Trevor Kuna unveils QNET's path to e-commerce success

In this exclusive interview with Adgully Middle East, Trevor Kuna, Chief of Transformation and Reputation at QNET, delves into the company's innovative direct-selling business model, its response to the evolving e-commerce landscape, commitment to quality and sustainability, and future plans for enhancing well-being and enriching lifestyles. Trevor Kuna provides valuable insights into the strategies that have helped QNET thrive in the dynamic world of e-commerce and the emerging industry trends that shape its future. Excerpts from the interview:QNET is known for its unique direct-selling business model. Can you explain how this model benefits both your customers and your independent representatives and how it aligns with your company's mission?QNET is a prominent lifestyle and wellness company that uses a direct selling business model to offer a wide selection of exclusive products that enable individuals to embrace a healthier, more balanced, more empowered life. Our direct-selling model aligns with the company's mission of empowering individuals, fostering entrepreneurship, and improving lives. It provides a vibrant platform where customers enjoy outstanding service, access exclusive high-quality products, and receive continuous support. Independent representatives can set up their businesses with minimal startup costs, benefiting from flexible schedules and simplified workflows, ultimately achieving financial independence while being part of a supportive community. Over and above that, QNET offers transformational opportunities to IRs (Independent Representatives) through mentoring, thus honing skills in personal development, sales, and leadership, to name a few.In recent years, the e-commerce landscape has evolved significantly. How has QNET adapted to these changes, and what strategies are you implementing to stay at the forefront of the industry in the region?In response to the evolving e-commerce landscape, QNET has implemented several strategies to stay ahead in the industry. Among these, our award-winning QNET mobile app takes center stage, playing a pivotal role in enhancing the overall shopping experience for our valued customers and distributors, anytime, anywhere. We understand that in today's digital age, mobile accessibility is paramount, and the app has been designed with that in mind. It has a user-friendly interface, making it easier for individuals to browse and shop for their favorite products. The mobile app not only simplifies the purchasing process but also offers a range of features, such as personalised recommendations, to make the shopping journey more convenient and enjoyable.Additionally, our transition to a 100% cloud-based computing infrastructure is a transformative step for QNET. The significance of this move lies in the agility and scalability it offers to our operations. Cloud computing allows us to adapt swiftly to changing market conditions, enabling us to scale resources as needed and keep up with the ever-evolving demands of the e-commerce industry. It enhances our efficiency and ensures a more seamless experience for our distributors and customers. With the cloud-based approach, we can also better utilize data and analytics, enabling us to make informed decisions and deliver a more personalized experience to our users. This shift not only streamlines our operations but also future-proofs our IT infrastructure, ensuring that we can continue to innovate and meet the expectations of our target audience in a dynamic digital marketplace.While focusing on customer experience, we place a strong emphasis on security to safeguard the trust and data of our customers.In line with the evolving e-commerce landscape, we've also ventured into social commerce, harnessing the power of social media channels for direct sales. QNET has expanded its online presence to international markets, tailoring its websites to accommodate different languages and currencies.These comprehensive strategies collectively enable QNET to adapt to the changing e-commerce landscape, ensuring adaptability and industry leadership while maintaining the highest standards of security and customer satisfaction.QNET offers a wide range of products and services across various categories. How does the company ensure the quality and authenticity of these offerings, and what steps do you take to maintain customer trust?QNET prioritizes the quality and authenticity of its exclusive products and services through a comprehensive approach that encompasses rigorous certification processes and transparent sourcing. At QNET, we are very particular when it comes to vendors and suppliers we work with, ensuring that our choices align with our ethical business practices and advocacies.Sustainability and ethical business practices are increasingly important to consumers. Can you share how QNET incorporates sustainability into its business operations and product offerings?Sustainability and ethical business practices are core principles at QNET. The company integrates sustainability into its operations and product offerings through various initiatives.QNET offers eco-friendly products utilizing sustainable materials, focusing on minimizing waste and using recyclable or biodegradable materials.For instance, QNET’s luxury brand, Bernhard H. Mayer, QNET’s luxury watch and jewellery brand, released cruelty-free, vegan leather straps in its Lurve collection watches. Very recently, at our V-Convention in Malaysia, we launched the OMNI watch collection, an exclusive line of designer watches made from recycled materials, resulting in unique, eye-catching timepieces that make a bold and sustainable fashion statement. Each stunning watch in the OMNI collection, named for the Latin word meaning “all,” incorporates an industry-leading 85% recycled high-grade stainless steel in its case, dial, buckles, and metal bracelets. Every recycled component is LEED- certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a globally recognised standard of ecologically sound manufacturing and production.QNET also recognizes that responsible consumption goes beyond the product itself—it encompasses every aspect, including packaging. That's why QNET has embraced Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified packaging.QNET is committed to ethical sourcing, ensuring that raw materials come from suppliers adhering to fair labour practices and environmental regulations. Bernhard H. Mayer's "Timeless Tanzanite Collection" features exceptionally rare gems, and all of them have been ethically and sustainably mined, in addition to supporting employees’ livelihood and the local Tanzanian mining industry.Additionally, the company actively engages in green initiatives, such as tree-planting campaigns and waste-reduction efforts. Indeed, QNET's commitment to sustainability is further exemplified through the EcoMatcher programme, a groundbreaking initiative launched in the Philippines, Kenya, and the UAE. Through this programme and other NGO partnerships, QNET has planted over 10,000 trees, contributing to reforestation efforts and creating a positive environmental impact.The company also engages with local communities, supporting initiatives that promote sustainable living and economic growth. Lately, QNET partnered with “VeryNile,” an innovative initiative aiming to clean Egypt's Nile, particularly on Qursaya Island. The project involves removing plastic waste, increasing environmental awareness, and empowering local women. The collected waste is recycled and transformed by the women's island's residents into handmade crafts, offering economic opportunities for them.What are the major challenges and opportunities you see for QNET in the near future, and how is the company planning to address these challenges while capitalizing on the opportunities?Staying relevant in today's dynamic market is the foremost challenge for any company with a 25-year history. At our core, we center our efforts on continuous product innovation, the enhancement of our digital interfaces, and the provision of a world-class customer experience, both for our distributors and customers. We passionately believe that the companies that can capture the hearts and minds of today's consumers are the ones that will shape the future.However, amidst these challenges, we recognize significant opportunities in digital expansion, global market outreach, product diversification, eco-friendly initiatives, and harnessing the power of social media influence. To navigate these challenges and seize these opportunities, QNET is committed to forging strategic partnerships, investing in further development, elevating our customer service standards, ensuring meticulous regulatory compliance through meticulous planning, and prioritizing innovation. This comprehensive approach is designed to fortify our competitive position in the market and pave the way for our continued success.QNET's mission is to enhance the lives of its customers. Can you provide some insights into the company's future plans for product development and expansion, particularly in areas that promote well-being and an enriching lifestyle?QNET is proactively engaged in advancing health and wellness solutions, which includes both the development of new products and the improvement of our existing offerings. This initiative encompasses a focus on eco-friendly items and innovative technologies, all designed to enhance individual well-being.Furthermore, QNET is actively exploring opportunities in the realms of personal development, education, and experiential offerings, all aimed at fostering individual growth and personal fulfillment. Our commitment to these areas reflects our dedication to delivering holistic well-being to our customers.In our ongoing quest to transform the way we conduct business, we envision a future where our distributors can efficiently manage ten times the number of customers they do today with the help of a mobile app. Our goal is to minimize friction in the sales process, allowing our distributors to dedicate more time to nurturing deeper relationships with their customers. This vision aligns with our commitment to providing exceptional customer experiences.In addition, QNET is open to strategic collaborations with industry experts, with the aim of creating specialized products and services that further enhance our customers' overall well-being and lifestyle. These collaborations exemplify our dedication to continually expanding and enhancing our offerings.What are the latest trends in the industry?A range of exciting developments in the e-commerce landscape is on the horizon, and they are set to transform the industry. Augmented reality (AR) technology, for instance, is emerging as a significant trend. It's expected to become more widespread, revolutionizing the e-commerce experience by enabling virtual product trials and elevating customer interactions.Simultaneously, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making its mark, powering chatbots and personalised recommendations that create tailored shopping journeys. The adoption of both AR and AI holds the potential to not only enhance customer service but also improve operational efficiency, ultimately driving profitability for e-commerce businesses.In addition to technological advancements, environmental concerns are increasingly influencing consumer choices. E-commerce companies that prioritize sustainability, from eco-friendly packaging to reducing carbon emissions, are likely to attract and retain environmentally conscious customers. The emphasis is on transparency and sustainability in product life cycles, with a growing shift towards regenerative practices, aiming to make a positive impact on the environment rather than merely being sustainable.Moreover, the preferences of younger consumers are evolving. They seek products that offer personal benefits, affordability, and the opportunity to make a social impact. The intersection of these factors is reshaping the e-commerce landscape.As industry evolves, trust is emerging as a fundamental currency. This trust extends to how customer data is handled, the integrity of supply chains, and the ability to offer products that genuinely make a difference in customers' lives. E-commerce businesses will need to prioritize and nurture trust as a cornerstone of their operations to succeed in this changing landscape.To simplify our relationship with distributors and reduce friction in the sales process, we aim to use AI to optimize distributors' time management, enabling them to promote products and build their sales teams more effectively. This commitment to streamlining operations aligns with our broader strategy of embracing technological advancements and addressing evolving consumer expectations.

Du and Ookla announce strategic partnership

du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), has teamed up with Ookla, a global leader in connectivity intelligence, to provide a superior customer experience. The partnership will see Ookla providing its comprehensive suite of solutions to du.du will leverage Ookla's industry-leading solutions to gain valuable insights into network performance, coverage, and signal measurement data, as well as real-world consumer network experience. By harnessing these advanced tools, du aims to facilitate a differentiated experience for its customers across the UAE and further contribute to UAE’s worldwide leading position.Fahad Al Hassawi, Chief Executive Officer at du said: "We are thrilled to partner with Ookla to augment our network performance and elevate the customer experience in the UAE. We will leverage powerful insights and data-driven solutions to ensure seamless connectivity and deliver superior network performance to our valued customers."Under the terms of the agreement, Ookla will offer du its end-to-end solutions, providing global insights on quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE), thus enabling du to make informed decisions for network improvements. This partnership further solidifies du's dedication to providing a world-class network performance for its customers.Stephen Bye, President and CEO of Ookla, a division of Ziff Davis, said: "Ookla's partnership with du underscores our commitment to working with providers to improve access to broadband services and deliver the best possible customer experience. We appreciate our partnership and work with du to improve its network and maintain the UAE's position as the fastest country for mobile speeds on the Speedtest Global Index."Through this collaboration, du aims to not only ensure seamless connectivity and deliver a superior network performance, but also contribute to the UAE's ranking as the fastest mobile market in the world.

M2 partners with Phoenix Group

M2 the new home of crypto investments, has announced a pioneering collaboration with the IPO ready Phoenix Group to offer investors market leading Bitcoin and Ethereum yields, up to 10.5%, backed by one of the world’s largest Bitcoin mining operations. The strategic alliance brings together the innovative UAE based entities and will reduce the level of counter party risk and in turn minimise volatility for investors wanting to gain exposure to cryptocurrency.Stefan Kimmel, M2, CEO, said: “The industry leading collaboration between M2 and Phoenix Group has allowed us to design a product that utilizes Bitcoin mining to offer genuine returns for investors. Most investment platforms that offer yield returns on crypto provide it through one of two routes. The first route is proof of stake, which can result in some modest returns, alternatively the mechanic involves lending it out, and this incurs a considerable amount of counter-party risk. In our case, we are generating our returns predominantly with Bitcoin mining, which underpins the M2 Earn product.”Setting its sights on a decade of innovation and regulatory excellence, M2 has aligned itself with Abu Dhabi’s Economic vision, embracing regulatory standards in the UAE and the markets where the platform is available to investors. M2’s financial protocols are capable of reconciling client and M2 funds in near time, providing the highest levels of transparency to regulators and ensuring liquidity remains in place at all times.The strategic partnership with Phoenix Group empowers M2 to offer investors the assurance of investment yields based on real returns, which are generated via a 725MW Bitcoin mining operation. Founded in 2017 by Bijan Alizadeh and Munaf Ali, Phoenix is set to be the first privately owned crypto and blockchain entity to be listed on a Middle East stock market.Bijan Alizadeh, Phoenix Group : Co – Founder and Group CEOM2 : Founder and Managing Director“Phoenix vision was to set up and build an established UAE Crypto exchange, with full services for both retail and institutional investors and seeing this come to fruition is a very proud moment for us. With this strategic partnership we are in a position to provide unparalleled returns backed by the worlds largest bitcoin mining operations. We are delighted to announce this partnership which further cements the M2 and Phoenix proposition towards a collective vision, building the future of finance on secure and regulated investment products for all investors.”Taking its first steps on the journey to becoming a champion of crypto innovation, the M2 platform is live and offering investors the opportunity to invest in the virtual asset space via a range of high-quality investment products that exceed regulatory requirements, addressing the needs of retail and institutional clients.At its core, M2 provides a secure, trusted and transparent digital asset platform achieved by reporting all virtual asset activities to the regulators along with a robust internal and external audit process. M2 has obtained a Bahamas License issued by the Securities Commission of the Bahamas (SCB), which enables it to offer the M2 Earn product to a global audience. M2 is also actively pursuing licenses in several European countries and navigating the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) licensing process.With a strong commitment to regulatory compliance and innovative product offerings, M2 is poised to establish itself as leader in the digital asset sector, contributing to Abu Dhabi's emergence as a global crypto innovation hub.

Samsung, Etisalat by e& partner to support environment through Galaxy sales

Samsung Gulf Electronics, in collaboration with etisalat by e&, will contribute a portion of profits from the latest Galaxy devices sold on and etisalat by e& channels to Emirates Nature-WWF. The funds will be used to support Emirates Nature-WWF’s local conservation projects in the UAE, aligning with Samsung and Etisalat by e& commitment to sustainability and environmental protection.Samsung’s pledge for sustainability goes beyond the products. A significant part of these devices is made from recycled materials, including plastics sourced from discarded fishing nets, water barrels, and PET bottles. These materials are carefully repurposed to create Galaxy devices that not only deliver outstanding performance but also contribute to environmental preservation.Fadi Abu Shamat, Head of the Mobile eXperience Division at Samsung Gulf Electronics, said: “At Samsung, we believe in the power of small steps. On their own, these steps may seem small, but the collection of them all taken together leads us to where we need to be. That’s exactly how we think of all our different sustainability efforts; they’re all steps towards a better future. Inspired by the values of the Galaxy for Planet vision, our Galaxy devices are known for their cutting-edge technology. Now, we are providing our customers across the UAE with the opportunity to contribute to local conservation efforts while acquiring the latest Galaxy devices. This is particularly important, as it coincides with the run-up to the much-anticipated COP28,” Additionally, Khaled El Khouly, Chief Consumer Office, etisalat by e&, shared: “We are committed to building a sustainable future, and this collaboration is in line with our ambitious goals to combat climate change and protect our planet. With every device sale, we are investing in the planet’s well-being. Customers will also be making a conscious decision to actively participate in the preservation of our environment at the same time embracing innovation.”The campaign includes several Galaxy devices such as the Galaxy Z Fold5, Galaxy Z Flip5, Galaxy Tab S9, Galaxy Watch 6, and Galaxy S23 Series. These devices are not only designed for durability and performance but also with the planet in mind. They incorporate recycled materials, pre-consumer recycled glass and aluminium, and post-consumer recycled plastics, making them a testament to Samsung’s dedication to sustainability.

