This is Samitel’s second consecutive appearance in the Hot 100. The wholesale telecoms company sells voice and data services to over 120 providers worldwide. Despite the current downturn, founder and CEO Ahmed Farah insists it’s business as usual at the firm: “We’re fine at the moment,” he says. “The voice business is very stable and we’re up on 2008 in our first period.” A significant portion of Samitel’s growth last year came from emerging African and Middle Eastern markets. “We always focus on one area at a time,” says Farah. “It’s taken us 12 months to break these new markets but now growth is coming on fast.” This international expansion has taken the London-based firm to an £18m turnover. But Farah can’t afford to rest on his laurels. Not only is he about to take Samitel into South-East Asia, he’s also investing heavily in his back end. “You have to keep up with technology in this business,” he says. “We spent $1m on R&D last year. I have to be ready to upgrade our infrastructure every three years.” It is this adaptability that keeps Farah ahead of the pack. “We review our business model every quarter,” he says. “If we’re failing in any area, we change strategy.”


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