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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Features: Diving Deep into the Water Sports Business in the UAE


Muneef AL Ameri is a 32 years old Emirati from Abu Dhabi, Studied Chemical Engineering and graduated from Michigan Technological University. He is currently working as a production manager for an oil and gas company in the UAE. His passion for water sports paved his path to his business, Empros, which he runs with his brother. 

A list of activities that are covered by Empros can be found at the end of the Feature article.

Please give a short description of yourself and your business

Muneef AL Ameri 32 years old Emirati, studied Chemical Engineering and working in Abu dhabi for an oil and gas company. Hobbies are mainly related to water sports which inspired me to open my business in this field. In 2007 my brother and I who are fans of water sports decided to open up a waters and diving center EMPROS to encourage the sport of diving and swimming in Abu Dhabi. Over the years we developed our company to include motorized activities. 

Describe your financial journey so far.

We started off the business with simple concept of buying a Yacht (Empros) from Egypt to sell it to potential customers in the UAE, which forced us to apply for a Business loan through a renounced bank the capital was invested in buying that yacht, later to find out that there was demand to charter the yacht which looked to be more profitable in comparison to selling the Yacht. We depended on the return income from chartering the yacht to open a small office and hire basic employees and get into contact with freelancers from diving instructors and event’s organizers which gave us leverage to invest into buying more capital. Investing our personal as well as profit income into building the company.    

How did you start out?

We started off by buying a yacht which was intended to sell in the local market, however we have decided to charter it instead, which gave us the financial ability to expand our business to catering and events, then dive deep into attaching more water sports activities to the business, we depended on our ourselves and friends at first to market the idea, then we started to market our activities through publications/media and charity events.

Are you a spender or a saver?

I will consider myself as a saver and a spender on investment and development.

What's your philosophy regarding money?

Very broad question, personally I think money is false indication of achievement and an unstable source of success. Professionally I think it’s a tool to be used to develop in the greater good of mankind and a tool to help promote innovation and creativity.    

       What made you decide to launch Empros?

We noticed that even though Abu Dhabi being an island and we are surrounded with water, there was no attention given to the water sports industry in Abu Dhabi. So it was our aim to focus our business in developing a high quality center that provided the best services standards while maintaining a high safety record. We then extended our function to include motorized water sports and include our 100 ft Yacht (EMPROS) into the business, expanding our range of activities.   

What inspires and motivates you?

I’s a task oriented person and a perfectionist, myself motivation in creating an idea and making it come to life. I’m inspired to make a positive mark in life and to contribute to the development and success of my beloved country.

Did you make any financial mistakes along the way?

Many. A lot of financial mistakes were made that I have learnt from not being from a financial background it was a necessary thing to happen to develop my financial skills.

Do you believe in planning for the future?

Very much forecasting and planning is a major pillar to be used when developing a business, also historical data and trend analysis to pick up on shortfall to be avoided in the future.

Is money important to you?

We have to acknowledge that money is important in life to sustain living but not an aim.

What is your idea of financial freedom?

Haven’t come across such a terminology. We as human chose to link and attach ourselves with money as a part of way of living.

What do you enjoy spending money on?

Traveling learning about new cultures. Financial investments, charity

What value does Empros add to the water sporting community in the UAE?

We have carried out several charity events, not to mention exposing the public to water sports awareness by teaching them the right and safe way in performing water sports. Participated in several sporting events.

What advice would you give to new startup entrepreneurs?

Plan and reinvest, and don’t give up at the beginning, take advise and research the market and the idea before establishing. Have a long term vision and don’t be discouraged by competition. Maintain a steady small quality output rather than a trying to go large with a weak output. Invest in advertising, advertise advertise advertise.


Water Sports:

A.    Diving trips and training
B.    Swimming lessons.
C.    Fishing trips
D.    Jetskiing
E.    Wakeboarding
F.    Windsurfing
G.    Parasailing
H.    Kayaking
I.     Yacht chartering
J.     Banana/donut boat ridingK.    Currently the soul contacted company by Abu Dhabi beached and Abu Dhabi municipality  to take over the water sports activities on the Corniche.  

Events on Yacht:

A.    Organize parties, wedding and celebrations on the Yacht
B.    Participate in major event like F1, the Yacht show ect
C.    Cater for special events on the yacht.
D.    Organize long diving trips

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