Paul Kenny came to Dubai a decade ago in his early 20s. While he pursued three 9-5 jobs, it couldn’t satiate his desire to start something of his own. Eventually, he did set up his own business, not one but three – Cobone.com, Safarna.com and AYM Commerce.
In conversation with Rupkatha Bhowmick, Kenny talks about his early days in the region and the evolution of the online retail landscape
I grew up in Ireland, surrounded by my family, who also happen to be a group of entrepreneurs. My family, the Kenny’s, is quite popular back at home. They are into retailing of books and arts. I was quite fortunate, which I didn’t realise at that time, being surrounded by a family of reputed entrepreneurs. I would visit our store doing the windows, sorting the shelves although I didn’t add much value. I would see my family members either engaged in sales or speak with different authors and artists who would frequent our store. By the age of 18 when I went to the university and studied commerce, I started thinking of setting up something of my own. But I didn’t figure out what is it that I’d like to do.
In 2004 I came to Dubai on holiday, and I realised there was nothing on the internet. There were a few online news companies, but you couldn’t buy anything online. A thought struck me – what I could do to bring my family business to this region, selling books online. Back then, more than a decade ago, what sold online were books, CDs and DVDs. I returned home, went back to college and studies, but I was quite distracted. Finally, in 2007 I dropped out of my Master’s programme. I accepted an internship job in Dubai with the Jumeirah Group, earning around AED3,500 per month.
Read the full article in the July/August edition of RetailME