6 Ways to Launch a Startup Business Idea

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, July 22, Kuwait

 

6 Ways to Launch a Startup Business Idea

 

On Monday, July 20, The American Business Council-AmCham Kuwait (ABCK) hosted a webinar titled: 6 Ways to Launch a Startup Business Idea. The webinar focused on 6 ideal ways of starting a successful startup, providing guidance on how to validate startup ideas, and avoiding key reasons of startup failures.

 

The webinar was presented by Mr. Abdulla Hassan, Co-Founder and CEO of Dhow Capital.

 

In his opening remarks, Hassan greeted all attendees, thanked ABCK-AmCham Kuwait for the opportunity to share his knowledge with their members and the local community, and briefly reminded of the importance of taking precautions in light of Covid-19 updates. He began the presentation by providing an overview of the topics of discussion and the concept of innovation. “Innovation is one of the reasons why smaller countries have succeeded over larger countries, take the example of Singapore which didn’t have much natural resources to count on, but had a vision which was built around innovation, and today they are one of the strongest economies in the world. Germany after WW2 had lost everything but innovation and commitment to delivering innovation allowed them to be one of the biggest economic giants in the world. Similarly, the U.S. went through the biggest depression in the 30s” emphasized Hassan.

 

He then discussed in detail some of the key reasons startup ideas fail such as: variances in product-market fit across different countries or locations, not considering customer insights to create an offering that is customer-relevant, or user interphase is too complex for customers to engage. Even when the ideas are great, if not executed well, an idea by itself will not withstand the various challenges that come when launching a startup. One important factor that is often overlooked is that people acquire mentors and investors based on title or funding needs instead of synergy they have with the project. “Wrong investors and mentors are one of the key reasons people fail with their startup ideas. There is 90% failure in the startup world, most companies will fizzle out in year 2 or 3” emphasized Hassan.

 

Following that, he discussed some success stories, analyzing the rationale and thought process behind those ideas, especially the importance of validating an idea in the market. Notably, he pointed out how “this Covid-19 situation is a blessing and a curse. It’s very clear most people will choose to be indoors, so most ideas will be moving around that. 2021 and 2022 will be defining moments for the world, depending on when the vaccine comes or doesn’t come, so you can launch a lot of interesting, innovative ideas that can help people change the way they do things” said Hassan. He then gave an analogy regarding the evolution of the physical lock to digital pass codes following the launch of the internet and digital solutions, highlighting how innovation can take place in unexpected ways.

 

Hassan then proceeded to explain different ways to validate an idea and how validation should take place. “Validation is an exercise where you talk to 100 total strangers, not friends and family. You ask whether they think a problem, i.e. a traffic problem, is a real problem. Then state a solution and ask if they agree with the solution. Then follow that by asking if they agree this is an urgent problem, and if they are willing to pay for the solution” said Hassan, highlighting the steps to validate an idea. Timing is of key importance, he explained, as the startup should not be too early or too late but rather solve a problem that is the ‘need of the hour’.

 

Following that, Hassan explained “The 5 Why’s” method for dissecting and addressing a problem, and the importance of considering human elements as they sometimes contribute more to the root cause of an issue than technical problems. He then discussed the process of finding the right investors and gave advice on pitching a startup idea. Following that, he delved into detail explaining ‘10 Mantras’ that contribute to a successful entrepreneurship mindset, and 6 key steps to develop a successful startup idea.

 

To conclude, Hassan recapped the main points of discussion and opened up the floor to Q&A in which he engaged the attendees in an insightful discussion and offered further clarification regarding topics discussed throughout the webinar.

 

ABCK- AmCham Kuwait is a non-profit organization comprised of American corporations, small and medium sized companies, and prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs, both American and Kuwaiti. Since 1985, the American Business Council of Kuwait Ltd. (ABCK) has acted as an advocate for American companies in the State of Kuwait. For more information about ABCK, please visit our website or social media channels @abck1985

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Securing  Your Remote Workforce

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, June 30, Kuwait

 

Securing  Your Remote Workforce

On Tuesday, June 30, The American Business Council-AmCham Kuwait (ABCK) hosted a webinar in collaboration with Cisco titled: Securing Your Remote Workforce. The webinar focused on security risks and challenges with remote workforce, especially following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The webinar was presented by Mr. Ayed Al Qartah, Technical Solutions Architect for Cyber Security at Cisco.

