Entrepreneurs lead through ingenuity and strategy
CEO Ahmed AlHuzami of AlCantara Holdings explains the company’s recent rise in the region and the advantages Kuwait offers to entrepreneurs.
AlCantara Holdings was formed in 2004 to bridge the gap between international business and Kuwaiti culture. Indeed, the name AlCantara stands for “an arched bridge over a body of water,” something CEO Ahmed AlHuzami keeps in mind when setting forth on the holding company’s latest ventures.
AlCantara Holdings now covers an assortment of segments, including office accessories from its Campo Marzio line, perfumes under its Jazeel brand, online men’s essentials with its Bazma online shop and sports retail under its Extreme Sports outlets. However, AlCantara Holdings’ shining star is its sports management and consultancy Suffix, which has single-handedly changed the landscape of sporting experiences in Kuwait.
The company started with only 100 participants in their local events to 62,000 participants in the past season, despite the pandemic and a total population of just above 4 million.
AlHuzami details the road the holding company took as one of analysis and preparedness: “When we thought strategically about AlCantara Holding, we went to see other groups to understand their evolution. We found that most large entities in the region were scattered in different ventures.” However, AlCantara Holdings is sharply focused on its sports segment, despite its other components. “The strategy we set two years ago was to focus on sports businesses."
"Kuwait has great characteristics that the region does not yet have in terms of purchasing power, education and trends. It is a great place to start any ventures and spread to the region"
One of the tenants of the Kuwaiti government’s Vision 2035 roadmap is enabling the private sector to have a larger impact on the growth and diversification of the economy. In line with this initiative, AlCantara Holding has capitalized on a nascent area and grown it to sizes previously unimaginable. “We discovered that there was not much attention to the field of sports in the country, which pushed us to find innovative solutions and concepts to bring awareness on this important subject.”
Ahmed AlHuzami adds “In a society that is not into sports and activity, you are free to do something new. We strive for unique experiences even if they are high-cost because we know we are changing a culture,” he says. “For seven years we were in the red zone, but we were thinking long term. We wanted to have an impact on the community, and we succeeded.”
The CEO states the base their success in the country of Kuwait and the region, describing the oil-rich nation as a fantastic base for setting up a company. “Kuwait has great characteristics that the region does not yet have in terms of purchasing power, education and trends. It is a great place to start any ventures and spread to the region,” says AlHuzami. From his vantage point, the CEO sees more success on the horizon. The company plans to spill its operations into the region, continuing its drive to bring leisure and fashion to the GCC area.