Amsaan Accessible Tours launches innovative website and mobile app

Amsaan Accessible Tours (AAT), a trailblazer in inclusive tourism for Deaf and hard-of-hearing travellers, has launched its website and mobile app, designed to revolutionise the travel experience for Deaf tourists, offering accessibility, convenience, and inclusivity like never before. AAT aims to be a significant contributor to the UAE’s National Tourism Strategy 2031 that targets a GDP of $122.6 billion by 2031. The Amsaan Accessible Tours website offers a user-friendly interface and is fully adapted for sign language to serve the 1.5 billion individuals globally, who experience varying degrees of hearing impairment. It serves as a platform to book tours and connect with sign language-fluent AAT staff. Sign language videos in British and International Sign Languages are available on the site, allowing Deaf users to access information easily. After booking a tour, tourists can access a deaf-friendly mobile app for on-the-go assistance. Travellers can also initiate direct messages via social media for prompt sign language support, ensuring a seamless experience. The Amsaan Tours mobile app is the ultimate travel companion for Deaf travellers, designed to enhance their journeys and ensure safety and convenience. It offers a range of features that put accessibility and communication at travellers' fingertips, making travel smoother and more enjoyable. These features include access to sign language interpreters via video, ensuring effective communication even during tasks like bargaining with market vendors. The app facilitates easy connection with guides and tour information including itineraries, schedules, and leisure activities, available in sign language and accessible from anywhere. Additionally, the app features an accessibility map, highlighting locations such as restaurants, souvenir shops and more, with sign language interpreter services. Vitalii Potapchuk, Co-founder of Amsaan Project commented: "Accessibility and inclusivity are not mere buzzwords, but the very foundation of Amsaan Accessible Tours. To promote the UAE as one of the top 10 global tourist destinations, we have meticulously designed the Amsaan Tours website and mobile app to ensure that Deaf travellers can plan, book, and savour their journeys without encountering any communication barriers. Our app serves as a reliable companion, enabling travellers to communicate conveniently and securely. We are committed to bridging this gap with our diverse team who is well-versed in eight sign languages and making an inclusive tourism ecosystem for the global Deaf community." Deaf travellers encounter language barriers, limited written communication, and a lack of sign language interpreters at tourist spots. Inaccessible information, communication difficulties, awareness gaps among providers, transport issues, exclusion from tours, and booking problems add to their challenges. Oversight of the accessible tourism market has resulted in a staggering loss of US$150 billion and 70% of respondents to an Expedia survey said that they would opt for a more inclusive travel choice, even at a higher cost. This highlights the importance of companies like AAT, who has established several partnerships including with the Department of Economy and Tourism Dubai to provide diverse and accessible services for Deaf travellers. Majed Al Bloushi, Relationship Manager at AAT said: "Being an Emirati and a Deaf employee at AAT, I am proud to be part of an organisation that is breaking down barriers and making the UAE a truly inclusive travel destination. This collaboration showcases our commitment to making tourism accessible to everyone, including Deaf travellers, and it's a step toward building UAE more diverse and inclusive."

GGTech Entertainment Unveils eWorlds: The Ultimate 3D Multiplayer Adventure Game

GGTech Entertainment, the international gaming company has announced the launch of eWorlds, the new 3D multiplayer platform game with limitless adventures. Designed and developed by GGTech Studios, it is a meeting point for players, where in a fun way they will be able to explore, compete, socialize and have fun with their friends through tons of personalized experiences that never stop evolving, so they never run out of new content.For free and globally, eWorlds closed playtest has been available on Steam from October 26 for all those users who have included the game in their wish list and have requested access to it on the gaming platform. Game modeseWorlds has thousands of stories to share with its community, with 3 different game modes where boredom has no place:?       Adventure Mode. Exploration levels with mysterious caves or bubbling volcanos, each one full of amazing secrets, new environments, powerups, but also, dangerous enemies and cunning traps… beware!?       Battle Mode. Players must fight against other players and reach the top of the rankings. Awaken your competitive side!?       Race Mode. Levels where being fast is not enough! Players should study their moves, jump platforms and dodge traps to test their skills against the clock.Technical detailseWorlds is a game developed with Unity Engine technology, one of the industry's standard engines that allows any interactive content to be created according to the creator's taste. The platform also offers the possibility of connecting to Twitch to generate engagement between streamers and their viewers, offering them unique rewards.Users can access eWorlds from Steam, where they can find the game's page and install the application at any time.eWorlds is a product of GGTech Studios, an internal division of GGTech Entertainment with a multidisciplinary team of more than 60 people, focused on technology and game development.Juan Castillo, Chief Technical Officer of GGTech Entertainment, said: "Video games are evolving in an extraordinary way, offering gamers more immersive and collaborative experiences every day than ever before. Games like eWorlds, with their focus on social interaction and multiplayer fun, represent the forefront of this revolution. In an increasingly digitized world, these platforms not only entertain, but also connect people around the world, creating virtual communities and enabling a new form of exploration and creativity. Anticipating significant growth, the video games market in the UAE is projected to reach US$392.20 million in revenue by 2023. The future of digital entertainment is exciting and promises to continue to push the boundaries with each passing day."eWorlds will be present at GAMERGY 2023Fans attending the next edition of GAMERGY Spain 2023, which will take place between December 15 and 17 at IFEMA MADRID, will be able to visit a space dedicated to eWorlds, where they will learn firsthand all the details of the game and enjoy all the experiences the game has to offer.

Tanishq opens first boutique in Sharjah

Tanishq, India’s most-loved jewellery brand from the TATA Group, has opened its first boutique in Sharjah at the newest retail and leisure destination in the Emirate, Sharjah Central.The stunning 1800 square-foot store was inaugurated by Paul T Joseph, President of AKCAF, and Adv. Y A Rahim, President, Indian Association at Sharjah. They were joined by Mr. Aditya Singh, Head -Jewellery International Business at Titan Company Limited and other senior members of Titan Company.The store houses an exquisite range of gold and diamond jewellery including some of the brand’s most popular collections, regionally inspired Rifa, Alekhya, an ode to Rajasthani Pichwai art, the vibrant Colour Me Joy, as well as the latest launch Dharohar, coming just in time for Diwali festive season. Dharohar features intricately crafted gold jewellery adorned with colourful meenakari enamelwork and unique uncut diamonds or polki, symbolizing the timeless cultural values that are treasured and passed down as heirlooms through generations.Beautiful jewellery needs a stunning setting to shine, and the Sharjah boutique doesn’t disappoint with the jewellery being showcased in uniquely crafted display cases and complemented by themed accents like Mashrabiya-inspired hand carved mirrors and Arabesque pendant lamps. The stunning detailing in the store is certain to delight Sharjah’s Insta-loving audience. With convenient services such as a multilingual in-store team, video consultations, gold exchange and after sales repair, Tanishq’s continues to set regional standards and best practices.“Having already captured the imagination of the discerning consumer in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Tanishq is excited to be entering another Emirate on the eve of our 3rd anniversary in the UAE. Sharjah affords us an opportunity to get even closer to the diverse customer base who already frequent our Dubai showrooms but can now enjoy our unrivalled offering and service at their doorstep,” said Mr. Aditya Singh, Head – Jewellery International Business, Titan Company Limited.Customers who visit the store this month can look forward to exciting in-store offers to commemorate Diwali including up to 25% off on gold making charges and on diamond bill value not to mention 100% exchange value on old gold, brought from any jeweller.

Meet the top 3 Womenpreneur Her Perfect Pitch winners

Johannesburg – After an extraordinary display of creativity and economic prowess by a multitude of enterprising women, the unveiling of the triumphant Top 3 powerhouse women has finally arrived. These remarkable winners captivated the judges and left an indelible mark on the competition, each taking away their share of prize money and mentorship worth over R1 million:  Winner of the 2023 Womenpreneur – Her Perfect Pitch is:Morongwe Mokone: Mo’s Crib.Morongwe Mokone launched Mo's Crib with a profound dedication to sustainability that permeates every aspect of the brand. Prioritizing fair wages and safe working conditions for local artisans through ethical sourcing practices, they foster a strong sense of community and empowerment. By maintaining a transparent and ethical supply chain, they not only deliver exceptional homeware but also play an integral role in the socioeconomic advancement of African communities. This steadfast commitment to social responsibility has solidified their reputation as a brand that not only offers exceptional products but also actively works towards the upliftment of the communities it serves.Second Place: Faith Mokgalaka: Puno Pioneering.Faith Makgolele's Puno is a pioneering platform that integrates technology and agriculture, providing crowd-investments and insurance to marginalized smallholder farmers across Africa. With 33 million farmers seeking financial aid, Puno's distinctive approach serves as a vital financial ally, fostering food security and transformative change. Leveraging investor resources, Puno offers short-term loans and insurance, nurturing a sustainable agricultural value chain. With a vision for a thriving future, Puno aims to realize the full potential of African agriculture, empowering every farmer and every yield. Drawing from personal experiences in a farming family and a background in Computer Science from Wits University, Faith's vision for Puno emerged as a comprehensive solution to bridge financial gaps and transform the lives of these farmers.Third place: Hlobisile Yende: The Yende and PartnersHlobisile Yende, a third-generation farmer following her family's legacy, was driven into agriculture by its role in financing her education, leading her to pursue a master's degree and formalise her enterprise for future sustainability. She actively engages in the Corteva Women in Agriculture program, emphasising the importance of leaving a lasting legacy. Adapting to water scarcity, she introduced rain fed butternuts, yielding 40 tons from a successful one-hectare trial, demonstrating the potential for sustainable growth. Her business ethos centres on addressing agricultural gaps, prioritising expansion, food security, and empowerment, especially for aspiring female farmers, while recognising her farm's contribution to national food security."The pool of talent and innovation we witnessed during this competition was truly exceptional," exclaimed Minize Haron, Chief Marketing Officer for Access Bank South Africa.Jacaranda FM Managing Director Deirdre King echoed the sentiment, stating, "These women are pioneers, changing the economic landscape whilst uplifting other women and that’s exactly what this competition is about.”This ground-breaking event not only highlighted the brilliance and resilience of South African women in business but also underscored their unwavering commitment to forging opportunities, even in the face of adversity. What started out as a pilot project in 2022, has become a unique competition that has increased entries by 65%.In a joint statement, Jacaranda FM and Access Bank South Africa praised the perseverance and spirit of all participants, encouraging every woman to illuminate her path and continue blazing trails in the business world. "Womenpreneur Her Perfect Pitch has been an eye-opening journey, showcasing remarkable talent and societal impact. It is an honour for us to co-sponsor an event that celebrates remarkable and their business prowess and social value.”With these exceptional women leading the way, the future of South African entrepreneurship appears brighter than ever.Morongwe Mokone will receive the coveted prize package, valued at over R1 million, which includes:R500,000 worth of radio airtime on Jacaranda FM, reaching 1.3 million listeners, with professionally crafted adverts.R100,000 in cash, accompanied by an investment guide from Access Bank to empower your financial decisions.Comprehensive business support in the forthcoming months, along with a 6-week mentorship.Tailor-made business model consultation.Presenter training to amplify your public speaking skills.PR and digital consultation to enhance your brand's visibility.Faith Makgolele will receive:R75,000 in cash, complemented by an Access Bank investment guide.  Hlobisile Yende will be awarded:R50,000 in cash and an investment guide.Moreover, the top 10 finalists will each enjoy R100,000 worth of airtime on Jacaranda FM and a R50,000 educational study voucher from Access Bank.

Global Media Congress 2023 to feature Co-Production Majlis

Abu Dhabi : Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Court, this year’s Global Media Congress (GMC) will host an innovative and exciting Co-Production Majlis. This highly anticipated feature of the region’s most prominent international media event aims to create a fertile environment for collaboration on creative content throughout the media production ecosystem.  With the theme of ‘Shaping the future of the media industry’, the conference and exhibition will be held from 14-16 November 2023 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). Organized by Capital Events, a part of ADNEC Group, in strategic partnership with the Emirates News Agency (WAM), GMC is expected to draw media professionals from around the world to learn about the industry’s latest trends and challenges and contribute to vital knowledge sharing.An invitation-only space for industry leaders and innovators, the Co-Production Majlis will enable participants to network, exchange ideas and insights, discuss case studies, and explore new co-production and partnership opportunities across the media landscape. Designed to complement six well-established feature areas – Workshops, Innovate Stage & NexTech, Create Stage, Educate Stage, Media Roundtables, and Media Future Labs – the new Majlis will feature the active participation of prominent MENA production houses, streaming platforms, and leading broadcasters such as Starzplay, Dubai Media Inc, and ADTV along with many others.Mohammed Jalal Al Raissi, Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee for the Global Media Congress and Director-General of WAM, said: “The inclusion of the co-production Majlis in the Global Media Congress this year is aimed at bringing to the forefront the importance of quality media content and their effective dissemination in a commercially viable fashion. One of the key concerns of content creators across the globe is the best ways in which they could market their work and find suitable consumers. The Majlis will serve as a dynamic platform for content creators and content buyers to interact in a symbiotic manner. This is very much a part of our commitment to helping shape the future of the media industry.”Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and Group CEO of ADNEC Group, said: “Given the rapid changes in the media industry, ADNEC Group is delighted to host the Global Media Congress as an ideal platform for businesses and entrepreneurs to connect with global thought leaders, learn about the latest trends, and collaborate on new ideas. By providing an exclusive new platform for invited attendees, the Co-Production Majlis will facilitate productive connections between potential investors and like-minded professionals. This exciting new feature area shows our commitment to growing the Congress as a leading international media gathering.”With a specific focus on closing investment deals in Arabic entertainment, the Co-Production Majlis will provide both a knowledge sharing hub and a source of inspiration for dynamic new projects designed to shape the future of the industry.

