Spotlight on Syrian Entrepreneurs: Jamal
Jamal: The Real Estate Investor
Jamal and his father were so excited to talk about their business, they insisted on the interview being recorded, to ensure no detail would be missed. Moving to Istanbul from Damascus in 2011, the father-son duo launched Al Kahal, a real estate firm in the Fatih district of Istanbul – now more commonly known as the city’s Little Syria. “I may be his father, but Jamal is the boss”, his father says, beaming with pride.
Before moving to Turkey, the family worked in construction. Grateful for the good advice of family and friends, and noticing a gap in the local market, Jamal and his father decided to launch a real estate firm to address the housing needs of a growing Syrian community in Istanbul in the spring of 2016. Two years later, the business is a pillar of the local community. While adapting to the regulatory environment in Turkey has been challenging, Jamal and his father have been able to find their niche. Their firm now employs 3 full time and 2 part-time employees and business is booming.
The window display is covered in property listings and information on municipal services. Jamal describes working in Istanbul as “an incredible experience… the city runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and each month brings unique customers, clients and business opportunities”. He isn’t exaggerating. Our interview is punctuated by a stream of clients popping in and out.
Recognizing the strategic importance connecting fellow Syrians with much needed information, Jamal is young but he’s already a savvy entrepreneur, “As a next step, I would like to start connecting other young Syrian entrepreneurs with investors and businesses opportunities.”
Click here to learn more about Jamal’s business, Al-Kahhal Real Estate.