In this excerpt adapted from an exclusive interview, Sanjay Shah talks about how he succeeds as an entrepreneur and shares some tips to help others start and grow their businesses.
Shah is a philanthropist and entrepreneur who lives with his family in Dubai. With a background in London’s financial sector, Shah discovered his true calling when he combined his love for music with his passion to help the less fortunate and founded Autism Rocks in 2014.
You’re an entrepreneur and philanthropist. What would you say is your biggest motivator?
Sanjay Shah: Passion is what motivates me, whether it’s a passion to assist those who need help or a passion to see an idea through. If I don’t feel strongly about a new business venture, it’s not going to happen. Passion, along with focus, is the difference between success and failure.
Autism Rocks certainly came out of passion. How did you come up with the idea?
Sanjay Shah: When my youngest son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), my wife and I, of course, headed straight to the Dubai Autism Centre to see what treatment options were available. We were shocked by what we found. The centre was completely overwhelmed with requests for services from families who could not afford to pay for them. We immediately donated two minibuses to help transport families to the centre but knew we needed to do more. I was no stranger to giving to a variety of causes, but now that I had firsthand knowledge of what it’s like living with and raising a child with ASD, here-and-there giving was no longer enough. Our financial situation was sound and my wife and I decided then and there to come up with a way to help.
After a meeting with Snoop Dogg in 2013, the idea came to me: Why not combine my love for music and my passion to help others to create a way to raise money and awareness for autism? Autism Rocks was born.