MBRL & Abu Dhabi ALC discuss enhancing cooperation in translation & publishing

Dubai, UAE: His Excellency Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Foundation, and Dr. Mohammed Salem AlMazrooei, Board Member of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Foundation, welcomed His Excellency Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library (MBRL). During their meeting, the two parties discussed ways to enhance cooperation in the fields of translation, publishing, training, and promotion of key initiatives.Al Murr said: “This meeting represents a significant step towards building bridges of cooperation between the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library and the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre. It is a new and important chapter in our journey of fruitful cooperation between national cultural institutions. Based on our vision and strategy, we strive to expand knowledge partnerships to create sustainable cultural and knowledge exchange channels by cooperating with international agencies and specialised institutions, and benefiting from the best local and global practices to achieve this.”Bin Tamim said: “Our cooperation with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library - a pioneering educational edifice - supports the achievement of ALC’s objectives of promoting the Arabic language, expanding the scope of its uses culturally, creatively, and educationally, and enriching publishing and creative industries with culturally rich content. This supports the vision of the UAE’s wise leadership which prioritizes Arabic language as a major component of our cultural identity.”The meeting resulted in an agreement to enrich the Arabic content, utilising it scientifically, educationally, culturally and creatively, and contributing to nurturing communication with other cultures.The meeting addressed challenges, such as the availability of proofreaders and linguistic reviewers, intellectual property and copyrights, issuing the type of book, printing, and standards, and the possibility of providing digital resources to researchers and members of the ALC through MBRL’s databases.The meeting also discussed opportunities for mutual benefit, such as holding workshops, training courses, and specialised programs in various domains of Arabic, in addition to highlighting the importance of exchanging publications between the two parties, enhancing cultural exchange, promoting ALC’s publications, reviving the Arabic Language Award, and supporting upcoming projects to strengthen cultural and linguistic identity regionally.The meeting reviewed several projects, including the Al Ain Book Fair, the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, and ALC’s ‘Arabian Days’ event, which will be held on World Arabic Language Day, under the slogan ‘Arabic — the Language of Poetry and Arts’.At the end of the meeting, ALC officials visited the ‘Poems Within Calligraphy exhibition’, which was recently organised by MBRL as part of the inaugural session of the Dubai Calligraphy Biennale. The exhibition included 33 paintings from His Excellency Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr’s personal collection.

Juliana Salla appointed as General Manager of JW Marriott Hotel Muscat

Muscat: JW Marriott Hotel Muscat is delighted to announce the appointment of Juliana Salla as its General Manager, responsible for overseeing the brand’s flagship hotel in Oman, which reopened its doors in October 2023.With over 20 years of experience within the international tourism and hospitality sector in South America, North America, Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific and China, Salla has worked with Marriott in a variety of positions for the company’s brands, including senior leadership roles at W owned properties in Qatar, Indonesia and China.“I am honored to be taking on this leading role with such a prestigious, meticulously designed property. We aim to foster a serene sanctuary for business and leisure, or a seamless blend of both, for meaningful stays that feature the highest levels of attention to detail every step of the way,” said Juliana Salla, General Manager of JW Marriott Hotel Muscat.“Despite their geographical distance, Oman and Brazil share a common appreciation for rich cultural diversity and natural beauty and Muscat is the perfect destination to experience JW Marriott’s serene sanctuary and make memorable connections. I am extremely happy to be here and excited to extend our extraordinary hospitality to all who join us.”For six years before moving to Muscat, she took up integral positions at two Ritz-Carlton properties, in Bali from 2017 to 2020, then at Fari Islands, Maldives from 2020 to 2023.Prior to those appointments, she honed her inspiring leadership skills for 10 years with the W brand, while playing a key role in the pre-opening of various W properties. Salla kick started her career with Disney Cruise Lines before gravitating to land-based hotel operations.Underpinned by exceptional love of service and hospitality, JW Marriott Hotel Muscat features 304 luxurious, spacious guest rooms and suites featuring dramatic and unique interior design. A short drive from Muscat International Airport in the heart of Madinat Al-Irfan, it also boasts direct connectivity to the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre and offers business and leisure travelers a haven to escape from the hustle and bustle of urban living.The hotel stands as a beacon of environmental sustainability, with its architectural excellence aligning with the stringent standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Inaugural FIM World Supercross Championship Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Etihad Arena

Abu DhabI: The highly anticipated FIM World Supercross Championship Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the penultimate race in the Championship, concluded its Middle East debut today at Etihad Arena, which was transformed into a sandy dirt track battlefield for the occasion.Fans packed into the arena in the UAE’s capital to enjoy a full day of world class racing, freestyle motocross shows, live music, and a show stopping pyrotechnics display. The event is the first ever supercross championship to take place in the region and is the first time an event at Etihad Arena and a supercross track have both run indoors and outdoors. 40 of the world’s best riders battled it out for the prestigious podium spots, with Joey Savatgy emerging as champion in the WSX (450cc) division, and Max Anstie placing first in the SX2 (250cc) race.Joey Savatgy, winner of the 450cc WSX category and the current Championship leader, said “It’s always really exciting to ride a new track, and today surpassed our expectations. The team in Abu Dhabi has done an amazing job transforming this indoor arena into a suitable dirt track for us. Having a two row start gate is a really unique concept and I luckily got out of the gate pretty well in the first two races, which put me in a good spot going into the third. The competition was really tough this weekend, and I’m glad to have come away with the overall win.” Max Anstie, the winner of the SX2 250cc class, said “We have had a great day in Abu Dhabi, and I’m really happy to have come out with a win, especially for the first ever World Supercross Championship event in Abu Dhabi. The atmosphere was electric today in Etihad Arena, thanks to all the fans. We have been blown away by the size of the fan base that our sport already has here, and are excited to see it grow even more.”Closely following in the footsteps of their senior counterparts, the junior category unveiled a new generation of emerging stars from the UAE. 20 young riders, all aged between 7 and 13, showcased remarkable skill and technique in their own race categories, inspiring the next generation of talent in the region at a grassroots level.Saif Rashid Al Noaimi, CEO of Ethara, remarked on the success of the inaugural event, commenting: “We aimed to bring the world's most thrilling supercross action to the heart of Abu Dhabi, and the overwhelming response from fans and the exceptional performances we witnessed have exceeded our expectations. We are also happy to have provided young talent from the UAE a platform to showcase their skills to an international audience.“At Ethara, we are committed to continually adding more variety and diversity for the Abu Dhabi entertainment and sporting calendar, and the addition of the FIM World Supercross Championship to our portfolio is testament to our dedication to setting new standards of excellence for events.”The entire transformation process of Etihad Arena from a clean venue into a finished racing track, took approximately four days, involving 16 different forms of earth moving machinery such as excavators, dozers, and street sweepers. 7,000 tonnes of locally sourced clay-based dirt were brought in to the venue, after being carefully selected to adhere to safety regulation.The track boasted multiple jumps, including the “Triple” - the most significant and challenging jump. The Triple comprised three jumps that riders had to clear in a single leap, covering a distance of around 70 feet. Looping outside of the Etihad Arena, the outside section saw riders take on two tight rhythm sections with corners that posed high risk for errors, and high entertainment for the audience.SX Global CEO, Adam Bailey, said: “The success of the first ever World Supercross event in Abu Dhabi marks a significant milestone in the Championship's history and demonstrates our commitment at SX Global to delivering top-tier sporting entertainment for our fans. We’ve been blown away by the positive response we’ve received from Abu Dhabi and the crowd tonight was sensational - so much energy and enthusiasm.”The event opened with a showstopping pyrotechnics display, which set the scene for the adrenaline-filled and action-packed day. The opening ceremony then concluded with a traditional Ayala performance, before the riders took to the track and battled it out for their chance at a podium spot. The audience was then treated to a nail-biting FM freestyle display, carrying out a series of jumps and stunts that had everyone on the edge of their seats. Abu Dhabi-born rapper Freek closed off the night with a live performance of his hits including “Doos” and “Mush Fathi”. At the end of the month, the riders will head to the home of WSX, Australia, for the Melbourne Grand Prix - the final event of the Championship.The success of the first ever FIM World Supercross Championship Abu Dhabi Grand Prix signifies not only the growing appetite for motorsport in the region, but also showcases the capital’s ability to host world-class sporting spectacles. The event adds to Ethara’s growing portfolio of diverse entertainment offerings and is testament to the company’s dedication to setting new standards of excellence for events.

Disney launches ‘May Your Wishes Come True’ campaign

Disney has launched a holiday campaign called 'May Your Wishes Come True', which focuses on the power of wishes for its centenary anniversary. The campaign includes the first live-action festive ad, titled 'A Wish For The Holidays', which takes inspiration from the soon-to-be-released Walt Disney Animation Studios' movie Wish and will launch in more than 50 countries.The ad is directed by Grammy Award-winning Nigerian / British director Meji Alabi and was shot entirely in Cape Town, South Africa, and features scenes representing six geographical locations and languages.It tells the stories of families and friends worldwide who are united by a universal wish to be together with their loved ones during the holidays, recognising a range of festive traditions.The ad includes the globally recognisable song A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes from Cinderella, rearranged to enable multiple performers to come together with one united voice. English-language voice of Asha and Academy Award-winning actress and singer Ariana DeBose delivers the opening line in the English version, and voice actresses in markets around the world sing it in other languages.The ad has been globally produced by Ridley Scott Associates across the United States, the United Kingdom and South Africa and developed in collaboration with the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products internal advertising agency Yellow Shoes.Joss Hastings, VP of Global Marketing at Disney consumer products, games and publishing, says: "Holiday traditions may look different around the world; however and wherever you're celebrating, we all share the wish to be with the ones we love during this special time of year."Inspired by Walt Disney Animation Studios' new movie Wish, the advertisement brings voices from around the world together as a global choir for a powerful rendition of the iconic A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes. We hope fans enjoy the new twist on a Disney classic as we celebrate 100 years of storytelling and the integral role that music has played," adds Hastings. According to Disney, the global premiere of the advert comes hot on the heels of the recent unveiling of a co-branded celebratory aircraft livery in collaboration with LIFT airlines to kick off 'May Your Wishes Come True'.<div class="video-container"><iframe src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe></div>

Sudhakar Adapa of Bia Brands acquires the rights to HELLO!

Sudhakar Adapa, the business powerhouse behind Bia Brands, has made a historic move into media in partnership with the internationally renowned ¡HOLA! Group. With his characteristic bold vision, Mr Adapa is adding luxury lifestyle magazines HELLO! Indo-Arabia and HELLO Arabia! to his portfolio, marking a significant milestone as the first Indian national to enter this publishing arena.A byword for glamour, HELLO! will provide Bia Brands with a strategic advantage in the Middle East. As more and more Indian luxury brands are going global and GCC is one of the key markets for them, HELLO! offers a huge platform to reach out to the Arabian audience.Both HELLO! Indo-Arabia and HELLO! Arabia will be infused with a distinctive Indian flair, featuring an array of national celebrities alongside international names. This alluring mix promises not only to attract audiences but also to proudly highlight India's diverse cultural heritage on the world stage. The prestigious look and feel of HELLO! Indo-Arabia and HELLO! Arabia will showcase the media expertise for which the ¡HOLA! Group is famous.Sudhakar Adapa - Founder & CEO, Bia Brands - says of his latest achievement: "Taking the reins of HELLO! Indo-Arabia and HELLO! Arabia has been a proud moment for me. It is even more special considering the fact that I am the first Indian national to secure such rights. In today's ever-evolving business landscape, it's imperative for us to build strong, global brands. Media plays a pivotal role in this journey. HELLO! Indo-Arabia and HELLO! Arabia, both being globally renowned luxury and celebrity magazines, provide us with a unique leverage to access the vibrant GCC countries."¡HOLA! Group's Chairman, Eduardo Sánchez Pérez, comments: "We're delighted that HELLO! INDO-ARABIA and HELLO! ARABIA join the big ¡HOLA! and HELLO! family, and that readers from the Gulf region will join us to celebrate life's most beautiful moments with the inspiring exclusives, news and human interest stories they will find in these two magazines."To maximise audience engagement, HELLO! Indo-Arabia will appear in English and HELLO! Arabia in Arabic, while each will have both print and digital editions. A series of exclusive events will magnify the impact of the publications and, by association, Bia Brands.A jewel in the ¡HOLA! Group's crown, HELLO! magazine is loved for its positive content and privileged access, spanning the worlds of entertainment, royalty, philanthropy, sports and more. The ¡HOLA! Group includes 20 international editions in ten different languages reaching more than ten million readers each week, along with 15 websites with more than 50 million unique users per month, and a broadcast channel received by more than 22 million households.

Dubai Harbour welcomes Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages to the Arabian Gulf

Dubai Harbour, Dubai’s extraordinary seafront district, has welcomed the iconic Resilient Lady from Virgin Voyages on its maiden call to the Arabian Gulf. The call is one of a number of international cruise liners set to arrive at Dubai Harbour during this year’s cruise season, with 300,000 passengers and 49 ship calls.  Resilient Lady is the newest “Lady Ship” to join the Virgin Voyages fleet that previously included Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady. Celebrating Virgin’s longstanding British heritage, Resilient Lady launched on 14th May 2023 from her summer homeport in Athens, Greece. Inspired by superyacht design and bringing modern glamour to the seas, the latest ship from Richard Branson’s cruise travel brand arrived in style at Dubai Harbour, rekindling people’s connection to the sea and charting a course for newer ways to explore maritime lifestyles. This past summer, the award-winning brand offered two, seven-night itineraries around the Greek Isles and Adriatic Sea departing out of Athens. These included “Adriatic Sea and Greek Gems” and “Greek Island Glow.” Resilient Lady, along with its sister ships, was designed by world-renowned architects and designers including Tom Dixon and Concrete Amsterdam, with menus curated by Michelin-starred chefs. On-board, Sailors are spoiled with a daily line-up of immersive entertainment and live music performances, paired with incredible food from 20+ eateries and stunning spaces to recharge and relax. From unlimited group fitness classes to a mermaid-inspired spa and thermal suite, Virgin Voyages emphasizes relaxation while on a mission to curate the best week at sea for its Sailors.Michelle Bentubo, Chief Operating Officer of Virgin Voyages said, “As Resilient Lady embarks on her journey from Greece to Australia, we wanted to offer our Sailors the opportunity of a lifetime to explore one of the world’s most captivating cities via Dubai Harbour. We are grateful for the Arabian hospitality and warm welcome into this extraordinary seafront district. The modern, highly efficient terminal network helped us ensure smooth Sailor turnaround, which is imperative given our shorter stay in the city, and we look forward to calling on Dubai in years to come.” Abdulla Binhabtoor, Chief Portfolio Management Officer of Shamal Holding and the owner and curator of Dubai Harbour added, "We are delighted to have Virgin Voyages' Resilient Lady stopover at our seafront destination. Dubai Harbour curates extraordinary experiences that are inspired by our connection to the sea, showcasing a wide range of living, retail and hospitality offerings for all to explore while visiting the city." As a manifestation of Dubai’s wider planning, coastline development and tourism strategies, as well as its status as the region’s leading cruise hub, Dubai Harbour continues to play a major role in rekindling the city’s connection to the sea. Designed to process more than 3,250 passengers per hour, the highly efficient and modern terminals at Dubai Harbour have recorded exponential growth over the past two years.

