Keeping it in the family: UAE's Bin Ham Group shares 'golden rule' for entrepreneurs

A family enterprise with a long legacy, it believes in staying ahead of the curve

By Sandhya D’mello

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Published: Sat 3 Feb 2024, 10:56 AM

Last updated: Sat 3 Feb 2024, 3:11 PM

The Bin Ham Group’s tale of four generations in the UAE has evolved as a testimony to the nation’s shift from an oil-centric economy to one promoting diverse business interests. Sheikh Dr Mohammed bin Musallam bin Ham Al Ameri, Deputy Chairman of the Board, has strived through the rich legacy left behind by the founders and is now embracing change that will take the group and the UAE to greater heights.

The group has a history of over four decades built under leadership of Sheikh Musallam bin Salim bin Ham Al Ameri and grandfather, Sheikh Salim bin Ham, informs Dr Al Ameri, who is now shaping the future generation with his son Saeed bin Mohammed bin Ham.

The Bin Ham Group played a pivotal role in supporting the UAE's initial infrastructure, which was crucial for the country's cultural renaissance. With a focus on agriculture and construction, Bin Ham significantly contributed to the development of Al Ain and Abu Dhabi in the early years of the formation of the UAE.

As the UAE experienced economic and social changes, the Bin Ham Group adapted to them by expanding and diversifying its activities. This expansion was aligned with the nation's growing economic activities and interest in foreign investments, especially in Arab countries like Oman, Morocco, and Egypt. The Bin Ham Group has achieved notable success across several industries including hospitality, agriculture, education, printing and publishing and real estate.

Upholding the rich legacy established by Sheikh Musallam and grandfather Sheikh Salim remains the top priority for Sheikh Dr Al Ameri, for which he has implemented various strategies including mentorship and knowledge transfer within the family.

“We have established structured programmes that facilitate the transmission of the values, principles, and business acumen of the previous generations to the younger members of our family. By instilling in them the wisdom and experiences of our ancestors, we maintain a strong connection to our roots while fostering innovation and adaptability,” said Sheikh Dr Al Ameri.

“We actively engage in documenting our family history and achievements. This includes archiving important milestones, stories, and lessons learned, which serves as a valuable resource for future generations. By preserving our history in a tangible way, we ensure that the legacy of Sheikh Musallam and Sheikh Salim continues to inspire and guide us.”

The group is embracing sustainable business practices which is a socio- economic imperative in today's dynamic landscape. “Our approach involves integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into our business operations. This includes adopting environmentally friendly technologies, promoting social responsibility initiatives, and ensuring ethical business conduct. Collaborating with like-minded partners and supporting local communities are also integral components. By aligning our business goals with sustainable practices, we contribute to a more robust economic landscape in the UAE, fostering long-term growth and societal well-being,” said Sheikh Dr Al Ameri.

This commitment has inspired the launch of Net Zero Technologies, a startup dedicated to sustainability. “Our mission is to bridge the gap between global environmental policies and individual actions via a social environmental and eco-credits platform. Going beyond rhetoric, we are translating this commitment into tangible action. Net Zero Technologies is on the brink of introducing a flagship product that will serve as a concrete representation of our sustainability values, effectively turning words into impactful outcomes. This initiative underscores our dedication to driving positive change, and we are enthusiastic about the transformative potential it holds for a more sustainable and prosperous future,” said Sheikh Dr Al Ameri.

The Bin Ham Group continues to grow and evolve and is currently exploring investments and partnerships in the technology sector, including areas such as environmental technologies, e-commerce, and digital learning. Additionally, opportunities are being tapped in renewable energy projects, such as solar and wind power, as well as initiatives that promote energy efficiency and green practices.

Furthermore, the group sees great potential in the entertainment and media industries and is looking to invest in ventures that cater to the evolving preferences and demands of the youth.

“Our goal is to identify areas that not only align with the interests of the upcoming generations but also contribute to the economic growth and development of the UAE. We believe in staying ahead of the curve and adapting to the changing needs of the market and society,” said Sheikh Dr Al Ameri.

One golden rule

“The golden rule that has been strictly followed by Bin Ham Group across three generations is a steadfast commitment to integrity. This commitment is deeply ingrained in our business mission, reflecting the core values instilled by our ancestors. Upholding honesty, transparency, and ethical conduct in all our endeavours has been a non-negotiable principle. It serves as the bedrock of our reputation and enduring relationships with stakeholders. By unwaveringly adhering to this golden rule, we not only ensure the success of our ventures but also contribute to the overall trust and stability of the business environment in which we operate.”

Message to entrepreneurs

“My message to new entrepreneurs in family businesses is centred around the significance of finding a balance between tradition and innovation. It is important to honour and appreciate the wisdom and values that have been passed down through generations while also embracing new ideas and opportunities. Continuously investing in learning and development, both within your industry and in emerging trends is crucial for staying ahead in a rapidly evolving business landscape. Building strong relationships within your family and with external partners is essential, as collaboration often leads to sustained success. Above all, never compromise on your values. Upholding the principles that have stood the test of time for your family will serve as a guiding force through the challenges and triumphs of entrepreneurial ventures.”

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