Ross Duncan interviews Dr Nasser Siabi OBE – Microlink
Dr Nasser Siabi is the director of a UK assistive technology company Microlink and was awarded the Order of the British Empire by the Queen in 2011 for his work with people who live and work with disabilities.
But he doesn’t necessarily like to call himself a “successful entrepreneur “more like a social philanthropist. He might like to make money, but only to spend it in the right way and at same time doesn’t want to be a charity because this is not always sustainable unless people are generous in giving. This is particularly the case in the present economical climate where there are no guarantees; he says we need to build on upon and focus on a sustainable business first, then to do charity work. In his opinion a rich and powerful person not doing a charitable thing is actually a sin and people should use that opportunity in life when they can improve the lives of others. In his mind if they don’t then it’s immoral.
Microlink was set up in 1992 and
is currently worth £12 million. At
present it employs over 100 people with an additional 150 consultants. Originally his father believed his destiny was
in his own hands in eventually becoming an entrepreneur and in not wanting him
to work for anyone else. Dr Nasser was
born with a visual impairment in both eyes and this influenced the eventual
direction he took and his motivation to find opportunities and new ways to help
Although not being formally
tested for dyslexia, someone has suggested that he is dyslexic. He does however believe that people with a
visual or a hearing impairment may eventually develop dyslexia, but for him
this is just a “badge or a label”. He might not be able spell certain words but
at the same time have lots of thoughts and ideas in his head that he might struggle
to communicate or transfer but with the help of and development of Microlink
technology, this no longer a problem it once was.
Being a social entrepreneur he believes that he has the responsibility and the belief in himself of how to succeed. How this happens is by taking risks and having to work. But of late his biggest achievement is giving nearly 400,000 disabled people success in work and education. This is personal to him and is what that drives and motivates him in making it easier for employers to employ disabled staff and giving lives back to disabled people. That gives him a huge sense of satisfaction.
For him money is not an
indication of success, but for him success is just how it improves the lives
and opportunities for disabled people. In
time he believes the removal of barriers will eventually lead to phenomenal
success for disabled people in being able to be recognized for their potential.