Investing for social impact reaps more than financial returns, says Al Tamimi Investments
Source: BI-ME , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Wed July 11, 2012 12:19 pm

UAE. For Al Tamimi Investments (ATI), a boutique investment firm headquartered in the UAE, channelling its private capital for social benefit is reaping more than financial returns for its businesses.

In recent years, the group has been favouring ventures which support the local community, and now it intends to apply its impact investing approach to foreign markets.

ATI was founded in 2006 by Emirati business leader Essam Al Tamimi and Rachael Wunsch, an accomplished venture capitalist from Australia. Using personal capital gained from the success of his law firm Al Tamimi & Company, ATI sought to invest in businesses that would enrich and bring value to the UAE community.

Although ATI did not realise it at the time, the company had adopted what the global markets now refer to as impact investing, making investments with the aim to solve social or environmental challenges while generating financial profit. JPMorgan predicts that by 2020 there could be between US$400 billion and US$1 trillion invested this way.

Today, ATI subsidiaries represent a broad range of sectors including real estate, early education, facilities management, healthcare, hospitality, retail, and consulting. Collectively its companies generate over 1,200 jobs within the UAE and contribute in excess of AED 50 million to the local economy each year.

However, at their core, ATI subsidiaries are anchored by missions to improve the communities in which they operate.

Emirates Home Nursing, established in 2010, stemmed from a very personal experience of ATI’s Chairman when he found no long-term care solutions for his frail parent. Operating in Dubai, the company now provides skilled nursing care, senior care, baby care and physiotherapy to more than 50 patients.

Hummingbird, an early learning centre based in the Dubai International Financial Centre, was conceived as a community initiative to provide quality childcare services to working parents. It has proven so popular that the centre has a waiting list for enrolments and is now looking to expand. According to feedback from primary school teachers, children who experience the Hummingbird learning method tend to be more advanced in their cognitive functioning than other students transitioning from nursery to school.

Accuro is a provider of specialist food and support services for healthcare, corporate and school environments and is the largest of ATI’s companies. It was created to address the special staffing and food service requirements of local hospitals. Most recently it signed a joint venture with GEMS in the UAE to introduce healthier food options to its schools in an effort to address the local epidemic of childhood obesity.
So committed is ATI to impact investments that it created The Big Start student entrepreneur competition. The competition, which completed its third season last week, seeks to develop the next generation of entrepreneurial talent in the UAE by rewarding students with seed funding and operational support from ATI.

The winning Big Start ideas also tend to be rooted in social missions. They include United Designers, a fashion concept store and incubator for emerging fashion designers; SO Famous, a modelling and etiquette school which prepares aspiring models with important business skills; and Pet Love, which will provide animal-assisted therapy to psychologically and physiologically-impaired patients.

“I believe our focus on establishing impact-generating businesses has seen Al Tamimi Investments grow throughout the financial downturn and has helped attract the best talent to our respective businesses,” said Essam Al Tamimi, ATI Chairman. “We are a people focused organisation so our investment decisions are governed by our passion to give back to the local community as well as our confidence in the people we choose to deliver success.”

According to Al Tamimi, ATI’s people and society first mentality is not typical among venture capitalists, but it is a model which consistently delivers financial results. Now the investment company has identified opportunities for stimulating US and European economies with its impact investments and is actively evaluating ventures in the automotive, e-commerce and manufacturing sectors.

“ATI’s investment strategy works because we look to solve societal problems. And we intend to demonstrate that by applying our thinking to foreign markets. We are ready to compete on a global level,” added Rachael Wunsch, CEO.

About Al Tamimi Investments LLC
Al Tamimi Investments (ATI) is a diversified Dubai-based holding company with an extensive investment portfolio of successful businesses and partnerships that operate across the Arabian Gulf, the wider Middle East region and the United States of America.

ATI is a dynamic company with a range of significant competencies, including Early Education, Support Services, Healthcare, Development Properties and Retail. Al Tamimi Investments fosters mutually beneficial and long-term partnerships with other strategically focused companies and institutions.

Established in 2006, ATI’s focus is on maximising each business opportunity that is presented to it, and creating mutually beneficial partnerships with like-minded companies and entrepreneurs, both in the Middle East and around the world. ATI works with its partners to create long-term business relationships, utilising their expertise, professionalism and networks. ATI also adopts an active, personal and dynamic approach in managing its business portfolio, and in this sense transfers its expertise, resources and practices to each business. Collectively, ATI companies generate over 1,200 jobs within the UAE.

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