We had the pleasure of sitting down with the inspirational Mompreneur behind one of Dubai’s business stars, Future Entrepreneurs, BizWorld UAE, Helen Al Uzaizi.
Mompreneurs WW: Tell us about your company…
Helen: We do entrepreneurship and financial literacy education for children aged 8-15. We do this with schools, workshops, youth organizations and work with young children on developing their entrepreneurial mind-set and spirit to prepare them for the ever-changing world.
Mompreneurs WW: How did the idea of starting it come about and who inspired you?
Helen: The idea came about in the middle of the night on April 1st 2016. My husband showed me a tweet about a company in the US that works on entrepreneurship with kids and I realized no one is working on the educational side of this much needed skill. Whether they decide to have an entrepreneurial journey or not, the mind-set means that we are developing creativity, resilience, empathy and much more.
Mompreneurs WW: What is the best part of what you do and the toughest?
Helen: Best part, by far, is working with the kids and seeing the excitement they feel when they go through the projects and take on roles like company CEO and VP of finance. They have so much positive energy and passion and it just makes me over the moon when I work with them. Can’t imagine anything more fulfilling.
The toughest has been to get into schools. Although they are all interested and want to integrate the program into their curricula, there are so many layers and levels that it takes a long time to get through. There’s also a lot of bureaucracy when it comes to the education systems and frameworks that it is difficult to stay patient and passionate when you spend so much of your time doing paper work. I want to just get on with it and do great things with these kids and then there’s always one more document, one more approval, one more requirement and it gets daunting at times especially as I am working on a regional level and dealing with the UAE, Jordan, Egypt and now starting to look into Saudi Arabia as well.
Mompreneurs WW: How many kids do you have and how old are they?
Helen: I have two girls, 9 and 6 years old.
Mompreneurs WW: How do you juggle work and life balance?
Helen: They aren’t always perfectly aligned and sometimes I do have to prioritize one over the other for a short period of time. I think the realization that it will not always be perfectly balanced is what helps a lot. I do most of the things that I do for me (working out, reading) in the morning as early as 4:30am and that way I release the sense of guilt that a lot of moms have. I also prioritize things depending on the days and what I have planned – I have an incredible agenda/ journal that I rely on which I use to plan my week ahead and spend a few minutes every evening planning the next day and seeing what I can do when. I think the two key things are:
- Not everything needs to be perfect – there won’t always be a perfect balance, I won’t always look perfect, I don’t need to be perfect!
- Planning and organizing my days ahead of time (while knowing that things can change)
Mompreneurs WW: What’s a book you always recommend and why?
Helen: Jack Canfield – The Success Principles. It was given to me by my mentor and changed my life and anyone who I have gifted it to says the same. The first chapter of the book sums it all. Take 100% accountability. For your life, your choices, your days. The minute we understand that we have choices and hold ourselves accountable, we stop blaming people and the world and take ownership and control of the situation (empower ourselves) and that is when we can create the change we want to see, whether it is within ourselves, our work, our family life or environment. 100% accountability and that is true self-empowerment.
Mompreneurs WW: What advice would you give a Mompreneur who was just starting out?
Helen: Don’t forget to take care of yourself. We can get so caught up in setting up a business and working on managing ‘everything’ that we forget ourselves. If your cup is not full, you can’t quench anyones thirst. This applies to the simple things like having time to meditate, read, plan your day, work out or even getting your nails done, massage or whatever it is that makes YOU happy and feel fulfilled. I believe many Mompreneurs think being overwhelmed and neglecting themselves is part of the process, but it does not have to be. Even something as simple at 10 minutes a day for YOU to do what YOU want can make all the difference in the world – your patience, your understanding, your giving will all benefit from you taking care of yourself.
Mompreneurs WW: Your favorite quote is…
Helen: I have many but ever since I started triathlon and did my first IronMan70.3, the slogan that they use is ‘Anything is Possible’ and it is something I truly believe in. I don’t like saying ‘Nothing is Impossible’… it feels negative… but Anything is Possible is full of dreams, hopes, and gives me the feeling that whatever I set my mind to, I can do and I believe everyone has that power. So, Anything is Possible would be my favorite quote.