The Abu Dhabi SME Hub is conducting a series of interviews with SMEs that, with support from the Khalifa Fund, are excelling within their respective industries. The SME showcased this time is Marine Hub, an e-commerce platform that sells fishing gear and marine-related products, operating out of Abu Dhabi.
Abdulla Al Mazrouei, co-founder of Marine Hub, speaks with us about his company, and his entrepreneurial journey so far with his founding partner Abdul Rahman Al Mazrouei.
What was the driving force behind your business idea, and what market need were you trying to address?
Marine Hub was born out of the very own needs and struggles of fishing enthusiasts and sea lovers like myself and many others. Abdul Rahman and I always struggled to find the latest [fishing and] marine gear, and we had to research for days usually to collect what we needed.
Speaking with other friends who have gone through the same struggle, Marine Hub came to mind: Why not launch our own marine-related gear e-commerce platform? It’s easy, efficient, and being situated locally means faster delivery and support that would be more tailored to the needs of the local market.
What specific challenges have you faced on your entrepreneurial journey so far - any unique to your industry or business model?
It hasn’t always been an easy ride. Talking to the main suppliers in the market, we found that they weren’t fully aware of the full potential of having an online presence for their products. They were hesitant, and sometimes even skeptical, about the feasibility of changing/adjusting their business model and getting on board with us.
Most providers had already established their loyal customer base using existing and traditional approaches, so the question then was “Why change?” As Marine Hub grew, the answer to this question became evident: the world is changing. Especially after COVID-19, the switch to online shopping became inevitable. Customers were no longer willing to take long trips to different shops to peruse products - they wanted to stay safe while still being able to enjoy their marine hobby, and this is how Marine Hub became even a more convenient solution for more providers to jump on board with us.
How has the Khalifa Fund supported your company?
The Khalifa Fund was not only a simple push to the right track, it was a huge leap that the Marine Hub team would always be grateful for. Their trust, support, and consultancy allowed us in a little over a year from launching our business to have a strong enough presence in the GCC countries that encouraged us to launch International Shipping as well. Now we have +150 brands on our website, +15,000 products and a strong customer relationship that is getting our customers coming back, and a solid team to maintain our growing workflow.
In your opinion, what were the unique benefits of setting up your business in Abu Dhabi?
Reflecting on our journey, we feel grateful that Abu Dhabi is Marine Hub’s home. It opened doors for our brands to grow by collaborating with different logistics providers with good prices that allowed us to provide our customers with a premium shopping and delivery experience without compromising our price range.
Abu Dhabi’s smooth banking regulations and rich pool of logistics providers with smooth regulations and processes were a key contributor to how fast Marine Hub’s growth has been throughout the past year.
What are the most important lessons you've learned so far as an entrepreneur?
The journey hasn’t been easy, but it was worth it. We have grown with Marine Hub. It was just an idea less than two years ago, but we had faith, did the work, and put the effort to study and evolve and it paid off.
I feel that the highlight lesson Marine Hub has taught us is the importance of having faith in your dreams and capabilities. Always seize the opportunities life lays in your way - with enough work and effort it will pay off in ways beyond your wildest dreams, on both professional and personal levels.
What are your plans for the future of your business?
Given that we recently launched international shipping, our plans for Marine Hub as of right now are to focus on establishing a strong presence in the international market. We want to grow even more in the GCC market and have strong affiliations with the local marine communities, and truly make a positive impact on both our customers and suppliers. We are looking forward to the day Marine Hub is a known brand to every marine life enthusiast worldwide, and a go-to shop for all GCC water sports hobbyists and professionals.
Marine hub is the first ecommerce marketplace with wide range of products focusing on fishing gear and marine products. To find out more: https://www.emarinehub.com/