Success Stories

Joe Tabet

Taking the Leap into Entrepreneurship

Joe Tabet, founder and managing director of JT+Partners, is a multi-award-winning architect with over 20 years of extensive experience in worldwide architecture, master planning, urban design, and the construction industry. He comes from a background where nothing is easily achievable and believes that “to get you need to sweat”.

This ideology has cultivated his character and prompted him to seek the right professional opportunities with a determination to succeed through commitment, hard work, and self-development.

When first coming to Dubai and leaving the comfort of his home while still in his twenties, Joe was determined to make a success of himself. He compiled his CV and sent it to over 70 architecture and design firms across the UAE. Things were not as simple back then as sending online applications: job applicants rather faced the time-consuming task of printing out CV copies, placing them in envelopes, fixing stamps to each, and delivering them to the post office.

Once he started to receive calls back from various companies, he had to decide: should he go with a company that would pay him well but not teach him as much as he would like to learn? Or should he choose a company that would pay much less but still give him the right experience to fly on his own later on? Ultimately, he chose to work for an international firm that offered the lowest salary he had ever had.

Within six years, Joe managed to climb up the ladder to the position of Regional Design Director for W.S. Atkins before resigning to establish his own company, JT+Partners, in 2015.

“Few people challenge themselves,” says Joe, adding that many people live in their financial comfort zones and do not push themselves to become entrepreneurs or do things differently. When he resigned from W.S. Atkins at 41, Joe felt that he needed to start his own business. He would give himself four years and if things did not turn out right, he would be 45 and still able to pick up his previous position.
Joe acted on his gut instincts and took the leap into entrepreneurship, leading to the birth of JT+Partners. The first thing he struggled with as an entrepreneur, as he recalls, was going from having a steady salary and personal driver to struggling to pay his utility bills. It was at this very point in his life that he knew that he had stayed in his comfort zone for far too long.

With offices now in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Beirut, JT+Partners grew from standing start position to become a company comprising 53 multi-skilled staff members whom Joe chose from multicultural backgrounds and 16 different nationalities. The result is an energetic, collaborative, and creative team of innovative individuals with their fingers on the pulse of global architecture and construction, from the latest technologies and trends to the oldest traditions, producing bespoke designs that reflect diversity in culture, experience, and understanding.

Joe recalls a story dating back to the early days of starting JT+Partners. At the time, he did not have a team working alongside him and he needed to write a proposal for one of his very first projects. He did not know how this proposal letter should be written, since such tasks were done before by his team members. That is when Joe realized that the first important task was to get a strong team on board.
Along with his team whom he still sees as the driving force of the company, Joe managed in six short years to take the company to a new international level, with clients and projects located in global destinations from Morocco to the Seychelles, Lebanon, India, Sri Lanka, Angola, Cameroon, Zanzibar, North, East and Central Africa, KSA and the UAE. JT+Partners’ field of expertise spans hospitality, residential, cultural, healthcare, retail, mixed-used, and masterplan developments.
Additionally, JT+Partners has been recognized as a local and international award-winning, innovative brand. Recent awards include, among others, the LOOP Design Awards, the World Architecture Awards, the Rethinking the Future Awards, the Architecture Leaders Awards, the Index Design Awards, and the Design Middle East Awards.

“I don’t feel that I am working for myself. I have created, I am creating, and I will keep on creating a legacy that is owned by the JT+Partners team. We are all working for the same goal,” says Joe.

Continuously demonstrating excellent records of integrity and leading business growth strategies, Joe uses the lessons learned and knowledge gained from previous leadership and business experiences, as well as his personal achievements, to ensure that JT+Partners maintains its recognition as a world-renowned consultancy.

A key issue for him is the need to raise awareness on sustainability and CSR with his staff and at a community level. “Giving back to the community is a must” and he is doing this in a different way. Projecting into the future, he asserts: “Exploring the future is a big focus for me at the moment. What is the future of architecture, engineering, and construction? Where do we want JT+Partners to be in the next 3 to 7 years?”

Accordingly, Joe keeps setting the bar ever higher in researching and moving towards the future of IoT (Internet of Things) by developing a better understanding and implementation of Digital Twin in architecture and design, as well as 3D printing and modular construction. To make this happen, JT+ Partners and its research and development department are teaming up with different educational institutions to take things to the next level.

His leap to entrepreneurship has helped Joe prove how an architect wearing different hats – from creative designer to business/marketing/staff management strategist, sustainability advocate, CSR supporter, visionary business leader, and multi-award winner – can handle business differently and achieve success.

“The first rule to be able to sell your design idea is for you to be convinced and passionate about it first. So, show that passion in everything that you do in life and bring it out from the bottom of your heart.” – Joe Tabet
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