Makarem Batterjee, President of Bait Al Batterjee (BAB) holding company, and Vice Chairman and Deputy President of the largest private healthcare organisation in the Middle East, Saudi German Hospital Group, founder and President of Humania Capital, one of the largest healthcare investment companies and President of the world-renowned Gold’s Gym franchise in Saudi Arabia.
Here he shares his views on the business and the industry:
What is Middle East Healthcare Company (MEAHCO)?
MEAHCO is a publicly listed company, based in Saudi Arabia, which owns, manages and operates a network of state-of-the art hospitals and facilities under the Saudi German Hospital (SGH) Group.
MEAHCO, under the brand of SGH, has wide geographical footprint in Saudi Arabia covering Jeddah, Aseer, Riyadh, Madinah and Hail. The construction of SGH facilities in Dammam and Makkah are also underway. MEAHCO also provides management supervision services to other SGH hospitals and Medical Campuses across the Middle East and North Africa
What is the SGH Group?
Saudi German Hospitals Group started with the opening of the first hospital in Jeddah in 1988 by my father Eng. Sobhi Batterjee, President of SGH and uncle, Dr Khaled Batterjee, Vice President of SGH. We aim to provide affordable and accessible healthcare by having the largest hospital footprint in the Middle East and North Africa with plans to extend to Pakistan and Morocco.
In KSA we manage and operate 5 hospitals with a sixth hospital opening later this year and a seventh next year. We have also expanded to Egypt, Yemen and the UAE. Our tenth hospital will be opening soon in Ajman as we continue to develop new hospitals in a number of territories in the GCC and adjoining emerging markets to provide access to world-class healthcare to populations who are in need of it.
Tell us more about Bait Al Batterjee (BAB)?
Bait Al Batterjee is the holding company for all family business centered around wellbeing and improving the lives of people. Through its 25 subsidiaries it undertakes various activities in the medical and education sector. BAB has built its presence over many decades and employs over 12,000 people.
It is headquartered in Jeddah and has presence throughout the GCC, North Africa and Pakistan and continues to expand its geographic reach. Saudi German Hospital Group is one of BAB’s main subsidiaries in the region as well as the largest private healthcare organization in the Middle East.
What is your vision for the healthcare industry in the region?
My vision for the healthcare industry in the region is very much in line with the national healthcare agendas in place. We want to see improved infrastructure in healthcare facilities, increased education, training and development for Health Care Professionals, as well as better preventive health programs, with the purpose of enhancing the lives and wellbeing of people overall.
Therefore, in support, we are currently working to rejuvenate the SGH Group through further investment into the latest technology, our people, as well as infrastructure by renovating spaces to ensure global standards are met throughout.
As Bait Al Batterjee Company (BAB), we not only build our offering from a healthcare perspective but more so from a human perspective, embodying the role of taking care of people and the wider communities.
Our portfolio of companies and services aim to assist you throughout life, ensuring we have the supporting touch points for each step of the way. From birth (maternity), to childhood (pediatrics) and on to education and employment with Batterjee Medical College, Education 4 Employment program (E4E) and our executive education at Global Business School (GBS).
In addition, Golds Gym encourages lifestyle changes and preventative health, with Saudi German Hospital there for when you are sick. as well as day care support for as you grow older. Finally, understanding the significance of pets to many, we even have offering catered to them.
There are also more areas of healthcare which could be explored in the MENA region. As part of my investment platform, Humania Capital, we are continually looking for under-served specialized and sub-specialized areas in healthcare. These areas include: autism, rehabilitation and long-term care.
How does Saudi German Hospital work on introducing innovation in its hospitals?
Our family has always been looking for the best-in-class patient care. whether that be in the individuals we employ or the innovation and technology behind the medical equipment we invest in. We have won awards for our innovation including the Most Innovative Healthcare Company in the Middle East by Entrepreneur magazine.
We have continued to invest in providing the best healthcare service and experience to our patients and are renovating the SGH branches in Riyadh and Jeddah in 2019 to ensure we offer world-class expertise and patient care.
How much does the healthcare industry cost in the GCC?
A steadily rising population and increasing treatment costs have driven amplified healthcare expenditure in the GCC. Over a period of five years up to 2013, spending in the region grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3 per cent $49.5bn.
This trend is expected to gather pace in the future: combined statistics from the World Health Organization, World Bank, Alpen Capital and others see the GCC healthcare market growing 12.1 per cent between 2015 and 2020, from $40.3bn to $71.3bn.
