Ten On The Weekend is a weekly (-ish) feature in IMI, the concept of which is simple: Each time, we ask the same ten questions of a different industry figure, letting readers get to know the interviewee on a more personal and informal level than they might in an ordinary business setting.
Our guest this week is Mahmoud Saber of Elevay.
How do you spend your weekends?
I believe that in order to be a successful man in your business you first have to be one in your personal life. That’s why I’m making my weekend time totally for my family, spending time in family gatherings to clear my mind and be ready for my main mission in business.
What are your top three business goals this year?
As you know, our industry is facing major threats. So, my top goal this year is client education. We have to teach our clients how to distinguish between genuine immigration programs and informal ones. I strongly believe we can affect people’s lives either in a positive or negative way, and so our ethics should always drive us to help people to secure their life.
My second goal is actually something that results automatically once the first goal is achieved: Gaining credibility.
We need to regain our industry’s credibility. I don’t care if I lose a client because I would not serve him the “right” option. I prefer to tell my client that “I’m sorry, but you are not able to immigrate to your country of choice” rather than wasting his time and making him lose his entire future by leading him the wrong way. So, I prefer having a friend who trusts me to having a disappointed client.
My third top goal is reaching the very wide range of clients here in Egypt, helping them expand their business, enhance their ability to move, and obtain more freedom generally. We do not want to make people leave their countries of origin but we need to give them a world without borders. We need to make their lives easier, give them the chance to expand their businesses to a wider (global) market area so that we can have more fair international competition.
What’s your biggest business concern right now?
My biggest business concern right now is that some immigration consultancy offices don’t play by the rules. They are leading the market to a disaster called “Lack of Credibility” and that will affect all of us. And that’s why I appeal to all companies who really care about their clients and want to draw a shining future for them to commit to adhering to governmental regulations and processes.
Which book is on your nightstand right now?
Good to Great by Jim Collins
How and when did you get into the investment migration industry?
The first time I got into the investment migration industry was in 2014, when I joined Elevay in their Dubai office after getting a meeting with one of my colleagues there. He was himself a migrant, by the way.
What was your proudest moment as a service provider?
Thank God, I have felt pride in my work many times. But I would highlight one episode: When I got an unexpected call from one of my old clients and he just wanted to say hello, even though his deal and my service to him had been concluded 2-3 years prior. He still considered us friends and he was pretty sure that our relationship had more to it than just getting the immigration service done.
Which investment migration market development has surprised you the most in the last year?
In the last year, ORA Caribbean really surprised me. They went the extra mile to understand what the client needs from investing in Caribbean islands and getting a second passport. They secured the investment by guaranteeing a buyback after five years. They made the actual cost of investment very low after getting the investment return. ORA is a trusted and credible developer here in the Middle East, and their entering the investment migration market added real value.
If you could go ten years back in time, what business decision would you change?
Actually, ten years is a lot for me as I’m only 30 years old so I hadn’t started my career yet a decade. But I don’t believe that I would have changed much about any of my previous decisions. I don’t think I’d be what I am now without passing through all my prior decisions, whether right or wrong. Those are decisions, failures, and successes that make up my experience now. If I changed any of them, I’d be a different person with a different experience and beliefs.
What investment migration industry personality do you most admire?
Helping people is my number one priority, which is why I like the educational videos of Andrew Henderson from Nomad Capitalist.
If all goes according to plan, what will you be doing five years from now?
We will have more service branches across Egypt and North Africa, helping our Middle Eastern clients expand their businesses and enjoy global mobility. Also, attracting new inbound investors to Egypt through the new Egyptian Citizenship by Investment Program.
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 14 years in the United States, China, and Spain.