How Cement Drives Economic Development

What is it that drives some companies to develop strong, growing economies while others seem to struggle to catch up? There are numerous factors involved in determining which companies can industrialize successfully and which cannot, including historic factors such as war and colonization, which leave lasting legacies long after they end. However, a major ingredient in the recipe for economic success is the resources that a country has access to. Which resources a country can obtain—and how affordably—has a lot to do with whether they’re able to become a developed first world nation with a successful economy. No one knows that better than Alexander F. Bouri.

That’s because Alexander F. Bouri has made a living on one of the most overlooked, but crucial resources of all: cement. When most people think of the resources that are vital to economic development, they’re likely picturing energy sources like coal, oil, and natural gas. Likewise, the presence of skilled workers who can compete in the technology market is a common answer. And both of these answers are correct, as these are essential to competing in today’s economy—but cement, although much overlooked, is just as crucial.

The importance of cement has to do with infrastructure. If you look at a developed nation, almost all of their production relies on large scale infrastructure and all of it is built largely out of cement. Cement is the necessary ingredient when constructing large factories, warehouses, docks and other industrial structures, as well as-large scale housing for workers and educational buildings. Without a supply of cement, all of these facilities become impossible—even the power plants that put energy resources to work. Production then has to happen in small scale shops, which raises costs, lowers efficiency, and makes safety and environmental regulations difficult to enforce.

Similarly, cement is crucial to roadways. Even in the age of airports and railroads, a huge amount of cargo travels by truck—especially in the developing world. That makes cement a necessary building block for businesses of all kinds.

Alexander Bouri knew this and dedicated his life to making affordable cement available in struggling developing nations. He pioneered a method to deliver large cement shipments to small ports that couldn’t handle big container ships. This was the founding innovation behind Seament, his family company, and it helped Nigeria and many other nations get the cement they needed and successfully build a growing industrial economy.

Cement might be something that we often take for granted, but it’s essential to our high-tech economy and way of life.

4 Advantages of a Family Business

When Alexander F. Bouri decided to make Seament a family business, it was no accident. He knew that family businesses often have an edge over other companies, especially in the early phases. He built Seament into a global cement supplier, and his family was with him every step of the way. Here are four advantages to a family-run business:

1.  People you can trust – No matter what line of business you’re in, it’s hard to find people you can count on—especially when you’re first starting out. While established companies can afford to head hunt leaders with a record of success, newer businesses often have to rely on what’s already available. As Alexander F. Bouri knows, a family-run business has a clear advantage in this regard, because your closest family members are those who will be entrusted with key aspects of the enterprise. While a spouse, son, daughter or sibling may not start out with expertise, they do have a strong interest in making the family business succeed—and you already know their individual strengths and weaknesses well. The rest can be learned.

2.  The best education – If there’s anything that will give a child a lifelong advantage, it is knowing how to succeed at business. Working in a family business gives your children a hands-on, real-world understanding of the principles of capitalism years before their peers ever enter the workforce. This is especially true when you start children off doing basic tasks and slowly work them up to positions of more responsibility. These are lessons that they will greatly value one day.

3.  Becoming closer with family members – For most people, family time and work life are constantly competing for their time and attention, and it’s a continuous balancing act to make enough time for both. One major advantage of a family business is that you get to see the people you care most about during your work day. Obviously, business comes first when you’re on the job, but that extra time together really does matter—especially when you’re working together to overcome challenges and solve problems. These are experiences that bring you all closer together.

4.  The chance to leave your children something that will endure – What will happen to your business after you’re gone? For most businessmen the answer is that it will be carved up or sold off. A family business, however, has continuity built in. It will become an enduring legacy for your family and continue to help them prosper after you’re gone.

Do you have a family business?

Keeping it in the Family – Some of the World’s Most Successful Family Businesses

Family businesses aren’t just corner drugstores or plumbing businesses. Some of the world’s most recognizable names and brands have been family-operated from the very start. Sam Walton, Henry Ford, Alex F. Bouri, and Frank Mars are just a few people that have given their heirs a company that they could happily call a legacy.

Wal-Mart

Chances are if you’ve ever done shopping of any kind, you’ve stepped into a Wal-Mart at least once in your life. While there have been controversies over the company’s treatment of its workers and its effect on local and global economies, one cannot discount the impact that Sam Walton’s company has had since he opened the first store in 1962. Currently, Sam’s son Rob Walton acts as chairman on the board of directors and each of Mr. Walton’s children top the annual list of richest people in the world.

Comcast

The largest cable provider in the United States, Comcast has its roots in the early days of television. Co-founded in 1963 by Ralph Roberts, Daniel Aaron, and Julian Brodsky as American Cable Systems, the Philadelphia-based company reported revenue of more than 64 billion dollars in 2013. Currently, Ralph Roberts’ son, Brian, runs the company.

Seament

You may not be familiar with the name, but Seament is secretly one of the most influential companies in the world. Dealing in cement trading, Seament was started in Nigeria by Alex F. Bouri. Boosted by innovations such as the floating cement terminal, Seament managed to build itself into one of the most respected companies in the industry, with the Bouri family still managing operations.

