In a business landscape where both mentorship and financing can be tough to find, Rahim Khudabux has found both thanks to local business leader Al Hasham, co-owner of Max Furniture and Maximum Express Courier, Freight & Logistics.
In 2001, Khudabux was an 18-year-old student studying social justice and business at the University of Victoria. By his own admission, he was on the wrong path and unsure of the future. All that changed when he met Hasham.
A well-known local mentor, Hasham quickly saw that Khudabux had the right stuff but was seeking guidance and direction. Hasham took him under his wing, helping him negotiate the purchase of a small wholesale company. Then, in 2008, Khudabux became manager at Max Furniture, another of the businesses co-owned by Hasham, his brother Al Vergee and Hamish Chumber.
Almost 16 years after their first meeting, Hasham has set the wheels in motion for Khudabux to become president and owner of Max Furniture. In true mentorship fashion, he and his business partners will provide financing, and Hasham will continue as CEO to provide ongoing guidance over the next five years or so.
“I have total confidence in Rahim,” says Hasham, who is currently chair of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.
“I’ve felt pretty blessed the whole way along,” says Khudabux. “When we first started working together, Al and his brother told me, ‘Be ready for a roller coaster ride.’ I was just a kid, but Al’s mentorship has made a huge difference in my life. We have built quite a bond and I wouldn’t be where I am without him.”
Hasham hopes success stories like this will help set an example for business owners to engage in succession planning with the next generation instead of closing their doors when they want to move on.
“How many businesses go up for sale or close because owners haven’t done this?” he asks. “Succession planning is huge and it takes about 10 years.”
Khudabux is excited to grow the business and eventually expand the 3,500-square-foot showroom. He also plans to continue Hasham’s example of passing on goodwill to others and supporting the community in whatever way he can.
“Al and his brother taught me so many lessons, including ‘Walk, don’t run, until you are ready,’” says Khudabux. “Thanks to them, I’m ready to take this to the next stage.”