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Medhat Karam, ArpuPlus

Medhat Karam, ArpuPlus Supplied
Madhet Karam looks for a sense of ownership, eagerness and resourcefulness in all ArpuPlus new hires

Medhat Karam is CEO and managing director of ArpuPlus, a telecommunications service which provides entertainment and communication solutions across the Middle East and North Africa. ArpuPlus was set up in 2003 and is a subsidiary of A15, a Cairo-based venture capital firm.

What does your company do?

Entertainment-wise, we specialise in affordable music, video, gaming, and sports solutions for consumers. Shofha, our video-on-demand platform, is one of the largest in the region and used across 15 countries.

We also offer a communication platform to connect big businesses in sectors ranging from retail, ecommerce and real estate, to finance and government to their customers, through SMS, WhatsApp, emails, etc.

What do you look for when hiring talent? 

We are eager to hire people who have three things inside them. 

The first is a high level of ownership, where they are self-motivated and do not need a lot of follow-ups just to do their work.

Second is the eagerness to get the job done as quickly as possible, so a good sense of going to market. 

And the third is to be resourceful. We face challenges at work every day and we want people who are able to find solutions rather than excuses.

A culture we are trying to build is to have a lot of fun while working very hard.

What counts for more – luck or hard work?  

Definitely hard work, but with a clear vision. I like to refer to the famous sentence often used by our mentor Khaled Bichara (God rest his soul in peace): “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Luck is a shortcut that you create only by working incredibly hard and being well prepared. 

What was your biggest ‘lucky’ moment? 

During my tenure of business development in the group, I got exposed to big international companies, where I made deep relations with high-profile people and we had lots of happy moments, both personal and professional.

What one thing do you wish you’d done differently?  

I spent three years in a company that did not have a lot of substance. This was a wrong move for me in my early years.

If you could rule the world for a day, what three things would you change?  

I would have very strict and organised traffic in every country. I would create a global programme, which helps every person to get a job according to the needs around them.

Finally, I would create a universal teacher-training programme to create the best teachers in the world.

What factors do entrepreneurs misjudge about the Gulf market?

I think the main misjudgment is considering all of this region as one big country since they all speak Arabic.

In fact, they are quite different and my advice is that if you want to grow regionally, you simply have to visit and touch these countries yourself.

Dream mentor?

My everyday mentor is my father. Great, strong, successful, and a quite loved character.