Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Loulou Khazen Baz was crowned winner of the reality TV show The Entrepreneur last night. ANTONIE ROBERTSON / The National
Loulou Khazen Baz was crowned winner of the reality TV show The Entrepreneur last night. ANTONIE ROBERTSON / The National

Tweet turned out to be worth Dh1m for The Entrepreneur winner

Loulou Khazen Baz was crowned winner of The Entrepreneur last night for her start-up Nabbesh.com, having applied to be on the reality TV show after seeing a tweet from its sponsor.

It was the tweet that changed her life and bagged her Dh1 million in prize money to establish herself as a top entrepreneur in the region.

Loulou Khazen Baz was crowned winner of the reality TV show The Entrepreneur last night for her start-up Nabbesh.com, an online skills marketplace aimed at the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

"I saw the tweet from du [the show's sponsor] and followed the link. It was a four-page application process. I didn't even think about it, I just filled it in and said 'OK, let's wait and see'."

After the gruelling shortlisting process and four weeks of filming Ms Baz was finally announced the winner and awarded Dh1m (US$272,260) to develop her business idea.

Nabbesh is a website that helps to connect skilled individuals with those interested in hiring them either on a short-term or long-term basis. Users can list their skills and services while recruiters can post their requirements.

The website helps to connect them together using geo-location services.

Ms Baz was one of two women in the final 10. Her socially aware, digitally focused idea caught the attention of the four judges.

"I could see them nodding during my pitch. They loved it." After the show, two of the judges told her it was a fantastic concept and "they wanted to support me beyond the show".

The 31-year-old UAE resident of Lebanese descent funded the project herself which she began in August last year after leaving her job at a venture capitalist firm.

"I wanted to be part of something bigger and create something that had social benefit. I became very bored and demotivated. I had all this work experience but there was no channel to say these are my skills and I can do some consulting for a fee. There was no skills marketplace and so I decided to create one."

The numbers supported her quest. With one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world, the Middle East is in need of such a service.

"Labour force participation is 50 per cent in Mena compared with 65 per cent in the US. Among women it is 25 per cent in Mena, so there is a massive opportunity," said Ms Baz.

Since April the website has racked up 3,000 subscribers, with thousands more expected thanks to the exposure it has achieved on the show.

One of the biggest hurdles is to find the right talent. "We had a whole fiasco [in the beginning], trying to find the right people for the job. I am not from a technology background so it was very challenging," said Ms Baz.

The prize money will go towards building up her team and presence in the region. There are currently 10 employees, all recruited via Nabbesh.com.

"We need to grow the technology and marketing team if we want to make an impact and be regional."

She is also concentrating on social and digital media, marketing the brand and the idea through various networks. Nabbesh has signed up with Microsoft to create a Windows 8 app, but Ms Baz also plans to have an offline presence to reach out to those in remote areas or without internet access.

Currently the platform is available only in English, but plans are already under way to launch an Arabic version.

"It has the potential to change the lives of millions. The time of entrepreneurship is now. It has a role in creating jobs, improving the economy and politics," said Ms Baz.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Miele coffee maker making Cappuccino at Miele Gallery in Sama Tower in Dubai. The cost of this coffee maker is around Dh 17,000. Pawan Singh / The National

Space-age coffee comes at a price from Miele

Miele have taken the coffee machine to a new level with its Dh17,000 offering that is built into your kitchen.

 The bridge of Seajacks Hydra, as the wind farm installation vessel undergoes finishing touches and testing works at Lamprell’s Hamriyah facility in Sharjah before its planned delivery on June 2, 2014. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

In pictures: Building the Seajacks Hydra

The Seajacks Hydra, a wind farm installation vessel, is undergoing finishing touches and testing works at Lamprell’s Hamriyah facility in Sharjah before its planned delivery on June 2, 2014.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 The rush of new supply of hotel rooms pushed Dubai occupancy rates down to 87 per cent. Sarah Dea / The National

Dubai hotel room rates rise 10 per cent

The rush of new supply pushed occupancy rates down to 87 per cent, a dip of 2.6 per cent from the previous year. Winter months are the strongest for Dubai hotels, with occupancy and prices falling to half their peaks by July.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National