Faizal Kottikollon and Shabana Faizal have been on an unusual entrepreneurial journey for the past twenty years. It all began rather conventionally with Faizal studying engineering in India and the US before returning home where he met Shabana in 1992. Three years later while on holiday in Dubai, the young couple decided to put down roots and call it home. In 1997, Faizal opened a foundry called Emirates Techno Casting (ETC) in Sharjah to manufacture valves for the oil and gas industry, a decision that was to change their lives forever. The cutting-edge technology processes he developed resulted in his business becoming one of the top three foundries in the world. In 2012, he sold ETC to Tyco International for over 400 USD million.
With the freedom and resources to do whatever they wanted, Faizal and Shabana passed on living a life of leisure and instead sought to better the world around them. They created a philanthropic foundation as well as KEF Holdings which has business interests in infrastructure, healthcare, education, metals and investments. Their goal is to provide poorer areas of the world with the education, training and healthcare they sorely lack through the use of technology and collaboration. KEF Holdings set up the first offsite construction park in the world that uses cutting edge manufacturing processes to partner with local governments and build hospitals and schools in half the time of conventional manufacturing methods.
Today the entrepreneurial husband-and-wife team are joined by their two eldest daughters Sophiya and Sarah transitioning them from founders into the second generation of their endeavours. The family has been recognised globally for their dedication to fighting inequality through education and for their strides in bringing disruptive technologies to traditional industries.
Recently Tharawat Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with Faizal and Shabana to discuss their rise to success and the entrepreneurial adventure they are still on.
Read the full interview on Tharawat Magazine here.