Middle East CEO of the Year Awards 2023

MEA | Middle East CEO of the Year Awards 2023 28 Best Chilled Delivery CEO 2023 (UAE): Charles Kuhlman Based in Dubai, KoolKollekt is an international startup focused on chilled and frozen last-mile deliveries of items like food, pharmaceuticals, flowers, pet food, and cosmetics. The company was established by Founder and CEO Charles Kuhlman, an experienced entrepreneur and leader who set out to address the issue of inadequate cold chain management. Here, we speak to him to find out more about KoolKollekt and its work. With a wealth of ambition and an innovative spirit, Charles embarked on an impressive career in entrepreneurship in 2008, as part of which he would go on to establish various companies in the fast-moving consumer goods and media industries. Eventually, his career led him to a role at Gordon Delivery, one of the fastest growing tech-based last mile delivery companies in the Nordics, where he first served as Country Manager then Senior Sales Executive for new markets. Now, with over 17 years of experience in sales and business development, Charles has amassed a deep knowledge of retail, last mile logistics, and operations. At the beginning of 2023, Charles was inspired to leverage his wide-ranging experience to establish KoolKollekt, a last-mile delivery company that operates in the United Arab Emirates. He comments, “I have always been a very internationally minded person and, when I was scouting warmer geographical markets for our business, I identified the UAE as the most promising market for our services. Now, I can say that it was certainly a good decision.” KoolKollekt specialises in chilled and frozen tech-enabled last-mile deliveries, serving both B2C and B2B clients in the areas of food, pharmaceuticals, floristry, and cosmetics. Working with sensitive products, it strives to optimise and ensure unbroken cold chain solutions. On top of this, the company is committed to sustainability, aiming to reduce CO2 emissions as well as food and packaging waste. Ultimately, its mission is to become the most sustainable chilled last-mile delivery company in the world. In establishing KoolKollekt, Charles utilised the same approach to entrepreneurship that he always has in the past: believe, plan, and do. He believes that this recipe works for everyone but that many people lack one of the three core ingredients, causing them to struggle to succeed. Thanks to his hard work, the company’s journey has been successful thus far, with Charles and his team only facing typical startup challenges like cash flow. As a leader, Charles believes in the importance of business culture and has worked to establish one within KoolKollekt that is very flat, open, and direct. He does not micromanage his team, instead giving them responsibility and trusting them to deliver what is required in return. “I tend to keep weekly and monthly meetings, with all when possible,” Charles adds. “Especially in a startup, this is important because eventually the management will mirror this and do so within their respective organisations.” Alongside his focus on business culture, Charles is committed to providing KoolKollekt’s clients with an exceptional experience. In this, it is important for the team to not only know the company’s products and services but also to learn about the customer and provide the right energy when meeting with them. Charles comments, “It is about giving your customer the right answers to the questions and needs they have. You must add value and ultimately either solve problems or increase revenue in order to form the optimal business relationship.” For his exceptional work in establishing, developing, and leading KoolKollekt, Charles has been awarded the title of Best Chilled Delivery CEO, UAE, in the Middle East CEO of the Year Awards 2023. In the coming year, Charles plans to guide KoolKollekt towards its vision, driving it to achieve further growth and to reach at least two new markets. The company also plans to launch KoolApp, an e-commerce platform for grocery customers, producers, and pharmacies through which KoolKollekt will take care of all chilled and frozen deliveries. When it comes to his own personal career, Charles has several exciting plans. He has recently published a book in Finland titled ‘Entreprnr’, in which he tells the stories of seven entrepreneurs, the setbacks they have faced, and how they have overcome them. In 2024, he will publish an international, updated version of the book. He also plans to launch a completely new social platform that entrepreneurs can use to communicate, teach, mentor, and advise each other. As well as this, it will enable them to access services to help them set up their companies, recruit staff, access funding, and more. Contact: Charles Kuhlman Company: KoolKollekt Delivery Services Web Address: koolkollekt.com