Golden times: Indian jewellery brands sparkle in the UAE market

"You are never fully dressed without  jewellery," is a renowned quote that beautifully encapsulates the significance of jewellery in our lives, particularly for women. Jewellery stands out as an accessory that effortlessly enhances the wearer's appearance, transcending boundaries of nationality, ethnicity, or religion. Historically, India was revered as the epicenter of jewellery craftsmanship, but today, its allure has spread globally, particularly in the Middle East. Indian jewelers, attuned to this burgeoning trend, have seized the opportunity to expand their businesses by establishing outlets in the Middle East market. Let's explore this phenomenon further.Middle East: The next hub for jewelleryThe Middle East jewellery market is a significant and growing sector of the global jewellery industry. The region has a rich history and culture of jewellery making, with skilled artisans and designers creating intricate and luxurious pieces that are highly sought after by consumers around the world.The MENA jewellery market is projected to grow from $30.72 billion in 2022 to $52.24 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 7.88 percent in the forecast period. Moreover, according to 6Wresearch, the UAE jewellery market is sure to grow during the 2023-2029 period.  The key factors driving this tremendous growth include rising disposable income, increasing consumer preferences for luxury goods, and the growing tourism industry in the Middle East. In addition, the Middle East has a strong cultural affinity for jewellery, which is also contributing in the expansion of the jewellery market.Indian brands beautifying MENAThe last couple of years have seen Indian jewellery brands making their strong presence in the lucrative MENA market, thanks to their intricate designs, high-quality craftsmanship, and the use of precious metals and stones. According to available data, the overall jewellery exports amounted to $5.4 billion in June 2022, which saw 17 per cent year-on-year growth. This tremendous growth can be owed to the Indo-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) in 2022. This agreement has strengthened the trade relations between both the nations.Malabar Gold & Diamonds was the first Indian jewellery brand to have utilised the duty benefits of the CEPA to import 25 kg of gold in October 2022, marking a significant milestone for Indian jewellery brands. Shamlal Ahamed, MD - International Operations, Malabar Gold & Diamonds, stated: “The liberal trade policies that promote ease of doing business, political stability, ease of access to international markets and the extremely conducive trade agreements with India, to name a few, make the region very attractive for Indian investment.”<img src='\045007bbdd04203445bcf3ca548600a1.png' class='content_image'>He added: “There are several other factors that make the Middle East jewellery market one of the best in the world for Indian brands. If one takes the UAE as an example, the large Indian diaspora that resides in the region, with high earning capacity, makes up a significant chunk of the market in the middle east. This is an immediately attractive and lucrative prospect for Indian brands looking to establish themselves in the Middle East.”Speaking on the same lines, Ramesh Kalyanaraman, Executive Director, Kalyan Jewellers, said: “The UAE market's appeal to Indian brands, including Kalyan Jewellers, can be attributed to several key factors. The geographical proximity to India, coupled with cultural affinities, fosters stronger business connections and facilitates logistical operations. Additionally, the UAE's tax policy, which exempts gold and jewellery exports, presents a favorable economic environment for expansion. We believe that the tax benefits offered by the UAE not only enhance the competitiveness of our products in the international market but also contribute positively to the growth of the overall jewellery industry.”UAE: A perfect playground for Indian brandsRenowned Indian jewellery brands like Tanishq, Malabar Gold & Diamonds, Kalyan Jewellers, Joyallukas, etc. have successfully expanded their operations to the UAE, showcasing their collections to a diverse customer base. These include not only the Indian diaspora but also the local people as well as tourists from all over the world.Malabar Gold & Diamonds was one of the initial brands to make a foray in the Middle Eastern soil.Says Shamlal Ahamed: “With a strong focus on providing an exemplary jewellery shopping experience to jewellery lovers, the brand quickly gained acceptance amongst jewellery lovers of all nationalities by combining a host of customer-centric approaches with an exquisite collection of jewellery, emerging as one of the most preferred jewellery retailers in the region. The humble yet ambitious beginning laid the groundwork for our expansion into the other GCC countries, Singapore, Malaysia, the US, and the UK. In this regard, the Middle East market was extremely receptive to our business, so much so that we recently established the Malabar International Hub (MIH) at the historic Dubai Gold Souq. MIH houses all the enabling functionalities of the group’s immense international operations and will act as the epicenter for the brand’s current and future business aspirations.”About Kalyan Jeweller’s foray into the UAE, Ramesh Kalyanaraman said: “In 2013, we embarked on this strategic expansion, marking two decades of our journey. As we celebrate our 10-year presence in the UAE, Kalyan Jewellers has consistently flourished in the region, steadily expanding its market share. Over the years, we've worked diligently to create a comprehensive shopping experience for our patrons, ensuring our presence across various consumer touchpoints and building a distinctive presence in the market.”UAE: A goldmine for jewellery brandsThe UAE market offers numerous advantages to Indian jewellery brands, including a thriving population of Indian expatriates, a business-friendly environment, and a strong bilateral relationship between the UAE and India.<img src='\81ed2496e73766b03f3b651a0b09a552.png' class='content_image'>Additionally, the UAE presents an opportunity to Indian brands to increase their market share by targeting other diverse communities. However, the primary advantage lies in the trust and preference that Indians have for Indian brands, ensuring a stable and significant presence in the UAE market.Shamlal Ahamed, when discussing why the UAE is an ideal market for the brand, says: "Malabar Gold & Diamonds initially focused on serving the jewelry preferences of the extensive Indian expatriate community in the region. Over time, our customer base expanded to include the broader South Asian diaspora, followed by expatriates from various nationalities, including Arabs from different countries. Eventually, we established a strong presence among the local Emirati population. Our wide range of designs, outstanding service, and commitment to transparency swiftly made us the preferred jewellery retailer among Indians and people of other nationalities."On the expansion plans of Kalyan Jewellers, Ramesh Kalyanaraman said: “The brand has made significant strides in expanding its presence in the Middle East. Currently, we operate in 33 locations across four countries in the region. The Middle East has consistently demonstrated a positive trend in revenue contribution, with the recent quarter seeing it contribute 16% of our total revenue. It's worth noting that our international endeavors, primarily centered in the Middle East, have yielded impressive results, with a remarkable 29% year-over-year increase in revenue. A significant milestone lies ahead as we prepare to pilot our inaugural franchise showroom within the region this year. Looking ahead, our expansion efforts in the Middle East will be bolstered by the infusion of franchise capital, allowing us to further strengthen our foothold in the market.”Sharing his brand’s future plans, Shamlal Ahamed says: “Malabar Gold & Diamonds has an extensive retail network in all six GCC countries, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait. Since our international expansion in 2008, we have consistently grown in terms of revenue and store count. We are ranked as the 6th largest jewellery retailer globally, with presence in 11 countries. The ambitious expansion plans that we have charted for the Middle East includes strengthening our retail presence in existing regions with the launch of more showrooms as well as expanding our presence to new territories.”Preferences of the clientelesLet's hear from the experts regarding the preferences of Middle East customers. According to Shamlal Ahamed, in the UAE, customers show equal interest in both modern and traditional jewellery designs.“They have embraced and are quite open to global jewellery trends, always looking for the latest designs, whether it's for special occasions or everyday wear. Additionally, we've noticed an increasing preference for solitaires and diamonds, even among the younger demographic. The country is also becoming a significant destination for bridal jewelry shopping, catering to both residents and tourists," he adds.