Du signs strategic MoU with Splunk to forge a path in digital resilience

du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Splunk, the cybersecurity and observability leader, to enhance digital resilience in the UAE. This collaborative endeavour aims to support digital resilience in the country and usher in a new era of data security and operational excellence.As per the MoU, du will embark on an ambitious journey to introduce the first UAE-hosted digital resilience cloud offering, powered by Splunk's cutting-edge technology. The new platform will ensure the robust security and seamless operation of digital systems for du’s clients across the public sector, commercial and enterprise sectors in the UAE. The partnership will extend beyond infrastructure development. Both parties will delve into value-added managed digital resilience services tailored for the UAE market. This strategic alliance will encompass a wide array of activities, including joint marketing efforts, educational events all orchestrated by du and Splunk's dedicated channel teams."We are thrilled to embark on this transformative journey alongside Splunk, as it aligns perfectly with our commitment to delivering cutting-edge solutions that empower our customers," said Fahad Al Hassawi, CEO at du. "Through this strategic partnership and the pioneering development of the first-ever UAE-hosted digital resilience cloud offering, we are taking a monumental leap forward in safeguarding our digital landscape through the highest level of data security and operational excellence. We will establish a holistic approach to protect critical data, enhance operational efficiency, and ensure uninterrupted delivery of services in secure and robust digital ecosystems.”“du is a leader in the UAE's telecommunications landscape, and Splunk is thrilled to join hands with them,” said Gary Steele, CEO at Splunk. “Together, we are poised to empower organizations with the trust and security they need to navigate the increasingly complex digital landscape. This collaboration between Splunk and du exemplifies our shared commitment to pioneering innovation and safeguarding the digital future of the UAE.”Furthermore, the partnership will involve developing a comprehensive Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy. This strategy will serve du corporate, business, and social objectives in the UAE market, reinforcing their position as a pioneer in digital resilience. This strategic partnership between Splunk and du signifies a remarkable leap towards achieving digital resilience excellence in the UAE, propelling organizations towards a more secure and resilient digital future.Both du and Splunk aspire to be active contributors to the UAE’s digital agenda and digital transformation journey by serving as providers of unique digital resilience technologies to multiple public sector and leading enterprise tech customers in the UAE. This commitment reflects their dedication to fortifying the UAE's digital infrastructure and advancing its position on the global digital stage.

Dubai Crown Prince unveils programme to boost gaming sector, create 30,000 jobs

Dubai is set to roll out a new programme for the gaming sector that will generate tens of thousands of new jobs and add around $1 billion to the economy by 2033.On Thursday, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), approved the launch of ‘Dubai Program for Gaming 2033’.The initiative seeks to position the emirate among the top 10 cities in the global gaming industry and generate 30,000 new jobs in the gaming sector.The programme also seeks to boost the sector’s contribution to the growth of Dubai’s digital economy and increase the GDP by approximately $1 billion by 2033, according to a statement.“Dubai will persist in aligning with global trends as it shapes and builds its digital economy, harnessing advanced technology and evaluating both current and forthcoming disruptions,” Sheikh Hamdan said.“This is in accordance with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, to ensure that Dubai stands among the most future-ready cities globally.”Under the programme, the emirate will establish an “incubating environment” for developers and attract leading technology companies from around the world. Among the targeted businesses are those specialising in digital content and experiences.“The programme will offer support to developers, designers, programmers, as well as entrepreneurs and start-ups in the creative industries,” Sheikh Hamdan said.

Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy and RemotePass Partner

RemotePass, the UAE’s leading platform for onboarding, paying, and managing global remote workers, has announced a strategic partnership with the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy (DCDE), one of the three chambers operating under the umbrella of Dubai Chambers. This collaboration aims to bolster the UAE startup and business ecosystem, by providing a seamless avenue for global businesses to both access the UAE's skilled workforce and relocate global talent, all without the necessity of establishing a local entity. Additionally, the partnership will offer invaluable support to local firms and will enable them to effortlessly hire top talent from around the world, whether as contractors or full-time employees.In pursuit of the DCDE's strategic goal to attract 300 digital startups to Dubai, RemotePass will play a pivotal role in ensuring the HR success of these ventures. With its global infrastructure, RemotePass provides businesses with the essential tools for seamless onboarding, management, and retention of an exceptional pool of both local and international remote talent. RemotePass handles everything from local and international compliance to automated contracts, and global payroll, and facilitates access for workers to top-tier benefits and financial services. This comprehensive support empowers businesses to build remarkable teams and achieve unparalleled success.  This initiative is part of DCDE's "Business in Dubai'' programme, which serves as a business-matching service designed to connect companies with suitable partners, investors, and customers. It also offers a wide array of institutional services delivered in collaboration with the chamber's strategic partners. RemotePass joins this prestigious roster that includes Dubai World Trade Center, etisalat, Dubai Islamic Bank, and many more. The Dubai Economic Agenda (D33) aims to double the size of the emirate’s economy over the next decade, and this partnership with RemotePass plays a key role by equipping companies to attract, hire, retain, and motivate the best talent locally and from around the world. Out of 557,000 SMEs in the UAE, RemotePass was selected by the DCDE as one of the innovative partners to support this mission.  This partnership cements RemotePass’ position as a pivotal entity in the global workforce management landscape, underscoring its commitment to simplifying remote talent management for businesses while ensuring compliance. The biggest positive impact will be RemotePass's contribution to uplifting the UAE's startup ecosystem, fostering enhanced collaboration, and deploying its expertise in streamlining international and local employment processes, benefiting companies looking to hire globally or locally. Eligible businesses can access RemotePass’ services with an exclusive discount through the incentives offered under the Business in Dubai initiative. Saeed Al Gergawi, Vice President of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, commented: “We are pleased to welcome RemotePass as the newest service provider on the chamber’s innovative ‘Business in Dubai’ platform, which enables convenient access to a range of integrated services and solutions for digital companies looking to set up or expand their business in Dubai. Our platform plays a key role in attracting leading digital companies and specialised talent to Dubai, as well as providing comprehensive assistance to local startups and established companies. We remain committed to building the world’s best digital infrastructure and consolidating Dubai’s position as the global capital of the digital economy.” Wesley Hattingh, UAE Country Manager, RemotePass commented: "Dubai is the ideal home for entrepreneurs, which is why more than 30,000 new businesses opened in Dubai during the first half of 2023. We’re thrilled about this partnership with the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, which aligns perfectly with our mission to simplify cross-border workforce management for the city’s thriving startup ecosystem. This partnership demonstrates our commitment to advancing innovation in Dubai — for companies looking to hire locally and internationally."

Ajman Chamber celebrates Flag Day with its employees and customers

Ajman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) celebrated the “Flag Day” event as an embodiment of the values of unity and cohesion and a renewal of loyalty and belonging to the homeland and wise leadership. The flag was raised in the Ajman Chamber arena by H.E. Eng Abdullah Al Muwaiji, the Chairman of the ACCI, in the presence of members of the Board of Directors of the ACCI and H. E Salem Al Suwaidi, Director-General of ACCI and ACCI's employees and customers.H.E Abdullah Al Muwaiji said on this national occasion: "Flag Day is a national occasion that we cherish and are proud of. The flag is a symbol of our identity, our pride, our renaissance, our past, our present, and our future. On Flag Day, we remember the efforts of the founding fathers and the journey of our country and its progress in all fields. On Flag Day, we renew our commitment to our country and our loyalty to our wise leadership, and we pledge to continue working diligently and hardly for the sake of the advancement and leadership of our beloved country. "H. E Salem Al Suwaidi, Director-General of ACCI, stated: "Celebrating Flag Day is a national embodiment of the values of unity, pride in national identity, and popular cohesion. Under the flag, loyalty and belonging are renewed. Under the flag, we are proud of the global status the UAE has achieved. Under the flag, enthusiasm is sharpened to continue the journey of work and giving to our nation."

PureHealth partners with Dell Technologies to utilise generative AI

Abu Dhabi: PureHealth has partnered with Dell Technologies to utilise generative artificial intelligence (AI) across healthcare services including in early disease detection, medical data analysis and personalised treatment plans, further enhancing the health ecosystem in Abu Dhabi. The collaboration will harness the collective resources and technologies of both companies to improve health outcomes by ensuring access to leading medical solutions and services and accelerating long-term preparedness and agility.With Dell's innovative solutions, PureHeath aims to positively impact the wellbeing of communities by offering better patient experiences through intelligent healthcare decision-making and advancing health research.GenAI brings with it a multitude of advantages in healthcare, ranging from early disease detection by analysing extensive medical data, to personalised treatment plans based on individual patient profiles. GenAI can also improve medical imaging accuracy, aid in predictive analytics for disease outbreaks and expedite drug discovery, contributing to a more efficient and patient-centred healthcare landscape.The collaboration was signed by Junaid Khan, Chief Technology Officer at PureHealth, and Walid Yehia, the UAE’s General Manager of Dell Technologies. Michael Dell, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Dell Technologies and Farhan Malik, Founder, Managing Director, and CEO of PureHealth, witnessed the signing of the collaboration between both organisations. Junaid Khan, Chief Technology Officer at PureHealth, said: “As we embark on this transformative journey with Dell, we are thrilled to pioneer a new era in healthcare. This collaboration signifies our unwavering commitment to advancing the future of healthcare by harnessing the rapidly increasing computing power and normalising GenAI-based outcomes. By integrating GenAI, we are poised to revolutionise the industry, improve health outcomes, and fortify our healthcare system's readiness for the future. Our efforts align seamlessly with our vision of extending human health span. GenAI is a powerful tool and will be incorporated in our digital transformation where we aim to take healthcare to the cloud.”Walid Yehia, General Manager, UAE at Dell Technologies, said: “GenAI continues to drive meaningful conversations and propel tangible progress across industries. We are using our position as the world’s broadest GenAI infrastructure portfolio provider to help PureHealth deliver critical services to citizens.”The collaboration further solidifies PureHealth's position as a global healthcare provider following the recent milestone acquisitions of Ardent Health Services, the US’s fourth largest private healthcare group and Circle Health Group, the UK’s largest private healthcare group. This growth path underscores Abu Dhabi vision to bolster its position as a leading global destination for healthcare and life sciences.According to Statista, the global AI healthcare market was valued at AED40.4 billion in 2021 and is projected to expand to have a market size of AED686.8 billion market size by 2030. This increase will drive considerable changes in how medical providers, hospitals, and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies operate.PureHealth is actively reshaping the future of healthcare through a strategic fusion of technology and data, while also pioneering innovative GenAI-driven solutions. With a robust and expansive network encompassing hospitals, clinics, numerous diagnostic centers, insurance solutions, pharmacies, health tech and procurement services, PureHealth maintains its position as a trailblazer in the pursuit of longevity science and the transformation of healthcare systems.

Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella Visits UAE

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Microsoft Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella visited the UAE today to experience first-hand how the latest advancements in cloud and AI are supporting UAE organizations across every industry. While speaking at the Microsoft ‘AI, a New Era’ event, Nadella met with local business leaders, government officials and developers and emphasized the role of AI in unlocking new opportunities to accelerate the UAE's digital economy and transforming the lives of its people.“This new age of AI will drive innovation and has the potential to expand opportunity and growth around the world – including in the UAE,” said Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO, Microsoft. “It’s inspiring to see so many developers and businesses in the Emirates already applying AI to address business and societal challenges.”Microsoft has had a presence in the UAE for more than 30 years and chose the country as the location for its first data centres in the Middle East. Microsoft’s cloud regions are considered a key driver behind the country’s digital transformation, serving as foundations for the deployment of modern technologies, including AI. A PwC report has predicted a US$320 billion AI industry in the Middle East by 2030 and singled out the UAE as likely to have the largest percentage share for AI in its economy out of any nation in the region: close to 14% of 2030 GDP.During his keynote, Nadella announced the upcoming availability of Azure OpenAI Service from the company’s UAE cloud datacentres. The service, which will be available later this month, provides access to a suite of powerful AI models, including GPT-4, Codex, and DALL-E 2, which can be used to develop innovative AI applications such as virtual assistants, content generation, code generation, image editing tools, and more.He highlighted some of the ways UAE organizations are leading AI transformation and innovation in key industries:  The UAE Ministry of Education is partnering with local start-up ASI, founded by 20-year-old Quddus Pativada, to develop a personalised AI tutor which will act as an Arabic and English study companion for UAE students to help them improve their learning beyond the classroom. The tutor will be rolled out across the UAE’s schools. The partnership aligns with the ministry’s drive to incorporate AI into the educational system, announced during the World Government Summit (WGS) 2023.The Department of Health in Abu Dhabi is developing a unified, digital experience for patients, which will allow them to provide holistic, on demand healthcare services in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. An AI powered patient assistant, running on Azure, will provide instant access to unified medical records and make searching for a doctor and scheduling appointments effortless.G42 released a Large Language Arabic Model, Jais, which will be available through Azure Services and will boost the ability to create original Arabic content for close to 100 million underserviced Arabic language internet users.DeepOpinion, co-founded by Dr. Ahmed Al-Ali, is embedding AI models in existing automation workflows running on Microsoft Azure and integrating with Microsoft Power Platform, allowing organisations to reduce repetitive tasks and reduce workplace accidents caused by human error.

Britain's M&S apologises for Christmas post compared to Palestinian flag

British retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) apologised after posting a picture from its Christmas advert showing red and green paper hats in a burning fireplace that were compared to a Palestinian flag.The company, one of the best-known names in British business, apologised for "any unintentional hurt caused" after sharing the image on Instagram.Marks & Spencer, which started life in 1884 when Jewish immigrant Michael Marks came to the north of England, faced some criticism on social media over claims it was making a political statement.The retailer deleted the Instagram post, posting a statement on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, saying: "Today we shared an outtake image from our Christmas clothing and home advert, which was recorded in August, before the conflict broke out between Israel and Hamas." "It showed traditional, festive coloured red, green and silver Christmas paper party hats in a fire grate.""While the intent was to playfully show that some people just don't enjoy wearing paper Christmas hats over the festive season, we have removed the post following feedback and we apologise for any unintentional hurt caused."Global companies are trying to avoid getting entangled in conflict between Israel and Hamas as the fighting has prompted a rise in religious hate crimes.McDonald's franchises in some Muslim countries distanced themselves from a move by the company's Israeli restaurants last month to give free meals to the Israeli military.

'Doritos Silent' Brings Crunch-Cancelling Tech To PC Gamers Around World

Doritos has introduced 'Doritos Silent,' a groundbreaking 'crunch-cancellation' technology that lets PC gamers enjoy their favorite chips without distracting other players. Though new research shows 85 percent of gamers consistently choose Doritos as their snack of choice, the study also revealed a strong demand across the globe for an innovative solution that eliminates crunching sounds while gaming. In the UK, 46 percent of gamers dislike the sound of other people eating.In Portugal and Spain, 68 and 64 percent of gamers respectively rank crisps or chips first when asked which food items create the worst noise while they're gaming and the other person is eating.In the US, 30 percent say that other people crunching distracts them from playing well or impacts their performance. The crunch is a key reason consumers love Doritos. With this new 'crunch-cancellation technology,' Doritos gives gamers the ability to continue enjoying the crunch without disrupting their fellow players' performance."The connection between Doritos fans and the gaming community is undeniable," said Fernando Kahane, Global Marketing Head at PepsiCo. "Both boldly and unapologetically embrace their individual flavors. 'Doritos Silent' recognizes this bond and demonstrates the brand's continued commitment to innovation and elevating the experience for gamers who choose Doritos."Designed in partnership with Smooth Technology, a leader in electronic and interactive design, the groundbreaking new 'crunch cancellation' technology took six months to develop and involved the technical analysis of more than 5,000 different crunch sounds."Working with Doritos to create this cutting-edge technology has been an incredible journey," said Dylan Fashbaugh, the lead developer at Smooth Technology. "We all know that gamers love Doritos, but that unmistakable crunch can often disrupt those intense gaming moments. With 'Doritos Silent,' we've worked to ensure gamers can enjoy the crunch of Doritos without disturbing their fellow players, making for a better gaming experience."By expanding this new technology to all PC gamers, Doritos hopes its silence can benefit the 80 percent of millennials and Gen Z who classify themselves as gamers1.Doritos teased the idea of "making Doritos silent" with social media and out-of-home advertisements that featured Doritos chips in-place of noise-cancelling headphones in the UK, US, Spain, Poland, Brazil and Portugal promising that "you won't hear it coming."

