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Looking for contestants with fire in their belly – Muna Al Gurg
Kipp interviews Muna Al Gurg - one of the judges on The Entrepreneur - on her experience with the show and what she looks for in a contestant.
October 3, 2012 9:32 by Eva Fernandes
Muna Easa Al Gurg is the Director of Retail for the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group (ESAG). She is responsible for strategy and operational development for the group’s international retail brands. Prior to 2010, Al Gurg oversaw the group’s Marketing department. Her role as head of Corporate Communications included working with media, customers, partners and other stakeholders in support of ESAG’s business objectives.
If you could describe your experience on The Entrepreneur with one word, what would it be and why?
In a word, I’d say exciting. It was so fast paced because we didn’t know what to expect from day to day. We were going through so many contestants, and it was really exciting for us as judges because we didn’t know what we were going to see next.
Why did you agree to come on to the show as a judge?
I believe that this region needs a lot more investors, and more people coming in who are interested in new entrepreneurial ideas. ‘The Entrepreneur’, I think, is going to be the first of many programmes and platforms that will allow people to come in and present their ideas. There are a lot of ideas out there, but people don’t actually know where to go with them and we’re giving them this great platform to present on, so that others can hear about their ideas. It’s just the tip of the iceberg.
What was the most challenging aspect of being a judge on The Entrepreneur?
It was very difficult when we came down to the last three. They were all excellent and had some very interesting ideas, so we were like ‘What now?’ So I’d say that making our minds up about the winner was the biggest challenge.
What do you look for in a contestant?
I was looking for the person who had fire in their belly, the one who truly believed in their idea. During filming I saw a lot of good ideas, but you could tell a person who really believed in their idea because you could feel it in their presentation. If I didn’t feel their passion, then I’d remind them that they needed to show us.
If you could give budding entrepreneurs one piece of advice, what would it be?
They have to have confidence, and they have to believe in their idea. By all means research it, look into everything that you can to see how you can take your idea forward, but, most of all, believe in whatever you have in mind.
From your experience what is the biggest challenge UAE’s budding entrepreneurs are facing?
As I mentioned earlier, I feel that the region doesn’t have enough angel investors. Yes, there are things that a government entity can do for you, but at the same time there’s also the risk a new entrepreneur has when taking out a loan, having family members invest in their idea, or selling their assets… at the end of the day, you need these investors to come in and that’s one of the biggest challenges that we face. Also, people don’t know where to go to, and we need more angel investors to come together and help people build their ideas.
If there is a second season of the Entrepreneur, would you be interested in coming on as a judge again?
I would be, yes!
-The Entrepreneur debuts today (October 3)-