Solving Structural Challenges In International Finance with Active Capital
Recently, we got to interview Mr. Inaete Merali, the Founder and CEO of Active Capital. To know more about the company, we asked him about the idea behind Active Capital.
“Active Capital is in the financial services spectrum, specialized in Merchant and Investment Banking activities in the emerging world.
Our unique approach enables the development of tailor-made infrastructure projects in an EPC + Finance model in the Energy, Health, Water, Roads, and Bridges industries. This is our core business, but we also invest in strategic industries and provide advisory services to blue chip companies.” replied Inaete.
However, you may be curious about how it all began. That’s why we discussed about Inaete Merali and Active Capital in detail.
Commencing The Career Journey And Sharing Advice
Every leader has a starting point from where they commence their journey. To know more about his career journey, we asked Inaete, “how did your career journey begin?”
He replied, “I have always had a passion for Banking, and within this sector, Corporate Finance, thus the Merchant & Investment Banking field. Naturally, to perform in this sector, one needs a special set of skills that does not occur in your first few years. One must initiate from the lower level and climb the ladder, which takes years. Be patient, and learn from your peers, but in a competitive world that is constantly changing. Only the amalgamation of hard work, personnel sacrifice, and associated ongoing skills development will allow you to be successful. Many also say you need luck, which I believe comes from the Almighty.”
With that, we also asked him to share his advice with beginners. “My advice to beginners is: take risks and don’t be scared to leave your comfort zone. Do not be preoccupied if you fail. A failure is an opportunity to begin again, intelligently. We learn more from our mistakes than from our successes. And once you achieve success, be humble and help others to grow with you too.” says Inaete.
Focusing On a High Value-added Proposition
We discussed the goals of Active Capital with Inaete Merali.
According to him, “Active Capital seeks to offer a high value-added proposition with in-depth knowledge of the markets where it operates, enhanced by an international network. Our business model is designed to solve the lack of adequate infrastructure, which is bridged with the international Capital needed to execute and mitigate the lack of basic needs which we, in the developed world, take for granted.”
The three major parts of their goal, as discussed by Inaete, are:
“Excellence in our approach and always achieving our clients’ highest standards.
Sharing leadership with joint efforts in order to develop successful projects and build lasting relationships with our partners and stakeholders.
Responsibility, we work to build a better future and are committed to the environmental and Governance change which is needed to create a more sustainable world.”
Finding Opportunities In Challenges & Being Unique
When discussing facing challenges, Inaete says, “In every challenge, there are opportunities. In fact, Active Capital was created in 2014 to focus on one specific geography, but the collapse of this intended market opened a valuable span of varied alternative options that resulted in broadening our horizons and pushed us to think out of the box. We are proud that this is our main revenue stream today.”
Along with that, every company needs to do something different to stand unique from its competitors. When we asked how Active Capital does that, Inaete said:
“Active Capital’s business model is unique in the sense that it was conceived using a venture capital approach to infrastructure development. Our business model also combines a social conscience for the development of the country where the project is being implemented with its financial viability. As such, unlike other traditional options, we make significant initial investment of seed capital and human resources, and the income only occurs if the project is launched.”
Why did you decide to leave the position of CEO of a major Bank and create the start-up Active Capital? We asked Inaete.
With that, he replied, “Being the CEO of a major bank was a stepping stone in my professional path as I was able to clearly realize the areas in the economic and financial markets that needed improvement to allow the country’s economic development. I must say that I often felt frustrated with the African Banks’ inability to actively participate in the development, which was highly dependent on Northern Hemisphere capital.
Also, as a CEO of the Bank, I was able to get acquainted with Presidents of Countries, Ministers, Chairmans, and entrepreneurs. They made me comprehend that by building an enhanced network and associating myself with adequate partners and financial resources, Active Capital could make a difference in the development of emerging economies and ultimately create a better future for the natives of these countries.
Thus, the combination of the African continent’s immense need for development in the decades ahead and the ability to draw investors into Active Capital provided us with this opportunity.”
Leading Towards A Game Changer – Technology
Upon asking about the use of technology in this modern era and if it’s helping his company grow, see what Inaete replies.
“It is a game changer! It is particularly disruptive in basic banking. For example, technology has allowed small farmers to have the ability to access new markets and negotiate spot prices at international prices in a few seconds and receive income. Whilst a few years ago, they didn’t have updated information and had to sell at a much lower price to local buyers. I truly believe it will continue to compound over the next decades in transforming our lives. In fact, if I were allowed to go back in time, I wish that I would have more acute hindsight to foresee the way technology would transform the financial services industry, which today is so evident.” he says.
Active Capital also uses innovative ideas to improve itself.
Inaete Merali, the CEO and Founder of Active Capital, says, “We must think out of the box to be competitive in an industry that includes international financial institutions, multilateral development agencies, and export credit banks supported by the Government. Thus, our approach to work with the Developers and Government’s building the bridge hand in hand.”
Business Expansion & Grabbing Opportunities
While discussing expanding Active Capital, Inaete says, “Today we are present in 5 countries and 3 Continents, which is due to our unique approach as mentioned above. We have a team of partners and associates that combine a global set of skills and cultivate the local content needed for each project with the international players in the development area.”
Which product or service will you be launching in the coming months? We asked.
“Once again, a challenge has brought us new opportunities. Due to the pandemic that closed down the world for 2 years, we had to look into new sectors and countries to deploy our Capital to achieve an adequate ROI for our investors. Thus, we launched a REIT and are concluding our first deals.” continues Inaete.
Would you like to say anything else to our viewers? We asked him lastly.
“Our goal is not simply to apply the best practices but to adopt models that work locally in each geography. We solve immediate and structural challenges by thinking creatively with our stakeholders.”
Connect with Inaete Merali on LinkedIn.