A group of GCSE students have been told by a Dubai-based young business leader that the only thing holding them back from future entrepreneurial success is their state of mind.
Omar Jackson, partner at international private equity firm Berkeley Assets, spoke to Year 10 and Year 11 students at Safa Community School ahead of their upcoming GCSE exams about turning passions into profits and the importance of goal setting.
“Waking up every morning with gratitude for where you are in life is the best way to start every day,” said Jackson. “Adopting a positive attitude and state of mind will make it almost impossible for you to focus on the negative. The way you communicate with people, the way you sit, stand, talk – it all has an impact on your wellbeing.”
An entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word, Jackson is one of the most innovative business leaders under the age of 30 in the UK and Middle East, becoming a multi-millionaire by 24.
His leadership skills were apparent from an early age, setting up his first ‘business’ at the age of 13 selling cakes to fellow school pupils, soon earning Dh1,000 ($272) a week, and he has always sought ways to turn hard work into profits.
Now 27, Jackson spoke to the Safa Community School students for two hours and took questions from the youngsters on topics ranging from business motivations, entrepreneurial ideas, goal setting, the passions driving him to succeed, and how to come back from failures.
“Failure helps you to learn,” he said. “But you have to understand why you fail in order to move on. Be willing to accept you’ve made a mistake – and we all make them, sometimes over and over again – but you need to take ownership of what went wrong before you can harness that failure to develop.”
A year into his Bachelors of Arts degree at University College London studying History, Philosophy of Science with Economics, Jackson decided to leave higher education to pursue a career in business and finance.
“I promised my mum I would get into university and I was accepted into one of the best in the country, but I quickly knew it wasn’t the right path for me. And I didn’t promise I’d complete the course! It was a risk to leave and a difficult decision to make at 18 years old, but it was a calculated risk and it paid off for me.”
He set up numerous businesses while living in London, sourcing vital investment for an electronic smoking brand, securing various property development deals in the UK and USA, and investing in a restaurant & bar, before branching out to Dubai, UAE in 2011.
Some of the students highlighted the challenges they face in securing part-time work in Dubai, due to the employment rules in the UAE. “There’s nothing stopping you being entrepreneurial,” said Jackson. “More than half of you raised your hands when asked if you want to run your own businesses; harness that drive and learn what passions you have to help you succeed.”
Michael Davies, head teacher of Secondary at Safa Community School said: “It was a fantastic experience for our GCSE students to welcome Omar into the classroom. The students were inspired by his innovative approach to all aspects of his life. We hope to welcome him back to the school shortly.”
As a partner of various financial businesses in the Middle East and acting on behalf of a portfolio of private investment clients, Jackson capitalized on the Blockchain technology movement by acquiring Cryptech World, a firm which provides investment opportunities to individuals and institutions wishing to explore the potential of Blockchain.
Berkeley Assets is currently expanding its reach from the current London and Dubai offices into six overseas markets to drive the company’s strategic growth on a global level. A new office in Marbella, Spain opened this month, while Mexico City, Moscow, Cape Town, Hong Kong and Singapore are planned to follow throughout 2019.
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