CEO,FMH Group of Companies
Named one of the Arab world’s most powerful women by Forbes Magazine, Fawzia Al Hassawi reached her lofty and respected position through a career characterized by both pragmatism and loyalty.
Encouraged by her father at a young age, she started out by working for the family business operating in
real estate, hospitality, and manufacturing; areas in which Ms. Al Hassawi is still very much involved today.
Ms. Al Hassawi also studied accounting, auditing and business administration in order to better serve her
family’s business and her own businesses, earning her qualifications as a certified public accountant (CPA),
followed by a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA).
Ms. Al Hassawi also studied accounting, auditing and business administration in order to better serve her family’s business and her own businesses, earning her qualifications as a certified public accountant (CPA), followed by a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA).
Al Mubarak Center General Trading and Contracting Co., is a company that her father helped her create, through which she operates her real estate business and general trading businesses. As a company registered in Kuwait for over 37 years, Al Mubarak Center General Trading and Contracting Co. has many relationships with other companies not just in Kuwait but all over the world—which Ms. Al Hassawi considers a major advantage. In particular, she cites the collaborations her company has done with key suppliers in Hong Kong, China, Italy, France, England, Germany and Spain.
Ms. Al Hassawi has a real passion for property development in various markets. One such country market is the UK, where Ms. Al Hassawi bought land situated in the London docklands area in 2011. Plans to develop it include a luxury hotel called The Loft and a long-stay serviced apartment building called Element, both Starwood branded. Existing buildings, including a 200-year old warehouse, will be transformed into a residential building, shopping mall and offices all under the umbrella of a development vision called Tobacco Dock.
The first phase of the development started in
January 2016 and will be finalized at the end of the
same year; it will then will be followed by other phases with a plan of five years until completion. In Germany,
meanwhile, Ms. Al Hassawi is restoring her castle in
Baden-Baden (Neues Schloss) and developing it into
mixed-use luxury residential apartments and a Hyatt
branded 5-star hotel.
Also coming out of her passion for designing, and traveling and exploring new fields, Ms. Al Hassawi entered into the food and beverages sector through her company Mubarak Al Hassawi Restaurant Development Group MHRDG. She first signed a contract with Bubba Gump Shrimp Company – the US-based casual dining franchise whose theme is based upon the Paramount movie ‘Forrest Gump’ and features a menu of comfort food from the American South that reflects the movie’s setting in Alabama.
In 2014, MHRDG opened the first Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant in the Trocadero, Piccadilly Circus, in the entertainment heart of London.
Ms. Al Hassawi has capitalized on this first experience in restaurant management and has created her own
brand concepts: ‘Chocolate Ice Café’, a pastry, gelato, and chocolates chain, and ‘Pirate Treasure’, a restaurant
chain. Both brands opened their first location in Kuwait in February 2016 in the Cube Mall in Salmiya, Salem
Al Mubarak Street, which is the heart of the shopping and ‘hangout’ area in Kuwait.
Both concepts have been successfully attracting customers, and Ms. Al Hassawi plans to expand the two brands throughout Kuwait first and then export them the rest of Middle East and Europe. Both brands have also been registered in the UK. MHMC Company in Hong Kong was founded nine years ago by Ms. Al Hassawi as a procurement and trading company helping to source furnishing and equipment for all of her real estate developments worldwide. She is also investing in properties in Hong Kong, which is considered one of the best and fastest-moving real estate markets in the Far East.
In UAE, Ms. Al Hassawi is building the MHMC Medical Complex, a mega medical project in Sharjah, in the name and memory of her father. It will comprise a general hospital, a rehabilitation hospital for neurology patients, a wellness and diet facility, and a hotel.
Succeeding in business as a woman in Kuwait is not easy, according to Fawzia Al Hassawi, because business s all about building relationships. In Kuwait, it’s simply a fact that men have more opportunities to network with each other, sharing experiences and attracting more business. Despite such obstacles, or perhaps because she has been so successful in overcoming them, Forbes Magazine named her to its prestigious list of the most powerful women in the Arab world in November 2015. She was surprised to hear about the honor, but believes that hard work--and always keeping all of her promises--has
helped her maintain a good reputation.
“When you work very hard, with honesty, you don’t lose your good reputation. By consistently doing good work and with good people, it helps to stay on the road of success. In my business dealings I am black and white, and people know me for that.”
For the future, Ms. Al Hassawi’s vision is to continue to develop whatever she can and then leave the business for her children to continue. Family, according to Ms. Al Hassawi, is at the center of all of her endeavors. She remains very grateful to her father for the legacy that he left to his children, and she will continue to do the work that she enjoys in order to leave a similar legacy to her own family.