Wireless for the Win
Managing Director, RedButton Mobile
“A blessing in disguise”“I did not decide to become an entrepreneur,” says Jalal Ghiassi-Razavi, explaining how he stumbled into the profession that led to him becoming one of our IT Heroes. “The career path sort of crept up on me over the years,” he says, “Joining small organisations sent me along this route – something which, in hindsight, was a blessing in disguise.”
The fact that Jalal had never made a conscious decision to become an entrepreneur doesn’t mean that he was any less motivated by the idea of turning ideas into successful businesses. “I’m excited by the challenge of making small businesses work,” he says, “Basically, I enjoy starting and improving businesses. I would say being an entrepreneur is both challenging and rewarding at the same time.”
Pushing the Button into the futureJalal is the Managing Director of RedButton Mobile – a wireless hotspot provider – and has helped steer the company towards growth since he hopped on board. RedButton prides itself on being ahead of the rest and staying at the very cutting edge of wireless technology - a philosophy that fits perfectly with Jalal´s approach as an entrepreneur.
Founded in 2006 as one of the “business eggs” in the Bandwidth Barn incubator, the company enjoyed early success, winning the VeloCITI business acceleration project in 2007. After joining RedButton in 2009, Jalal was tasked with steering the company into the future as one of South Africa´s top wireless internet hotspot service providers.
Helping the egg hatchJalal wasn’t fazed by the challenge, having had experience in growing and nurturing small organisations. Between 2004 and 2008, our Hero was involved with Cell-Life – a non-profit organisation aimed at providing health information management and monitoring through mobile and internet technology.
Jalal was one of the first group of employees employed by Cell-Life and helped the organization grow from a research project into a highly successful organisation. During his time at Cell-Life, he helped the business win the Technology Top 100 award in both 2005 and in 2006.
At RedButton, Jalal’s vision and leadership has managed to help the “egg” hatch, establishing the company as a reliable provider of a variety of wireless internet solutions that cater to specific needs of their customers and vendors.
Playing the gameAlthough Jalal has enjoyed a reasonable amount of success in the industry, he hasn’t always won when he’s played the entrepreneurial game. In true entrepreneurial fashion, our Hero accepts this and sees it as something that can be turned into an advantage. “Obstacles and failures are part of the game. If they weren´t then everyone would be rich and successful,” he says. “I believe that if you give it your best and work hard at what you wish to achieve, then you will get to where you want to go. The biggest thing for me is to learn from the experience. Everyone will face obstacles and failures, but the people that come out on top are the ones that best deal with this.”
Getting ahead in the gameJalal advises up-and-coming IT entrepreneurs to find put in the hours, get the experience, and become as good as you can possibly be at what you do to get ahead.
“That little bit of extra hard work and dedication combined with a passion for what you do makes all the difference.There is a great deal of competition out there,” he says. “Have a plan, know where you want to go and work hard at getting there. Always look further to develop your skill set and value offering.”
The “Belgiranian”Jalal’s Twitter profile name – Belgiranian – is a play on his interesting roots in heritage and nationality. Jalal is half-Iranian, half-Belgian (hence “Belgiranian”), born in Lesotho and living in South Africa!
He enjoys sports, particularly interested in playing golf, cricket, soccer and rugby. When he isn’t doing that, he likes reading books on personal development and business books – a fitting pastime of a Hero who devotes himself to excelling as an entrepreneur. “I love learning new things and I love making business work!” Jalal says.
Jalal holds a BSc in Engineering in Robotics and Instrumentation, and an MBA (Cum Laude) in Finance and Leadership, both from UCT
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