For those considering becoming a member of the American Business Council of Kuwait... don't knock yourself out.
Let me just start by saying that I have been a member for many years. I started as a 65KD Individual member and graduated into a 1,000KD Corporate Member. WASTED MONEY.
What are the advantages? To me, the only advantage is receiving the notifications via e-mail in the slight/tiny chance that one of their speakers may be of interest to me and I should want to attend – at the cost of a usual 10 – 15KD (or more) fee (depending on the event and where it is held). (Dinner and event prices are NOT included in the 1,000 KD annual corporate membership fee.)
As a corporate member, I found no advantages at all to being a member (although the ABCK will give you a great sales pitch on all the many “advantages” that may or may not materialize). For a 1,000 KD fee, the company I worked for didn’t even have the advantage of having their logo posted on the ABCK website. "It is being updated." Oh yeah? For a YEAR? Photo ops (as photos are shown on their site) are limited to a privileged few (call it “American wastah” if you like). Photographers who work the events focus on the Chosen Few. If you are in the way, you'd better get outa tha way but quick before being pushed....
As a member (any member), you do NOT have access to their membership listing. That’s right. Even though when you become a member (on their extensive form), you have the option of sharing your information with others - or NOT (so it is really an individuals' choice - not up to the BOD). Personally, as a member, I am there to network business and I would prefer that people contact me incase we can actually DO business together (get the point, ABCK??) You don’t know who their other members are or what their contact information is; making networking futile unless the company representative (like me) decides that the speaker is interesting for that particular night, that particular month or year, if they are not on business travel (like me), and you happen to run into them. There is no membership listing and no photos of members, so good luck trying to determine who the person is on sight. The ABCK Board of Directors (BOD) does very little in terms of introductions, so you are SOL there also.
It sounds a bit like the Kuwait Chamber of (dis)Commerce and Industry (KCCI), doesn’t it? If anyone has ever worked with the KCCI, you will immediately understand what I’m talking about.
The ABCK is an exclusive club unless you are a
passport holder (read their very long list of requirements on their website. What the ABCK is VERY good at is writing and re-writing their own rules often at the whim of one or two people.) If you are an Arab national working for an Arab company with little or no business with the US (although the main reason you would like to join is to actually DO business with Americans), you are SOL unless you are into rejection and having to fill out forms. That’s the way the ABCK rolls, baybee. US
Who is welcome to join the ABCK and are greeted with open arms: Those who would be of the most advantage to the ABCK BOD and their personal business interests. Those who the Board would like to rub elbows with and have their photos taken next to.
The ABCK used to have a very good service: for a 10KD fee, they would distribute resumes to their membership. That is, of course, until they re-wrote their own rules. They no longer do that. According to the ABCK, it was too much mail in their members’ boxes. Yes, you read it right – too much mail (about once a quarter). Some of us appreciated the service, but that doesn’t matter.
Personally, I don’t care if the ABCK membership is low. I urge my readers who want to do something worthwhile with their time to either join the British Business Forum (which is much more inclusive) or the Association of the US Army. You get more business done and there is so much less political BS. For those who want to spend good money for good business, list your services on the US Embassy’s commercial website http://www.buyusa.gov/kuwait/
en/ (contact the US Embassy’s Commercial Office to register). It is cheaper, your contact information is out there on the net, and it provides great business leads (unlike the ABCK).