Athar Awards to celebrate creative marketing excellence in Saudi Arabia

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Athar – Saudi Festival of Creativity, the largest gathering of the creative marketing industry in the Kingdom set to take place from 13–16 November 2023 at the Hotel Crowne Plaza Riyadh RDC, will feature a special Athar Awards gala dinner to conclude the four-day festival.The inaugural edition will take place on November 16 and feature the Athar Legacy Awards of the Decade and Athar Special Awards, in addition to recognising the winners of the 24-hour hack competition, part of the Young Talent Academies.The gala dinner is set to be attended by creative directors, chief creative officers, CMOs, CEOs and other senior decision makers from all sectors of the creative communications landscape including creative, media and communications agencies, event agencies, advertisers, media houses, brands, platforms, government agencies, publishers, tech platforms, young talent, and start-ups.The Legacy Awards will be presented to agencies and brands verified by the Dubai Lynx and Cannes Lions international festivals of creativity based on points gained over the last decade by Saudi-based campaigns or agencies. Categories include Media Network of the Decade, Brand of the Decade, Agency of the Decade and Network of the Decade.The Special Awards will recognise outstanding individuals, market leaders and other stellar organisations who have positively contributed to the advancement of the local creative industry. It includes the Empowerment and Marketer categories for individuals and three other categories, Disruptors, Excellence and Gamechangers, celebrating organisations for their achievement.The award ceremony will also acknowledge outstanding participants from this year’s Athar Young Talent Academies; a set of six academies designed for young professionals and students to explore creative marketing topics from public relations, copywriting, innovation, branding & design, planning, and social communications.Ian Fairservice, Chairman of Athar Festival and Managing Partner & Group Editor-in-Chief of Motivate Media Group, stated: “With Saudi Arabia’s reception of the first-ever Grand Prix Award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this year, the local creative industry is in an era of continual progression. Through the Legacy Awards which are verified by both Dubai Lynx and Cannes Lions, we are able to commemorate agencies and brands that have consistently set high standards and embodied excellence through their work. As we approach the start of this year’s festival, we are very excited to close the event on a very festive note, giving peers a chance to celebrate one another’s achievements.”“Saudi creativity is in a remarkable period of growth, proven by the innovative ideas that have been brought to life across various industries,” commented Mohamed Al Ayed, Vice Chairman of Athar Festival and CEO of TRACCS. “Athar Festival’s Special Awards and each of the award categories has been tailored to recognize the brilliance and versatility shown by both individuals and organisations in the Kingdom’s creative landscape. As the Kingdom advances forward guided by the framework of Vision 2030, we are proud to reward exceptionalism and congratulate the Kingdom’s diverse creative communities.”Organised by Motivate Media Group and TRACCS, the festival promises to be an inspiring occasion celebrating marketing excellence and affirming the value of creativity in the world of business. The four-day festival programme will include a two-day festival and two days of training for young talent, underlining the enduring role of creativity as an enabler of growth and development.With an extensive line-up of 100+ international and celebrity speakers, Athar Festival’s landmark edition is expected to welcome 1,500 industry professionals and young talent to attend the festival and its academies, celebrating innovation and exceptionalism within Saudi Arabia’s creative ecosystem.

L’Occitane launches new virtual store with gaming and personalisation

L’Occitane en Provence, a French beauty brand, has introduced an engaging virtual store just in time for the holiday season. Interactive virtual stores have gained popularity, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as they enable brands to connect with customers in a distinctive way while observing social distancing guidelines. L'Occitane has embraced an Alpine chalet theme and introduced limited edition holiday collections, creating a festive ambiance that suits the holiday season perfectly.This virtual store has been developed by the retail technology company Emperia and is designed to resemble an Alpine chalet. It offers limited edition holiday product ranges and provides personalization options along with gamified entertainment.Visitors to the virtual store will come across various gift wrapping elements scattered throughout the space. They can use these elements to assemble their own customized gift box. Upon completing this mini-game, an animation will unveil the personalized box, along with a "special L’Occitane holiday reward."The store categorizes products into five distinct areas: advent calendar, holiday limited edition collection, gift sets, fragrances, and Santa’s wish list, all organized based on budget. The holiday collection's designs have been created in collaboration with UK-based artist Steven Wilson, known for his work with brands like Nike, The Oscars, Virgin, and MTV.Beyond the chalet's confines, visitors can illuminate an olive tree and craft their personalized postcard containing their carefully curated product wishlist. Mariana Rodrigues, Marketing Director at L’Occitane Middle East, emphasized the significance of the olive tree, a symbol of tradition in Provence, saying, "Our vision was to bring back those traditions to our customers."This marks Emperia's second collaboration with L'Occitane. Earlier this year, the platform developed an immersive experience to showcase the brand's retail world, highlighting ingredients and best-selling products. Visitors could take a virtual bicycle ride through the lavender fields of Provence and soar over Corsica in a hot air balloon.Olga Dogadkina, co-founder and CEO of Emperia, noted that today's online retail users expect a more personalized and interactive shopping experience that aligns with the brand's values and enhances their overall shopping experience, catering to their individual needs, desires, and preferences.

BBC Studios announces a series of appointments for Key Markets, EMEA

BBC Studios has announced a series of appointments for Key Markets, EMEA as part of its continuing plan to build its commercial business in the region.Based in Amsterdam and reporting into Arran Tindall, Chief Commercial Officer, EVP, EMEA Key Markets, Bram Husken has been appointed to the newly created role of Vice President, Benelux. Bram will be responsible for the P&L across Benelux. He will lead on commercial strategy and delivery of best value and commercial returns from the BBC-branded services and content sales opportunities in these markets.Bram brings a wealth of experience to the role as a seasoned senior executive with over two decades of experience in the media industry, most recently in the position as VP, Content Distribution & Management Benelux, Nordics & RCIS at Paramount Global where he was responsible for overseeing the strategic partnerships for content distribution as well as contributing to setting up a joint-venture to launch the SkyShowtime streaming service in several European territories. During his time at Paramount/Viacom, Bram held several senior positions including General Counsel Northern Europe. Prior to this he worked as a private practice lawyer focused on Intellectual Property.Commenting on his new role, Bram said, “It’s an exciting time to be joining BBC Studios in Amsterdam, it is an iconic brand that has an impressive track record for great content, creativity and business within the creative industries here, so I’m delighted to contribute to the brands further growth across the Benelux.”Also based in Amsterdam, Hale Mouritz has been promoted to the newly created position of Director of Programming, Western Europe for services in Benelux and Nordics. Hale will lead the Benelux and Nordics Programming teams, leading on the editorial and content strategy and scheduling initiatives for BBC-branded services in the regions, as well as spearheading the brand and awareness growth of BBC Studios local presence.Hale joined BBC Studios in Amsterdam in June 2021 as Head of Programming, Western Europe where she was and continues to be responsible for the performance of both linear and related VOD services. Under this tenure, she oversaw the successful re-brand of BBC Studios’ Nordic channels, successfully launching new services BBC Nordic and BBC Nordic+. Under Hale, BBC First in the Netherlands also became the #10 most watched channel in the country in March 2023.“Our audiences are at the heart of everything we do here at BBC Studios and in this new role I’m excited to develop and enhance the audience experience even further across the Benelux and Nordics regions through our curated and outstanding branded services.”Andrea Raman has been promoted to Business Development Director, Nordic, MENA, Turkey in which she will be responsible for the distribution partnerships of BBC Studios branded services within these regions. Based in London, Andrea will also lead on the development of new business and commercial strategic partnerships, curating packages of BBC brands and content with third party partnerships.Andrea joined BBC Studios earlier this year and has brought a wealth of commercial experience within the broadcast industry having worked with international brands such as ESPN Star Sports, MGM, CNBC and A+E networks.Commenting on the promotion, Andrea Raman said, “At BBC Studios I’ve forged fantastic partnerships across MENA and Turkey and I’m delighted that under this new role I’ll be able to add Nordics to this portfolio as well as strengthen, explore and develop new opportunities for our extensive branded services.”Responsibilities held previously by Simon Cottle, VP Affiliate Sales Western Europe, who is set to retire this year, will be split regionally between Bram and Andrea within their new roles.On announcing the appointments, Arran Tindall, Chief Commercial Officer, EVP, EMEA Key Markets said, “Bram Husken is a strategic and talented leader who brings local expertise in the Benelux, I’m pleased that he is going to be leading our efforts in the region as we look to develop the BBC Studios brands and future portfolio in Benelux. Bram’s appointment alongside the well-deserved promotions of Hale Mouritz and Andrea Raman are vital for the EMEA business as we look to maximise value from our branded services and grow our major customer relationships in the territories across all our lines of business. Harnessing their expertise will enable us to unlock new business opportunities and achieve our growth ambitions in the regions.”

HUAWEI MatePad PaperMatte shines at Dubai Biennale

 HUAWEI MatePad PaperMatte Editions were unveiled at the Dubai Calligraphy Biennale, featuring a Calligraphy Workshop known as "Created by Huawei MatePad." This workshop played a significant role during the closing weekend of the month-long Dubai Calligraphy Biennale event, which was organized by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai.The "Created by Huawei MatePad" platform is celebrated for its dedication to nurturing digital artistry while preserving traditional art forms in the digital age. This initiative showcases Huawei's unwavering commitment to innovation in the artistic medium.The workshop brought together 20 talented students from the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority's Salama Magazine readership, all between the ages of 12 and 14, and filled with enthusiasm for art and drawing. They were guided by experienced Arabic calligraphy artists Narjes Noureddine and Bassem Zbeeb on a journey into the world of digital calligraphy. Equipped with the new and advanced HUAWEI MatePad PaperMatte and HUAWEI 2nd-gen M-Pencils, these young artists explored a wide range of artistic possibilities. Narjes Noureddine, with her expertise and mentorship, enriched their experience, while Bassem Zbeeb shared captivating stories that intertwined Arabic and Chinese culture.Narjes Noureddine is renowned for her mastery of Arabic calligraphy and brought her international acclaim and unwavering passion for art to the workshop. Her artistic journey goes beyond traditional calligraphy and encompasses classical plates, contemporary paintings, murals, and sculptures.The workshop also marked the highly anticipated launch of the all-new HUAWEI MatePad 11-inch and MatePad 11.5-inch PaperMatte Editions in the UAE. These remarkable devices introduce consumers to the HUAWEI PaperMatte Display, a breakthrough technology that minimizes reflections and glare, enhancing the viewing experience.

The Immortal Awards of MEA begins with support from BIG KAHUNA FILMS

The Immortal Award, an annual competition that celebrates creativity and production excellence in the advertising and marketing industry of the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, was held in Dubai, where creative and production leaders gathered to assess and honour outstanding work in the field. With the support from Big Kahuna Films, the jurors voted on a shortlist of 25 projects, which had scored highest in the online round of judging prior to the in-person sessionThe six projects will now stand a chance of winning an Immortal Award or picking up a Commendation at the global jury day on Thursday, December 7th. They will be joined by the 7 European Finalists, as well as the forthcoming Finalists from the North America, LATAM, Asia and ANZ jury sessions. This year’s MEA jury was composed of: Yasmina Boustani, Creative Director at Leo Burnett Dubai; Pierre Carnet, Managing Director at MassiveMusic Dubai; Rola Ghotmeh, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of The Creative 9; Marie Claire Maalouf, Chief Creative Officer of Edelman UAE; Raphael Nassoura, Executive Creative Director and GM of Momentum UAE; Ali Rez, Chief Creative Officer MENAP at Impact BBDO Group; Eddy Rizk, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of BIG KAHUNA FILMS; Aliza Siddiqi, Senior Copywriter at FP7McCann Dubai; and Thomas Young, Creative Director at MullenLowe MENA.Pierre Carnet, Managing Director, MassiveMusic Dubai shared: “It was a great pleasure and honour to be a part of the jury panel for the Immortal Awards MEA 2023. Seeing the fantastic work coming out of our region was very inspiring, demonstrating the ambition of local brands and marketers, but also a clear trend towards value-driven marketing and using brand platforms to help implement change.”He continued, “The six projects we have shortlisted as a jury are to me a representation of the burgeoning creativity we find in the Middle East and Africa, where the sky is the limit in terms of what can be achieved. Whether this means pushing new technologies in never seen before ways, creating new product-driven concepts, using marketing to influence policy and culture, or just having good old fun with a brand - year after year the region continues to impress and improve. I cannot wait to see what next year has in store.”Thomas Young, Creative Director at MullenLowe MENA went on to share what surprised him about the work this year. He said, “I was really surprised at the consistent level of quality work coming out of UAE and KSA. You start to now think if the so-called ‘gap’ even exists between West and East in terms of standard of work. Such is the rise in the level of thinking. It gets better every year. Ali Rez, Chief Creative Officer at Impact BBDO Group MENAP shared his thoughts: “The Middle East continues to produce some of the most incredibly creative work – the six projects we picked are not only the best from the region, but some of the best we saw this year coming from anywhere in the world. The jury had very interesting discussions around regional relevancy, bravery in creativity, and the impact the work had on the brand, given the objectives of the campaign.”Finally, Eddy Rizk, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of BIG KAHUNA FILMS commented: “This year's jury displayed a commendable balance, having been presented with some truly outstanding pieces to evaluate. I'm hopeful to see an increase in contributions from the region, and that's what we should aim for in the upcoming years.”

