Kaïcir Zoubert-Ousseni (SKEMA 2015): “SKEMA was exactly the right school for me”

07 April 2021 Interview

It was while studying at SKEMA Business School that Kaïcir Zoubert-Ousseni decided to start his own business, Shambhala Gates, a Chinese trading company and sourcing agency with an innovative positioning. He tells us about his multicultural entrepreneurial journey between the island of Mayotte, metropolitan France and China.


Can you tell us about your educational background and your professional experience?

I come from the island of Mayotte in the Comoros. After graduating from high school, I attended a prep school on Reunion Island. That is where I met my current business partner, Arnaud Barrabe. I then joined SKEMA Business School on the Lille campus. I actually chose the school for its multi-campus aspect. SKEMA offers the guarantee of being able to study abroad each semester, all around the world. I did my Master’s and my gap year on the Suzhou campus in China. In my final year of studies, we set up Shambhala Gates, a trading company specialised in exporting products from China to Europe. This allowed us to make the most of all the opportunities offered by SKEMA Business School and to benefit from the advice and expertise of our professors and lecturers at the school. They helped us to ask ourselves the right questions before launching.


What did your education at SKEMA Business School contribute to your professional life?

At SKEMA Business School, there are so many students from all different backgrounds that I used to meet hundreds of people each week. This taught me to communicate beyond cultures, which is very useful in my day-to-day professional life. SKEMA really teaches us multicultural management, teaches us to integrate the business world in a new country, and to deal with people from different backgrounds. The MSc Entrepreneurship and Innovation at SKEMA really helped me when setting up our current business, Shambhala Gates. We learned corporate finance, how to run a company, how to manage risk, but also all the subtleties of the business world and all the subjects that are essential for starting a business. Becoming an entrepreneur showed me the real added value of SKEMA Business School, which has a globalising vision of business and which fits completely with the way of life in the islands, where people tend to travel a lot. It was exactly the right school for me given my background as a young islander. The SKEMA network is also very serious. Whenever I contact alumni, whether it’s to solicit business or for sourcing, I always get a response. The network has actually helped us to obtain some of our best clients.


Can you tell us about your company, Shambhala Gates?  

Our clients are importers and procurement offices in the trade business. We offer them two different types of services:

  • Consulting services with custom sourcing in China. The client can, for example, ask us to secure a supplier or the production, exportation or importation of their products.
  • The second service we provide is the exportation of goods from China to Europe.

My business partner, Arnaud Barrabe, had joined me in China to set up the business and he still lives there now. He looks after the sourcing over there and finds the best Chinese suppliers. As for me, I decided to leave China after my studies to return to my island home and contribute to its development. Mayotte is one of the French departments with the highest rate of economic growth. From Mayotte, I take care of marketing across Europe.

Our added value lies in enabling merchants from Reunion Island and Mayotte to buy directly from China. We are very happy to have a business that allows us to create links between these countries that hardly ever come into contact otherwise. Today, Shambhala Gates is the only Chinese sourcing agency present in the French overseas departments. 

One of our recent success stories is that we managed to supply masks to one of the biggest French wholesalers during the pandemic (the type of masks that couldn’t be found in France during the first lockdown). We were one of the few French company to have been able to export masks to France during that period. Our credibility and our trade expertise in China allow us to bring our clients unique offers that create value.


Contact: Kaïcir Zoubert-Ousseni, CEO at Shambhala Gates

Interview by for SKEMA Alumni