Blinx: Dubai's new digital storytelling hub for Gen-Z and millennials

blinx, the new digital media hub in the Middle East, has been launched to empower Middle Eastern youth with the finest in digital storytelling and news stories, offering fresh perspectives, and connecting Gen Z and Millennials across multiple screens, platforms, and smart devices, encapsulating the motto: “More Story, Less Noise.”Ever since its brand-name announcement in March 2023, blinx has emerged as a vibrant hub in the realm of storytelling. Nakhle Elhage, blinx General Manager, highlights: "We've made remarkable strides since our brand name announcement. The launch of blinx is not just about compelling content creation. It's a digital media powerhouse that promotes storytelling excellence in a myriad of genres like Entertainment, Infotainment, News, Trending, Investigatives, Business, Lifestyle, Sports, Self-Development, Climate Change, and more. Our Smart TV App also offers exclusive long-form content such as investigatives, talk shows, and live broadcasts.”One of the blinx core commitments lies in nurturing and empowering emerging talent. Embracing a bold and diverse team, blinx currently employs nearly 150 young professionals hailing from across the MENA region. In a relatively short period, the blinx headquarters in Dubai Media City has already doubled in size, unveiling an array of cutting-edge technology. Among these innovations are state-of-the-art Metaverse and extended reality studios, production facilities with VR capabilities, AI-enhanced tools, and advanced data analytics, among others.Fadi Radi, blinx Chief Creative Officer said: "Technology is designed to transport audiences beyond traditional storytelling, pushing the limits of innovation, news, information, data, and others. Our featured stories cater to tech-savvy youth, offering a blend of entertainment and insightful inspiration. End-users can effortlessly swipe through stories, engaging with both content creators and peers.”Prior to joining blinx, Radi led disruptive creative treatments of major global events, including the U.S. presidential elections, for some of the leading U.S. and Middle Eastern news networks.At blinx, user experience takes centre stage, stretching across various screens, platforms, and devices to cater to Gen Z and Millennials, wherever they may be. The magic of gamification will gradually add an interactive and fun element to storytelling, The blinx ecosystem operates on principles of sustainability and ethical business practices. By collaborating with business partners and suppliers who share their ethos, blinx ensures that every aspect of its operations aligns with its core values. Furthermore, with strategic initiatives to minimize its carbon footprint and active promotion of recycling, blinx remains true to its commitment to the environment and the community

Ras Al Khaimah unveils campaign with Beautiful Destinations

 Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) in partnership with award-winning creative agency, Beautiful Destinations, harnesses the power of short-form video in a new landmark creative video campaign.As a destination of the future, RAKTDA takes a fresh approach to the traditional media campaign with an experiential destination itinerary through short form video. Working with one of the world’s largest and most influential online travel communities of over 50 million followers on social media, Beautiful Destinations has masterminded some of the world’s most high profile and impactful video-led tourism campaigns for destination marketing organisations (DMOs) worldwide. In this latest partnership, 30 pieces of stunning vertical short-form video content have been created in engaging cinematic style, highlighting Ras Al Khaimah’s diverse experiences, to reach travel audiences through ‘real’, snackable content, inspiring travellers as they begin their research, which is increasingly starting – and staying - on social media.Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “We try to stay on the cusp of the traveler journey and tap into the visceral nature of tourism. By harnessing the power of short form video with Beautiful Destinations, we effectively trigger inspiration and emotion far quicker and more impactfully than other, more traditional, marketing tools. We welcomed a record-breaking number of visitors in first six months in 2023 – a 14.8% increase from the same time last year, so now is the perfect time to accelerate our destination marketing offering with the global trailblazers in travel content creation.”Jeremy Jauncey, Founder and CEO of Beautiful Destinations said: “Ras Al Khaimah is a case study on why visual storytelling is so impactful for destination marketing. Through this partnership with RAKTDA, we succinctly captured the sheer breadth of the emirate, through stunning landscapes, nature and experiences creating the kind of content that consumers today want to see. Beautiful Destinations is thrilled to be the partner for this campaign, and I am looking forward to seeing the results of the powerful short-form content we have created together.”Short-form video is increasingly becoming the most influential form of travel media– not only for Gen Z but also older generations with as much as 40% of over 30s looking to TikTok first for travel inspiration. According to research 87% of millennials are inspired by social media when booking travel and 97% post about trips daily, making it a key tool for travel research and influencing decision-making. Short form video has more virality, with entertaining and participatory content performing the best, and, vitally, delivering the highest return on investment. Due to this seismic shift in how consumers are conducting research online, some of the world’s biggest brands – including the likes of Google - are moving to adapt to this growing trend making online search a more visual and engaging experience with vertical video platforms.This always-on campaign in partnership with Beautiful Destinations is live across RAKTDA’s leading markets across three phases with different themes: Mountain Adventures, What to do in RAK and Desert Beyond the Dunes (November 2023). The campaign aims to drive brand affinity and consideration in key markets, as well as increase awareness in new territories through ‘showing’, rather than ‘telling’ potential visitors what awaits them in Ras Al Khaimah.Known as the Nature Emirate, Ras Al Khaimah is a one-stop destination for fun, family, nature, adventure, with a wealth of captivating attractions to experience and explore, which come to life in this latest campaign. Moreover, it cements Ras Al Khaimah as a regional leader in responsible, sustainable tourism, focusing on the environment, culture, conservation and liveability.Featured in Time magazine's World's Greatest Places of 2022 and CNN Travel's Best Destinations to Visit in 2023, 2022 was a pivotal year for Ras Al Khaimah's tourism. The Emirate attracted 1.13 million annual visitors – the highest-ever number of arrivals superseding pre-pandemic levels. Infrastructure-wise, it saw a 17% annual growth in hotel supply to over 8,000 keys. Taking the Emirate a step closer to its goal of securing over three million annual visitors by 2030, the momentum has continued this year, with annual visitor numbers expected to continue to grow as the Emirate remains the region’s fastest growing destination.

