Sali Osman has over two decades of experience working in security, risk management, and privacy for the US Federal Government. With a comprehensive background in Digital transformation and compliance, she has the unique ability to translate digital transformation risks into business language and opportunities. She also contributes her talents to several social impacts and social enterprise initiatives that change lives and empower communities. As a creator of global opportunities, she is also the founder of the Nubian Village—an initiative to promote economic empowerment for Nubians.
Noting how Nubia village came into existence, Sali reveals that she visited Nubia in 2011. Located between Aswan in southern Egypt and Khartoum in Central Sudan, Nubia suffered because of a volatile political situation. The dilemma of her hometown sparked the inception of The Nubian Village – a social enterprise and economic empowerment company.
The underlying question was, what can she do to help these people make a decent living?
Her idea was to start an enterprise promoting Nubian-created businesses and facilitating product marketing and distribution. Any Nubian with a vision for launching a small business, such as selling jewelry, clothing, and handicrafts, incubates their business and accelerates their products to market with Sali’s initiative. They maintain ownership and brand while her team creates business demand through website promotion.
As her enterprise expanded, Sali realized that those small businesses required more, and she needed to invest on a larger scale. She began to bring in companies from around the world to invest in the region’s life essentials such as energy, education, agriculture, and technology. Some organizations came with grants; others with angel investors and joint ventures.
The Nubian Village currently has 700 members in the business incubator and accelerator. Eight of those represent solid success stories, meaning they can sustain and grow their business into the future without needing further grants.
What does the future hold for Sali’s labor of love? It all hinges on creating continuous demand.
“For example, why would a farmer with 10 acres of land keep investing in his business if he’s not serving a market at scale? Why would he purchase the land next door and expand to 20 acres if supply chain logistics are faulty and his produce will not be transported on time? We need to focus on building a supportive ecosystem to create and sustain demand and ensure timely product delivery,” Sali explains.
Before this initiative, Sali discussed how so many Nubians expatriated to other countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, in search of a better life. The African brain drain amounted to 7 million in 2012 according to IMF. Now NB can provide them with the conditions for a better life at home.
She is confident the model will work in other regions and has been asked to bring it to Latin America.
One promising step forward would be to encourage large retailers, such as Walmart and Target, to commit to obtaining a percentage of their merchandise from disadvantaged regions. Corporate backing would go a long way in ensuring continued growth for promising small and mid-sized businesses worldwide.
Entering an emerging market begins with evaluating the country’s political and economic stability and physical security in war zones and conflict areas. Companies that have established their business models on invariant factors get pressed to adapt their approach to abundant variables. Considering Ms. Sali Osman’s business experience in the Middle East and Africa, we are sure her advocacy for Nubians will result in success stories of economic empowerment in the Nubian region.