King’s Academy welcomed Mohamad Haj Hassan, founding partner and board member of Akhtaboot and Jawaker, as a guest speaker on December 5 to share his entrepreneurship experience with the student body. Haj Hassan was invited as one of a series of 15 guest speakers and panel discussions lined up this year to mark the 15th anniversary of King’s Academy.
The event, which was generously supported by Orange Jordan, also falls under the umbrella of a new initiative launched this year at King’s Academy — The Tawfiq Shaker Fakhouri Chair for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Leadership Program. The program aims to enable King’s Academy students to practice entrepreneurship and learn the technical and interpersonal skills needed to build startups from industry professionals.
During the talk, which took place during school meeting and was moderated by Head of School Peter Nilsson, Haj Hassan shared with students the educational and professional journey that led him to starting up two successful online businesses, the recruitment site Akhtaboot, and card game app Jawaker.
Speaking about what motivates and inspires him as an entrepreneur, Haj Hassan shared: “I always had an itch to create, to do something that I could lead myself. I wanted to build a creative space — coming up with solutions to problems has always been something that drives me.”
Haj Hassan explained how, although ideas often happen organically, entrepreneurs should be “looking at their community and thinking about what they can do to solve specific problems faced by their user base.”
He also spoke about the importance of finding purpose in what you are doing. “A business has to make money and sustain itself, but ultimately you have to find purpose in what you are doing. The lives you are changing become that purpose, and you want to know what the impact your business has on people, that’s what matters.”
Speaking of another important aspect of building a successful business, Haj Hassan said: “You also want to make sure the success of your company is reflected on your team and that it reflects in the quality of their life, so that they can continue to thrive in the creative space that they are in.”
Answering questions from students, many of whom belong to the school’s student-led Entrepreneurship Club, Haj Hassan spoke about the mindset of an entrepreneur.
“I want to solve problems in a different way, and I might get it wrong, but that’s ok. If you hate being wrong, this is not the path for you. You need to try many wrong ways before you are able to find the right way, and to keep trying until you get it.”
Answering one student’s question of how you know, as an entrepreneur, if an idea is worth pursuing, Haj Hassan spoke about the importance of the team surrounding you: “Over time you develop an intuition. You have to make mistakes, so you recognize what potentially in the future might be a mistake and avoid it. Have a diverse set of people working with you so you have differences of opinion and viewpoints to draw on.”
- Guest Speaker