LG announces third-quarter 2023 financial results

Dubai: LG Electronics Inc. (LG) today announced third-quarter 2023 consolidated revenue of KRW 20.7 trillion and operating profit of KRW 996.7 billion, both the second highest third-quarter figures in the company’s history. The noteworthy performance was driven by both the company’s core home appliance business and vehicle solutions, one of its future growth engines. Home appliances more than doubled its operating profit year-over-year while vehicle solutions recorded an all-time high operating profit.The strong performance reflects the company’s smooth progress in the execution of its future vision for 2030, leading to solid revenue and profits despite a prolonged economic slowdown. The fundamentals of LG’s 2030 vision, announced last July, is to focus on B2B expansion, non-hardware business model innovation as well as the development and acquisition of new growth engines with the aim to go beyond a home appliance company to truly become a Smart Life Solutions company capable of connecting and expanding diverse spaces and experiences.The revenue growth was greatly bolstered by expansion in B2B, including automotive parts and HVAC systems – a key factor behind the second highest third-quarter figure in the company’s history. Revenue in B2B grew significantly to account for approximately 35 percent of overall revenue this year.B2B segments are less influenced by economic conditions compared to B2C, and stable revenue and profits can be expected once the business is properly set up. Another merit is the lock-in effect that can help promote the development of a strong long-term relationship with clients and customers. LG plans to develop additional growth opportunities in the area by going beyond merely supplying B2B products to expand into providing high added-value business solutions in connection to the supplied products. The goal will be to boost B2B revenue to over KRW 40 trillion by 2030.Third-quarter operating profit increased by more than 30 percent both year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter. A key contributor to the high profitability was the company’s business model innovation – combining non-hardware solutions such as content and subscription services with traditional hardware products such as home appliances and TVs. In the past, a one-off revenue was recorded when a product was sold. This has now transformed into generating recurring revenue from the use of solutions on platforms installed in the millions of products used by consumers of LG devices.In developing and acquiring new growth engines, LG aims to focus on investing in promising businesses that not only show high potential but can also create synergy with existing businesses. Investment into electric vehicle charging is a prime illustration of such strategy. The company has plans for global expansion beginning next year in collaboration with diverse partners.The seamless operation and solid progress of the company’s 2030 vision’s three pillars – leading growth of company (B2B), generating profit (non-hardware) and boosting enterprise value (new growth engines) – is a strong demonstration of LG’s advancement toward achieving Triple 7 (average growth rate and operating profit of 7 percent or more and enterprise value to EBITDA ratio of 7 or more).LG will continue to focus on accelerating its business portfolio transformation efforts into the fourth quarter, seeking to maintain high-growth in B2B with vehicle component solutions taking the lead, while at the same time growing sales of key product lineups as the end-of-year peak season approaches. Simultaneously, the company plans to optimize efficiencies through enhanced demand forecasting to support stable profitability going forward.The LG Home Appliance & Air Solution Company generated third-quarter revenue of KRW 7.46 trillion and an operating profit of KRW 504.5 billion. The operating profit more than doubled year-over-year, attributable to strong competitiveness in overall business operations including manufacturing, procurement and logistics. Revenue maintained strong versus last year’s third quarter, aided by strategic repositioning of product lineups in response to softened demand as well as expansion of B2B lineups including HVAC, parts and built-in appliances. LG plans to leverage the electrification and decarbonization trend in HVAC systems to accelerate its B2B growth momentum. For example, in the United States, the company recently committed to a series of actions supporting California’s goal to install six million electric heat pumps by 2030. LG is also actively expanding its HVAC portfolio with new Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems. In the fourth quarter, the company will seek to spearhead a paradigm shift in home appliances with the LG ThinQ UP 2.0 expanding business into services and subscriptions. Four upgraded features for the ThinQ UP have already been released in North America, accelerating the speed of customer experience innovation.The LG Vehicle component Solutions Company’s third-quarter revenue was KRW 2.5 trillion and operating profit KRW 134.9 billion – the highest among all third-quarter revenue and operating profit. The company is accelerating its pace of growth based on stable management of its supply chain and an order backlog that is expected to reach KRW 100 trillion by the end of the year. The business unit is expected to exceed KRW 10 trillion in annual revenue for the first time this year, setting the stage to become a key driving force in LG’s overall growth. Growth is still expected to be high due to the accelerating transition to electric vehicles and soaring demand for high added-value parts, despite some concerns of a temporary slowdown of demand in the automotive parts industry. In light of such developments, LG plans to maintain its growth momentum by focusing on high added-value projects and acceleration of regional production at the LG Magna plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.The LG Home Entertainment Company recorded third-quarter revenue of KRW 3.57 trillion and an operating profit of KRW 110.7 billion. The company maintained its profitable growth by effectively managing marketing expenses despite increased LCD panel prices, while also diversifying profit sources based on the growth of content and services business built on its smart TV platform. The company is accelerating its transition from a product-based business to a platform-based media and entertainment business as the content and services market continues to grow. To this end, in addition to expanding collaboration with various content providers, the company is upgrading TV operating systems to expand the content experience of customers. The number of TVs powered by webOS, the foundation of LG’s content and services business, is expected to reach 300 million units by 2026.The LG Business Solutions Company’s third-quarter revenue was KRW 1.33 trillion with an operating loss of KRW 20.5 billion. Both revenue and profitability weakened due to the softening of demand for IT products. As challenging business conditions persist, the company continues to innovate customer experiences with premium IT lineups such as commercial displays and foldable laptops that provide customized solutions, while also making progress in fostering the electric vehicle charger business, one of LG’s new growth engines.Earnings Conference and Conference CallLG Electronics will hold a Korean / English conference call on October 27, 2023, at 16:00 Korea Standard Time (07:00 GMT/UTC). Conference call participants are instructed to pre-register online to receive a private PIN. To participate in the conference call, dial +82 31 810 3130, enter passcode 6418# and then the PIN. The corresponding presentation file will be available for download at the LG Electronics website before the call.

Oktopi & ITWorx present Nadwa – The UAE's premier tutoring marketplace

Dubai, UAE:– oktopi Edutech Ltd, owner of the oktopi workspace solution for education, and ITWorx, a full-service global technology provider, have announced a new partnership to provide an innovative tutoring marketplace aimed at providing much-needed support for students in the UAE.The new premium private tutoring platform, “Nadwa”, based on the oktopi Marketplace-as-a-Service platform, is integrating more than 25,000 licensed UAE educators who will offer sessions and craft immersive learning experiences. With a clear goal, Nadwa will provide a consolidated platform to connect UAE students and parents with highly skilled licensed teachers to help them with their academic progression."Introducing Nadwa is a key milestone for our platform, which is recognised and used by top education providers," said Emilie Thomas, co-founder and co-CEO of oktopi. "With over 50,000 global tutors, our expansion into the UAE signals strategic growth, anticipating vast opportunities in the Gulf and MENA region.""Our collaboration with oktopi on Nadwa emphasizes our commitment to pushing the boundaries in education” said Ali Jaber AlYafei, CEO of United Technology Holding, parent company of ITWorx. “ITWorx believes in the variety of learning channels, therefore it's crucial to provide students with all the support they need to excel in their academic success. This alliance not only complements our existing offerings but opens doors for our regional network to a vast reservoir of international tutors."“Nadwa's platform aligns with our commitment to innovating the educational landscape," shared Fadi Abbas, cofounder and co-CEO at oktopi. “In partnership with ITWorx, our vision goes beyond mere expansion, it's about infusing a blend of global insights and expertise into the heart of our educational approach."Parents and students are encouraged to explore Nadwa’s potential, discovering and booking sessions with expert tutors for top-tier, tailored learning experiences. Through a variety of exclusive offers, it provides the opportunity to experience a tutor's capabilities before committing to longer engagements, ensuring students feel aligned with the individual approach of the tutor to further enrich their learning.In a testament to their commitment to advancing education, ITWorx and oktopi will spotlight Nadwa at the upcoming GESS Dubai education event, officially backed by the UAE Ministry of Education.

BeIN launches hat-trick of early bird offers including continental football

Doha, Qatar – beIN MEDIA GROUP (beIN), the leading sports and entertainment broadcaster, is offering subscribers across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) a trio of fantastic early bird deals this November to allow them to catch all the action from January’s AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023TM and the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Côte d’Ivoire 2023TM, as well as June’s UEFA EURO 2024TM.Subscribers to any of beIN’s three new “UNLOCK the ULTIMATE PLAYS” promotions will get a 25 per cent discount on beIN’s ULTIMATE package, which provides access to 93 sports and entertainment channels, including beIN SPORTS 4 AFC, beIN SPORTS 5 AFC, beIN SPORTS 6 AFC, as well as beIN SPORTS MAX 1, beIN SPORTS MAX 2, beIN SPORTS MAX 3, and beIN SPORTS MAX 4 in Arabic, English. French coverage will also be able available for the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Côte d’Ivoire 2023TM, and the UEFA EURO 2024TM.The “Dual Events Offer” is a four-month subscription that covers both the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 and TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Côte d’Ivoire 2023, which kick-off on 12 and 13 January respectively and each run for a month. Meanwhile beIN’s nine-month “Triple Events Offer” also includes EURO 2024, which runs from 14 June to 14 July. Lastly, the year-long “Advantage Offer” is for fans who want to follow all the action from the three international football competitions as well as next season’s top European leagues, which will restart in August.Early bird subscribers to any of the November packages will also be able to access the beIN 4K channel, plus use the beIN CONNECT App to watch their favourite beIN channels, including the beIN SPORTS MAX channels on-the-go. Additionally, subscribers will qualify for a US$20 credit each month to watch the latest Hollywood blockbusters on beIN ON DEMAND and beIN BOX OFFICE.To unlock a world of sports and entertainment, visit and use the promo code bein25. Terms and conditions apply.

OpenAI's Ilya Sutskever unlocks AI's future

Ilya Sutskever, the co-founder and chief scientist of OpenAI, envisions a future where humans could merge with machines, and where machines might attain human-like intelligence. These are some of the intriguing possibilities in the realm of artificial intelligence (AI).In an exclusive interview with MIT Technology Review, Ilya Sutskever shares his profound insights and perspectives on the AI, providing a rare glimpse into the mind of one of the leading figures in the field.Ilya Sutskever, renowned for his contributions to AI research, has been a key figure in the development of transformative AI technologies such as the GPT models and DALL-E. However, in this candid conversation, Sutskever reveals that his focus has now shifted towards ensuring the responsible development and control of AI, particularly superintelligent systems.Sutskever's new priority is addressing the hypothetical scenario of artificial superintelligence going rogue, a topic of paramount concern for the AI community and the world at large. He believes that discussions about the future of AI are vital, as they help raise awareness about the unprecedented power AI holds.Sutskever touches on various aspects of AI, including the intriguing notion that ChatGPT, OpenAI's chatbot, might exhibit signs of consciousness. He emphasizes the need for society to grasp the potential of AI and even speculates that some humans might choose to merge with machines in the future.OpenAI, under the leadership of CEO Sam Altman, has been at the forefront of the AI revolution, and its recent success with ChatGPT has drawn global attention. OpenAI's endeavors have captured the imagination of world leaders and ignited discussions about the trajectory of AI development.Despite the immense interest in OpenAI's work, Sutskever is known for his modest and contemplative nature. He leads a simple life and devotes his energies to understanding and shaping the future of AI, particularly with a focus on the monumental leap to artificial general intelligence (AGI) that he considers inevitable.Sutskever's journey in AI, from his early days with Geoffrey Hinton in Toronto to his time at Google and ultimately co-founding OpenAI, has been marked by a relentless pursuit of excellence. He played a pivotal role in the development of neural networks and deep learning, and his contributions to AI research have had a profound impact on the field.The interview delves into the unexpected success of ChatGPT, which not only exceeded internal expectations but also reshaped the AI landscape. ChatGPT provided people with an accessible interface to the power of AI, fundamentally changing the way society views AGI.He predicts Artificial General Intelligence or AGI as the iteration of AI “AGI is not meant to be a scientific term. It’s meant to be a useful threshold, a point of reference,” he says. “It is the idea. It’s the point at which AI is so smart that if a person can do some task, then AI can do it too. At that point you can say you have AGI.”As AI discussions have evolved over the past year, AGI has transitioned from being a distant concept to a subject of active discourse. Sutskever believes that ChatGPT played a pivotal role in shifting this perspective, enabling machine-learning researchers to dream bigger and pushing governments and the public to take AGI more seriously.Sutskever expresses his vision for AGI, describing it as a technology capable of achieving extraordinary feats, such as revolutionizing healthcare, addressing climate change, and solving global challenges. While AGI remains a controversial and speculative idea, Sutskever's unwavering commitment to its realization has been a driving force throughout his career.In a surprising revelation, Sutskever reflects on the potential consciousness of large neural networks, a topic that has sparked debates in the AI community. He likens these networks to Boltzmann brains, suggesting that there may be more to their operation than meets the eye.Sutskever's anticipation extends beyond AGI; he envisions a future where machines possess artificial superintelligence, surpassing human capabilities in various domains. He points to AlphaGo's game-changing move in the world of Go as an example of narrow superintelligence, highlighting the potential for AI to outperform human reasoning.With his focus now squarely on superalignment, Sutskever, along with Jan Leike and OpenAI, is committed to solving the challenges associated with ensuring that superintelligent AI systems align with human values and goals. OpenAI has dedicated significant resources to this endeavor, emphasizing the need to address both the opportunities and risks posed by advanced AI models.“One possibility—something that may be crazy by today’s standards but will not be so crazy by future standards—is that many people will choose to become part AI. At first, only the most daring, adventurous people will try to do it. Maybe others will follow. Or not,” says Sutskever.

Cyber criminals encrypt data in 75% of healthcare ransomware attacks

Dubai, United Arab Emirates : Sophos, a global leader in innovating and delivering cybersecurity as a service, today shared its sector survey report, “The State of Ransomware in Healthcare 2023,” which revealed that, among those organizations surveyed, cybercriminals successfully encrypted data in nearly 75% of ransomware attacks. This is the highest rate of encryption in the past three years and a significant increase from the 61% of healthcare organizations that reported having their data encrypted last year.In addition, only 24% of healthcare organizations were able to disrupt a ransomware attack before the attackers encrypted their data—down from 34% in 2022; this is the lowest rate of disruption reported by the sector over the past three years.“To me, the percentage of organizations that successfully stop an attack before encryption is a strong indicator of security maturity. For the healthcare sector, however, this number is quite low—only 24%. What’s more, this number is declining, which suggests the sector is actively losing ground against cyberattackers and is increasingly unable to detect and stop an attack in progress.“Part of the problem is that ransomware attacks continue to grow in sophistication, and the attackers are speeding up their attack timelines. In the latest Active Adversary Report for Tech Leaders, we found that the median time from the start of a ransomware attack to detection was only five days. We also found that 90% of ransomware attacks took place after regular business hours. The ransomware threat has simply become too complex for most companies to go at it alone. All organizations, especially those in healthcare, need to modernize their defensive approach to cybercrime, moving from being solely preventative to actively monitoring and investigating alerts 24/7 and securing outside help in the form of services like managed detection and response (MDR),” said Chester Wisniewski, director, field CTO, Sophos.Additional key findings from the report include:In 37% of ransomware attacks where data was successfully encrypted, data was also stolen, suggesting a rise in the “double dip” methodHealthcare organizations are now taking longer to recover, with 47% recovering in a week, compared to 54% last yearThe overall number of ransomware attacks against healthcare organizations surveyed declined from 66% in 2022 to 60% this yearCompromised credentials were the number one root cause of ransomware attacks against healthcare organizations, followed by exploitsThe number of healthcare organizations surveyed that paid ransom payments declined from 61% last year to 42% this year. This is lower than the cross-sector average of 46%“In 2016, the Red Cross Hospital of Córdoba in Spain suffered a ransomware attack that reached servers and encrypted hundreds of files, medical records and other important patient information. It was a major disruption to our operations and interfered with our ability to care for our patients. The stakes are high in ransomware attacks against healthcare organizations—and attackers know that—meaning we’ll always be a target. After this ransomware attack, we worked hard with Tekpyme to bolster our defenses, and now we have reduced our incident response time by 80%. I think the industry as a whole is making improvements, but there is still work to do, because of the constantly changing nature of cybercrime. Hopefully healthcare organizations can leverage the help that is available from security vendors such as Sophos to prevent a very real ‘threat to life’ if systems go offline due to a ransomware attack,” said José Antonio Alcaraz Pérez, head of information systems and communications at Cruz Red Andalusia in Spain.“Cyberspace today is ripe with technically sophisticated actors looking for vulnerabilities to exploit. What all this translates to is a multidimensional cyberthreat of actors who have the tools to paralyze entire hospitals. Partnering with the private sector is critical to our mission. The information [they] share has real-world impacts and can save real businesses and real lives,” said Christopher Wray, FBI Director.Sophos recommends the following best practices to help defend against ransomware and other cyberattacks:Strengthen defensive shields with:Security tools that defend against the most common attack vectors, including endpoint protection with strong anti-ransomware and anti-exploit capabilitiesZero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) to thwart the abuse of compromised credentialsAdaptive technologies that respond automatically to attacks, disrupting adversaries and buying defenders time to respond24/7 threat detection, investigation and response, whether delivered in-house or by a specialized Managed Detection and Response (MDR) providerOptimize attack preparation, including regularly backing up, practicing recovering data from backups and maintaining an up-to-date incident response planMaintain security hygiene, including timely patching and regularly reviewing security tool configurationsTo learn more about the State of Ransomware in Healthcare 2023, download the full report from State of Ransomware 2023 survey polled 3,000 IT/cybersecurity leaders in organizations with between 100 and 5,000 employees, including 233 from the healthcare sector, across 14 countries in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific.