Omnicom Media Group promotes Dan Clays to Chief Executive- EMEA

Omnicom Media Group (OMG) has promoted Dan Clays, the current CEO of OMG UK, to chief executive EMEA.Dan Clays, in his new role, will oversee strategy and operations as well as the development of OMG agencies – across EMEA, including OMD, PHD, Hearts & Science and the Annalect data and analytics division.He will be taking on the official responsibilities from 1st October, succeeding Guy Marks, who was recently named CEO of PHD Worldwide.Under Clays leadership OMG UK agencies won $1.3 billion of new business over the past two years, signing up British Airways, British Gas, Comparethemarket, Jaguar Land Rover, Peloton and Virgin Media 02 and retaining Channel 4, John Lewis Partnership and the UK government. Florian Adamski, OMG-CEO praised Clays’ commitment for making OMG the “UK’s number one media group in new business.”During the last four years, Clays has played a key role in advancing OMG’s platform approach, connecting media, content and commerce to drive sales and grow share for clients.Dan Clays, on his promotion said: “As the EMEA CEO, my priority will be to build on Guy Marks’ success by ensuring the future-fit offer and transformational technology that will drive growth for our clients, our agencies and our talent across the region.”

Abdulla Al Nuaimi joins Seed Group as an Advisor

Abdulla Al Nuaimi will be joining Seed Group as an Advisor. Seed Group is owned by The Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum. Seed Group focuses on fostering strategic partnerships with innovative startups that seek prosperity with a larger vision of contributing towards a happier and empowered global community. Al Nuaimi was earlier the CEO at Dubai National Insurance (DNI). He is the first Emirati CEO to win Insurance Professional of the Year 2022, Abdulla Al Nuaimi has a proven track record for over 25 years across diversified domains such as financial service, insurance, export credit insurance, procurement and sourcing with expertise in enabling technology in various sectors. He is an expert in end- to-end transformation management of organisations to attain profitability targets with minimum cost and maximum ROI. He graduated from Wharton Business School University of Pennsylvania with an EMBA in Leadership & Business Management. He has been recognized with many awards, such as Insurance Professional of the Year - MENA IR 2022, Marine Insurer of the Year at the InsureTek Middle East Award 2022, World’s Greatest CEO Award winner at the 15th Asia-Africa Business & Social Forum- AsiaOne – 2021 and many more. Abdulla Al Nuaimi shared his happiness on joining by sharing a post on Linkedin. He said: “As a member of the advisory board, my focus will be on leveraging techno insurance startups/ innovative(out of the box) products/services across the globe aligned to Seed Group strategy and priorities.”

45% of employees in Saudi Arabia feel the lack of digital competencies

According to a new Kaspersky survey, 62% of employees in Saudi Arabia feel the need for better digital skills in their work with computers and other digital equipment. Almost half (45%) are afraid of losing their jobs because of the lack of IT competencies. Some believe it could happen as soon as in the next 5 years (20%), others suppose it might happen at some point later (25%). Only 20% are sure they are not at risk of losing their job because of poor IT knowledge.Among those who think they are most likely to lose their job because of the lack of digital skills within the next 5 years are department heads and top-managers. They remain most wary about the need for constant self-education and staying ahead of the trends.The lack of digital skills may not only impede a person’s career, but also produces serious risks for the cybersecurity of the organization where this person is employed. The ‘human firewall’ is one of the key defenses from cyber incidents. Recent research showed that 95% of cybersecurity threats are in some way caused by human error[2]. Employees can open a phishing link or download ransomware on corporate device and it’ll produce financial and reputation losses for company. This is why workers on any levels — from top managers to interns — should receive proper cybersecurity training.“Many are afraid of losing their job due to the explosive advancement of AI / ML solutions. While some individuals and organizations are wary of automatization and refrain from using it, others adapt their processes to get the most benefits from the newest technologies. Employees should be cyber savvy if they want to remain in demand, and companies should help them to tackle digital challenges and develop cybersecurity skills,” comments Emad Haffar, Head of Technical Experts at Kaspersky. “Kaspersky offers the Automated Security Awareness Platform to contribute to the education and upskilling of employees at all levels. The Platform is an online tool that builds strong, practical cyber-hygiene skills for employees throughout the year. Launching and managing the Platform doesn’t require special resources or arrangements, and it provides the organization with built-in help at every step of the journey towards a safe corporate cyber-environment.”To help your employees to improve their digital skills, Kaspersky experts recommend:conduct regular checkups to understand what digital skills are most needed for business and educate their employees;organize digital literacy courses and trainings for employees so they could improve their skills. Use Kaspersky Automated Security Awareness Platform — an online learning tool that would help to train employees about relevant topics in cybersecurity;make sure employees know about trending cyberthreats like phishing, scam, ransomware attacks and how to recognize and avoid them.

