Karim Helal considered one of the pioneers in diving industry in Egypt and Middle East, most of us know Karim Helal the scuba diver, but how his passion began and what are the other aspects of his professional life , and how he came to have such an impact on the Scuba diving industry, that’s what most of us don’t know.
Karim Helal started his banking career in 1972 at the Arab African International Bank, quickly moving up to head the international finance department, later moving to Bahrain to establish OBU subsidiary, following which he joined another regional bank based in Bahrain as MD of the group operating in the GCC, South East Asia and London.
Moving to London in the early 80”s as managing partner of boutique investment bank for some 12 years before returning to Egypt in 92, when the next chapter (scuba diving commenced)
After his 15 years foray in the diving world in Sharm, Hurghada and Cairo, he moved back to Cairo and the world of finance as group CEO of Leading Investment bank CI Capital till 2010, then as chairman of ADIB Capital till 2018, and he remains MD for corporate finance with Carbon Holding to date.
Also he published articles and interviews in Forbes, Oxford Business Group Reports, USA today, New York Times, Institutional investor, Middle East Finance, Euro Money Publications, MEED and Global Trade and Investment Rep, received the business award in 2014 from the Morocco based think tank Amadeus Institute.
Karim remains involved in the world of finance and investments as Chairman of Sequence Ventures, CEO of Carbon Holdings Group and Regional Director of Colliers International.
In 1992, his interest in Scuba diving began, successfully established SCUBA PLUS, the first PADI Five Stars Diving center and Club in Cairo, followed by the iconic DIVERS LODGE dive clubs in Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada, pioneering technical diving in Egypt and the Middle East, having been the first to introduce Nitrox, Trimix and rebreather diving in the region.
Red Sea Diving Association
While running Divers Lodge in Hurghada, and in an effort to improve the quality and safety standards for the whole of the diving industry, he founded the Red Sea Association for diving and water sports, as the first formal regulator of diving in Egypt. He continued his effort to gain official government recognition of the sector, leading to the establishment the Chamber of Diving and Water Sports, and became its first chairman in 2007 and represented the industry as board member of the Egyptian Tourism federation. He also served as special advisor to the minister of Tourism from 2018 to 2020.
TDI/SDI Middle East
Karim set up TDI /SDI Middle East in 1995, and in January 1998 teamed up with Dr. Ahmed Kamal and Jayne Mayer (Twiggs) to develop TDI Middle East into a formidable Training Organization until today based in Hurghada.
As we mentioned before, Karim Helal founded Scuba Plus 1992.
The idea started when Karim Helal discovered his diving passion in 1991, and he searched for diving equipment in Cairo. He realized that there’s is only one dive shop in Heliopolis! He established Scuba Plus with Jean Michel Dib, his partner at that time and with valuable help and contribution of Jennifer Sutton (Khanfoura), and Massimo.
Scuba Plus boasted a whole array of brands making their way for the first time in Egypt as Poseidon, Sea Quest, Henderson, Body Glove, Apollo, Apeks, DiveRite, OMS, Beauchat, Dacor, Oceanedge, Suunto, Uwatec Aladdin, and more…, and was the first PADI 5 Star IDC center in Cairo.
The first generation of Cairo Scuba diving pioneers and some of today’s industry leaders are part of Scuba Plus family, such as the late Amr Aly(HEPCA) Karim Fayed (Sea Queen Fleet), the late Osama Abdel Samad, Amr Abdel Barry (Sea Serpent) Ahmed Gabr (World’s Deepest Diver), Khaled Sobhi, Mohamed Shamala, Dr Mohamed Saleh, Hany Gebry (King Tut of Castle Zaman), Maged Yehia, Ahmed Saad (TDI IT), Sherif Kazem, Mohamed Sawan, Haytham Wagih, Mostafa Adel, Tarek Abdel Moneim,( still teaching at Scuba Plus), Sameh Sukar (Scuba Seekers), AbdulRahman Mekkawy (I-Dive Tribe) and Ahmed Khalifa the IronMan who is still with Scuba Plus as Cheif Trainer, and so many more of dear friends. Scuba plus continues to this day, as it always was a family.
Scuba Plus is the authorized dealer for Aqualung, Apeks, Xdeep, REEF & OrcaTorch.