Izmir Token attracts a TL 10mln investment from

Dubai: Izmir Token, breathing fresh life into the fan token concept familiar to the crypto community and featuring its debut as the world’s first city token, has secured its initial round of funding from businessman Sedat Ocakc?. Sedat Ocakc?, Chairman of Izmir-based Ocakc? Holding, a trailblazer in the production and R&D of cutting-edge technologies such as drones, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and robotics under the Metay?ld?z and TPR Bili?im brands, has invested 10 million TL into the Izmir Token initiative.Speaking about his investment, Sedat Ocakc? remarked, “The crypto arena has been a hotbed for innovation. It’s truly exhilarating to see the city token concept, a world-first, springing from Izmir, Türkiye’s crown jewel. Our large 10 million TL investment shows our enthusiasm and unwavering faith in the project’s potential.”Elaborating on his dual role as both entrepreneur and investor, the Turkish magnate added, “I’m confident that my investment in the Izmir Token will yield substantial returns. I foresee its valuation skyrocketing. Hence, I’m keen on continuing to invest and personally championing this project to the network of influential local and international investors I’m connected with.”The digital pulse of social life in IzmirCrafted by Batufi Soft on the ERC-20 blockchain network and spearheaded by Izmir’s own entrepreneur and digital communication expert, Bar?? Turgut, the Izmir Token is envisioned as the digital pulse of social life in Izmir, a bustling metropolis on Türkiye’s Aegean coast. Bar?? Turgut commented, “Izmir’s intrinsic beauty and its inherent embrace of innovation drove us to pioneer the world’s first city token right here. Through Izmir’s tokenization, our ambition is to seamlessly weave the city into the fabric of cutting-edge technologies like software, blockchain, and cryptocurrency.The backing of Sedat Ocakc?, Chairman of Ocakc? Holding – a vanguard in championing Türkiye’s technological prowess in areas like drones and augmented reality on the global stage – is both a testament to our vision and a source of motivation. We’re earmarking this initial investment to bolster our marketing and R&D efforts, ensuring the Izmir Token resonates widely and is embraced by the masses.”To go on sale on the 100th birthday of the Republic of TürkiyeHighlighting the noticeable gap in having fan tokens without a dedicated city cryptocurrency, Bar?? Turgut observed, “We pioneered the world’s first city token, seamlessly integrating the vast potential of the blockchain with urban life to take advantage of this gap in the market. Envisioned as the digital heartbeat of Izmir’s social scene, the Izmir Token stands to benefit both investors and the city itself.Set for a value-driven pre-sale on Türkiye’s cryptocurrency exchange, Bzetmex, on 29 October – a date that marks the centennial celebration of the Republic of Türkiye – it holds great promise. We’re actively engaging with investors based in Dubai, Germany, and Qatar for subsequent investment rounds, targeting a range of 1 to 5 million dollars. We anticipate the Izmir Token to swiftly gain traction, carving out its distinct value and making waves on the global cryptocurrency stage.”Five-year vision plan that will transform Izmir into a crypto cityAfter its pre-sale, the value of Izmir Token will be determined by investors, influenced by the balance of supply and demand in conjunction with the evolving dynamics of the cryptocurrency world. This digital currency promises to extend a slew of unique benefits to its holders, enriching their experiences within Izmir.Emphasizing the token’s role in fostering a deep sense of belonging among Izmir locals, expatriates, and aficionados of the city, Bar?? Turgut articulated: “Izmir Token is being crafted more as a utility token than a mere investment asset. Our ambitious five-year blueprint encompasses aspirations like catalysing citywide economic collaborations, invigorating Izmir’s social tapestry, bolstering support for the city’s student and alumni communities, and propelling Izmir to the pinnacle of global crypto metropolises. Having demonstrated the project’s effectiveness in Izmir, we’re positioned to replicate this success in iconic tourist hubs like Çe?me and Bodrum, and eventually in global powerhouses like Istanbul and Rome.”

Passion to success: A chat with ISHRAQ Communications founder Osama Tinbakji

Established in 2020, ISHRAQ Communications is a boutique communications agency based in Dubai specializing in PR service with a strong experience in creating a positive connection between the client and the public. With its aims to define the real concept of public relations by creating impactful campaigns that deliver guaranteed results, this agency has been making great strides in the PR industry.In an exclusive Interview with Adgully Middle East, Osama Tinbakji, Founder of ISHRAQ Communications, shares the importance of PR in today’s fast-paced business world. He also describes his successful journey from working at PR Houses to running a PR and communication agency. He also talks about his long clientele list and appreciation he has received so far. A few excerpts:Please share your professional journey with us.Throughout my professional journey, I have consistently immersed myself in the dynamic fields of Public Relations and marketing. From the onset of my career, I have been actively engaged in leveraging my expertise and skills to excel in these domains, as I had been handling the PR and marketing for a furnished serviced apartments’ hotel, shipping company, and curtains manufacturing company in Damascus-Syria before I decided to leave Syria and start my journey in UAE in 2009.My proficiency in developing comprehensive Public Relations strategies and delivering captivating content for PR and marketing initiatives has facilitated my work with IHG, a renowned chain of luxury 5-star hotels. During my work with IHG I was keen to secure the utmost exposure to the hotels and the golf club through very successful campaigns and building the best relations with all types of media in GCC and the MENA region. Afterwards I worked with three public relations agencies, where I gained extensive experience in PR and communications covering all of the sectors including government, corporate, advanced technologies, IT, tourism and hospitality, and diplomatic accounts in Abudhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, and Ras Al Khaimah.Then I found myself capable of starting my own business and launched Ishraq Communications LLC as a boutique communications consultancy in Dubai specializing in PR and social media services aiming to create a positive connection between the client and the public, as I believe in the importance of consistent communications approach for all entities and sectors in order to maintain reliable public relations with the communities based on a clear, creative, and effective strategic plans.What inspired you to start ISHRAQ Communications? What does it mean in Arabic?ISHRAQ in Arabic means the sunrise or the emergence of brilliant ideas. As Yakov Zel’dovich said: “Without publicity there is no prosperity”, and as Bill Gates said: “If I was down to the last dollar of my marketing budget I’d spend it on PR!”The importance of public relations lies in doing multiple tasks of building and maintaining reputation, effective communication, relationship building, crisis management, media relations, influencer engagement, managing public perception, supporting marketing efforts, stakeholder engagement, and enhancing organisational growth.Based on my passion for PR and communications and my belief in this field I decided to launch my own consultancy benefiting from my solid experience and taking inspiration from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai who says: “We all take risks in life, but the greatest danger is not to take risks at all”, “When you do what you like, you won’t feel like you are doing work.”How is the organisation faring in the Middle East? What sets ISHRAQ apart from its competitors?With the grace of the Almighty, everything has been going well at ISHRAQ Communications since I launched the consultancy. We have a strong presence in GCC and the Middle East; we have been taking clients on retainer and projects basis to provide the PR and social media services mostly in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman. Our tailored and holistic approach to PR ensures that our clients are involved at every step of the way. Through our expertise and in-depth knowledge of the domestic and regional PR, we offer our clients top-quality, innovative and integrated communications solutions.We believe that PR is the art of shaping business prospects into stories that journalists demand. At Ishraq Communications we make effective use of both traditional media platforms and the digital channels to build strategic relationships with the key media on behalf of the clients to set up interviews, distribute press releases, opinion pieces and editorials and to organise press events. I am proud of our team who can produce high-quality Arabic and English content for all PR tools and social media materials. We are the journalists’ favorite agency when it comes to professional Arabic and English content writing for their articles and stories. We strive to build the best relations with all media channels and platforms in the region so they reach to us for our clients input to add in their articles and they welcome us when we contact them to pitch for new releases.We work in vast array of sectors with focus on government sectors, tourism boards, hospitality companies, IT and technology, real estate, retails, architecture and development management services companies, art galleries, events and exhibitions, and media research groups.What can you say about your major clients? What strategies have you adopted in the last couple of years?We are proud to work with reputed companies in the region; MDMS in Saudi Arabia has chosen us as their preferred PR agency, and SRMG has appointed us to handle their media relations in the region. We are also proud of our strong relation with Brill Collective as we have achieved successful PR projects together. We also handle PR projects for the largest hotels and resorts chain companies in the world, and we also manage the PR and social media mandate for largest events and art galleries in the UAE.Our primary work strategy is centered on delivering exceptional service to all our clients, irrespective of the budget they allocate. Unlike prevalent practices in the market, we do not prioritize accumulating a large client base only to neglect their needs and compromise on service quality. Our commitment lies in providing consistent, high-quality service to each and every client we serve.Share some unforgettable professional experience that brought you lot of gratification.Throughout my professional career, I have consistently striven to deliver exceptional results to the client. While the breadth of my accomplishments would require numerous pages to fully articulate, I can highlight a few notable achievements.One such achievement was the recognition I received from His Excellency, the former Irish ambassador to the UAE, Mr. Aidan Cronin. He praised the efforts I put in to ensure that the Irish pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai received the highest level of exposure and effectively showcased its activities. This recognition is a testament to my dedication and expertise in delivering outstanding outcomes.I am also immensely proud of the media coverage and strategic opportunities, I secured for esteemed organisations such as IHG, Aldar Retails, Tourism Ireland, Rotana Hotels and Resorts, Soneva Resorts, Ascott Hotels. By leveraging my skills and industry knowledge, I effectively positioned these companies to maximize their visibility and capitalize on promising prospects.Furthermore, I am honoured to acknowledge the recent recognition bestowed upon Ishraq Communications by SRMG, the largest integrated media group in the MENA region. This recognition was in appreciation of the exceptional exposure we achieved for their newly launched channels and media platforms.These accomplishments are just a glimpse into the extensive track record of success I have cultivated throughout my career.Any advice to young PR personnel with the zest to make it big!My advice for young PR professionals is to approach the market with a professional attitude. It is crucial to establish strong relationships with the media based on honesty and respect. To gain experience, I recommend working with clients from various sectors. This will provide exposure to a wide range of campaigns and projects, allowing them to build a diverse portfolio of experience and strategic plans. Additionally, it is important for PR personnel to practice writing about different fields. This will enhance their content-creation abilities, which play a vital role in public relations and communications.Effective communication is essential, whether it is with colleagues or clients. Without proper internal communication, it is impossible to deliver the best communication services. Furthermore, I advise adhering to the highest work ethics and avoiding toxic work environments characterized by cliques, gossip, and harmful conspiracies.

Jellyfish founder Rob Pierre steps down after Brandtech group acquisition

Rob Pierre, the founder of Jellyfish, has stepped down from his role as Jellyfish's non-executive Chair. He made this decision several months after completing the sale of the digital marketing agency to the Brandtech Group.Pierre co-founded Jellyfish in 2005 and expanded the business to employ more than 2,000 individuals in 38 countries, servicing clients such as Google and Netflix. In 2019, Pierre sold the business to the French group Fimalac, and in June 2023, it was acquired by the Brandtech Group. Nick Emery was appointed as Jellyfish CEO at the time of the acquisition.Upon stepping down, Pierre expressed, "A wonderful extended summer break gave me precious time with my family and also the breathing space to reflect. I co-founded Jellyfish 18 years ago, and I'm immensely proud of everything we've achieved in that time. Now that the business has come of age, I believe it's the right time for me to step away and focus on other ambitions, including projects that have the potential for wider societal impact. This is obviously hard when you think of a company as 'your baby,' but with Brandtech's track record and historic success, I'm excited to watch Jellyfish develop and grow as part of the world's number-one digital marketing group."A spokesperson for Brandtech confirmed that Pierre remains a shareholder in the group.Pierre was recognized for his achievements at Jellyfish, including a global training initiative for people on furlough during the pandemic, the agency's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and its strong business results, by being voted Media Week's Media Leader of the Year in 2021.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi Starts Operations at Abu Dhabi International Airport Terminal

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the ultra-low-fare national airline of the UAE and the second largest airline in Abu Dhabi by seat capacity, has today operated its first flight from the new Abu Dhabi International Airport Terminal A. The airline is one of the first national carriers to fully move operations to the new world class facility. The new terminal will support the national carrier’s growth plans in ramping up operations and offering a seamless journey to meet its ambitious growth plans and high demand.Terminal A will offer a seamless passenger journey, fostering connectivity and facilitating business, trade and tourism. This will be a major step-forward in enhancing the local aviation ecosystem and will enable it to grow its regional and global visitors to explore the incredible art, culture, tradition and hospitality across the emirate.Wizz Air Abu Dhabi celebrated the move to the new terminal with the inauguration of its first flight from Abu Dhabi to Sphinx International Airport in Cairo. The new route provides affordable, hassle-free, point-to-point travel for tourists and residents in the UAE, Egypt and across the region. The flights from Cairo and Abu Dhabi will operate on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Tickets already on sale at and the WIZZ mobile app with fares starting from 199 AED.*Johan Eidhagen, Managing Director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, said: “We are delighted to be one of the first airlines to commence operations from the new-state-of-the-art Terminal A. The move to the new terminal and launching our new route to Sphinx, Cairo is a milestone moment in our phenomenal recent growth as it strengthens our position in playing a key role in the growth of the aviation sector in Abu Dhabi and accelerating the emirate’s position as a global gateway and aviation hub. We will continue building on our ambitious expansion plans and expand our network with a plethora of incredible destinations. Together, we will ensure greater connectivity from Abu Dhabi to the world.”Elena Sorlini, Managing Director & Interim CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is an integral part of our family of national carriers, that continues its exponential growth in passenger uptake as they rapidly expand with more aircraft coming online. With the launch of operations from Terminal A, we are providing the aviation infrastructure for our national carriers to flourish and achieve their growth requirements as well as Abu Dhabi’s strategic visitation plans.” Wizz Air currently flies to a total of more than 39 destinations in 27 different countries from Abu Dhabi and is ready to accelerate and expand operations further in 2024, providing cost-effective, unique experiences for travel lovers looking to explore. The new Terminal will strengthen Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a destination of choice and a global hub for trade and business, transforming the local aviation ecosystem.Passengers can book tickets with confidence, thanks to WIZZ Flex. With WIZZ Flex, passengers can cancel their flight up to three hours before departure without any fee and receive 100% of the fare immediately reimbursed in airline credit.Strategically located in the UAE, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi provides cost-effective and efficient travel options to Alexandria (Egypt), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Amman (Jordan), Ankara (Turkey), Aqaba (Jordan), Athens (Greece), Baku (Azerbaijan), Belgrade (Serbia), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Cairo (Egypt) and Dammam (Saudi Arabia). As well as routes to Erbil (Iraq) Kuwait City (Kuwait), Kutaisi (Georgia), Larnaca (Cyprus), Manama (Bahrain), Male (Maldives), Madinah (Saudi Arabia), Muscat (Oman), Nur Sultan (Kazakhstan), Salalah (Oman), Santorini (Greece), Samarkand (Uzbekistan), Sarajevo (Bosnia), Sohag (Egypt), Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Tel-Aviv (Israel), Tirana (Albania) and Yerevan (Armenia) among others.

