In this exclusive interview with UAE Times, we explore the remarkable career of Jigar Sagar, founder of Triliv and a serial entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience shaping the UAE’s business landscape. Jigar’s journey began when his father introduced him to entrepreneurship at a young age. He gained valuable experience working at his father’s gold retail store after school at Sharjah’s Gold Souk. This early exposure instilled in him a passion for business and set the stage for his future ventures.
After formal education in finance and accounting, Jigar ventured into various sectors, from banking to call centers and startups, before joining Creative Zone as their finance director, marking his entry into the world of entrepreneurship. With a love for finance, he initiated a bookkeeping and financial services entity, laying the foundation for his involvement with over 15 companies across diverse industries. His entrepreneurial success stems from a unique blend of skills and self-awareness, making him adaptable and successful across sectors.
In this interview, Jigar shares insights into staying updated with industry trends, motivating and leading teams, and the importance of authentic professional relationships. He also discusses his firm’s pivot to embrace digital innovation while retaining a human touch and offers perspectives on green initiatives and corporate ethics in the Gulf’s evolving business landscape. As a seasoned entrepreneur, Jigar Sagar’s journey is one of growth, innovation, and a commitment to shaping the UAE’s business landscape.
Could you share the narrative of your career path, focusing on significant experiences or turning points that influenced your direction?
My father introduced me to the idea of entrepreneurship when I was just 10-11 years old. He took me along to mentor me at his small gold retail store located right in the heart of Sharjah’s Gold Souk. The store became my practical business classroom, where I gained hands-on exposure across sales, customer service, and more.
After finishing my formal education in finance and accounting, where I discovered my love for numbers, logic, and math, I decided to expand my practical business knowledge further by taking up roles in banking, call centers, as well as early-stage startups. Joining Creative Zone as their finance director served as my transition into the world of entrepreneurship.
With my love for finance, one of the first initiatives I launched was a bookkeeping, financial services, tax, and accounting entity. This was just the genesis; now I’m involved with 15+ companies to date across industries like technology, free zones, healthcare, and more. Enabling fellow entrepreneurs has become a core focus as well.
Key influences that sparked my entrepreneurial journey definitely include the childhood hands-on business exposure from my family’s retail store. I drew inspiration from seeing my self-made father’s success story. As I got older, I discovered I have an innate skill for identifying problems and conceiving solutions for them in the form of new business ideas. Of course, the formal education in finance provided me with the backing and confidence to take the risks of launching my own ventures.
What factors influenced your choice to delve into this industry?
My journey into entrepreneurship was influenced by a few key strengths. I have always had a natural ability to understand numbers and identify the core of a problem. This skill has been crucial in quickly piecing together effective solutions. Being self-aware of these abilities gave me the confidence to venture into different industries. It’s this combination of skills and self-awareness that shaped my path as a serial entrepreneur, adaptable and successful across various sectors.
How do you stay updated with the latest trends and advancements in your field?
Every day, I stay informed by reading two global and two local newspapers, along with three technology-focused online magazines. Weekly, I delve into two to three fashion magazines. For books, I frequently use apps like Headway, which offer summaries I can listen to, allowing me to consume a wide range of books efficiently.
What strategies do you employ to motivate and lead your team effectively?
As a leader, I perceive myself as a mentor, navigator, and a reliable sounding board for my team. My approach primarily revolves around harnessing individual strengths to ignite intrinsic motivation within the team. I firmly believe in the principles of open communication and continuous feedback, as they are fundamental in cultivating trust and ownership, which are vital components of a high-performance culture.
While my core focus is on empowering the team and providing them with clear guidance, I also recognize the significance of benevolent centralized leadership when the situation demands it. During such moments, I don’t impose decisions but rather step in gently to guide the team through challenges, ensuring they grasp the reasoning behind my choices. This approach allows them to learn and develop from each experience.
In essence, my leadership style is centered on striking a delicate equilibrium between empowerment and guidance, creating an environment where both individuals and the organization can flourish.
Can you describe a challenging situation in your career and how you navigated it?
One of the biggest challenges that I have faced in my career is working in a team with individuals who have opposing views and opinions. As a leader or manager, it is crucial to balance the team dynamics and create an environment for collaboration. I achieve this by actively listening to everyone, fostering a safe space for open discussion, and insisting on respectful behavior from team members. Additionally, I make it a point to always share the reasons behind the choices being made.
How has your firm pivoted or adjusted in light of the digital age and technological leaps?
The digital revolution demands rapid adaptation. As a lifelong technology enthusiast, I pivoted the firm to embrace technological innovation – actively integrating solutions from no-code tools, to AI, to automation to elevate efficiencies.
However, we balance high-tech with high-touch, retaining human charm and emotional skills robots can’t emulate. It’s this fusion of digital ease and bespoke personal relationships that ensures continued relevance.
We’ve pivoted to become a digitally powered yet human-centered firm – driving innovation but not losing the human touch. This balancing act is key for the future.
What are your thoughts on the importance of networking and building professional relationships?
I strive to build my network based not on the size but on the authenticity and depth of connections. Even a small circle of individuals who know, like, and trust you can make an exponentially positive impact during milestones or tough times.
Beyond furthering your own career or ambitions, relationships nurtured genuinely present opportunities to exchange ideas, lend each other support, and unlock synergies.
I focus on fostering win-win relationships that stand the test of time. This proven network then organically blossoms into more fruitful partnerships and possibilities over the long-term.
How do you assess the emphasis on green initiatives and corporate ethics in the prevailing business milieu of the Gulf?
I see promising strides being made as more Gulf companies adopt environmental standards and ethical conduct codes. Overall, green initiatives and integrity measures are gaining prominence. But we have some way to go before sustainability and ethics get embedded into organizational DNA beyond superficial labeling.
Looking back, is there something you’d do differently in your career? we asked Jigar Sagar
If I could do something different, I would have started my entrepreneurial journey even sooner than when I did.
Connect with Jigar Sagar on LinkedIn
Find Triliv on LinkedIn.