Nurturing Young Leaders

Nabil Alyousuf has harnessed the potential of the region’s rising stars through his work in both the public and private sector.

Nabil Ali Alyousuf’s career has revolved around creating new ventures and nurturing budding enterprises. The former Director General of the Executive Office of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum uses his business expertise as chairman of AlJal Capital, a venture capital investor in entrepreneurial companies, and also as Chairman of Nabil Alyousuf and Associates, a strategic advisory firm helping multinationals navigate the regional GCC market. His greatest legacy, however, will be the numerous leadership development programs he has created over the last decade.

With a massive pool of future leaders, such programs are paramount. “We live in a region that has 50 percent of the population less than 25 years old.  As they grow, the infrastructure needs to change with them.” Alyousuf has high hopes for young UAE nationals growing up in the Internet Age. “They are more global, better informed… as a result they have bigger ambitions and are more determined to achieve.” Given a nurturing environment, he believes they can achieve great success.

Alyousuf’s most recent launch is the Middle East Leadership Academy (MELA), a non-profit he started in 2011 with the support of the Society of International Business Fellows. MELA’s core philosophy is “to get the best and the brightest and give them opportunity”. Members are enrolled 30 at a time on a rolling basis, and have access to Fortune 500 CEOs and entrepreneurs, who serve as mentors.  The program, whose members regularly meet for reunions and networking events, has been a great success in its banner year. That’s hardly a surprise considering Alyousuf’s past enterprises.

Alyousuf, who was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2010, is no stranger to personal development. Following his success at a number of private, internationally operating companies, he was recruited to the public sector. It was during his nearly nine-year tenure as Director General at the Executive Office that Alyousuf became passionate about leadership development for youth.

In 2003, while assessing the massive challenge of unemployment among UAE nationals, he noticed that “you always had new ideas, projects, and initiatives and there were very few UAE nationals who could actually take the leadership role. They were ill prepared for the environment of a global workplace.” Under his direction, a series of policy changes and the establishment of major programs including the Emirates Nationalist Development Program (ENDP) began to pave the way for leadership development.

Alyousuf is also focused on bridging investment opportunies across regions. As Chairman of EU Capital Partners his company offers financial services to investors and companies seeking business opportunities in the Balkans with a special focus on Bulgaria. They also help companies from Eastern Europe expand into the MENA region.