There is a lot to be said about Soulaima Gourani and her many experiences. At the age of twenty-eight, Soulaima Gourani received recognition as one of Denmark’s brightest businesswomen when she received the prestigious Rising Star award and the Talent 2004 award. Since then, she has gained valuable management experience from companies such as Hewlett-Packard and A.P. Moller-Maersk. Today, Soulaima Gourani exploits her vast knowledge and experience as an adviser and speaker for some of the worlds most innovative companies, when they seek inspiration and motivation. She is also author and contributing author to a number of books about sucesfull business and investor as well as CEO in the company CetCapitalAid.
Soulaima is listed as one of the top 100 talents in Europe to keep an eye on by the well-esteemed French magazine Courrier International, and in March 2012 she was selected as one of the 192 management leaders in 2012-2017 by the World Economic Forum who are to carry out the task as innovators and futurists in one of the world’s most important leadership forums—Young Global Leaders. Soulaima is a Young Global Leader, and in the next five years, she will travel around the world to meet with politicians and business leaders.
How did you get into the industry?
I am a serial entrepreneur, so I get to do many different things. I got into entrepreneurship and have built companies since 2007. I was fired that year from my job as a global sales director. I was pregnant at the time and decided never to be in a position again where anyone could fire me. I wanted my freedom back. I wanted to impact more, travel more, earn more, have more flexibility – so I needed a different life-design than any company, given position or “title” could give me.
I am an award-winning female executive, advisor, author and a public speaker. My areas of expertise are; customer loyalty, strategic networking/international relations for companies and governments, change management, employee motivation and how to impact and understand the future – trends and tendencies.
I founded TradeConductor.com and am the CEO of lending platform GetCapitalAid, which has its headquarters in Copenhagen. It helps small businesses grow through strategic growth loans based on company performance. I am also the co-founder of presidentspeak.com ( I believe communication is essential).
Any emerging industry trends?
Within banking? For sure. It is one of the most disrupted industries these days. If you haven’t yet heard of Bitcoin, Ether or Etherium, you may soon become familiar with them as “cryptocurrencies”, our perception of money – how it is earned and its value – is undergoing a major change. Blockchain and FEDCoin and Gold - these terms should be on your mind - NOW!
It is the most exciting industry to be in these days.
The current financial system is under massive pressure because of an increased demand for money. A massive demand for financing is created because of the current growth (people on earth), and this growth has created a historical level of economic debt in the world, which in turn causes the increase of inequality.
Nowadays, the trust in money and its value is under pressure. Trust in this system is being eroded. At the forefront of this movement is the world’s young people and the many small entrepreneurs who cannot obtain access to financing.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
In the last 10 years, we have seen how relatively easy it is to defraud, cheat, and lose money in the current financial system. The banks print money out of thin air and profit from doing so. Today, we are closer than ever to a financial revolution in which money will disappear and be replaced by something else. Physical banknotes will be substituted by local social currencies, points that you earn by doing social work, services, or companies’ own currencies based on customer loyalty, among others.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
Well I would say mobility. Money goes mobile these days.
The use of debit/ credit cards has dramatically increased in recent years.
VISA and MasterCard have a share of more than 80% of the global credit card market, and this situation can be viewed as a regular oligopoly (feel free to disagree).
However, a new and more comprehensive system is rapidly developing: mobile payment solutions. New technologies are providing new ways to make payments and transfer money via mobile phones, apps, Bluetooth solutions, and so on.
We do not yet fully understand the consequences of a society without money. Even today security is merely a footnote in the recommendations of the European Central Bank. Payment networks, such as SWIFT, PayPal, and Western Union, among others, can close people’s accounts in no time if there is a political disagreement with a Russian, Iranian, or just a politically active account holder. You may call it national security; however, you may also call it financial terror.
What will happen when we will experience massive IT breakdowns that are expected to occur in the future? Future wars will not be fought by troops on land but rather by people sitting behind computer screens. Earlier, banks have not shown the capability of taking timely precautions, and IT companies still lack the evidence to prove that they respect privacy and are capable of protecting sensitive data. Thus, we are facing a completely new and challenging ethical and security-related problem with e-money and virtual payment methods.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
The young generations have quickly adopted to the new payment methods, and many of them do not know the feeling of holding a real banknote in their hands. In a way, money is becoming “imaginary,” forming a basis for disloyalty, in particular, among Generation Z (15 to 25 years). Based on estimations, the global “mobile pay” market will surpass $500 billion in 2018.
In other words, it is a huge market. This market is still based on money, but money spent by using mobile phones. Because people are not holding the money in their hands, loyalty is likely to decline.
The young people simply want more fairness in the financial world. We might think that this ideal is a bit naïve, but many thinkers and researchers argue that this trend will lead to the disintegration of our traditional perception of money. The accrual of social capital is based on services (for example, you take the neighbor’s dog for a walk), and if you need money, you are allowed to print them. However, inflation is avoided because the “ownership” of the money is transparent, and the amount of money people have printed is also transparent.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
People, data, visions, money and traction (proof of concept)..
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
It is fundraising and finding the right people. Not all money is good money. And good people are hard to find. You need patience. A lot. Be realistic. It always takes longer than expected to build a company, a brand, or a team; attract investments; develop a product; etc.
Things take time—and oftentimes much more time than you expect.
I have seen an amazing number of business plans containing 5-year “hockey sticks” and 20%–25% growth over the next 5 years (yawn). Come on—be realistic. After all, there are very few companies that can live up to these expectations.
In the lifetime of your company, you need to demonstrate that you make a profit, make the company flourish, and create growth every year. Period. Remember to spend less time on your business plan—it is outdated as soon as it is printed.
Be careful about spending too much time in the engine room. Your window of opportunity may only be open for a very short period. The most successful entrepreneurs realize that their company and product will never be 100% perfect and that they can keep developing their product and make it even better.
Test, make mistakes, and try again. This way, you become better and better. “Think, write, talk.”
The police use the abovementioned strategy in radio communication; they have to keep their communication concise. This is a good philosophy to implement in your life. Use fewer words and shorter talk so that everybody can understand you.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
Speed and everything is done online. I would say “a more fair solution” – or judgement, if you like.
The system is not biased. If you go to your bank, he/she will not only look at your business but also your gender and age. We want a non – biased system –no more mortgage discrimination!
How do you motivate others?
I did not know anything about banking 2 years ago. But because I am passionate about equality and fairness I would say we have a fair chance to become very successful. But it will take us some years to become profitable and scalable. Motivate others by showing it is an advantage to be an amateur in a world full of experts.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Follow what you are good at, something aligned with your values and passions. Do not lose yourself and don’t give away your dignity. Be loyal to your core values. I bet you work hard and travel a lot?
Remember “the cabin exercise”! When the flight attendant goes on with the safety instructions, you are told that you need to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others. Think about applying this in your life. What if you burn out and give up? The most successful entrepreneurs take care of their “assets” (body, mind, and relationships/family). You are not a robot (yet), and you need rest, input, and output. The question is, how well do you take care of yourself? If you are not doing a good job taking care of yourself, you should consider having someone in your life authorized to raise the red flag every time you are on a downward path. As an entrepreneur, you need to know your limits (it is easier said than done).