New business chamber to stimulate Somalia-Europe trade
A new European Somalian Business Chamber (ESBC) has been officially launched in London to promote business relations and commercial activity between Somalia and Europe.
Somalia is one of the African countries which is expected to have one of the biggest growth stories over the next five years.
Consequently, the chamber has been established to help both Somalian and European companies take advantage of economic opportunities by providing networking and developing trade initiatives between the two.
The chamber is chaired by the Rt Hon Lord Tony Baldry, a Conservative member of parliament who is supported by several leading public figures including ESBC director Sarosh Zaiwalla, a senior partner at Zaiwalla & Co. He was also the first Asian to set up an Indian law firm in the city of London.
The chamber represents businesses of all sizes and sectors from across Europe and Somalia and will also deliver information, advice and services.
These will include: Promotion of commercial opportunities and introductions to political and industry decision-makers, potential partners, clients, investors and in-country agents through participation in its programme of networking and trade events.
It offers assistance in addressing specific business-related problems and legal issues, including applications for multi-entry business visas.
It also provides business intelligence and market research, delivered to members in the form of newsletters, email updates, exclusive reports and one-to-one briefings.
The ESBC is now working hand-in-hand with the Somali business community to set up a Somali embassy in London which will provide European businesses a first point of contact for any matter relating to the country and trade relations between the two.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.