Turkish design brand Koleksiyon Mobilya expands into the UAE

In commemoration of its 50th anniversary, Turkish furniture and upholstery brand Koleksiyon Mobilya opened its first showroom in Dubai this week in the presence of the company’s Chairman, Koray Malhan, Deputy Chairman, Doruk Malhan, Dubai Consul General, Onur ?aylan, and Turkish Ambassador to Abu Dhabi, Tugay Tunçer. Building upon its award-winning success in Turkey, the prominent furniture and upholstery brand plans to expand across the GCC and marked its entry into the region with the showroom launch on Sheikh Zayed Road.The company’s expansion aligns with Koleksiyon Mobilya’s vision to grow its presence in key markets like Dubai, with a focus to boost its global sales exports to 50 per cent in the next five years.The Dubai operations will serve as the primary gateway for strengthening exports of Turkish furniture and upholstery to the Middle East and Africa region. With the aim of positioning its brand as the regional leaders in the furniture industry, Koleksiyon Mobilya has partnered with MILO, a renowned UAE-based construction company with 20 years of experience in the emirate.Speaking at the launch, Doruk Malhan said: “Our expansion to the UAE is part of our strategic objective to build stronger cooperation between the two countries. Dubai is a globally acclaimed hub for international trade and its geographical location eases access to Asia, Africa, and European markets. We are confident that with this launch, we will be able to expand our reach to newer markets, leading to an increase in trade and investments between Türkiye and the UAE.”“With our Dubai showroom, we aspire to meet the needs of our customers. The furniture industry currently exports US$2.5 per kilogram, on the contrary, the export value of some of the products of Koleksiyon reaches US$24 per kilogram. We will also contribute to our country's economy with the value-added exports through this new endeavor,” Malhan added.Koray Malhan said, “We have focused our growth plans on global markets. Dubai Airport stands out as one of the largest airports in the world, receiving 56 million people in 2022, the commercial activity shows us the potential of the country. Our brand exists globally with our "Made in Türkiye" products rolled out from our factory in Tekirda?. Of which 50% of our exports are to Middle Eastern countries”. bi-lateral relations shared between Turkey and the UAE as we work towards our goal of growing the Turkish economy.Along with the retail expansion, Koleksiyon Mobilya, is aligned with UAE's vision on sustainability goals and is steadfast in its approach to environmental, social, and managerial aspects. The company has invested in the installation of solar panels on the roof of their production plant in Tekirda?, Türkiye. They also replaced their fleet consisting of passenger cars and commercial vehicles with electric cars, furthering their goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.Announcing Türkiye's “quality production power” to the whole world, Koleksiyon’s investment in its Tekirda? factory is a step toward our growth plans. “We will invest US$7Min the first year. Of this amount, we have already completed US$1.5M. In the first stage, we have focused on increasing the capacity of our factory to contribute to our global growth strategy”, said Malhan.

New cross-border payments platform Digit9 launched in the UAE

Building on its reputation as one of the most trusted companies for cross-border payments, LuLu Money Singapore, a wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi based LuLu Financial Holding, is now set to pioneer the digital payments ecosystem across the UAE, and globally, with the rollout of its purpose-built cross-border payments product, Digit9.Developed in collaboration with Endava, a global provider of digital transformation, agile development and intelligent automation services, Digit9 has been developed as a Remittance-as-a-Service (RaaS) product. Being a tech-enabled platform, it will help promote financial flexibility, reliability, and transparency, thus empowering banks, FinTechs, and Financial Institutions (FIs) to seamlessly execute multi-currency remittances in real time, across a global network of over 2000 partners.Initially, Digit9 is being launched in the UAE with LuLu Exchange, the licensed partner in the country. The product has been built on Open Banking standards to enable a much broader range of financial institutions to meet the market demand for a truly mature cross-border payments platform. Companies can leverage Digit9’s core functionality which enables it to be conveniently white-labelled and embedded into innovative new financial applications and organisational workflows.Commenting on the company’s ambition to launch the product in the MENA market first, Mr. Joseph Cleetus, AVP of Business Transformation at LuLu Financial Holdings, said, “Through Digit9, we aim to democratise remittances, enabling FIs across the spectrum to build powerful cross border payments applications without the prohibitive costs and complexities associated with establishing a robust underlying infrastructure.”“We are delighted to partner with Endava whose pioneering work in this space convinced us early on, of their ability to enable our digital acceleration and ensure global best practices were infused into every aspect of our product,” Mr. Cleetus added.Digit9 has the ability to handle over 300 transactions per second across a network of over 2,000 global partners. Endava has designed the solution architecture to offer three key functionalities — act as a white-label solution for payment distribution networks to partners; enable organisations the ability to Build Your Own Network (BYON) and configure their own correspondent banks. All this, while being able to serve as a Managed Treasury Service that provides the best real-time foreign exchange (FX) rates to customers using the platform’s in-built analytics engine, experienced FX dealers, and automated market-making and liquidity pool managers.Critical to the successful development of the market leading FinTech platform has been The Endava Adaptive Model (TEAM), a proven framework which streamlines and accelerates software development. “Far from resting on its laurels, Digit9 and LuLu Exchange have risen to the challenge of creating a powerful digital payments platform which will revolutionise the critical cross-border payments segment in the UAE and broader MENA region. We are proud to offer our global expertise in enabling the exchange to make this vision a reality. It will be exciting to see how financial institutions and other organisations will leverage Digit9 to create new and impactful applications that serve the remittance needs of the region’s significant expat population,” said David Boast, General Manager, UAE at Endava.

Discover coffee intelligence at The Brew Crew, Dubai

Many coffee shops in Dubai can brew a good cuppa and pour it well too. Right? However, not many coffee shops in Dubai can give you a crash course in Coffee Intelligence (CI) whilst you indulge in the beans. Yes, Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be in the news, but Coffee Intelligence is what you need to wake up to if you literally wish to smell the coffee. Enter The Brew Crew, a café in Dubai Investment Park (DIP) 2, Dubai, that opened its doors to coffee aficionados in September 2023. If you not only like your coffee, but also are curious about how it’s roasted, brewed, and poured, then The Brew Crew is the place to head to for your dose of a range of coffee varieties. And yes, you don’t need to reserve a spot for a lesson or a cup, simply walk into the space.The brainchild of comrades, Ashjeet Talwar and Ghanu, The Brew Crew imports and roasts a range of specialty coffees from across the world and has 30+ artisanal beverages. “We believe in knowledge sharing, and there’s nothing better than a coffee literate indulging in the beans. At The Brew Crew, our dream is to empower anyone who walks into the café with insights into the sourcing, roasting, grinding, brewing, and other aspects of coffee production and consumption,” said Ashjeet, Founder, The Brew Crew. The café aspires to emerge as a space for both coffee lovers and coffee curious. Anyone who walks into their doors is guaranteed a complimentary crash course by the in-house baristas. Add to it the fact that the 6,650 square feet space is equipped with a temperature and humidity-controlled facility, which includes a nouvelle Brew Bar in action, a Roasting Training Campus, a Green Coffee Storage, and more, to ensure that your lesson is complete with both theoretical and practical elements.Whilst placing an order, one can make a selection from beans from three countries primarily — Brazil, Ethiopia, and Malawi — and we’d highly recommend sampling their Signature Ceremonial Matcha Latte, the Artisan Brew Iced V60, or the Coffee on Tap Nitro Original and Cold Brew. The guests can also purchase beans to prepare a cup at home, “All of our produce is ethically sourced and grown to certain specifications. A guest who buys the beans (from us) also takes home tips from our team on how to store the coffee to ensure it tastes the same, even after weeks of the purchase. The flavour of the coffee is dependent on of course various factors and we hope to educate the guests with as many of those as possible,” added Ghanu, Head of Beverages, The Brew Crew.The café will soon be partnering with delivery platforms across Dubai, but until then you’re invited to dine in at the space, adorned with graffiti that speaks volumes and colours, and very much deserves a space on your Instagram grid. In the near future, The Brew Crew will also host a series of lectures, talks, and workshops to further spread the love for coffee, as they enhance the coffee literacy quotient in Dubai.

