Our company, Seafood Souq launched four months ago and we just held our first board meeting. Many of you reading this may think that it is strange that a company as young as ours is already implementing corporate governance practices, but we believe that it is core to our values as a startup.
Our Core Values:
TECHNOLOGY FIRST, to ensure that efficiency is developed through the priority of existing and nascent technologies.
TRANSPARENCY in all aspects of our business; in working with our stakeholders and working within our teams.
VALUE CREATION for all stakeholders in the value chain and ensuring that our business model provides financially viable and sustainable business for our stakeholders.
ACCOUNTABILITY to our shareholders, our stakeholders and our team members.
SUSTAINABILITY in our business model, our financials, our environmental and social impact, our work-life balance and lifestyle.
We are implementing good governance practices from the inception of the company; in line with our core values and to ensure value creation to our shareholders. We established a board of directors that provides oversight and promotes accountability throughout the entire organisation as Seafood Souq develops into a larger and more complex company. The board’s role will be focused on creating shareholder value. They are an experienced group of diverse individuals that represent our shareholders and offer their expertise from various industry verticals.The board is responsible for the evolution of the corporate governance practices in line with globally accepted principles. In short, they act in the shareholders’ best interest and guide the management team to deliver.
As a co-founder, and the managing partner of an investment firm that invested in Seafood Souq, I chair the board. Also on the board are Tarek Damerji, one of our strategic investors that co-founded Bayt.com, and three independent directors. Our independent directors are Rebecca Hall, who is the deputy CIO for a large conglomerate in the region, Tariq Alimohamed, a chartered accountant with forensic accounting expertise and Shahvir Sidhwa, the CEO of OceanFair International, a leading logistics company in the region. This early on, 60% of our board is independent; they are objective advocates for our shareholders and bring a wealth of experience to the table.
“Why are we doing this? Why are we benchmarking corporate governance to Sarbanes-Oxley and the corporate governance requirements of listing on the Nasdaq?
It is quite simple really; to ensure that our practices are comparable to our peer group. We want to operate like the largest e-commerce platforms listed in the United States. As the research shows, good governance will create value in the long term. Furthermore, it will develop a culture of transparency and disclosure in line with regulatory requirements. If one day, we partner with listed companies, file for an IPO or get acquired by a global player; we will have a governance culture that meets global standards. We will be valued on the same basis as global peers. It’s not rocket science; if you want to play in the big league, start practicing like all-star players.
We are doing things a little differently at Seafood Souq. Corporate Governance matters to us and we hope that other startups follow suit.