BEntrepreneur Magazine sat down with Suzy Alzeerah, co-founder of Boost Bahrain to talk about sports and that great feeling that comes from creating memorable events.
Myself, Sameera Al Bitar and Abdulla Al Shamlan established Boost Bahrain in 2016 with a common goal in mind: to encourage the people of Bahrain to live a healthier lifestyle and embrace sports as a way of life. Our country has one of the highest levels of obesity and diabetes in the region and we wanted to inspire people to realize that sports has many benefits. It improves your mind, body and gives you an immense amount of confidence in all areas of your life. We also believe that everyone loves a challenge mixed in with a good dose of fun. There is nothing like the feeling you get when you cross the finish line where you put in the effort to do more than you could. All three of Boost’s founders come from a triathlon background. Some of us have raced in international events. One of us has a successful sports career. We have managed and run some of the most successful sports events in Bahrain, Dubai and Lebanon. We complete each other in logistics, marketing, and delivering what an athlete at any level would want on race day because we know what it’s like as we have been there ourselves.
2)“Boost” literally means to push or to lift/ uplift. How is this carried out in the day to day activities of Boost Bahrain?
We support all the sports, health, and community endeavors that are carried out in the Kingdom. Day to day our team works towards lifting those up, bringing in new events, supporting and encouraging change. Change for the better on every level. No one can deny sports and a healthy lifestyle is a positive road. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain. Most of our race collateral has the flag of Bahrain on it. We’ve seen people in the Gulf and in Europe wearing a Boost Bahrain t-shirt with the Bahraini flag on their shoulder. We are very proud of this.
We create, develop, help market, organize and manage all types of sporting events: we had the third edition of Boost Bahrain Open Water Series last year. It was a training lead up for the yearly Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championships but also an opportunity for those who love to swim to do just that. We run mountain biking races (the first of its kind in Bahrain), cycling events and running events. We cater to kids and adults, we run our own Boost events and several prominent corporate events throughout the year– everything from a glow in the dark run, to a team relay sprint triathlon. We also take immense pride in the fact that we design bespoke race collateral such as medals, trophies, t-shirts, towels, swim caps, cycling jerseys and so on. We know that this is what makes an event even more special. In my opinion a great event has to have four elements to work. You have to please those–
a) participating in the event,
b) who sponsored the event,
c) who volunteered or managed the event behind the scenes and also
d)those spectating or watching.
You make those four happen? You got one great event, 100%.
4) How do your events inspire “going beyond the ordinary”?
I think it goes back to our main mission and this is a differentiation to other events in the sports community here. We want people to enjoy them. You can be a serious athlete if you want to or you can participate in our events. Myself, I love the last person who crosses the finish line– because they took on something big and they didn’t give up. And I celebrate anyone who takes on something they really want to achieve.
5) What are some of the business challenges that Boost Bahrain has faced and how were you able to overcome these challenges?
There have been quite a few challenges we have faced because the market is not that mature yet. We feel that to put on a great event it takes a lot from an organization and sometimes we are met with people that don’t find value in paying for good events. It’s expensive to run a race but people still ask what they are paying for which can be very frustrating when you know how much it takes. However we feel this is the same for many events in Bahrain. If you want to attend good events, you have to be willing to pay a reasonable amount for the experience.
Also, initially we thought we would receive support in order to encourage more people to participate. However it’s been the exact opposite in some cases where some entities are trying to make it more difficult for us to organize and run these events by putting financial strains on us. Regardless of these things, it has been three years and we are still going strong. We are looking forward to this next season!