Tamer Nahas, founder and CEO of BOLDtalks, a Dubai-based boutique event consultancy and curator of high-impact events focused on global thought leadership, explains that believing in one’s initial vision and its relentless perusal is essential for the survival of a business in its infancy.
Often referred to as the region’s most thought-provoking event, the BOLDtalks concept hosts renowned opinion leaders and achievers to discuss very diverse, but strictly non-political and non-religious, topics.
However, the concept centres around its community – more than 500 people have attended each event – by putting the presented topics into a personal and intimate context and inviting the audience to explore new ways of thinking.
“One of the biggest challenges we particularly faced at the foundation stage was the fact that BOLDtalks events were concept events, and not typical conferences that the market was already familiar with,” Nahas says.
“Naturally, as people tend to be dubious of the unknown, it was very critical that we invest great effort in educating the key stakeholders on what the concept was and how the end product would look like.
“However, we were confident that this particular challenge would only be limited to the launch event, and if we were to successfully deliver the ‘experience’ that we had initially envisioned, we would no longer be selling a concept, but an already existing product. We just had to patiently wait for that tipping-point.”
Since inception in Dubai in 2010, the BOLDtalks events concept has grown to now produce five large-scale events across three continents every year, as they ventured into new markets through a franchise-based model that enabled brand expansion across Australia.
The BOLDtalks team has also pioneered corporate citizenship into the event management industry by producing the region’s first series of carbon neutral events in partnership with a local clean technology start-up.
Nahas adds: “Moreover, to positively leverage the extensive media attention that BOLDtalks events enjoy, and with our original intention of being a community centric business, we frequently host numerous local upcoming artists to perform live on the stage and/or paint the discussed topics onto canvases that are ultimately donated to charitable organisations to help them raise funds for their causes.
“This is a superb way to support these local artists by offering them a platform to showcase their talents and give them extensive exposure through the media coverage of the event.”
Other features of their events – the BOLDtalks Open Mind and the BOLDtalks Big Heart Awards – are aimed at recognising the efforts of organisations and individuals who have contributed to their respective societies.
Born in Palestine, a survivor the Bosnian conflict of the 90s, completing his education in the UK before moving to Dubai in 2003, Nahas believes that perseverance is a key trait of successful entrepreneurs.
“Perseverance, a word that I used to hear frequently in my youth, didn’t take too long to become one of the most cliché expressions. Today, seven years into the BOLDtalks business, I believe in it more than anything!
“My personal experience has also taught me that in whatever industry you’re starting your business, you should hone your sales skills, because you will need to be selling at all times and to everyone.
“In fact, before you have your final product ready for the market, you will need to sell your concept or idea to investors or other relevant stakeholders.
“Therefore, as any experienced entrepreneur will tell you, it is all about the ‘numbers game’. That one out of twenty prospect that will say ‘yes’ to you will likely be your game-changer and trigger a chain of activities down your business development processes.
“However, for you to get there, you have to go through the painful journey of rejections and setbacks, and your only friend in this journey will be perseverance.”
The fourth annual BOLDtalks Innovation 2017 event is taking place in the Centrepoint Theatre, Dubai, on Saturday, 18 February.