CleverTap joins forces with OSN+ to elevate user engagement in premium streaming

 CleverTap, the all-in-one engagement platform, announced its partnership with the region’s leading premium streaming service, OSN+. This strategic alliance will enable OSN+ to deliver hyper-personalized communication across all touchpoints to its customers by leveraging CleverTap’s all-in-one platform.Ishan Singh, Director of Engagement and Retention Marketing at OSN+ said, “We believe in a customer-first approach and are confident that with CleverTap, we will be able to enhance our overall user experience. CleverTap’s remarkable expertise within the OTT space means they are well-versed with the unique challenges and opportunities the industry presents. Content is king, and personalization is the key to capturing and retaining audiences. Leveraging CleverTap’s patented technology and comprehensive all-in-one solution, we will be able to provide tailored, hyper-personalized content and unmatched value to our customers.” "We are thrilled about partnering with OSN+, who have always been at the forefront of digital technological innovation – a principle that strongly resonates with our commitment to always push the boundaries of MarTech. Through our granular AI-powered segmentation, OSN+ will be able to not only group users into compact cohorts but also understand the best time and channel to engage with them, and the nature of content they prefer. This will streamline their marketing efforts and help direct attention to the high-value customers.” said Samer Saad, Regional Sales Director for META region, CleverTap. “With over 120 customers in the META region, we continue to focus on scaling our local presence and are committed to helping brands maximize customer lifetime value.”

Montblanc debuts in Iraq, opens first outlet in Baghdad

Montblanc has made its debut in Iraq, bringing its high-end products to the nation’s capital Baghdad. It has opened the first outlet on the first level of the renowned Baghdad Mall on Kindi Street in Harthiya.With this the locals of Iraq can now learn more about Montblanc and its wide range of products, including timepieces, writing instruments, leather goods, and the Extreme 3.0 collection of svelte, fashionable, and practical leather items made to suit urban explorer’s every need.The extensive range of watches, which includes the Montblanc 1858 series, serves as inspiration for watch aficionados due to Minerva’s extensive watchmaking heritage.Anwar Abdul Lateef, Chairman of Baghdad Mall, said: “Our challenges in Iraq over the past two decades have meant that Iraqi consumers have been limited in their access to venture into this territory and appreciate that their local partners recognize the potential for this fast-growing market and the appetite of the Iraqi luxury consumers. We are proud to host quality of the experience that local shoppers can expect to have in their own country.”

Mastercard-Delivery Hero partnership to fuel e-commerce growth

Mastercard’s strategic partnership with Delivery Hero, the world’s leading local delivery platform, continues to fuel the growth of the ecommerce in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.Since announcing a large-scale collaboration aimed at digitalizing Delivery Hero’s payment chain in 2020, the two companies have seen the number of transactions through its platforms more than double. Over the past three years, Mastercard has been partnering with Delivery Hero to facilitate seamless payment acceptance across its operating entities in MENA, while adding value for consumers across millions of transactions.Between 2020 and 2022, the number of Mastercard food order transactions on Delivery Hero’s apps increased by more than 100%. Hundreds of thousands of customers across MENA have benefitted from its always-on Customer Value Proposition (CVP), offering Mastercard cardholders’ access to unique discounts and benefits. Delivery Hero’s MENA region had a Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) growth accelerating to 21% YoY in Q2 2023 in constant currency (Q1 2023: 16% YoY), due to strong customer demand.Amidst a clear and sustained shift to ecommerce for food and grocery deliveries, Mastercard has committed to supporting the growing appetite among MENA consumers by facilitating secure and convenient digital transactions. In a first collaboration of its kind in the region, the company recently joined forces with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) and talabat UAE to launch the talabat ADCB Mastercard Credit Card that maximizes rewards for day-to-day delivery orders. The new card offers seven food-themed designs tailored to different types of food enthusiasts, and can easily be applied for digitally through the talabat app.“Mastercard remains focused on providing a superior consumer experience to its partners. As part of our partnership with Delivery Hero, we are continuously innovating the consumer experience to enable a best-in-class proposition for consumers. The recent talabat cobrand card launch is just another example of how we are bringing benefits and convenience to our cardholders,” said Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President, Market Development, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard.“Our landmark partnership with Mastercard, built on our shared passion for innovation, enables us to provide unprecedented benefits to our customers while boosting operational efficiencies and eliminating the need for cash across our value chain. Together, we are setting new benchmarks for ecommerce solutions of the future,” said Emmanuel Thomassin, CFO, Delivery Hero.By pushing further adoption of digital payments, the partnership with Delivery Hero continues to create a superior customer experience and financial security for consumers, riders and restaurants, support the growth of digital inclusion across the region and additionally drives operational efficiencies across Delivery Hero’s platforms.

