Egyptians Omar Samra and Omar Nour drew parallels between their perilous journey across the Atlantic Ocean and the challenges faced by entrepreneurs
Sharjah, November 22, 2021: Egyptian adventurers and athletes Omar Samra and Omar Nour offered a lot of inspiration and food for thought to current and future entrepreneurs today (Monday) on the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF 2021) stage, as they drew fascinating parallels between their transformational, life-changing experience rowing across the Atlantic Ocean to the journey of entrepreneurship.
Speaking as part of the inaugural proceedings of the 5th edition of the two-day festival, organised by the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), Omar Samra, the first Egyptian to climb the Mount Everest, noted: “The beauty of life, and in entrepreneurship, lies in the highs and lows, but that is where uncertainly, loss and failure also resides. Your failure can be extremely public, but the key thing is to just start your journey, regardless of results.”
His companion, Omar Nour, a renowned triathlete, who risked his life along with Omar Samra, when they embarked on a 3,000 nautical mile journey in December 2017 to cross the Atlantic on just a 7.5 metre x 2 metre light boat, with no outside assistance, added: “Just as in a risky adventure, you need to take that leap of faith in your business journey without often having the requisite experience. We had no previous rowing experience before the Atlantic expedition”.
“But what we did have was plenty of heart and the wish to raise awareness on the plight of refugees who flee on sea,” he further said.
Their boat may have capsized during the journey, with the duo rescued by a cargo ship, but the 12 hours they were left adrift at sea became the subject of the documentary ‘Beyond the Raging Sea’, bringing their story to a worldwide audience.
Drawing many parallels between their perilous adventure and the journey of entrepreneurship, the adventurers pointed out that putting oneself out there in risky situations are sure to bring successes and failures, in both business and sport.
“At the beginning of our journey, it was an exciting phase. We had all the focus and energy and the world’s attention on us, but then reality kicks in and we were slumped over in exhaustion every day, with problems and complexities thrown at us that are akin to an entrepreneur’s journey while building their businesses,” said Omar Samra.
“Whether you are embarking on a journey like ours, or your own business, be prepared to be blindsided by unexpected things, like the wave that capsized us. In the ocean, as in business, things will go wrong, and it is how you choose to face it that makes your situation better. Keep at it with persistence and a nice solution will present itself,” said Omar Nour.
The adventurers advised that while creating the ingredients for success is not in the hands of entrepreneurs, creating the right environment to usher in the factors leading to success is entirely within their capacity. Not all variables can be anticipated or tackled with either, “but if you can practice what is within your reach, the process will flow automatically if not smoothly,” said the duo.
Pauline Nguyen, business leader and author of The Way of the Spiritual Entrepreneur later spoke about realising one’s full potential in her talk ‘Why you need to awaken the spiritual entrepreneur in you’.
The fifth edition of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF), one of the largest events for entrepreneurs in the region, organised by the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), is witnessing the participation of 55 speakers, including influential regional and global entrepreneurs, industry titans, and young creatives from social, cultural and sports sectors, and more. Bringing together more than 4,000 entrepreneurs and founders of startups across sectors on one platform, the two-day festival is discussing ways to make a meaningful impact and promote positive change in the entrepreneurship sector in the UAE as well as the region.
SEF 2021 is being organized in partnership with the ICT Fund - an initiative of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and the Digital Government of the United Arab Emirates, Sharjah Media City (Shams), Alef Group, and the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority.