Success or failure can hinge on a company’s identity, how it is perceived by the public and more importantly its employees. Selaiman Azizi, an established entrepreneur and investor based in Dubai, UAE, understands that knowing who you are, begins with where you have come from, and his inherent values are synthesized in the DNA of the diverse group he leads, allowing him to navigate effectively through turbulent times with the unwavering support from his core team.
Azizi’s extensive portfolio began with petroleum but quickly diversified into F&B, hospitality and fine jewellery across Europe, Gulf, Africa and China . A master at building a personal brand, he plays politics like a maestro, networks like a fiend, has built an impressive array of clients and associates who owe their fortunes to him. On the surface he is a confident, swaggering, ruthlessly competitive man, seduced by luxury and enjoyng the finer things in life, but beneath the lustre lies a multifaceted man who is socially responsible, compassionate and humble despite the dizzy heights of success he has reached. Describing himself as a team Captain, rather than a ‘leader’, he guides, coaches, and navigates his team abolishing the notion of hierarchy in his organisation and designing an environment where innovation and new ideas encouraged, granted a platform to be appreciated and autonomy to execute them. This nurturing quality in Azizi is what has allowed his business to achieve accelerated growth, empowering talent and instilling confidence in his employees.
However, the future was not always so bright for disciplined and determined Azizi, trapped under mujahideen in Afghanistan, war torn and bleak, his parents desperate to change the course of life for their six children, emigrated to Germany in 1989 to a small town near Cologne in a quest to live without fear and uncertainty . Azizi flourished in his new home, and later completed his Law Degree and a further Masters in International Business before beginning in his journey as an entrepreneur. As a son of immigrants fleeing political instability, Azizi falls into a well-documented group of entrepreneurs, in America, almost half the Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants of children of immigrants. Perhaps Azizi’s strongest attribute as an entrepreneur, risk-taking, is the results of his parents taking a chance on a new land, culture, language. Upward mobility was granted through traditional employment channels for Azizi, his career began with Toshiba, excelling in his role, recognition was followed by a fast track to a management position, the catalyst to direct his energy into his own business ventures.
Ten years on, the astute Azizi has now turned his grit and determination towards social responsibility, mobilizing his resources through a charitable trust named after his Grandmother, Nurisa, working on a grassroot level, supporting the development of rural communities globally to provide shelter and outreach programs. His business strategy echoes this social consciousness and will shift in 2021 to delivering solutions to government supporting sustainability in the Middle East through smart infrastructure technology, reducing carbon emissions.