 

In his opening remarks, Mr. Ayed greeted all attendees and thanked ABCK for the opportunity to share his knowledge with the ABCK community. He began the presentation by explaining the challenges globally with securing a remote workforce in responding to the global pandemic in a short time span. “Asking employees to start working from home was a big challenge because they were not prepared for this, allowing thousands of employees to connect remotely on a short time was challenging for many IT teams, directors, and managers” said Ayed.

 

Mr. Ayed explained the benefits of working from home for both employees and employers such as reduction of overhead costs, and higher productivity and efficiency. On the other hand, working remotely poses some challenges for businesses of all sizes as well as cybersecurity risks, he explained. After that, he discussed how remote workers unknowingly create more risk such as bypassing the VPN to gain corporate access, and the importance to keep employees informed and updated on these risks in order to avoid them.

 

He then highlighted some examples of how hackers recently leveraged COVID -19 themed campaigns to target users and corporations around the world, such as malware and phishing campaigns impersonating WHO, healthcare providers, or any government organization around the world to trick users to click on malicious links. “One famous campaign is the fake Johns Hopkins COVID -19 infection map, cyber criminals created a fake website where whenever a user click on it to access the latest numbers, it delivers malware silently to users” he said.

 

Mr. Ayed then proceeded to explain different ways in which IT and Security teams can enable remote working securely such as facilitating user access while minimizing shadow IT. Following that, he explained the importance of adapting a Zero-Trust Approach as opposed to the traditional approach, to ensure that every access to the network is legitimate, on any app, user, devise, and anytime during the day. In addition, he highlighted ways to maintain the last line of defense through endpoint security on corporate issued devises or personal devices.

 

Following that, Mr. Ayed explained how Cisco helps organizations in securing the remote access experience for their users, and their comprehensive secure remote work solution which covers all the connectivity security and other aspects threatening safe operations for organizations. He highlighted how their solution is very user friendly and how the VPN agent installed, together with the multi-factor authentication, and DNS security, work natively all together, allowing an easy and better IT experience.

 

To conclude, Mr. Ayed recapped the main security threats discussed and offered some final tips for securing a remote workforce. He then opened up the floor to Q&A in which he engaged the attendees in an insightful discussion and offered further clarification regarding concepts discussed throughout the webinar.

 

ABCK- AmCham Kuwait is a non-profit organization comprised of American corporations, small and medium sized companies, and prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs, both American and Kuwaiti. Since 1985, the American Business Council of Kuwait Ltd. (ABCK) has acted as an advocate for American companies in the State of Kuwait. For more information about ABCK, please visit our website or social media channels @abck1985

 

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Cisco is the worldwide leader in technology that powers the Internet. Cisco inspires new possibilities by reimagining your applications, securing your data, transforming your infrastructure, and empowering your teams for a global and inclusive future. Discover more on www.cisco.com/c/en_ae/index.html.

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COVID-19, A Stress Test For The Supply Chain

For Immediate Release

Sunday, May 31, Kuwait

 

COVID-19, A Stress Test For The Supply Chain

On Thursday, May 28, The American Business Council-AmCham Kuwait (ABCK) hosted a webinar with Gulf Agency Company Kuwait (GAC) titled: “COVID 19, a Stress Test for The Supply Chain”. Over 50 people tuned into the webinar which focused on Covid-19’s impact on Kuwait’s Supply Chain.

 

The webinar was presented by Mr. Filip Björklund, Managing Director of Gulf Agency Company (GAC) Kuwait.

 

In his opening remarks, Mr. Björklund thanked ABCK for the opportunity to share his knowledge with ABCK members, greeted all attendees and began the presentation by explaining in depth Standard Trade Theory which suggests that countries should produce the goods in which they have a comparative advantage, and then trade with other countries. He then highlighted the history of trade. “About 60 years ago we started with air movements when the commercial aircrafts started to expand and it’s now the mode which carried the highest value of the goods. But most of the cargo by ton-kilometers, 72% overall, is transported by sea. The international trade got supercharged about 60 years ago when the containerization reduced the cost to transport cargo by sea” explained Björklund.