Foodics celebrates 3 years in Egypt with a remarkable business growth

On the occasion of its 3rd anniversary in the Egyptian market, Foodics in Egypt, the leader in restaurant management solutions in Egypt and the Middle East, conducted a comprehensive review of its future business strategy, remarkable business volume, and the exceptional services extended to its partners in Egypt.Foodics' visionary approach aims to revolutionize restaurant management systems in Egypt by offering a one-stop-shop restaurant management ecosystem. This strategic direction is in perfect alignment with global and technological trends, marking a significant step forward for the country. By spearheading the digitization and advancement of the F&B sector, Foodics actively supports Egypt's Vision 2030 for digital transformation."Our company places great emphasis on empowering restaurant owners and merchant owners," stated Belal Zahran, General Manager of Foodics in Egypt. "We are committed to providing them with a comprehensive cloud-based POS system to enrich their operations and cater to a wide range of activities within the F&B sector.”Zahran further commented, "Over the past three years, Foodics has made remarkable strides in the Egyptian market. We are proud to have achieved a 3-fold increase year over year in our business volume. This growth can be attributed to the expanding network of Foodics partners who have embraced our diverse cloud solutions. Our partners range from international and local merchants, cloud kitchens, dine-in restaurants, local bakeries, food trucks, quick service restaurants, franchises, and even large-scale restaurants located across multiple governorates in Egypt."He also added that Foodics has raised a record US$198 million through multiple rounds of series funding. With the latest US $170 million in Series C funding boosting its innovation capabilities to better serve business owners. This substantial investment paves the way for Foodics to expand its footprint both regionally and globally, solidifying its presence in key markets. Furthermore, the infusion of funds amplifies the company's merger and acquisition strategy, positioning Foodics as a frontrunner in the industry. By leveraging the power of cloud technology, Foodics remains at the forefront of emerging companies in the region, embracing a forward-thinking approach that sets it apart from its competitors.From its humble beginnings with just four employees and three departments, Foodics in Egypt has experienced remarkable growth. The company now boasts a team of 108 employees across eight departments in addition to a dedicated local support team, catering to the diverse needs of its partners. This strategic expansion is driven by the company's unwavering commitment to addressing the diverse needs of the market and develop tailored solutions that precisely align with the unique requirements of its partners in Egypt.He outlined Foodics' ambitious roadmap for 2023, which encompasses several key objectives. Firstly, the company aims to double its partners by expanding its reach to a broader range of restaurants and cafes.. Furthermore, Foodics is actively forging robust partnerships with different stakeholders, fostering collaborative efforts that will drive the digital transformation of SMEs in the F&B sector.Foodics provides a diverse range of innovative solutions and systems designed to streamline restaurant operations and drive its growth. At the core is Foodics POS system, a comprehensive cloud-based solution that empowers restaurant management with seamless control and efficiency. Additionally, Foodics offers Foodics Pay, which enhances and facilitates the checkout experience through the integration between payment devices and Foodics cashier app, which eliminates manual intervention of the cashier in the card payment process by decreasing daily end-of-day operations. Furthermore, Foodics Enterprise presents a powerful Multi-Branch Management Solution, enabling businesses to effortlessly oversee and optimize operations across multiple branches from a unified platform.Adding to that, Foodics Kiosk, the latest solution offered by Foodics in Egypt, is a self-ordering system that helps increase average order volume while reducing operational costs by improving efficiency. Additionally, Foodics Online, which allows customers to order and pay electronically without any intermediary or external commissions. Also, there is Foodics Marketplace which offers various external applications that can be integrated with Foodics systems to improve the overall experience of managing restaurants and cafes. Finally, Foodics Accounting, which is set to be launched soon, offers a comprehensive accounting solution, designed for the F&B industry, and integrates seamlessly with Foodics RMS, allowing for automatic and real-time mapping and syncing of all transaction and financial data. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and ensures that restaurants accounting records are accurate, secured and always up-to-date.With the rapid digitization of the F&B sector, it has become crucial for businesses to adapt and leverage technology to stay competitive. Zahran concluded, “We are dedicated to empowering the F&B sector with innovative digital solutions that enable businesses to thrive in today’s competitive landscape. Our goal is to provide the sector with the tools it needs to enhance customer experiences, optimize operations, and achieve sustainable growth”.

Beyon hosts Elevate 2023 Technology Forum

The Beyon Group hosted Elevate 2023, its annual customer focussed technology forum introduced last year, bringing together over 300 invited enterprise customers from Bahrain’s public and private sectors.The major event, which was attended by Beyon Chairman Shaikh Abdulla bin Khalifa Al Khalifa and Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) Chief Executive, Mohammed Ali Al Qaed, was held at the Ritz Carlton Bahrain on Wednesday 13th September.Under the theme, Digital Transformation Accelerated, Elevate is fast becoming the flagship technology event in the Kingdom of Bahrain, attended by business leaders, and bringing together expertise and resources from the Beyon digital companies and other local, regional and international organisations. To launch the day’s proceedings, Beyon Chief Digital Growth Officer, Shaikh Mohamed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa gave a welcome address, highlighting the excellent progress made by Beyon’s digital companies during the past year, and outlining their key achievements and future plans. Following the opening remarks, iGA’s Chief Executive, Mr. Mohamed Al Qaed delivered a speech, where he addressed the upcoming partnership between the iGA and Beyon Connect, which is aimed at enhancing the current eKey system used by citizens and residents through the utilization of the OneID application, Beyon Connect's digital identity platform. Al Qaed highlighted that this application is in line with both local and international laws and standards, with a focus on further enhancing the system by authorization services for individuals engaging in electronic transactions.The event’s comprehensive agenda featured key presentations given by industry experts and international speakers, including Expel Co-Founder Yanek Koroff who discussed the changing paradigm of cyber defense, Nermin Hassan from Egypt Post who spoke on the topic of embracing digital postboxes for a sustainable future, and from Calligo - a provider of transformative data services, Adam Ryan and Tessa Jones gave a presentation about empowering data driven business through the lens of ESG.Throughout the day, Beyon’s enterprise focussed companies, Beyon Cyber, Beyon Solutions and Beyon Connect showcased their products and services range, and during breakout sessions introduced trending topics such as AI, Machine Learning, Cyber Security and more.Batelco Chief Digital Growth Officer, Shaikh Mohamed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said, ­“We were delighted to host Elevate for the 2nd year and very pleased with the excellent attendance from across the business sector. The event is an invaluable opportunity for us to engage with our customers and partners, while providing a platform to discuss emerging trends and how we can best support the enterprise sector. Furthermore, the wide range of presentations and panel discussions were informative and engaging and truly enriched the agenda.”“On behalf of the Beyon Group, I would like to offer huge appreciation to the individual experts and companies that helped to make Elevate 2023 a great event. We look forward to future collaborations with the enterprise sector building on the success of today’s event,” Shaikh Mohamed added.

Online sales of beauty products in MENA grew by more than 20% in 1H 2023

The global beauty industry continues to gain momentum each year, with an increasing proportion of sales taking place online. According to the Admitad partner network, global sales in the beauty and self-care industry grew by over 15% in the first half of the year, with online orders in the MENA region experiencing a YoY increase of more than 20%.To prepare this report, Admitad analyzed the sales of 450 brands worldwide and 185 MENA brands, including such well-known companies and marketplaces as Sephora, Alibaba, iHerb, Lancome, Yves Rocher, ICI Paris XL, BABOR, Loccitane, Clarins, Calvin Klein, Kiehl's and many others. The calculations are based on more than 6.5 million orders worldwide and more than 400,000 orders in the MENA region, that were generated by network partners for beauty brands and retail sites.MENA is back on beauty trackThe growth of online sales of beauty products in the world is strong but moderate. Admitad calculates that the number of global online sales grew by 11% in 2022, and in the first half of 2023 the growth has already hit the mark of 15%. GMV is up by 8% and by 12% respectively.While MENA's buying activity in the beauty industry saw minimal growth in 2022, the first half of 2023 witnessed a rapid catch-up, even surpassing global activity levels. The number of beauty orders grew by 20% and the amount MENA shoppers are willing to spend on cosmetics and self care rose by 5%.The average order value for online beauty product sales in the MENA region has slightly decreased, hovering around 92 USD. Two countries in the region, UAE and Saudi Arabia, claimed top spots on the list of countries with the highest order values in the beauty industry.The source of beauty huntersIn 2023, the dominant keywords in online shopping for beauty products are “benefit” and “smart shopping”. Therefore, Admitad calculates that coupon and cashback purchases rank high worldwide. However, the recommendations of influencers and content creators still faithfully generate orders for beauty brands - their share in the total number of orders is also significant.Interestingly, on average, global orders for beauty products from Google contextual ads grew by more than 30% in 2023. Messengers, especially Telegram, also achieved remarkable sales growth in this segment, with the number of orders through them more than doubling. Sales from Affiliate stores increased by 45%.Marketing trends in the beauty industry in MENA are closely following global ones, although the role of affiliate stores in the country is higher - this source of traffic in 2023 attracted several percent more local purchases than the global average. Their influence continues to grow - orders through this channel have increased by more than 30% year-over-year.Another unique trend among local shoppers is purchases based on recommendations in mobile apps, accounting for more than 5% of local purchases. Their number doubled over the year, which confirms the rapidly growing mobile audience in the beauty industry.Content platforms were also among the record holders in terms of influence growth, with sales based on recommendations from articles and banners on media websites growing by more than 10% over the year.MENA residents haven't forgotten to avail discounts when making beauty purchases. In 2023, they increased their use of coupons by 15%.The mobile frenzyThe share of mobile sales in the global beauty industry in 2023 already stands at a staggering 46% and continues to grow (in 2022, the share of mobile sales was 44%).For MENA's beauty industry, mobile sales are still a growth point - in 2023, only about 25% of all beauty and self-care purchases were made from cell phones. The region is catching up with a global trend, and this is a great chance for local brands to compete for the growing mobile audience.Forecasts are positiveBoth global and MENA figures clearly indicate that online sales in the beauty industry will continue to grow. According to Admitad experts, 2023 may end even more positively for MENA beauty brands than the successful 2022. It is highly likely that the increase in their online sales for the entire year will reach up to 23%.Businesses should pay attention to the most effective traffic sources and those customer acquisition channels that show growth or have the highest average order value. This approach will help them not to miss trends and increase not only the number of orders, but also improve other important business indicators.

Orange Jordan launches “Subscribe & win with 5G”

Orange Jordan is giving its 5G home and mobile subscribers, both current and new, a chance to win valuable prizes in its " Subscribe & Win with 5G" campaign, including a BYD Atto 3 electric car, iPhone 14 Pro Max handsets, and PlayStation 5 devices.Chief Consumer Market Officer at Orange Jordan, Naila Al Dawoud, said that as a responsible digital leader, Orange Jordan remains committed to keeping its customers connected to all that matters to them, including innovative offers and services that meet their needs and aspirations, alongside unique campaigns.The “Subscribe & Win with 5G” comes just in time after Orange Jordan launched its 5G services with remarkable speed and low latency, added Al Dawoud.The winner of the grand prize, a 2024 BYD ATTO 3 GL500 electric car, will be selected in a draw open to all individual subscribers to Orange 5G offers for home internet, postpaid and prepaid mobile lines since the launch of the company’s 5G services on July 11, 2023.The campaign offers other valuable prizes, including iPhone?? 14 Pro Max handsets. The first iPhone draw will be open to all individual subscribers to Orange 5G offers for home internet, postpaid and prepaid mobile lines from the launch of Orange 5G services on July 11 until November 30, 2023.For a chance to win a PlayStation 5, the company will hold a draw to choose winners from all its individual 5G home internet, postpaid and prepaid mobile subscribers from July 11 until February 29, 2024.Al Dawoud added: “We prioritize taking our subscribers’ experiences to the next level and providing them with added value through exceptional offers. This campaign will enable our customers to enjoy 5G’s massive potential with a chance to win valuable prizes, as we continue to launch campaigns that offer them more".

