Furqan Athar: A Fearless Business Leader Who Turns Adversity and Uncertainty into Growth Opportunities

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When it comes to the success of a business venture or an individual, the ultimate key is the confidence to take risks. Entrepreneurs who are risk-takers are more likely to succeed compared to those who don’t because taking calculated risks allows decision-makers to overcome their fear of the unknown and unlock the doorway to potential growth opportunities. It demands a certain level of boldness and courage to face failures and turn such instances valuable to the development of the business. A true example in retail real estate space is Furqan Athar, the partner and managing director of McARTHUR + COMPANY. He desires to take risks and accumulate valuable experiences that have led him to be the success he is today. “In my view, fostering innovation demands a willingness to step into uncertain terrain and embark on ventures that are distinctive while still rooted in fundamental principles. Striking this delicate balance between originality and foundational elements is where the real essence of innovation lies”, shares Furqan Athar.

Furqan boasts of an extensive and impressive career path of almost two decades dating from 1995. During the first 10 years, he managed to acquire experience in various job roles and intensive training from prestigious organizations. Gradually, he gained expertise in business processes and IT setup mainly in the implementation of major ERP solutions for established multinational corporations. Furqan is an ideal example of how strategic goal-setting can help you successfully scale the corporate ladder. He thrived by identifying learning opportunities and attaining valuable insights from them. Needless to say, such exposure helped him to mature in the business realm and advance to internal roles and later to management roles at Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Shopping Centers and Al Futtaim Group Real Estate (Dubai-based developers).

Interestingly, Furqan’s active involvement with major projects at VMC and Dubai Festival City turned out to be a notable juncture in his entrepreneurial journey. This period provided him with the knowledge and familiarity with the space that urged him to expand his expertise across diverse industries in the AMEA region. “My ultimate goal is to contribute to the growth of numerous individuals and relatives while establishing ventures that cater to their needs. For me, entrepreneurship serves as a methodology to assist multiple developers concurrently, aligning with my vision to make a meaningful difference”, says Furqan.

Innovating the Retail Real Estate Sector

Today, Furqan is the partner and managing director of McARTHUR + COMPANY, a shopping center enterprise that solely focuses on the retail real estate, dining, and entertainment industry. The firm is uniquely positioned in a way that all their expertise and employees, who operate as collateral specialists, are exclusively channeled into this specific niche, and at the same time, they refrain from engaging in residential, commercial infrastructure, hospitality, or community projects. When their strategic focus on this distinct and specialized sector coupled with their unwavering commitment to excellence, the firm rose to its glory within a short period of time since its inception in 2012.

Moreover, McARTHUR + COMPANY’s upcoming venture is ZOI, an AI-based platform that facilitates individuals to embark on a preventive health journey and manage a healthy lifestyle. By leveraging AI-based solutions, ZOI helps to monitor and measure health status on a daily basis, addresses chronic issues, maintenance needs, and performance optimization, and fosters a continuous path toward sustained healthy living—all in one accessible space. Not only that, the platform positions itself uniquely in the preventive health sector with limited competition.

A Legacy Deep-Rooted in Leadership Values

“The values that resonate most with me are centered around ethics, morals, passion, societal impact, leaving a lasting legacy, charitable endeavors, and embodying a comprehensive perspective from the grassroots to the executive level”, adds Furqan. Furthermore to aspiring entrepreneurs, he encourages them to nurture a risk-taking mentality and harbor a growth mindset in order to develop and flourish with their ventures in their respective spaces. Likewise, he emphasizes the significance of finding learning opportunities amidst the challenges and hurdles one faces along his pursuit. He also advises young businesspeople to identify and keenly observe today’s innovators who have successfully embraced risks and caused notable disruptions in the marketplace. Similarly, he chimes in how adopting imperfection is pivotal and it is crucial to acknowledge and learn from mistakes without any fear. Building trust through honesty and transparency can essentially result in gaining clients’ respect and trust and thereby help in creating long-term relationships with them.

Besides, according to him, a good leader must possess the ability to discover and recruit potential talents who inspire admiration. Such individuals come together to form a remarkable team that nurtures and demands a respectful atmosphere. Having these talents work together will bring value, innovation, and passion to their roles, demonstrating a genuine commitment to the industry and their respective areas. This approach not only fosters collaboration and long-term commitment but also empowers them to take the lead in their designated domains.

On that note, Furqan cultivates a collaborative culture at McARTHUR + COMPANY and ZOI where he prioritizes team empowerment and the balance between accountability and freedom. He promotes a culture with a strong sense of responsibility along with a spirit of ownership. Such an environment impels individuals to work for themselves and also contribute to the collective success of the company.

Going forward, Furqan envisions himself transitioning to a more advisory and non-executive role. He intends to appoint dedicated individuals or teams to assume responsibility for his roles and combine their expertise and ownership, while he oversees the various facets of his companies. He plans to shift his primary focus to his family while he manages and maintains these individuals or teams.

On the other hand for McARTHUR + COMPANY and ZOI, Furqan promises an exciting future. He pledges to continue to innovate the sector by understanding the changing industry dynamics and watching closely the evolving customer preferences, technological advancements, and design improvements. By doing so, the firm guarantees to bring forth new and inspiring ideas that ensure a forward-thinking approach. 

Quotes:

“In my view, fostering innovation demands a willingness to step into uncertain terrain and embark on ventures that are distinctive while still rooted in fundamental principles. Striking this delicate balance between originality and foundational elements is where the real essence of innovation lies”.

“My ultimate goal is to contribute to the growth of numerous individuals and relatives while establishing ventures that cater to their needs. For me, entrepreneurship serves as a methodology to assist multiple developers concurrently, aligning with my vision to make a meaningful difference”.

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