 

Björklund then proceeded to discuss the various elements of the supply chain, the network to the end consumer. The main three components are materials and products, information and documents, and finance and payment. “These three need to function together, otherwise the supply chain will break in one part or another” said Björklund. He then discussed various costs involved within the supply chain, from physical costs such as production, transportation, and inventory storage cost, to market costs such as lost business due to lack of stock, and price markdowns when inventory exceeds demand.

 

Following that, Björklund discussed in depth the recent global impacts of Covid-19 on each of the three components of the supply chain. Notably, he highlighted how cargo operations continued to function normally in many ports, however, governments and port authorities introduced safety regulations and restrictions to the movement of ships crews, truck drivers and other people accessing port facilities. On the other hand, COVID19 resulted in an equipment/container imbalance, when containers could not be returned to Asia from Europe, the containers were not available where they are needed. Airfreight capacity decreased by 28% and rates have increased; COVID 19 surcharges were implemented by airport handling companies. With the introduction and use of Electronic Air Waybills (eAWB) by all other GCC states, Kuwait has an excellent opportunity to implement eAWB to improve its processes to be more efficient and release air cargo on a timely manner.

 

He also discussed how COVID19 has resulted in delays of processing of documents, payments, and cash flow issues resulting from closures of port locations and banks.

 

He then offered insight on the parallels between the COVID19 crisis and the Financial Crisis in 2007 -2008 which led to changes in Banking practices and Stress Tests. He stressed how crisis is the “mother of all change” and explained changes and best practices needed to prepare and adapt to a post-COVID19 world and future extreme events.

 

After that, Björklund examined the specific impacts of the COVID19 crisis on Kuwait’s supply chain, discussing in depth various key challenges such as production issues, blank sailings, port congestion, reduced transport fleet, reduced Ministry approvals and testing. In discussing finance and payments, Björklund highlighted how “banks closed their branches as Kuwait is using cheques quite a lot, and cheques can’t be cashed we are seeing a cash-flow issue in the country.”

 

Following that, Björklund shared some resources and information for further reading on supply chain management and challenges. He then concluded the session by opening the floor to Q&A in which he engaged the attendees in an insightful discussion and offered further clarification regarding concepts discussed throughout the webinar.

 

ABCK- AmCham Kuwait is a non-profit organization comprised of American corporations, small and medium sized companies, and prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs, both American and Kuwaiti. Since 1985, the American Business Council of Kuwait Ltd. (ABCK) has acted as an advocate for American companies in the State of Kuwait. For more information about ABCK, please visit our website or social media channels @abck1985

 

GAC is a worldwide service provider committed to delivering integrated services to the Shipping, Logistics, Marine and related markets at the highest levels of quality and safety. GAC Kuwait has strong knowledge and expertise in local, environmental and security regulations. As a recognized leader of shipping and logistics services provider in the country, with many high profile customers, GAC Kuwait is committed to a high standard of compliance and ethical work practices, with a strong focus on HSSE (Health, Safety, Security and Environment). For more information visit https://www.gac.com/gac-worldwide/middle-east/kuwait/

Crisis Management for Leaders, Organizations and Individuals

For Immediate Release

Sunday, May 10, Kuwait

Kuwait

 

Crisis Management for Leaders, Organizations and Individuals

 

The American Business Council-AmCham Kuwait (ABCK) hosted a webinar titled: Crisis Management for Leaders, Organizations, and Individuals, on Sunday, May 10. Over 70 people from Kuwait and the U.S. tuned into the virtual session which focused on the process of managing disruptive and unexpected events and the best practices to adapt to such events.

The webinar was presented by Mr. Frank Belonus, President and CEO of Falcon Desert International (FDI), and Chairman of ABCK.

 

Belonus began the webinar by greeting all attendees and stating the goals of this webinar. He then gave an overview of the concept of crisis management, explaining its definition, and expanding on its various components such as Change Management. “Crisis management is the process by which an organization deals with a disruptive and unexpected event that threatens to harm the organization or its stakeholders. It goes beyond and organization, can be applied individually as well” explained Belonus.

