Life as we know it can change at any time, and one of the biggest drivers of change that could completely turn the fortunes of a person, employee, or entrepreneur upside down are sudden unfavourable government policies.
But despite challenges like this, how you come out of it to rise once again is key to building a conglomerate that will stand the test of time.
This is the success story of Mohammed Mansour, a man whose family business crumbled in the time of his father due to government policies, but was first rebuilt by his father, and then taken to amazing heights by him, the son.
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Here is how he did it.
Early Life Of Mohammed Mansour
Mohamed Mansour was born to Loufty Mansour in the year 1948. His family was one of the most prominent families in Alexandria.
He got his engineering degree from North Carolina State University in 1968 and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Auburn University in the year, 1971.
Mohamed Mansour has two siblings, Yasseen and Youssef who also have shares in the family business.
As a teenager, his father’s wealth was suddenly taken over by the government and “nationalized” as state-owned. This caused him to tighten his belt and go on to work serving slices in Raleigh, North Carolina.
According to an interview with Forbes, Mohammed Mansour said; “It was a pizza restaurant. I was in my teens, studying engineering in America. I had to win my monthly income, which was $200 dollars a month. It was a wakeup call for me but it helped make me the man I am today.”
Despite the challenges he faced, he went on to gain an engineering degree from North Carolina State University in 1968, and a master’s in business administration from Auburn University in 1971, teaching there until 1973.
Journey To Entrepreneurship
Mohamed Mansour’s journey to entrepreneurship did not start as a personal venture for him. He was born into an entrepreneurial family where his father was an entrepreneur himself, being one of the richest men in Egypt at the time.
His father founded the business in the year 1952, sticking strictly to the cotton business.
Mohamed Mansour has since led the group since his father died in 1976. And has overseen all the major corporate developments, including setting up the company’s private investment subsidiary, Man Capital, in London.
The big break for the company came when they set up a General Motors dealership.
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Mansour Group needed to survive the nationalization and confiscation of its assets in 1965.
When Mohamed Mansour was only seventeen years old, the family business suffered a big hit from the then government in Egypt.
The president, Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized it without compensation, and the entire family fortune was lost without any form of compensation.
His father relocated to Sudan to continue the cotton business where it was nationalized again. Finally, a relocation to Switzerland as a cotton broker helped his father rebuild the business, remaining there until the economy of Egypt became favourable for business.
Mohamed Mansour’s father had to start the business from scratch in his late 60s and rebuilt it in time.
Mohamed Mansour in a conversation with a Forbes correspondent reported “He actually started again from scratch at the age of 65, 66. So I saw the values, I saw the courage, the hard work and never give up [attitude].” He talks of how people who do well are often seen as traitors. Did he ever feel like one? “He was a very nationalistic person–he did not have a dime outside Egypt at the time.”
Mansour senior trusted the country that had helped make him. I ask if he ever became bitter or resentful: “Of course he was. He was very sad, he was very angry; he felt he was being mistreated. But he stood up,” and in doing so started another chapter in the Mansour family story.
The Mansour Group Today
The brand of the company has grown stronger over the years with partnerships and investments with other companies and the company owning shares in global brands. The company currently is present in over 100 countries with about 60,000 employees.
According to their website, the company is worth around $7.5 billion and has at least six subsidiaries making great strides.
Al-Mansour Automotive is the Automobile arm of the group. The company has made some of its fortunes from selling General Motors cars. For the sales of these cars, the company sells about 80,000 vehicles yearly; making it the biggest GM franchise in the world. Other vehicle franchises it trades include Chevrolet, Opel, Peugeot, MG, and Isuzu.
Al Mansour Holding Company for Financial Investments (MHCFI) is Egypt’s largest distribution group, providing a range of consumer goods to 130,000 outlets across the country. Metro Egypt’s largest supermarket chain, Metro Markets, and the Kheir Zaman discount chain amongst other retail marts.
Manfoods is the sole franchisee for McDonald’s restaurants in Egypt and today serves more than 70,000 customers every day, across a network of more than 90 branches.
MMID is also a subsidiary of the group. Majorly involved in real estate, it founded Palm Hills Developments (PHD), a leading real estate company in Egypt. PHD, which is listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange develops residential, commercial and resort projects. It has a portfolio of 26 projects spanning different development stages nationwide, spread over 27 million square meters in Egypt. Its land bank includes 757,000 sqm of land earmarked for commercial/retail developments.
MMID is also a shareholder in Crédit Agricole Egypt, a subsidiary of Crédit Agricole, one of the world’s largest banks. Established in 2006, Crédit Agricole Egypt has become an active player in Egypt’s financial industry, offering a wide range of products to corporate clients, small and medium-sized enterprises and individuals.
In 2010, the group’s private investment firm was launched known as ManCapital, it was co-founded by Mansour and his son Loufty. Since its inception, Man Capital has completed 10 deals, including investments in Millennium Offshore Services, which provides services to the offshore oil and gas industry; Educas, which invests in private schools; and Nigerian telecoms infrastructure provider IHS Towers.
As for investments, the company has gone big on its investments over the years owning shares in Facebook, Uber, and Airbnb through their platform ManCapital.
The Mansour Group is the culminated efforts of what the Mansour family did post-cotton business with the brothers Yasseen Mansour and Youssef Mansour both being billionaires, making the family one of Africa’s richest and most successful.
In January 2006 Mansour resigned his business responsibilities to serve as minister of transportation. He resigned in October 2009 after a deadly train crash.
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The Mansour Group funds the Lead Foundation in Egypt, providing loans to micro-businesses and underprivileged women. Mohamed Mansour also chairs The Mansour Foundation for Development, a philanthropic organization funded by Mansour Group to eliminate illiteracy, poverty, and disease in Egypt.
To Sum It Up
The entrepreneurial journey can be long and arduous with various challenges along the way. But the ability of a person to rise above the challenges despite falling many times over and becoming not just a success, but a force to reckon with is key.
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