Obai & Hill wins Startup of the Year!


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Seef District, Manama – February 18th 2015 – We are absolutely ecstatic to announce that OBAI & HILL has won the award for “Startup of the Year!” The Kingdom’s first Bahrain Award for Entrepreneurship recognizes and celebrates the achievements of Bahrain’s entrepreneurs. The goal is to further encourage socio-economic development to help spur a private sector-driven economy. Enterprises are evaluated based on their ability to demonstrate vision, ambition and business acumen, and winners are recognized as being trailblazers who have brought new innovations to Bahrain.

Wafa AlObaidat, the founder and creative director of OBAI & HILL, started the company in 2010 and officially registered in 2012, a public relations and design agency that has not stopped growing, expanding and succeeding since its inception. Wafa’s Q and A session reveals her experiences starting a business, her plans for the future and her emotions after winning this prestigious award.

Q: Why do you believe that OBAI & HILL deserves the award for “Startup of the Year?”

A: Obai & Hill has been continuously growing since it began in 2010 with our first client, Khaleejesque. Now, we have served over 40 clients around the region, our team has grown to 11 members, and we have more than 6,000 combined followers on social media. This award really gives us the extra push, serving as our first highly prestigious award as well as some added financial support in order to grow and develop the company further. We sincerely hope that this recognition allows Obai & Hill to set the example for future startups in the GCC.

Q: How has OBAI & HILL helped the socio-economic development of Bahrain?

A: Obai & Hill has hired a team of locals to take on the challenge of standing out among other more established and recognized brands in the region. I have offered employment to young, creative Bahrainis who are full of energy and fresh perspectives. In addition to the “basic” services that my agency provides, we have also started two separate product lines, Barrel and Drum and Sukkar, and a talent management subsidiary to the company. We are constantly expanding by requesting and providing services simultaneously to strengthen the Kingdom’s economy.

Q: Do you believe the Bahrain Award for Entrepreneurship will make a difference in Bahrain’s private sector? How?

A: Absolutely. I think the fact that the Bahrain Award for Entrepreneurship takes the time to investigate and assess all potential winners and their respective enterprises proves the Kingdom’s interest in the private sector. The recognition of few individuals for their success not only sets an example for other startups, but also encourages those who are thinking of starting their own business.

Q: Do you think the Bahrain Award for Entrepreneurship is strong enough to carry on for years and years to come?

A: I think the turnout at the event speaks for itself. It is obvious that people appreciate this type of friendly competition and will work harder to prove themselves. With these types of awards, it is crucial to maintain consistency to always give people hope. I believe the Bahrain Award for Entrepreneurship was a success right from the very start, and thus will continue on for many years as a mark of Bahrain’s support of the private sector.

Q: Have the last few years of your professional life lead up to this moment? Why?

A: Even though I could not be more proud to win this award, I have started and grown my business to invest in myself and in the Kingdom of Bahrain, not merely for the purposes of recognition. Having said that, I see this award as a symbol of encouragement and a reminder that I have made a difference. Now, I am more driven than ever to further excel and expand my business in hopes that one day it will become the name people recognize for top-notch services in PR and design.

Q: Looking back from the first day you decided to start your business till now, is there anything you would have done differently?

A: If I could start all over again, I would hire an accountant first and foremost. When I first launched Sketchbook Magazine, we were getting funds from events and advertisements, but they were not managed well. There was no budgeting or fixed allowances and salaries being given out. When I started my agency, my first investment was an accountant who made it his priority to control spending, handle budgeting, and negotiate production fees. Now, my accountant is my right hand man. I speak to him before making any decision, and we have been in a great place financially ever since.

Q: In regards to your enterprise, what are you most proud of?

A: In general, I am so proud of my team and the agency. We have come a long way in a short amount of time. However, I think I am most proud of the branding of my agency. I had a vision that I would hire young, creative, fresh minds that would offer clients that little extra something that could not be found anywhere else. I feel Obai & Hill has achieved this goal, and this branding helps us stand out from the crowd.

The Bahrain Award for Entrepreneurship is an annual event that offers specially designed prizes for winners in order to help further their business. More information can be found on their website.



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Obai & Hill

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Nada El Barshoumi