145 cities across 60 countries.
The EOY awards recognize outstanding entrepreneurs for their vision, innovation, courage, and leadership in building and growing successful businesses — businesses that influence the way we live, the products and services we depend on, and the economic vibrancy of our local communities and global markets.


Foreign investors hope India dials back policy shocks after Modi win

Updated 25 min 39 sec ago
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Foreign investors hope India dials back policy shocks after Modi win

  • Modi’s pro-business image and India’s youthful population have lured foreign investors
  • After Modi’s win, about a dozen officials of foreign companies in India and their advisers said they hoped he would ease his stance and dilute some of the policies

NEW DELHI: Foreign companies in India have welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election victory for the political stability it brings, but now they need to see him soften a protectionist stance adopted in the past year.
Modi’s pro-business image and India’s youthful population have lured foreign investors, with US firms such as Amazon.com , Walmart and Mastercard committing billions of dollars in investments and ramping up hiring.
India is also the biggest market by users for firms such as Facebook Inc, and its subsidiary, WhatsApp.
But from around 2017, critics say, the Hindu nationalist leader took a harder, protectionist line on sectors such as e-commerce and technology, crafting some policies that appeared to aim at whipping up patriotic fervor ahead of elections.

Opinion

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“I hope he’s now back to wooing businesses,” said Prasanto Roy, a technology policy analyst based in New Delhi, who advises global tech firms.
“Global firms remain deeply concerned about the lack of policy stability or predictability, this has sent a worrying message to global investors.”
India stuck to its policies despite protests and aggressive lobbying by the United States government, US-India trade bodies and companies themselves.
Small hurdles
Modi was set to hold talks on Friday to form a new cabinet after election panel data showed his Bharatiya Janata Party had won 302 of the 542 seats at stake and was leading in one more, up from the 282 it won in 2014.
After Modi’s win, about a dozen officials of foreign companies in India and their advisers told Reuters they hoped he would ease his stance and dilute some of the policies.
Other investors hope the government will avoid sudden policy changes on investment and regulation that catch them off guard and prove very costly, urging instead industry-wide consultation that permits time to prepare.
Protectionism concerns “are small hurdles you have to go through,” however, said Prem Watsa, the chairman of Canadian diversified investment firm Fairfax Financial, which has investments of $5 billion in India.
“There will be more business-friendly policies and more private enterprise coming into India,” he told Reuters in an interview.
Tech, healthcare and beyond
Among the firms looking for more friendly steps are global payments companies that had benefited since 2016 from Modi’s push for electronic payments instead of cash.
Last year, however, firms such as Mastercard and Visa were asked to store more of their data in India, to allow “unfettered supervisory access,” a change that prompted WhatsApp to delay plans for a payments service.
Modi’s government has also drafted a law to clamp similar stringent data norms on the entire sector.
But abrupt changes to rules on foreign investment in e-commerce stoked alarm at firms such as Amazon, which saw India operations disrupted briefly in February, and Walmart, just months after it invested $16 billion in India’s Flipkart.
Policy changes also hurt foreign players in the $5-billion medical device industry, such as Abbott Laboratories, Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson, following 2017 price caps on products such as heart stents and knee implants.
Modi’s government said the move aimed to help poor patients and curb profiteering, but the US government and lobby groups said it harmed innovation, profits and investment plans.
“If foreign companies see their future in this country on a long-term basis...they will have to look at the interests of the people,” Ashwani MaHajjan, an official of a nationalist group that pushed for some of the measures, told Reuters.
That view was echoed this week by two policymakers who said government policies will focus on strengthening India’s own companies, while providing foreign players with adequate opportunities for growth.
Such comments worry foreign executives who fear Modi is not about to change his protectionist stance in a hurry, with one offical of a US tech firm saying, “I’d rather be more worried than be optimistic.”