x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

My UAE: Mohammed Kazim’s socially conscious businesses

A profile of Mohammed Kazim, who quit his steady paycheque to give something back through his work.

Mohammed Kazim, pictured at his office in Dubai, mixes business with a social conscience. Pawan Singh / The National
Mohammed Kazim, pictured at his office in Dubai, mixes business with a social conscience. Pawan Singh / The National

Mohammed Kazim likes to take risks. The 30-year-old Emirati from Dubai gave up a steady paycheque last year to follow his dreams.

“I want to give back to the community. When I feel I can’t benefit anymore from a job and I can’t give back, I leave the position and look for more challenging options.”

Three and a half years ago, while managing a health care delivery facility, Kazim set up Allinque Personal Assistance with other partners to cater for young professionals who need a virtual PA in their busy lives.

“I like challenges,” he says. “I like to find solutions to problems and then test the results.”

Kazim and another partner became local celebrities after appearing on the reality TV show The Entrepreneur on Dubai One, where they represented their venture. Allinque ended up as one of three finalists selected from a pool of 2,000 applicants.

“It is very difficult to set up something sustainable in the region as there is a lot of red tape and many hidden unnecessary costs,” he says.

He’s now launching a new venture with a message: Tamashee is a footwear brand with a social element.

“We had very distinct and traditional footwear that our grandparents used to wear but has faded with the new generation, with only a few maintaining their traditional sandals. So we decided to revive the traditional footwear but give it a new twist,” he says.

Tamashee supports three social causes which are important to him: “preserving identity”, “representing culture” and a charitable aspect, coined “Colouring Lives”.

“A portion of the proceeds from every purchase of a Tamashee product directly funds projects that aim to increase awareness of people with Down syndrome,” he explains.

“Whatever one sets up, they need to think of how this venture will give back to society.”

Favourite drink?

Bubble Thai iced tea with tapioca balls.

Favourite film or movie?

[Quentin Tarantino’s] Django Unchained is my most recent favourite. It keeps you in mystery of what’s to come yet stimulates your mind.

Favourite motto?

I couldn’t find a good translation in English, but along the lines of: “Better yourself and people will better themselves for you.”

Favourite music?

I like a little bit of everything. Depends on the mood. I like The XX, they have a very particular mood I connect with very well.

Favourite dish?

Kimchi. I love Korean food.

Favourite pastime?

Learning about new cultures and new things, whether through reading or searching online or meeting new people. I also love learning languages and can speak five.

Favourite poets?

Imam Al Shafii. His poems are inspiring and full of wisdom.

Favourite brands?

I like any brand that provides a quality offering a touch of class regardless of how famous it is.

Favourite car?

I have one in each category: truck, salon, sports and motorcycle.

Favourite cartoons?

I’ve recently become a fan of this Saudi cartoon artist Malik Najr who makes a series called Masameer that targets social issues in Saudi Arabia and the GCC.

Favourite sports?

I love to run; it helps me disconnect and stimulates my thinking.

Favourite book?

The Quran. It inspires me and guides me and I try to live by it as much as possible.

Favourite actor?

Johnny Depp, because he can play every role well. He is good in everything.

rghazal@thenational.ae

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