By Muhammad Riaz Usman Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Meet one of the founders of Dubai startup "VoucherSkout." The mobile app reduces the cost of products and services by 50 per cent across food and beverage, brunch, beauty and wellness, sports and leisure and learning venues.
Growing up in a business environment and attending meetings and events with her father, Alia Khalifa Al Nabooda has always been ambitious to contribute to the business world.
Alia pursued her education and dream and started her first business venture in 2006.
The young educated entrepreneur decided to step into her family business in 2009 and took up an active role as a decision-maker on the board of companies under Khalifa Juma Al Nabooda Group.
It was in 2015 when she became a partner at Acumen Advertising DMCC and started developing VoucherSkout along with her partner David Tobias.
"He was invited to develop an app for another project and he pitched the idea of VoucherSkout. Once I heard the concept, I knew I could help develop it and bring it to life and so the journey started by entering a partnership together," Alia says.
The mobile app VoucherSkout reduces the cost of products and services by 50 per cent across food and beverage, brunch, beauty and wellness, sports and leisure, family and children, and learning.
"Voucher redemptions can be bought as bundles of Dh50, Dh100, Dh150 or Dh200. Consumers can also get four 50 per cent off vouchers per featured merchant, and once exhausted, these four vouchers would automatically refresh for further usage," she elaborates.
Talking about the idea behind the project, the Emirati entrepreneur says: "The main concept of the project is to allow people to enjoy life more. I think in today's fast-paced world, life can get a little stressful for some people. Our project helps them de-stress, enjoy and relax. So our idea is to make people happy by giving them 50 per cent discounts at their favourite venues."
The app, which comes with three free credits, is available on Google Play and App Store, featuring Google Maps and Uber functionality.
"Users can also access menus, price lists and other information through the app to make comparisons," she says.
Alia says that the project is a game-changer because although there are a lot of similar businesses in the market, VoucherSkout has a unique business model.
"We are free-to-download, register and browse through. There are no upfront subscription fees or hidden charges and you pay as you go only for the actual offers you want," she says. VoucherSkout was launched in the beginning of 2015 by a four-member team, which has now grown to 14 highly-enthusiastic and hardworking members.
Alia says that her first source of funding was completely personal.
"I am lucky to have come from a great family business background so I have access to great mentors, advisors and wealth of resources and expertise. But in the UAE, there are many public entities that are available to help entrepreneurs start on their path into the business world," she says.
Although she completely focuses on VoucherSkout, Alia is also involved in her family business. "Other than that, I am also involved with my family business, which keeps me very busy but I am always on the lookout for new ideas and new challenges."
She advises new entrepreneurs to never give up on their ideas and dreams. "To persevere, to work hard and know that nothing is impossible," she says.
Alia stresses that she adopted the flexibility as a key measure that resulted in the success of her business.
"In this fast-paced time, you must have a solid plan but you must also be able to change that plan when an issue arises and your reflexes need to be quick to overcome that issue.
That's how I believe businesses survive and are successful," she concludes.