Mars

If you’ve ever gone trick or treating before, you’re plenty familiar with the name Mars. You may have thought that the candy giant behind M&Ms and Snickers was named after the red planet, but it’s actually named for its founder, Frank C. Mars. What started out as a homemade candy company in Washington became a booming business that currently employs 65,000 people. The board of directors is made up of Mars family members.

Ford

Henry Ford is the grandfather of modern industry. Without his innovation, who knows where we would be today. In the early days of the 20th century, Henry Ford catapulted Ford Motor Company to the top of car manufacturing by creating the assembly line, which not only made cars easier to produce, but more affordable for middle-class consumers. The company has been in control of the Ford family since the very beginning and has survived the Great Depression and the most recent near-collapse of the auto industry.

Family businesses come in all shapes and sizes. You may only think of small operations, but some of them are the most popular companies in the world.

A Few Things You may Not Know about Nigeria

Nigeria has been in the news recently, mostly for all the wrong reasons. With cases of Ebola being reported and the presence of Boko Haram, Nigeria can seem like a different planet. However, the country is not exactly what Western media portrays it to be. With a large population, an economy in which entrepreneurs like Alexander F. Bouri have made a name for themselves, a thriving movie business, and a large Christian population, Nigeria is not the exotic place that many people may think it is.

Not Exactly Desolate

It’s safe to say that the average American doesn’t know much about the economic and societal makeup of Africa, let alone the specifics of each country within the continent. Nigeria is called “the Giant of Africa,” in reference to the size of the population and the economy. With approximately 174 million residents, Nigeria has the highest population on the continent and is the seventh most populous country in the world.

Economically, Nigeria is on the rise. With a GDP of 500 million dollars, it is ranked 26th in the world and economists believe it has the potential to be in the top 20 in the next 50 years. The success of the Nigerian economy is tied primarily to its oil reserves, but the economic climate does allow for some success in other markets. Alexander F. Bouri, the chairman of Seament and a prominent leader in cement trading, got his start in Nigeria.

A Secret Leader in the Arts

Quick! Name the second most prolific country when it comes to releasing movies? Did you say India? No, actually India is number one. The United States? Up until recently, that guess would’ve been correct, but no. Nigeria produces the second largest number of movies each year. They’ve become so big that they even have a name for their movie industry: Nollywood.

There are also plenty of famous people that are from Nigeria. Chiwetel Ejiofor, the Oscar-nominated lead of 12 Years a Slave, is of Nigerian parentage and singer Sade and NBA Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon were both born there.

A Large Christian Population

If you had to guess the major religions of Nigeria, you probably would bet against Christianity, but it’s actually nearly tied with Islam for the most popular religion. Islam makes up around half of the population while Christianity accounts for about 48%. Nigeria has the highest population of Christians in Africa, accounting for over 80 million.

 

Nigeria may be on an entirely different continent than the United States, but it’s not as different as it may seem.

 

4 Important Things that We can Learn from Alexander F. Bouri

Have you heard of Alexander F. Bouri yet? Alexander F. Bouri is the founder of Seament, a cement company known for providing bulk materials and expert service in all areas of manufacturing, bulk handling, shipping, and terminal management. As the founder of Seament, Alexander F. Bouri has been very successful and has even helped revolutionize the cement industry. He is truly an inspiration for many. Here are 4 important things we can all learn from Alexander F. Bouri.

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1.  Hard work pays off. Sure, Alexander F. Bouri is a very successful man now, but his success didn’t come overnight – he had to work very hard for it. He started off studying at American University of Beirut where he earned a degree in business administration. Shortly after this, Bouri moved to Nigeria where he worked selling insurance.

2.  Dare to dream. Selling insurance may have given Alexander F. Bouri the money he needed to pay the bills, but it wasn’t what he intended to do for the rest of his life. As he continued to work at that job, he began to dream of a career in the cement industry; he took his first steps towards achieving this dream by taking out a $50,000 loan to get started in the cement trading business. With hard work and perseverance, he turned his loan into a huge profit and quickly earned the title of “Cement King” in the 1980s.

3.  Never stop learning. Just because Alexander F. Bouri has been successful doesn’t mean he has nothing left to learn, whether industry-related or something for fun. Presently, while still serving as the owner of Seament, Alexander F. Bouri spends his free time learning about agriculture and growing his own food.

4.  Give to others whenever you can. Alexander F. Bouri has never been one to revel in his own success or to get greedy with earnings. He knows that charity begins in the home, which is why he chose to help his son, Charles Bouri out by providing him with a job at Seament. Charles now proudly manages many of Seament’s operations, including their overseas locations.

Alexander F. Bouri also enjoys giving back to the community whenever he can, and has been assisting the foundation and building of schools in Lebanon and Nigeria. Additionally, he is also helping Lebanon and Albania improve their medical care by offering financial assistance to the Red Cross.

As you can see, Charles F. Bouri is not only a hard worker and successful owner of Seament, but he’s a very caring and generous individual as well. He is very inspiring for those who wish to one day own a business of their own.