Tell us more about Gold’s Gym – why did you bring this franchise to the MENA region?
Just as we helped to get high-quality medical education in the country, we also felt the duty of bringing in health and fitness as a preventive care element. Saudi Arabia has one of the highest percentage rates for obesity and diabetes in the world.
One of the reasons for this is because it has a hot climate, which limits your ability to go out to walk, run or do sport—especially for women. Therefore, we felt fitness was a great solution to encourage and support community health.
We brought in leading US franchise, Gold’s Gym, and now we have the largest Golds Gym in the world here in Jeddah. We plan to invest even more by opening near to 100 Gold’s Gyms across the region to provide wider access to fitness facilities for communities, with the most recent opening being Golds Gym Madina.
What are your personal key areas of focus?
Ultimately, we are in the business of doing good and proactively driving positive and progressive change in the Arab World through education and healthcare in line and in support of Vision 2030.
I believe education and healthcare are not only connected to each other but are in fact crucial in providing the best-in class services to help the communities that we operate in.
This is exactly why these two areas have been recognized globally in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In line with SDG 3 (good health and well-being) and 4 (quality education), we aim to provide affordable and accessible healthcare and quality education, by having the largest healthcare and education footprint in the Middle East.
What have you learnt from your father, Sobhi Batterjee?
Both my grandfather and father have always been driven by doing good for people with the higher purpose of doing good for others, I am inspired to follow in their footsteps and ensure that this is part of my core philosophy.
Additionally, from a business perspective, I have learnt and continue to learn a great deal from my father, a natural born leader who has accomplished many things that have had a huge benefit to many communities across the MENA region.
By working alongside him I have learnt to take initiative in order to make things happen. He has been a great support to me. I have also noticed how organized he is running his companies. All elements work smoothly and efficiently together to achieve goals, and ultimately satisfy our patients and partners and raise the bar in healthcare.
I’ve also learnt a lot from other members of my family, – namely my grandmother who has really supported and drove our family’s entrepreneurial spirit, as well as my uncle, Dr Khaled Batterjee, whom continues drive positive and significant impact throughout
Makarem Batterjee is a visionary healthcare leader with over 20 years’ experience in healthcare, consulting and investment. He is currently the Vice Chairman of Middle East Healthcare Company (MEAHCO), a company listed on the Tadawul Stock Exchange, President of Bait Al Batterjee Holding Co, as well as the Vice Chairman and Deputy President of the largest private health care organization in the Middle East, Saudi German Hospital Group.
In addition, Makarem established Shababco Enterprises, a company that is dedicated to elevating the lifestyle of millennials in the Middle East by providing them with innovative services and facilities. With this, he has been the key driver in establishing the largest award-winning gym (Gold’s Gym) in Saudi Arabia.
Makarem is a passionate advocate for empowering women and cites that one of his biggest achievements is building the largest female gym in the world, and the first of its kind in the Kingdom. His work with Gold’s Gym has received achievements and widespread acclaim in the US and has plans to expand even further top open 50 branches in the next few years.
Makarem also founded Humania Capital, an investment platform dedicated to delivering enhanced and much needed health services in the region. In addition to the projects underway, Humania aims to become the most credible healthcare platform in the MENASA region striving to deliver high-quality healthcare with affordable pricing. Makarem is the founding president of the Saudi Chapter of the globally recognized Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a global, peer-to-peer network of more than 13,000 influential business owners with 186 chapters in 58 countries. The Entrepreneurs’ Organization is the catalyst that enables leading entrepreneurs to learn and grow, leading to greater success in business and beyond.
He is also a popular panelist on the Arabic version of the Shark Tank programme; a famous US-based reality TV show which focuses on Saudi entrepreneurs pitching for investment in their businesses, products, or services. Season two of Shark Tank is currently being aired and has earned Makarem a large following and many fans.
As a result of his vision and unwavering commitment in business and leadership and impact on women empowerment, he was chosen as the youngest member, and one of the only few Arabs, in the prestigious Bretton Woods Committee in Washington, D.C. Through this committee, top business leaders from around the world champion global efforts to spur economic growth, alleviate poverty, and improve financial stability. He was also chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum at Davos in 2008.
Makarem holds an MBA from London Business School and an honorary doctorate from United Nations for Arts Middle East & Africa which he received because of his positive impact on women.
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