 

Belonus then proceeded to highlight the importance of having an open mindset and perspective to change to be successful in managing crisis. “We always have been going through change. My experience in the military as a young leader, one of the very first thing I learned is that change is constant and its always going to happen. We would plan for a week to do some kind of operation and in five minutes after it started they would intentionally change everything because they wanted agile and adaptive leaders that can make decisions on their feet. So, embrace the culture of change and the fact it will always happen.” said Belonus.

 

Following that, Belonus discussed in-depth the steps that organizations and individuals can take to best prepare for and respond to a crisis and compared the approach between the two. He then drew on the importance of open communication during a crisis, explaining how it is necessary to be transparent, be empathetic and address employee’s fears and concerns, and distill confidence and hope. He also highlighted how social media can be a vital tool during a crisis as it serves as an efficient way to provide information and resources and maintain a positive relationship with customers and suppliers.

 

He then offered insight on how businesses can assess and optimize their operations in times of crisis, explaining in depth various aspects of a business plan that can be analyzed such as marketing and sales plan, pricing, exit strategy. He also examined some tools such as SWOT analysis which can be used by organizations to identify their key strengths and strategic positioning.

 

Belonus then summarized the key takeaways for both organizations and individuals to adapt in times of crisis and concluded by highlighting the importance of leveraging assets in corporate social responsibility when possible during a crisis.

 

To conclude, Belonus opened the session to Q&A in which he engaged the attendees in an insightful discussion and offered further clarification regarding concepts discussed throughout the webinar.

 

ABCK is a non-profit organization comprised of American corporations, small and medium sized companies, and prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs, both American and Kuwaiti. Since 1985, the American Business Council of Kuwait Ltd. (ABCK) has acted as an advocate for American companies in the State of Kuwait. For more information about ABCK, please visit our website or social media channels @abck1985

‘Cyber Psychology’: A Webinar by American Business Council Kuwait In Partnership with (ISC)²

 

For Immediate Release

Thursday, May 7, Kuwait

 

‘Cyber Psychology’: A Webinar by American Business Council Kuwait In Partnership with (ISC)²

 

The American Business Council Kuwait- AmCham Kuwait (ABCK), in collaboration with (ISC)² Kuwait Chapter, hosted a webinar on the topic of Cyber Psychology on Thursday May 7. The webinar was presented by Dana Winner, Msc. Cybersecurity Policy, and Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Knowledge Manager (CKM).

 

In her opening remarks, Winner thanked ABCK for their invaluable support and the opportunity to partner on this initiative. She then greeted all attendees and gave an overview of (ISC)² and the concept of Cyber Psychology: “I’m very happy to be here with ABCK today and to have this collaborative meeting between ABCK and ISC squared Kuwait Chapter, (ISC)²  is the oldest and largest cybersecurity certification authority in the world” said Winner. She further added: “Cyber and Psychology are two very general diverse words to put together, but that was done on purpose because I think we have a very diverse group of people to appeal to and speak to today, so the title of the subject gives us the flexibility to examine several directions within the scope of Cyber Psychology”.

 

Following that, Winner introduced the topic of Cyber Psychology by explaining the definition and history behind these two terms and the history and various contexts in which they are used. She highlighted the context of the relationship between Cyberspace and Psychology, especially as it impacts Kuwait, and explained several dimensions of the relationship between Cyber & Psych, such as how Cyber Systems support Psychology, and how the internet business model takes advantage of, and amplifies the extremes of human psyche and behavior. She further discussed how human behavior impacts the creation, management and security of Cyber Systems, including organization insiders, IT insiders, and crime and pathology.

 

Winner then proceeded to examine in depth the history and evolution of Cyber Psychology, highlighting various milestones that spanned through different periods in time from 1962 to present day. Adding onto that, she discussed Kuwait’s “New Kuwait 2035 Vision” and strategy to create a Knowledge-based Economy (KbE). She stressed how a digital economy and information society support KbE, and that knowledge assets management and risk assessment are the foundation for Cybersecurity. She then examined some cultural changes that are the critical path to the KbE, such as reforming the education system to adopt lifelong learning, self-directed eLearning, and connect to work life, and diversity of thought.

