Young leaders: Ben Samuel, 34, founder and CEO of Fit On Click

Samuel explains how young people are serving the economy as disruptors



At what point did you realise that leading your own business was the right path for you?

Entrepreneurship, leading and building a business is truly something I have been passionate about since a very young age, and this entrepreneurial bug and passion helped me shape myself into the person I wanted to become in order to successfully carry a business.

The start-up phase is stressful. I didn’t rush to start a business because I believed it was important to study the market, learn the basics, and gain some working experience. With Fit On Click, I was always confident and passionate about the product/solution I was putting in the market, but that is never enough. As a young entrepreneur, it is of the utmost importance that one learns to adapt quickly and comprehend the magnitude of the dynamic role. I am living my dream every day. Four years into business makes me love this entrepreneurial journey even more.

How well set-up do you think the region is for young leaders looking to start and grow their own companies?

Setting up a business in any part of the world has never been a piece of cake, but the dynamic UAE has gone out of its way to support young leaders and entrepreneurs.

As a growing nation, the UAE has a proper ecosystem in place with international exposure and an investor-friendly government to promote start-ups and help small business flourish and compete in the market. The country understands that new businesses do not only create employment opportunities but also bring innovation.

What new mindsets or approaches do you believe young leaders bring to the business ecosystem?

Working with interns for our sports events and corporate projects puts me in a good place to answer this question. Young leaders are the lifeblood of innovation and challengers of perceptions. I think this generation of entrepreneurs know that intelligence and learning are no longer enough to guarantee resilience, and are shameless about asking for help.

Young entrepreneurs and leaders bring in a fresh approach and solutions which influence not only their own company’s but the nation’s future growth.

Have there been any instances where age has proven a barrier for you in the business world?

Yes and no. The trend of young entrepreneurs had already picked up before I started Fit On Click, so my young age never really proved to be a hindrance in terms of growing my business. But one always goes through the typical age stereotypes, such as older business leaders doubting your ability to maintain your business over time. All of this can be easily countered by maintaining a positive and professional conduct.

What key piece of advice can you give to young people looking to start their own business?

There are six things I would say to entrepreneurs setting out on their unforgettable journeys.

Firstly, never listen to anyone except your own internal voice. Secondly, everyone has the potential to be an entrepreneur, but not everybody gets the opportunity to fulfill their dreams. The lucky ones who get this chance should make the most of it.

Next, I would say that it’s ok to fail, as long as you learn. Most importantly, choose your mentor wisely – an entrepreneur needs so much more than the funds that traditional banks or investors provide to start a business. Your mentor can often be the key to your success as an entrepreneur. The fifth thing is that you are bound to encounter struggles through this journey, but the worst thing you can do it just give up.

Finally, make the most of good shortcuts. In my university days, I realised I could cram my entire schedule into two days, leaving me a five-day weekend. This allowed me to pursue my part-time jobs and gain some working experience. If you take this approach before you start your own business, you will never regret missing out on all the great things you could have done.

It’s unwise to start down the path of entrepreneurship unless you’ve got a zeal that will get you through rough patches and keep you interested long after the initial enthusiasm has faded.