Stars of 2018
Sat 22 Dec 2018 10:25 PM
Jalal Saleh Al Hadhrami

Industry: Finance

Company: Celebrity Global Holdings

Designation: Founder and CEO

Omani businessman Dr Jalal Al Hadhrami is perhaps his own best advertisement for the entrepreneurship that his venture capitalist fund, Celebrity Global Holdings, seeks to support. Arriving in Dubai 11 years ago with a loan for AED120,000, the former pilot set up a business consultancy after walking into the Mohammed Bin Rashid Foundation to seek help and advice – and from which he derived his first set of clients. In the subsequent years, he has set up, invested in and rehabilitated around 20 companies. Celebrity Global Holdings has evolved into a business juggernaut with $320m assets under management and offices in New York, Hong Kong, the UK and Saudi Arabia.

The private holding company engages in venture capital, private equity and mergers and acquisitions. CGH invests in different projects in specialised fields that can demonstrate their ability to disrupt markets and industries. It invests at different stages of the business life cycle to provide education and mentoring to help them grow, create wealth and add value, beginning with a three-month course that teaches entrepreneurs the legal and practical considerations of starting a business.

His firm also takes budding business owners though a series of steps such as due diligence, scalability of their business, and evaluating whether the idea is credible and worthy of investment.

The UAE is where I started everything. It taught me everything I know about business

After the entrepreneurs graduate, they have a full business plan which they have developed during the course to use as a blueprint or “road map” for their business venture. Once the company starts generating profits and returns the initial investment, CGH rescinds ownership of the equity in the company.

Al Hadhrami was also the first to bring the Islamic Venture Capital (IVC) model used in Malaysia to the US and this region. Unlike other venture capitals, CGH takes the full risk and doesn’t ask for a guarantee like conventional VCs. As a result, before going into any business, the research arm of CGH sends a team of experts to conduct rigorous studies of everything related to the company, industry and country. They research growth rates and the different forces driving the industry, to find out where they can be most disruptive.

The industries in which Hadhrami is most interested now are fintech and education. The 40 year old was born and raised in the tiny village of Hadash in the western Hajar mountain range of Jebel Akhdar. Today, he spends his weekends in Oman after an eventful working week in Dubai.