Shezad Nawab MBE is an inspiring businessman. Through a mutual connection on LinkedIn we had some exchange and he agreed to be part of my local blog hero series. Enjoy!
Tell me about yourself.
My name is Shezad Nawab MBE and I am profoundly Deaf. My father was from Malawi, my mother was from Pakistan and my grandfather was from India. I was born and raised in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
I have received a number of prestigious awards, including;
- Ummul Mu’minin Khadijah Award for Excellence in Enterprise, 2018.
- Alumni of the Year 2017 in the field of Enterprise and Innovation.
- Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year 2017 Honours list for services to business and diversity.
- Shortlisted for Young Achiever of the Year, 2016.
- Listed in the top 10 Most Influential Disabled People in Business, 2014.
- Business Initiative Award, 2011.
- Young Entrepreneur Award, 2011.
- Innovation Voucher Winner, 2010.
I am a specialist in management consulting (supporting business ideas to scale up), interim executive director; C-level, Chairman, Non-Executive / Board Level Director (risk, performance, strategic organisation, and people) and I am also an international speaker (business presentations; seminars and workshops).
I have been actively involved in supporting a number of new businesses and start-ups over the last 16 years as well as working with SMEs to help them to grow their businesses.
I am fluent in six different sign languages – BSL, American, Arab, South African, Moroccan, and Internation.
What made you so passionate about business from a young age?
I was 10 years old when I asked my father about “How do I become a millionaire?” I was learning about his business company which involved supermarkets, post offices, and residential/commercial properties. This gave me a lasting impression and a strong sense of confidence.
My passion is entrepreneurship in the UK and internationally. I have been actively involved in supporting a number of new businesses and start-ups over the last 16 years, as well as working with SMEs to help them to grow their businesses.
How do other business leaders react and behave around you knowing you’re deaf?
I have found the business leaders are more interested in what products and/or services I can offer rather than focusing on my Deafness. As soon as we have agreed on how communication can take place (i.e. email, WhatsApp message, or via an interpreter if a face-to-face meeting or telephone call is needed), it’s not a problem. As business professionals, we have mutual respect for our business knowledge and communication doesn’t need to be a barrier.
Who inspires you and why?
My father is my greatest mentor!
What advice would you give to others with an impairment or disability who feel like society is pushing against them to succeed?
I’ve bullet pointed some tips that can help others succeed and believe in themselves. That there is no limit to what you can achieve and that a disability is no reason to stop you from achieving your potential.
• You can catch up, watch and learn
• You want to know about business compare: You v’s Hearing.
• You can find out if it’s a niche market.
• Business networking; you can find that an exhibition stand is perfect to make contacts and you can provide your business card. It’s easy to make contacts!
• Business meetings; you can make progress in advance with dates/times via an interpreter and hearing people to discuss your business proposal or sales pitch.
• Telephone calls; you will have plenty of contacts from their business cards but remember it will be the nice voice of an interpreter which could be confusing for the hearing people who are not used to communicate via an interpreter.
• Business plan; It is very important to only provide 5 pages only of an introduction / an executive summary, products/services, marketing, management team, and finance. If you have more than 10 to 20 pages, the investor won’t accept it as it takes too long to read.
• Business partner; you are deaf and your hearing partner you need to use the services of an interpreter at all times.
They should never be missing!
Thank you Shezad for sharing your story with me and my blog.