Over 5,000 Middle East visitors flock to Frankfurt for Ambiente

 More than 5,000 businessmen and women from the Middle East, including 1,000 from the UAE, are set to head to Frankfurt for Ambiente – the world’s largest product sourcing event for the hospitality and retail sectors – amid continued growth in the region’s tourism sector.Ambiente, taking place 26-30 January 2024, is anticipated to welcome 60 per cent more regional visitors than pre-pandemic, underscoring the Middle East’s sustained demand for products, design and fit out for hotels, restaurants, resorts, shops and workspaces.The UAE is Ambiente’s biggest Middle East source market, followed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and Kuwait. The event will host 170 participating nations, more 4,500 exhibitors and over 150,000 visitors – including investors, designers, procurement specialists and entrepreneurs – in total.Exhibitors from the region include RAK Ceramics, the world’s largest ceramics brand; interiors and dining experience creators BelVida Home; and tabletop glassware manufacturer EMID IGT LLC.Speaking in Dubai, Philipp Ferger, Vice President Consumer Goods Fair Messe Frankfurt Exhibition, said: “Ambiente proudly operates as the world’s biggest event of its kind, with the 2024 edition set to surpass all previous editions in terms of visitors, floor space, products and features. The Middle East’s expanding presence at Ambiente underscores the region’s growing demand for the very latest in design, innovation and products for existing and upcoming projects, as well as an increasing appetite to join world-leading suppliers and industry peers for discussion, networking and idea-sharing.”Julia Uherek, Vice President Consumer Goods Fair Messe Frankfurt Exhibition, added:“As Ambiente gears up to shape the future of the HORECA sector, we look forward to welcoming our Middle East visitors for five days of dealmaking, debate and learning.Ambiente will feature a special focus on ESG, with an entire section dedicated to sustainable sourcing, eco-friendly design, recycling initiatives and the latest green trends through Ambiente’s Ethical Style programme, where participants can showcase sustainable products, materials and ideas.The show also boasts an impressive speaker line up, five academies and some of the world’s most famous designers, including Elena Salmistraro, the Ambiente Designer 2024.Ambiente is operated by Messe Frankfurt, which is headquartered in Germany. Its Dubai-based Middle East business operates a growing number of high-profile trade fairs in the region, including Beautyworld, Paperworld, Automechanika and Intersec.

Sharjah hosts penultimate round of Mashreq Padel Tour in two days

The penultimate round of the inaugural Mashreq Padel Tour produced two days of pulse-raising padel action in Sharjah in what turned out to be a successful celebration of the world’s fastest-growing sport. Organised by the UAE Padel Association (UAEPA), the governing body for the sport in the country, the amateur event garnered unprecedented participation, further showcasing padel’s burgeoning popularity within the Emirates.The tournament was held at the World Padel Academy (WPA) in Sharjah from October 27 to 29, featuring intense competitions across two categories: UAEPA 100 – Open and UAEPA U16 – Boys. The UAEPA-100 Open event concluded with a thrilling final matchup, where Claudio bru casaseca and Javi Puerto emerged as champions, securing a commanding 2-1 victory over Sebastiao Mendonca and Ali Dawani. The winning duo walked away with a prize purse of Dh12,000, while second-place received Dh6,000.The UAEPA’s General Secretary Saeed Almarri, expressed his delight as the event successfully concluded. “The overwhelming participation and remarkable display of skill at the Mashreq Padel Tour have once again underscored the growing passion for padel in the UAE,” he said. “This event is a testament to the dedication of our players and the unwavering support from the wider padel community, not just here in Sharjah but across the Emirates.”Meanwhile, in the UAEPA U16 category, juniors showed a great performance until the final where Maktoom Alketbi and Hamad Alkokhardi claimed the win against Yousef Alhammadi and Abdulla AlAqili with 2-0 score.Saeed Almarri continued: “The success of the country’s first dedicated community tournament series for amateurs marks a significant milestone in the journey of padel in the UAE. In June 2019, the UAE Sports Ministry officially recognised padel as a sport with full government support, and Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum was entrusted with the role of being the first President of the UAE Padel Association. The official recognition and support have played a pivotal role in the growth and development of padel in the country, and events like the Mashreq Padel Tour are a testament to the sport’s rising prominence and the fact that noble efforts of the UAEPA are bearing the desired results.”The Mashreq Padel Tour will now move to the final leg of the season, scheduled to be held at Dubai’s NAS Sports Complex from December 8 to 10. The championship will feature three categories: UAEPA 10, UAEPA 100 Open, and Under 16 Boys. To find out more about the Mashreq Padel Tour 2023 or to enter a tournament, visit:

Telecom giant STC leads most valuable Emirati & Saudi brand rankings

Telecom providers lead the 2023 ranking of the Kantar BrandZ Top 30 Most Valuable Emirati & Saudi Brands. Saudi brand STC holds on to its number one position overall for the third year with a brand value of $13.7 billion. Etisalat by e& is the most valuable Emirati brand, worth $9.5 billion. Both brands have been laser-focused on their journeys towards becoming diverse technology platforms, with a strong purpose to improve society through their actions.Collectively, the top 30 Kantar BrandZ Emirati and Saudi brands are worth more than$94.2 billion, equivalent to 5.8% of the two countries’ combined GDPs. They have retained more of their value over the last year than their peers, in the face of the worldwide economic slowdown, with a decrease of 11% compared with 2022. This is a smaller drop than the top 30 brands in China, Italy and the UK.Stability is also in evidence, with 29 of last year’s 30 ranked Saudi and Emirati brands returning once again in 2023. The sole newcomer is retailer Nahdi, a leading pharmacy retailer which made a big entrance at No.7 in the Saudi ranking with a brand value of $2 billion. With a mission to transform access to healthcare services, Nahdi offers an innovative omnihealth experience. Over the last year it has opened more large-format ‘pharmacies of the future’, while expanding its private label, e-pharmacist, and home delivery services.Two categories predominate in the rankings: Financial Services and Telecom Providers, which together are responsible for nearly three quarters of the total brand value. The Financial Services category has the highest representation, with 13 brands, and is the most valuable category, contributing 44% of the overall value. Five categories have grown, four in double digits: Food and Beverages (7%), Energy (14%), Real Estate (16%), Retail (30%) and Travel Services (69%).All three real estate players have grown: Dar Al Arkan (+34%), Emaar Properties (+16%), and Aldar (+5%). These brands have looked beyond realising short-term gains tied to higher property prices, with the goal to build long-term brand equity by transforming how, and where, people live. Emaar Properties is known for its high quality and innovative developments, from 2010’s Burj Khalifa tower, to its forthcoming Ramhan Island eco-development.Most Valuable Emirati BrandsEtisalat by e& has been at the forefront of bringing 5G technology to the market. The brand pushes the boundaries of innovation, for example by using AI to improve network management and customer service. Its new brand identity highlights its expansion into a wider range of services – including iZone, a system of Wi-Fi hotspots in locations such as shopping malls, restaurants, and sheesha cafes.The top riser is airline Emirates (No.3; $5.4bn), with a year-on-year brand value increase of 69%. Consumers view Emirates as the most differentiated brand in the Emirati Top 10 ranking. It remains a symbol of status and aspiration, setting new standards not only for luxury, but also sustainability.Most Valuable Saudi BrandsNumber one brand, STC, has launched products and services across multiple digital platforms to meet people’s evolving needs, including personal payment solutions and entertainment. This has helped it to build an emotional affinity with consumers, beyond meeting their functional expectations. The brand’s multi-dimensional sustainability activities include investing in education and health, expanding telecom access to remote areas, and facilitating instant payments.Two Saudi brands have grown their value by 34%. Real estate brand Dar Al Arkan (No.17; $573m) is known for being an innovation hub. Recently, it constructed the world’s tallest 3D-printed building in Riyadh. Saudia Dairy (No.20; $547m) has rebranded to reflect Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 strategy. Its innovative marketing campaign, My Saudia Kitchen, aims to enhance the daily cooking experience with easy to implement creative concepts, expert tips, and professional guidance.Amol Ghate, Kantar’s Managing Director, MENAP Insights Division, says: “Saudi and UAE are the biggest economies in the Middle East, and the mood is optimistic for future growth. As the markets continue to implement large-scale economic development plans, huge opportunities abound for brands: in fact, brand building is a key pillar of both countries’ strategies. Brands must devote significant effort to understanding how Saudi and Emirati consumers’ mindsets and spending habits are evolving, as many of the parameters of their lives change.”Other key highlights from the Kantar BrandZ Top 30 Most Valuable Emirati & Saudi Brands report include:The Top 30’s three-year growth is more than twice that of the Global Top 30. Between 2020 and 2023 the brands in the combined rankings have grown their total value by 87%, compared with 40% for the Global Top 30.Three quarters of the Emirati and Saudi Top 30 score high on Pricing Power. The strongest brands have the ability to justify charging a premium by being seen as ‘worth it’; being Meaningful and Different are by far the most important drivers of a consumer’s willingness to pay more for a brand.Sustainability contributes 8% of the overall brand equity for the Emirati and Saudi Top 30. However, seven of the most valuable Emirati and Saudi brands lack strong sustainability credentials, showing that there are opportunities for those that invest in making improvements in this area.The Kantar BrandZ Most Valuable Emirati and Saudi Brands ranking, report and extensive analysis are available now at  For an overarching view of brand performance, Kantar has launched a new, free interactive tool powered by BrandZ’s wealth of data and Meaningful Different Salient framework.?Kantar BrandSnapshot delivers?intelligence on 10,000 brands in 40+ markets, offering a quick read on a brand’s performance in a category. 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The signature scent of Beautyworld Middle East 2023 is crowned

After three days of voting by visitors at the 27th edition of Beautyworld Middle East – the region’s largest international trade fair for beauty, hair, fragrance and wellbeing, Jean-François Thizon, Perfumer at Parfex has been revealed as the award winning ‘Signature Scent’ that best captures the essence of the show for his creation Golden Light.As one of the most influential and visited trade shows in the world, the growth in the fragrance sector globally is recognised with unique exhibition features at Beautyworld Middle East 2023, which showcases the newest innovations and developments available alongside the recognition of sector experts.Signature Scent saw 15 of the top international fragrance houses create their own interpretation of a signature scent for the international trade show. Visitors were able to test the competing blends in a blind sampling using the latest technology from AirParfum.Beating off stiff competition from participating international houses CFF, Cosmo International Fragrances, CPL Aromas, Iberchem, EMSA, Eurofragrance, Luzi, Parfessence, Keva, IPRA, SFA Neroli, Parfex, Ravetllatt Aromatics, Golden Light by Jean-François Thizon, Perfumer at Parfex claimed the coveted award due to its remarkable ability to capture the very essence of the event, boasting captivating notes including top notes of mandarin and lily of the valley, middle ingredients including patchouli and musk plus bottom notes such as sandalwood and vanilla. Thizon was presented with his award by Benoit Vittet, Head of Perfumery at Jean Niel Sas, the winner of the 2022 edition of the competition.Thizon said, “I am so proud to be honoured with the award of ‘Signature Scent’ for Beautyworld Middle East. This is my first perfumery award and I am very grateful for the recognition”. On his signature scent creation, he continued: “When I think of Dubai I think of Golden Light, and this is the definition of this fragrance. It illustrates what ‘ Golden Light’ is to me in the Middle East, and that is the mixture of musk, amber and white flowers. I created a personal and intimate balance of the three of those scents, adding vanilla to make a delicious, long lasting fragrance”Flyn Roberts, Portfolio Director at Messe Frankfurt Middle East, organisers of Beautyworld Middle East 2023 said: “Fragrance is enjoying a current boom period globally as consumers rediscover niche scents and premium fragrance choices. International fragrance houses are at the heart of innovation and leading trends. Signature Scent puts their skills to the ultimate test – with the noses of the industry and the wider Beautyworld audience voting for their winner. Our fragrance categories are the fastest growing sectors at Beautyworld Middle East, and I am sure that this will continue into next year's edition with the help of such talented perfumers”With the MENA fragrance market growing at a CAGR of 11% during the forecast period (2023-2027) from McKinsey & Co recent analysis, and the UAE and KSA leading the market share followed by Qatar and Oman, global demand is also showing no slowdown this year. On the back of double-digit sales internationally, the global fragrance market value forecast is set to reach $100 billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 7% according to the report.The fragrance sector of Beautyworld Middle East has been 25% larger than the 2022 edition, with Finished Fragrance sector exhibitors including UAE based brands such as Nabeel Perfumes, Swiss Arabian Perfumes, Rasasi, Armaf, My Perfumes, Afnan Perfumes, Ajmal Perfumes, and Al Haramain Perfumes. International brands represented include Desire Fragrances from Italy, Surrati Perfumes from Saudi Arabia and Atyab Al Marshoud from Kuwait.Europe was well represented in the Fragrance Compounds category with participation from Symrise (Germany), CPL Aromas (UK), Mane (France), Moellhausen (Italy), Iberchem (Spain), Seluz (Turkey), Firmenich and Givaudan, (Switzerland) among many others.Beautyworld Middle East 2023 also featured Quintessence – the art of perfume, an exclusive platform devoted to niche fragrance, with the 2023 edition the largest yet. Some of the world’s most unique brands and creators have showcased their creations in this bespoke and luxurious environment.