Young Saudi CEO says making money shouldn’t be No. 1 priority

Young Saudi CEO says making money shouldn’t be No. 1 priority
Adwa Al-Dakheel, CEO of Direct Influence, at the ‘Youth in Business’ panel discussion at the Saudi-US CEO Forum in Riyadh Saturday.
Updated 20 May 2017

Young Saudi CEO says making money shouldn’t be No. 1 priority

Young Saudi CEO says making money shouldn’t be No. 1 priority

RIYADH: Disregarding the singular quest of making money when starting a business is the top advice offered to entrepreneurs by Adwa Al-Dakheel, the 25-year-old CEO of the Direct Influence media agency.

Society today needs businesses that can cater straight to its needs, the young Saudi executive said on the sidelines of the Saudi-US CEO Forum on Saturday.

“Today if you want to succeed; if you want your business to become a billion-dollar business, you need to think of the society first,” she told Arab News.

“I think the old theory of (starting) a business just to make a profit is over,” she added, adding that money will come eventually if you’re doing the right thing and if the idea is beneficial.

Al-Dakheel, who is also a stock analyst, triple majored in business management, entrepreneurship and psychology in Boston, Massachusetts. She said the educational infrastructure in Saudi Arabia is “booming and is becoming bigger and better,” something that calls for knowledge transfer between Saudi and foreign students.

“I think the idea and theory of knowledge transfer between Saudi Arabia and the US is extremely needed. In the past it has been one-sided, but in today’s age it is actually moving in both directions.”

She hopes to see more students coming to study in Saudi Arabia from the US. A current example of that are students coming from abroad to study at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal and Mohammed Bin Salman College (MBSC) in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).

The young businesswoman, who became a CEO at the age of 23, said that Saudi Arabia needs to invest more in employment, job development, and education as well. “It’s not right for us to just employ people, get them a salary and just ask them to work. We should give them knowledge; we should educate them because a year later, we don’t want them to be the same people.”