Read this amazing story about how an 18 year old young entrepreneur Waleed Ahmed,managed to lie his way to success, rubbing shoulders with top politicians and businessmen from all around the world?
Waleed Ahmed was only 18 years old when he and his then partner, Flemming Bordoy, came up with an idea for a product (an iPhone case) that charged their iPhones via solar technology. They came up with the idea when they were on holiday in Dubai. They presented their idea to innovation Norway, a Norwegian state owned company that aims to help increase innovations in industry throughout the country.
Innovation Norway liked the idea so much that they awarded Waleed with $25,000 to establish his company Green Norway.
How it started
In April 2010, Waleed told the Norwegian newspapers that he had received over $100,000 from Innovation Norway and that they had personally invested $50,000 and that the Aurora Group had ordered 150,000 copies of the solar iPhone cases, a contract worth $5 million.
After this, Waleed received a considerable amount of media attention in Norway which made him well known throughout the country, giving him access to the biggest names in the Norwegian business sector.
Politician on the hook
First up on the hook was former Norwegian industry minister Trond Giske, who in May 2010 praised the two entrepreneurs in Norway’s biggest newspaper Verdens Gang, by saying the following:
I feel the need for something like this myself. This solves the problem with the battery of your mobile phone and it’s environmentally friendly.
The snowball effect
Now things started to really take off for Waleed.
Right after the meeting with the industry minister, Waleed contacted Aceves, a Chinese company, regarding development and production of the solar iPhone cases.
In August, both entrepreneurs won first place in an innovation competition focusing on energy and environment. The same month Waleed Ahmed announced to the Norwegian press that he had established contact with Kuwait Oil Company after they read an article about him. He said that Kuwait Oil Company would open up dozens of stores throughout Middle East where they would sell the solar iPhone cases. He also claimed that Kuwait Oil Company had already given them $1 million in advance and that he was going to meet them to sign under a business contract.
Establishing valuable business network:
Waleed lied and exaggerated about everything. Almost everything he said to the press was a lie.
But that didn’t stop him because the media and everyone else believed him. He was secure,
well-spoken and charismatic that it was impossible to believe that all this was a big lie.
Waleed Ahmed himself sent a copy of the freshly produced solar case to the Norwegian industry minister. In return, the industry minister responded by praising the product and the two entrepreneurs.
CEO of the telecommunications company Jon Fredrik Baksaas was approached by Waleed with the product and the idea behind it. A few months later he was invited to join Telenor and Jon Fredrik Baksaas himself on a four day trip to Barcelona to attend the Mobile World Congress.
At the conference, Jon Fredrik Baksaas introduced Waleed to AT&T and CNN’s Ted Turner.
A couple of months after returning to Norway, the Crown Prince and Princess invited Waleed and his partner to dinner at Skaugum together with the Board of United Nations Foundation. There, Waleed Ahmed and co-founder Flemming Bordoy gave a ten minute lecture about how they worked
Attending at the meeting, besides the Crown Prince and Princess, was Queen Rania of Jordan, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Kofi Annan, Professor Muhammad Yunus and Ted Turner, founder of CNN and Chairman of UNF, to name just a few.
Beginning of the end
In spring 2012, the entire reputation of Waleed Ahmed and his company Green Norway was shattered to pieces.
The Chinese manufacturer of the iPhone solar chargers, Aceves, had enough and responded to Waleeds so called success. The sales manager of Aceves’ factory contacted a journalist from the online Norwegian newspaper, NA24. He told the journalist that Waleed and his company still owed them money for the production.
Sales manager Victor Schengen said to NA24:
First and foremost I would like to say that I have som sad news, even though I was ripped off by him.
It’s very sad and unfortunate, even though I was hurt by him. This case shows how important it is to take care of one’s own reputation. One should not abuse the trust of others. You can fool some, but you can’t fool everyone all the time.
Victor Schengen quoted a famous Chinese saying: A man of noble character gets his wealth by honorable means.
The Kuwaiti company FFC denied that any deal or contact had ever taken place with Waleed, even though he claimed that it happened.
At one point he also told the press that he was going to meet president Obama and his wife Michelle Obama, which the US Embassy in Norway denied.
Waleed’s former partner says that he had been tricked and was a victim to all this too. Hhe has lost contact with Waleed ever since the news came out about how he had ripped off the Chinese company.
He was caught trying to sell a U.S. investor the rights to future Justin Bieber concerts in Norway for the ammount of $1.1 million. Rights which Waleed didn’t have. The investor had already paid Waleed because he was able to show him that he could make $9 million on the deal.