The Agent Middle East is the most anticipated celebrity and talent management agency launched in January 2017, which represents a number of the region’s most celebrated faces paired up with huge brands to represent them at events as emcees, moderators and keynote speakers, or in the social media sphere as influencers. We have met Abdel Sahrane Benjli, The Agent Middle East CEO’s, and had this chat.
- Abdel, it is an honor to feature you on ra2ed as Entrepreneur of the week. First, what can you tell us about The Agent Middle East?
I established The Agent ME last year, as I spotted a gap in the market. The Agent specializes in representing exclusively top regional personalities, celebrities and speakers in the media and public speaking arenas, covering, among others, fashion, sport, and corporate/government fields.
- What services do you offer at The Agent Middle East?
I offer services to both talents and brands/clients. For talents, that consists of taking their career to the next level, sharing their experience with the industry in the region and ensuring that they are available for a wide range of public events, including official government ceremonies, televised productions, celebrity judging, ceremonies, and corporate and product launches, for brand and corporate clients, the services offered include social media collaborations which bring brands closer to their target audiences
- From Nancy Ajram and Myriam Fares to Jessie J ... What are the differences between the concepts, the strategies and plans you prepare for each?
As every artist has a different personality, audience, niche and audience target, we work with a tactical study of the industry and based on that we put a structure together for each talents’ needs.
- You worked with Bareface as Talent Manager where you managed upcoming talents and worked with top celebrities, and today you are representing regional talents and influencers from all fields. Did you find any difference between both industries and fields?
Back in the day, I had less experience and learned so much quickly. Now, with my own agency I had the opportunity to experience and work in different fields within the industry and I can confirm there is a huge difference in each field and the way they operate. However, the target at the end is the same.
- Being based in the UAE, who is your client, target and customer today?
My geographic target audience is the entire Middle East, and my specific clients are event professionals, brand agencies, governments and brands themselves. I believe that our expertise lies in understanding each client’s specific needs, and providing them with a solution.
- How do you see the market today?
The market is changing and developing constantly, considering that Dubai is a global entertainment hub. Its geographical location, straddling the east and west, and its unique mix of nationalities makes it the perfect place for international events and projects.
The fact that the UAE was awarded Expo 2020 is testament to that and a promising platform already for bigger opportunities.
- How did your entrepreneurial journey start?
With a mixture of passion, dedication, experience and recognizing a gap in the market for a real professional talent manager I took the step. I love working with both the clients and the talents, and my beginning and success lies in the relationships I foster with them.
- How has entrepreneurship affected your daily life and family?
Entrepreneurship means taking on bigger responsibilities and challenges and calculated risks. This can mean more stress, but also, in the long run, more rewards. It means tougher skin, more mental strength and greater flexibility. Each person that decides to take the step to becoming an entrepreneur experiences it differently in their daily lives.
- What’s the biggest career mistake you would gladly make again?
I can't think of one "big mistake" but I have made a ton of mistakes that have built up my experience and I am glad I went through them.
- What were you doing the last time you looked at a clock and realized you had lost all track of time?
When I was flying to Bahamas to shoot a promotional campaign with their Tourism board and did realized how fantastic was that time.
- What (e) book do you think everyone on the team should read?
Tools of Titans
- If you have the chance to run a new business, what business or idea would you love to start?
I am very passionate about what I do, so I would definitely stick to the same business. Every event and collaboration brings with it a new element to consider, and this brings with it something that is mentally challenging, and when complete, very satisfying. And to receive complimentary messages from clients afterwards is the icing on the cake.
- Let's talk about Abdel the entrepreneur, what is your competitive advantage and why it can be copied?
COMMITMENT, PROFESSIONALISM, TRUST, CREATIVITY AND DEDICATION… these are hard to find these days and specially in this industry, but are fundamental elements in my work and relationships with talents.
- Where do you see your business in 5 years?
We are currently operating in the Middle East with powerhouses and reputable brands and hopefully very soon we'll have an international presence as well.
- What is your source of inspiration?
I am a big fan of the celebrity world and entertainment and have an endless love and passion for it so this is my inspiration. It is glamorous, of course, and behind the scenes, there is lots of hard work that goes into it, but to see the finished presentation is always magical.
- Can you share with ra2ed's readers 5 success tips?
Love what you do
Be open-minded and flexible
Be nice and professional
Talent: Good looks make you stand out but talent has staying power