Social Entrepreneur Hady Wehbe discusses his accomplishments

Social Entrepreneur Hady Wehbe discusses his accomplishments

Hady Wehbe is a successful social entrepreneur who founded two multi-million dollar businesses, a restaurant and a sports complex. He is the perfect example how hard work and having a dream pays off.

However, he decided to step down from his positions to balance his personal life and help people from underserved communities. He believes that success is possible for everyone, and the richness comes from hard work. He believes that you need to work continuously on being better to succeed. We spoke to Hady Wehbe to get some insights on how he got to the point where he is today.

Before going into being a young man, I believe understanding your youth especially between the ages of 0 to 8 is very important for success, at this age is when your brain absorbs and learns all the beliefs and behaviours. It’s important to have the positive experiences but even more to understand the negative ones so you can change your beliefs to what you want so you can have that successful business or life you want.

I will give an example of why it’s important to understand your youth. I used to have fears and anxiety when certain events happened in business. At the age of 4 I was told that I would never see my parents anymore and that created a trauma. I developed Epilepsy which lasted 9 years (until the age of 13). That experience made me believe that I couldn’t trust anyone and I couldn’t speak up.  I also had a fear of abandonment. So every time I would go into a partnership, I would feel like my partner would want to screw me, that I can’t speak up and prove a point, and think that my partners and staff would abandon me. Unconsciously, I wasn’t aware of it, so I would just react with anger, freeze, and a lot of times run away.  Those where many of the reasons why my earlier ventures, around 8 of them, failed. Every failure is a success, through the failures I was forced to understand and be aware of what was the cause for me to run away, to have fear, to be mentally drained. I saw a pattern, I sought professional help and that’s when everything cleared out. Many things that happen during our youth, whether it’s positive or negative, it’s very useful and beneficial to be aware.

Tell us about what life was like as a young man.

Hady Wehbe: I moved out to Canada to pursue higher education when I was 18. It was such a hard decision to leave and be on my own, but it was one of the best decisions of my life, as it made me become independent. I got a bachelor’s degree in Business Management at the University in Ottawa. At the same time I was a manager at a coffee shop. While in Canada, I founded an elite football magazine that was completely free of charge for the community. The magazine was used for highlighting local talents.

Tell us a little about your restaurant in Senegal.

Hady Wehbe: I would say that the event that helped me become who I am today.  This event was when I founded a successful beachfront restaurant, Sharkys, with my partner in Dakar. This was when things were starting getting interesting.

Sharkys quickly became one of the most frequented restaurants in Dakar and my life started to change. The potential of the restaurant was huge and the growth was incremental.

I always made sure Sharky’s offered a beachfront experience with burgers, sushi, pizzas, and healthy choices while watching the view on the beautiful ocean swarmed with surfers.

It was a huge success from the first day it opened. Due to its unique location and having hired most of the staff locally had huge effect on its success. However, I was always working long hours, often 15 hours a day. I decided that I couldn’t do it all myself and I had to hire managers to help me. This was the best decision that I made. It gave me much more space to grow personally. Commitment is really what helped me succeed in life, and I’m really glad that I was able to work with such amazing people in my life.

Tell us a little about how 11 Players was started?

Hady Wehbe: Everyday on my way to work I noticed that I was subconsciously looking for a place for a Football (soccer) complex.

One day I saw a bunch of kids playing barefoot football on a rocky beach. This area would become the 11 Players headquarters later.

It was hard for me to believe that city allowed me to open this facility, since I was very young and in my 30’s. I initiated the project by starting with a 3D model of the complex and hired an architect to finalize it. Then we went to see the Mayor of the city to present the project. It was a long process counting over 30 presentations and meetings with the City Mayor. But we were finally able to get the project green light.

You can reach Hady Wehbe at

About Pierre Zarokian