Family businesses outnumber corporations in the vibrant Middle Eastern landscape, wielding enormous power. According to a PwC report from 2019, these family businesses account for 60% of the region’s GDP and employ 80% of the workforce. Among this economic tapestry is a 25-year-old dynamo named Abdallah Abu-Sheikh, a Jordanian entrepreneur based in the UAE who has left an indelible mark on the business landscape. His story is similar to that of a teenager thrust into the world of entrepreneurship, as he faces challenges with unwavering determination. This tenacious individual has risen above his forced entry into the entrepreneurial arena to become the visionary CEO of Barq. A tech-driven network of electric vehicles, this venture exemplifies the spirit of risk and innovation in carving a distinct path in the fast-paced world of business.
Abdallah’s journey begins in Jordan, where he spent his childhood, and continues through England and China. His educational pursuits took him to King’s Academy, then to Canada, where he earned degrees in commerce and accounting. He received an MBA from the London Business School in 2021, laying the groundwork for his entrepreneurial ventures. Before his MBA, he co-founded LUX Development Partners in 2016, a renewable energy consulting firm. The company expanded rapidly, contributing to 1.2 GW of power projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. Despite global players’ entry, his strategic exit in 2018 demonstrated his foresight and adaptability. He co-founded Rizek, a digital marketplace for home services in the Middle East and North Africa, in 2019. As a result of a $10 million Series A funding round, he was able to identify market gaps and execute with speed and precision.
The Entrepreneurial Spirit: A Journey of Challenges and Triumphs
After his father’s aviation business failed, he was thrust into the role of breadwinner for his family at the age of 17. His subsequent trip to Africa coincided with the launch of Lux, revealing his natural ability to turn challenges into opportunities. This life-changing experience not only forged his entrepreneurial spirit but also set the stage for subsequent ventures, including the significant transition to Rizek.
Rizek’s success under his leadership demonstrates his strategic resilience in facing the challenges of entrepreneurship. He instilled in Rizek’s ethos a problem-to-opportunity mindset. The company’s agility during the COVID-19 crisis demonstrated its ability to adapt quickly, which is central to its entrepreneurial philosophy. This ethos not only strengthened Rizek’s position but also emphasized the importance of quick, adept responses in navigating the volatile terrain of business. He sees obstacles as stepping stones to Rizek’s success as he navigates the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial journey.
Barq: Pioneering Sustainable Logistics in MENA
Abdallah Abu-Sheikh is the driving force behind Barq, a game-changing venture that is transforming the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) logistics landscape. Barq’s innovative product line, which includes the Rena Lite bicycle, Rena Max scooter, and Yas 1 drone, demonstrates the company’s commitment to meeting the region’s specific needs. His emphasis on local manufacturing distinguishes Barq from competitors who rely on imported technology. Barq is unwavering in its commitment to tailoring solutions specifically for the Middle East, with plans for manufacturing facilities strategically located across the region.
Abdallah Abu-Sheikh’s innovative leadership
He embodies leadership values that reflect innovation, resilience, and a commitment to community impact. His transformative leadership style emphasizes local manufacturing, which distinguishes Barq from emphasizing sustainability and addressing regional needs. Layan Barghouthi, co-founder of the company, has praised his vision, integrity, and honesty as an example of an ethical business mindset. Furthermore, CTO Muhammed Shabreen highlights Abdallah’s track record of success in scaling businesses, demonstrating his strategic acumen and ability to navigate challenges. Beyond business success, his leadership values extend to societal contributions, as seen in his involvement in ventures like Rizek and Astra-Tech, reflecting a commitment to leveraging technology for positive change in the community.
Success breeds success; it becomes more of a need, and it moves into becoming a habit. You can’t stop because you discover that it’s not a destination; it’s just the way you live.
“Through hardships, to the stars—that’s the mindset I bring to every endeavor. Challenges are not problems; they’re opportunities waiting to be seized.”