Anas Bukhash is Mr Connected
Anas Bukhash is the literal embodiment of a young, successful, regional entrepreneur: six hours sleep a night, max; two (soon to be three) thriving businesses on the go, and a contacts book that reads like the guestlist for an Oscar’s after-party.
Perhaps surprisingly, the journey started from his passion for sport. He played semi-pro football in the United States and Abu Dhabi, which led to him co-founding the Ahdaaf Sports Club and football academy. The aim was to promote a healthy lifestyle in the UAE, and bridge the gap between different communities through sport.
Not content in excelling in the sports world, Bukhash took his love of family to a whole new level, starting the hugely successful Bukhash Brothers. The boutique agency now bridges the gap in Dubai between corporate brands, international celebrities and social media influencers, working with renowned clients.
He explains how the idea to start this business occurred when his friend, the US singer Maxwell, visited Dubai and introduced him to Will Smith and Tyrese Gibson, who also became pals. When word got out about his strong personal network with these sort of stars, footballers and social media influencers, the calls and emails started. Regional brands were desperate to offer the stars everything from commercial deals and live appearances, to restaurant reservations and brand endorsements. Bukhash saw a gap in the market for a reputable source that brands trusted, who could commercialise this impressive networking structure.
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“Our company name actually came from Maxwell, because he knows me and my brothers and called us the ‘Bukhash Brothers’ at an event. He said it out loud to the crowd and it stuck. It’s just a cool name.” Bukhash started it with his two brothers, though now it’s just him and his younger brother, Harith.
Being the eldest he says the division of roles and responsibilities between the brothers is drama-free and clearly defined. “I’m used to being a leader. I’m the managing director and the most hands-on. Harith is the finance guy because he knows how to nag, and look after our money,” he chuckles.
So what is the secret to starting up a business and having the drive and determination to ensure it grows beyond just being a good idea? “I only do things I really enjoy,” he says with clarity and passion. “You also have to do things you’re good at; that’s important. Sometimes people do things they aren’t very good at, such as singing, which I am unfortunately very bad at!”
With all these businesses, and roles within them, how does Bukhash introduce himself to guests at a party? “I’m an entrepreneur, I start businesses,” he says confidently. “The next one will be a high-end street fashion brand. I could launch my first collection later this year and that would be my third start-up.”
Outside of the business world, Bukhash also gives motivational speeches to young people on entrepreneurship, finding your niche, following what you’re passionate about and how to turn that into a successful business model. On these occasions, he will emphasise the challenges as well as the opportunities of creating a start-up. “The initial processes can be difficult here,” he explains. “It isn’t a straight-forward procedure, so that can be challenging for a lot of people. They don’t exactly know how to go about setting up a business.”
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He will also spell out very clearly that there is no quick route to success. “There’s no secret formula. You know what you enjoy, you know what you’re good at, and if you’re really persistent something good will usually come from that.”
His final piece of advice is to pay attention to detail. “I think my employees would describe me as picky,” he says with a wry smile. “But I also think I’m fair and I hope they think so too. My approach is that as long as you’re good to me then I’ll be good to you, and I will always offer my support. It’s a family vibe.”
So what’s next for this regional entrepreneur who seems to open businesses with such ease? “I want to start investing in real estate, which I know I’m not good at, so I need to find a friend that I can trust,” he replies. “I also want to finish my house, which I think should be as big as the Burj Khalifa with all the time that it’s taking to complete.” He says it with an exhale so deep that I dare not ask any more about it.