QL Exclusive: An interview with Qatar-based entrepreneur and photographer Bosco Menezes
Bosco Menezes is an entrepreneur, event specialist, photographer, and an artist who started his career as a marketing executive at a Public Relations agency in Doha.
While working for the agency, Bosco managed one of the biggest PR sport accounts in the Middle East, which was for the Asian games.
This is where he fell in love with holding the camera, he says.
“I started to take pictures using my camera and I’d post these on Facebook. I was contacted by a Doha-based magazine and they asked me if I wanted to sell my images,” Bosco recalls.
“At the beginning, I sold my images for a low price, but I did not say no because I had a passion to be a photographer,” he mentioned.
Later, Bosco founded the #BigBMeetUp, which is an initiative that aims to educate, inspire, and inform the people of Qatar by sharing stories and personal experiences of different community members.
The initiative began in 2018 with the first meet up at the Torch Doha Hotel.
“The reason why I started #BigBMeetUp was after I was invited to many events, I said to myself why we go and meet people only to have fun and talk, why don’t I do meetups to share the ideas and to express the opinions so people get inspired by other people,” Bosco explained.
To give a unique Qatari identity to the initiative, Bosco selected the Torch Hotel (a Qatari brand) at the Aspire Zone to hold the initial event.
He chose the name Big B for a reason and also designed the logo himself.
“A friend of mine started to call me BigB as you know B is the first letter of my name and big is because I am a tall and bigger guy, so this name is stuck with me,” he said.
“The logo of the BigBfotografi is in my own handwriting. It is my own identity done by myself,” he added.
Talking about the initiative he said the #BigBMeetUp collaborates with many NGOs.
He has collaborated with an animal rescue initiative, recycling companies and many others.
The #BigBMeetUp has four themes: Sports & Wellness, Estedama (sustainability), This Ability and Artists in Qatar.
“I called the team (this ability) because it was about championing people who are differently-abled because they have more abilities than us,” he said.
He believes that Qatar’s diversity helps provide the opportunity to hold these meetups with the society. It helps connect inspirational Qataris and expats in one platform.
Additionally, he was able to do things he would not be able to do anywhere else in the world such as celebrating the national days of India and Pakistan on the same day.
“The message behind the #BigBMeetUp is to bring communities together, no matter what, and Qatar is a diverse place which inspired me to do so,” Bosco said.
“I celebrated the national days of India and Pakistan in Qatar because we all live here together. However, celebrating both days together would never happen anywhere else, it is like celebrating south and north Korea together,” he described.
Talking about the inspiration for his voluntary work, he said it comes from his love to help people.
“I am always a people’s person, I love to be around people, and I love to interact with people, and I love to know about their nationalities, cultures and traditions,” he said.
However, his main inspiration was his father, as he considers him his idol.
“My father inspired me to do so. I was looking at my father, how he was able to be a great father and a sportsperson and to work at Doha Airport at the same time. He is the oldest in his family, so he had to take responsibility for everything. He started from humble beginnings but has always been happy and content with himself,” Bosco explained.
COVID-19 did not stop Bosco from continuing with his meetups. His passion for what he does made him find another way to hold the meetups, thus he took it to the virtual world and the weekly virtual #bigbmeetup was born.
“February 2020 was my last visual BigBMeetup, then COVID-19 hit, so I started to do yoga classes and post it daily on social media, then I came up with the idea of doing the BigBMeetup on zoom so I started on April 18, 2020. Then I changed from zoom to professional broadcasting that was the beginning where I started going live every weekend every Saturday,” he described.
“It is never easy,” Bosco said. “This is all I do: photography and #BigBMeetUp, so it is my full-time job.”
He recalled being nervous at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. He said he wanted to quit, but his family supported him and encouraged him to keep going.
“I am so glad and proud that I faced this tough period. I did a lot in this period I did what I could not do in two months,” he added.
Bosco believes that everyone should be strong and passionate about what they love, he faced many challenges, but he never gave up.
He mentioned that this year he was nominated for an award by the Qatari Green Building Council. He was short-listed but he did not win the award, but this did not make him feel down.
“Every day is a challenge but never give up, I got nervous I was worried many times and disappointed, but you have to be grateful to everything in your life. You should feel the other people and learn from this period of COVID-19,” he mentioned.
“It did not destroy me, but it made me stronger, because sometimes in the destruction there is construction,” Bosco said.
He has a lot of plans after the pandemic is over. He wants to take his initiatives internationally as well.
“I will start an initiative in November depending on phase four, so I will be taking people on a trip, with another group called the Qatar National history group to the desert to discover the country,” he said.
“I want to take BigB meetups internationally and to many international platforms. I want to do a large art exhibition as well and I want to make every beginner feel they have a space for their art,” he mentioned.
Among some of his other plans are organizing a big sport event meetup for the Olympic champions in Qatar, as well as holding an event in Paris and another one in the United States of America.
Bosco’s journey of success was not easy, but he believes in his passion. His advice to everyone is to learn from their mistakes and to help each other.
“Be hopeful, and be strong,” Bosco advises everyone. “We need to stand together and help, love and support each other always.”
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