Meet the founder: RAIN founder Sam Almaliki – from public housing to resilient entrepreneur



Meet the founder: RAIN founder Sam Almaliki – from public housing to resilient entrepreneur

Risk taking, resourcefulness and resilience. These are the hallmarks Regional Angel Investor Network (RAIN) founder Sam Almaliki looks for when it comes to investing and working with other founders. Why?

“Because if you have these traits, not just one or two, then you have what it takes to be successful and to scale up your business,” he said.

“You can be a risk taker and be resourceful, but if you aren’t resilient to (things outside your control) you won’t make it.”

The three R’s are what Mr Almaliki and other investors are looking for in entrepreneurs as the investment network spreads its wings in the coming months.

Angel investors will be in Ballarat on May 22 looking to build on the hundreds of thousands in investment dollars it has begun to roll out in the areas of agri-tech solutions, science, advanced manufacturing, sport and entertainment.

With eyes specifically on rural innovators, Angels’ are hoping to see the best in regional approach to business, which Mr Almaliki says often encompasses the three R’s.

“I have always appreciated the way country people operate, how they work and do business,” he said.

“It is a very communal in its approach and focused less on transactional business, but more about relationship building and character, which is how I am as a person.”

Leading by example

Mr Almaliki believes surrounding yourself with an eco-system of great mentors who display the three R’s can put you on the right path in business.

Mr Almaliki, who grew up in NSW public housing, knows first hand. His journey in business began when he made his first sale at his grandparents’ clothing store in Iraq demonstrating his entrepreneurial spirit at a mere five years old.

Witnessing and absorbing the lessons of perseverance and determination from those around him Sam learned the ropes of running a business early on shaping his resilience along the way.

“My grandfather had a good business ethos; if he had an appointment at 8am he would be there an hour early,” Mr Almaliki said.

Taking the learning from his grandparents, he started to put those skills to use by the age of 15 creating his first startup – a 20/20 cricket competition in his local area – and building connection with local business people for sponsorship.

What started out as three teams grew to over 120 teams which captured the recognition of the cricket fraternity.

An offer from Cricket Australia saw him land the role of head of community engagement and build out programs for women and girls, and people with a disability, and lead to significant growth in participation and sponsorship.

Since then he has gone on to found and be involved in other startups including two in the past five years, alongside being involved in a range of regional communities. With each new venture he has continued to draw on the examples of good business shown to him by mentors.

“If you are a founder, one of the biggest issues is being socially isolated and being surrounded by others that mirror us,” Mr Almaliki said.

“You need to have diversity in your circle of influence to be able to evolve as an effective founder; I have been fortunate to have had people from different walks of life who are much older and wiser and led by example.”

Link with investors

Regional Angel pitch events will be held in Bendigo, Wodonga, Bathurst, Wagga, Newcastle and Wollongong in the coming months.

Find out more or register your interest by visiting ‘Apply to pitch’ or ‘Apply to join’ at

Media Contact | Roberto Damante | [email protected]

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