 

Thereafter, Winner examined the ways in which the Cyber space can support Psychology and gave examples of how the intersection of the two plays out in our daily lives such as phone/web anonymous counseling services like Suicide Prevention Hotline,  online medical and health advice like WebMD, and many more applications for both individuals and corporates. One notable example that highlights the importance of the intersection of the two disciplines and historic advancement is the 1995 Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Interactive Voice Response System which provided behavior reinforcement for patients on drugs that required behavior change to be effective.

 

Following that, Winner discussed in great detail literature pertaining to the topic, providing a summary and insights into each from a behavioral and cyber perspective. She highlighted some of the challenges to Cybersecurity, the two major challenges being: the absence of behavioral requirements-driven embedded cybersecurity system engineering, and the fact that user behavior favors convenience over security. She then provided an overview of main conclusions and takeaways from the literature. “Technology Alone Solution’ is insufficient to address cybersecurity needs. Security is not the primary task for most people, they are rewarded for their main task, and therefore resent, and if possible, circumvent, security measures when those measures negatively impact productivity” said Winner. Notably, the takeaway is that all online or electronic transactions are essentially human-to-human transactions, no matter the tools that may be used as mediators. Therefore, skills training, especially from an early age, is of vital importance; the cyber equivalent of crossing the street without holding anyone’s hand.

 

Adding onto that, Winner gave some recommendations and highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary fields pertaining to behavioral science such as Sociology which related to system architecture, Economics which shows the relationship between reputation and trust and integrates psychology into monetary value of items such as perceived cost, and decision-making on the individual level. She then discussed various concepts from an individual’s perspective such as the ‘Internet Business Model’ as it pertains to cyber security, and how to address perceived challenges such as cyber-attacks.

 

Winner then concluded the webinar by opening up the floor to a Q&A, in which she entertained questions and engaged in insightful discussion with the attendees.

 

ABCK is a non-profit organization comprised of American corporations, small and  medium sized companies, and prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs, both American and Kuwaiti. Since 1985, the American Business Council of Kuwait Ltd. (ABCK) has acted as an advocate for American companies in the State of Kuwait. For more information about ABCK, please visit our website or social media channels @abck1985

 

(ISC)² is an international, nonprofit membership association for information security leaders. We are committed to helping our members learn, grow and thrive. More than 150,000 certified members strong, we empower professionals who touch every aspect of information security. (ISC)² was founded in 1989. Since then, our founders and members have been shaping the information security profession.

 

Click here to watch the recording of the webinar
Click here to download the presentation

Webinar with Ernst & Young: Covid 19 and Beyond

‘Covid 19 and Beyond’: A Webinar by Ernst & Young in partnership with American Business Council- AmCham Kuwait and Kuwait Italian Business Council

On Monday April 27, The American Business Council Kuwait- AmCham Kuwait (ABCK) and the Kuwait Italian Business Council (KIBC), co-hosted a webinar in collaboration with Ernst and Young (EY) titled: “Covid 19 and Beyond”. The webinar was attended by over 100 senior executives representing American and Italian businesses operating in Kuwait, including Diplomats from the American Embassy, Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA), and other prominent businesses in Kuwait.

 

The webinar was presented by Alok Chugh, Partner, EY Kuwait, and MENA Government and Public Sector Tax Leader, and focused on the impact of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis on the economy and businesses. The responses of governments and central banks in many jurisdictions around the globe including the USA, Italy, and all the GCC Countries including Kuwait were also discussed. In addition, tax policy and administrative responses in each of the GCC countries were discussed in detail, together with major financial-reporting considerations, the impact of the crisis on finance and tax functions and solutions, and opportunities for businesses.

