Mind Your Business – An Entrepreneur’s Perspective

Excerpt from the article published by SME Advisor Middle East on:

The SME Business Summit, held in January 2011, was an event that helped forge relationships, exchange knowledge, and open doors for business. Attendees ranged from entrepreneurs and business enthusiasts to directors and C-level executives. 

Entrepreneur’s Perspective:

Featured Speaker: Ashraf Ghori, Dubai based filmmaker and Founder, Xpanse CGI.  

Ashraf Ghori is an Indian-born artist and filmmaker based in Dubai since 1975. At age 14, Ashraf gained early recognition in the UAE as a regular illustrator for Young Times. In 1993 he created original comic characters Shane & Talia and UAE’s first English superhero comic strip Voyager X.

As a student of Graphic Design in Houston, Texas, Ashraf worked as an artist for Six Flags Astroworld and co-founded Tempest Comics. He produced artwork for independent national comic publications in the US, such as London Night Studios and Titus Press. Ashraf was regularly featured at comic book conventions in Texas as well as the prestigious Dallas Fantasy Fair in 1994.

Returning to the UAE, in late 1994, Ashraf worked as a laser shows animator in Abu Dhabi before moving on to independent 3D animation work. In 2007, he launched Xpanse CGI, a specialist design and animation studio producing films, TV commercials, branding and online presence.

Ashraf’s message from the outset was to keep the faith and keep believing. He noted that throughout his journey he had many rejections, knock downs but kept going with the belief that his hard work and ideas would pay dividends. “One thing that marks entrepreneurs out from a crowd is their inability in accept no for an answer and to give up after initial rejection. I started off my journey back in 1987 when I was a student. The little mountains of expectation I had were quashed on several occasions; I was told by one editor of a newspaper during a job interview to come back when I got better! I was a little annoyed but not disillusioned and didn’t give up hope.”

One of the recurring ideas circulating in the business community in the region is the return to customer satisfaction. Ashraf reiterated this when he talked about the reasons for setting up his own company in 2007. “One of my main motives for forming this company was because I recognised that the industry here was very restrictive – there was no flexibility with other design companies and for me the quality of work was not personal – no-one was willing to go that extra bit. At the time I was working with a lot of people who wouldn’t really go beyond the remit of their basic duties – wouldn’t go out of their way for the client. With Xpanse I wanted to give it the personal attention with an ambition to concentrate more on the quality of my work and the satisfaction of customers. I wanted to keep the work very small and manageable and not go out of bounds. For me the most important thing is that you have a happy client.”