Click here to watch the recording of the webinar
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Kuwait COVID-19 Financial Response

Webinar with Citibank: Kuwait Covid 19 Financial Response
The American Business Council Kuwait-AmCham Kuwait, in collaboration with Citibank, organized a virtual webinar titled: Kuwait COVID-19 Financial Response, on Thursday, April 23. Over 100 people tuned into the seminar which covered a variety of topics ranging from fiscal and Central Banks responses, Kuwait’s response to COVID-19 pandemic, Kuwait market since January 2020, and Kuwait banking sector impact.
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ABCK Women In Business Focus Group Webinar: Tea & Talk

For immediate release

Thursday, April 23, Kuwait

 

The American Business Council-AmCham Kuwait’s Women In Business Focus Group organized a webinar titled: Tea & Talk, on Monday, April 20th. Over 80 people tuned into the virtual tea and talk session which focused on the topic of how to manage working remotely effectively and best practices.

The webinar was moderated by Yesim Insel, Director of Catering at Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya, and presented by panelists Dr. Arezou Harraf, Head of the Department of Business at Box Hill College and CEO of Alerive Inc., and Dr. Juliet Dinkha, Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor at AUK.

 

In her opening remarks, Insel greeted all attendees and introduced the panelists. She then called on Dr. Harraf who began the webinar by giving an overview of the agenda and goal of this session. “Working remotely can add stress to whatever stress you already have from work, and not all employees are as tech-savvy or comfortable using computers. This situation happened suddenly so not many of us were trained how to use online platforms, so not only are we now asked to do it but also asked to be productive doing it. So what we want to do today is take a little light talk and discuss the challenges people are facing nowadays working from home, and share some tips related to productivity and mental health” said Dr. Harraf.

 

Dr. Harraf then proceeded to highlight in depth some of the challenges faced working from home and their implications on different people. For example, she examined how lack of face-to-face interaction can impact employees on different levels: “supervisors worry that employees will not work as hard or as efficiently and employees struggle with reduced access to managerial support and communication and feel that remote managers are out of touch with their needs, and thereby are neither supportive nor helpful in getting their work done”.

 

Following that, Dr. Dinkha offered some insight on the implications of working from home from a psychological perspective. She discussed how extrovert employees may suffer from isolation more because they do not have opportunities to connect with others in their remote-work environment and different variables that can increase stress during times such as caring for children, lack of quiet space in the house, lack of access to adequate technology such as internet speed or data availability.

 

Adding onto that, Dr. Harraf examined the different ways that managers can support remote employees such as providing different technology options and establishing rules of engagement. Dr. Dinkha then underscored some of the ways that managers can offer emotional support to employees such as giving permission for employees to vent or talk about issues they are facing, providing support, and encouraging self care, routine, good sleep and nutrition.

 

Following that, Insel engaged the panelists in a discussion where she asked them to share some of their personal best practices and daily habits, and insight on how this pandemic will affect the way we work and interact with each other in the future. The panelists then concluded the session by opening up the floor to a Q&A, in which they entertained questions and engaged in lively discussions with the attendees.

 

ABCK is a non-profit organization comprised of American corporations, small and medium sized companies, and prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs, both American and Kuwaiti. Since 1985, the American Business Council of Kuwait Ltd. (ABCK) has acted as an advocate for American companies in the State of Kuwait.

‘KNOW YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS’ – COVID 19 in Kuwait

The American Business Council – AmCham Kuwait, in collaboration with Dar Almizan Legal Consultants (DMLC), organized a virtual webinar titled: Know Your Legal Rights, COVID-19 in Kuwait, on Monday, April 13.

 

Over 150 people tuned into the seminar which covered a variety of topics such as Force Majeure and Emergency Situation, Kuwait Labor Law, and commercial and Residential Lease Agreements.

 

The webinar was presented by Ola Saad, Head of International Department at DMLC. In her opening remarks, Saab greeted all attendees and then proceeded to introduce the topic of Force Majeure and explain if the current partial shutdown can be classified as force majeure as opposed to an emergency situation.

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New Kuwait 2035 Vision: Shaping the Future of Business in Kuwait

New Kuwait 2035 Vision: Shaping the Future of Business in Kuwait

 

The American Business Council-AmCham Kuwait held an event on the topic of ‘New Kuwait 2035 Vision: Shaping the Future of Business in Kuwait’ with Dr. Khaled A. Mahdi, The Secretary-General of The General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development.
Thank you to everyone that attended, and a special thank you to our event sponsors Cadillac Alghanim, and Al Tamimi & Co.