Ministry of Economy makes 19 free contract templates available for UAE companies

The Ministry of Economy (MoEc), in cooperation with Al Tamimi & Company, launched the ‘Standard Contracts’ initiative. It is designed to support Emirati entrepreneurs and startups in the country by facilitating their access to a range of most commonly used contract templates needed for the establishment of companies and starting various business activities through the MoEc website, without having to pay any charges.H.E. Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy, said: “The UAE is keen to enhance and develop the national entrepreneurship environment, and adopt innovative projects that drive sustainable economic growth. We strive to provide all necessary enablers for the growth of SMEs in general and Emirati SMEs in particular, through providing training, financing, guidance and reducing costs, to help them focus on their core businesses.”The Undersecretary explained that the Ministry of Economy continues to work on ensuring all kinds of support for the growth of the entrepreneurial sector in the country, in cooperation with its strategic partners in the government and private sectors. These efforts are aimed at creating a more flexible and competitive business environment that contributes to enhancing the growth and expansion of UAE startups and solidifying the country’s position as a destination of choice for entrepreneurs and startups from around the world.The Ministry of Economy offers templates for 19 contracts, which include joint ventures, consultancy services, agency agreement, assignment agreement, intellectual property rights assignment document, exclusive and non-exclusive distribution agreement, restaurant franchise agreement, management agreement, limited liability company incorporation contract, sole proprietorship incorporation contract, service agreement, settlement agreement, shareholders agreement, share purchase agreement, facilities agreement, trademark assignment agreement, trademark licensing.MoEc said that company owners, entrepreneurs, and concerned parties can use these templates free of charge, through its website:, it clarified that these templates are generic and therefore, the Ministry of Economy, Al Tamimi & Company, their advisors, employees, agents, or representatives do not bear any responsibility towards anyone who downloads or uses them. Additionally, all copyrights and other intellectual property rights related to these templates belong to the Ministry of Economy and Al Tamimi & Company.The initiative will contribute to facilitating trade, establishment of businesses, reducing financial burdens on startups, organizing relevant legal and procedural frameworks, supporting contract strength, and effectively implementing their objectives. This will lead to a rise in the number of startups in the country and maximize their contribution to GDP growth, thus promoting sustainable national economic growth and enhancing its flexibility and global competitiveness in line with the “We the UAE 2031” vision.

Arab Fintech forum secures major sponsorship partners for upcoming edition

Mastercard, a global technology company in the payments industry, has officially confirmed its role as the Platinum Sponsor of the upcoming Arab Fintech Forum in Qatar. This announcement underscores Mastercard's unwavering dedication to driving innovation within the dynamic fintech space. Erdem Çakar, Country Manager, Qatar and Kuwait, Mastercard, said, "Mastercard is proud to support the Arab Fintech Forum as Platinum Sponsor. Events like these are vital to fostering dialogue, deepening relationships, and driving innovation across our industry. We look forward to two days of stimulating conversations as market leaders join forces to shape the future of fintech.” HyperPay, the region’s leading payment gateway, and eMcREY, a company at the forefront of digital financial transformation, have been secured as Gold Sponsors of the event. Their participation attests the forum’s role as a key assembly point for industry leaders. Additionally, the forum is delighted to welcome R3, a global enterprise software firm specializing in blockchain technology, as the Silver Sponsor of this year’s edition.The second edition of the forum will unfold against the backdrop of Qatar Central Bank's Fintech Strategy implementation. This initiative aims to establish Qatar as a prominent fintech hub with a strong focus on developing a robust digital infrastructure, supporting local start-ups, and fostering partnerships with global fintech firms. The Arab Fintech Forum is aligned with this national strategy and is positioned to facilitate its objectives, further contributing to Qatar’s leadership in fintech innovation.The forum's official media partners include The Fintech Times, the world's first and only monthly newspaper dedicated to fintech.Malik Shishtawi, the President and Founder of the Arab Fintech Forum, commented, "We are extremely pleased to have the support of such esteemed companies for this year's forum. Their participation reinforces the forum’s critical role in the rapidly evolving fintech landscape. With the event set in Doha, we are poised to make a meaningful contribution to the advancement of financial inclusion throughout the MENA region."The Arab Fintech Forum is scheduled to take place in Doha, Qatar, on October 10-11, 2023. The forum will feature a comprehensive lineup of sessions, workshops, and networking opportunities, solidifying its reputation as an essential event for professionals in the fintech sector.

UM pioneers a Global-First application crafted with AI Technology for MediaMarkt

UM Turkey has launched a never-seen-before AI application that revolutionises the product sales experience for consumers, UM partnered with, MediaMarkt, developing an e-commerce application that seamlessly incorporates AI into the very core of both and sales strategy. The result is an innovative creation named "Mother AI," which has ushered in exceptional value for both the consumer experience and client business growth.The ideaLeveraging the universal belief that mothers possess unparalleled wisdom, MediaMarkt's Mother's Day campaign birthed "Mother AI. Inspired by the astounding capabilities of GPT-4, UM Turkey replicated the warmth and guidance of mothers in AI form. This AI persona, with its maternal touch, was prominently showcased on renowned news website Onedio. Acting as an advisor, it recommended the perfect gifts, subtly directing users towards MediaMarkt products. Beyond simply assisting with gift choices, the tool ensured discussions remained brand-aligned and avoided controversies. It's not just an advancement in technology; it's a celebration of maternal intuition in our digital era.The result MediaMarkt's Mother's Day campaign was a notable success, both in-store and online. Mother AI, as an innovative touchpoint, played a subtle yet effective role in this achievement. Facilitating various interactions with users, its incorporation showcased the potential of GPT-4 in creating meaningful brand experiences. Gaining media attention, Mother AI was featured in several news outlets. This initiative not only emphasized MediaMarkt's aptitude for merging advanced technology with tailored customer service but also strengthened its position in a digitally evolving retail world."We are excited to see work involving AI that adds meaningful value to media and the end consumer. Following the resounding success of this global-first application, we are committed to further exploration while upholding these core principles. This is only the beginning.", commented CEO of UM MENAT, Joe Nicolas.  Tolga Ünvan, Marketing, Corporate Communication and E-Commerce Director, MediaMarkt Turkey, added, “This technology will simplify people’s lives as it emerges in various sectors from health to education, tourism to finance. At MediaMarkt, we define ourselves as the best place to experience electronics and technology. I believe “Mother AI” is a very innovative technology that enhances the total customer experience by helping customers in both emotional and functional ways. In the near future, companies will have various advantages to attract consumers with different approaches on different platforms. Artificial intelligence will open up exciting new business areas, and we are proud to be global-first players in this impressive arena.”UM Turkey’s Account Director for MediaMarkt, Gizem Atik and Project Director, Emre Candan, said, “The excitement we feel with "Mother AI" is not just about its intersection with our visions related to digital, technology, and marketing communication at MediaMarkt and UM, but also about how this groundbreaking technology transforms itself into a communication tool, indicating the future shifts in our profession.”

Centro Mada Amman by Rotana welcomes new human resources manager

Centro Mada Amman by Rotana appoints new Human Resources Manager Rasha Rusrus.With over 20 years in the hospitality industry in several international brands and a previous role at Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa, Rasha brings her ambition and experience to her current position at Centro Mada Amman by Rotana. Her accomplishments are countless from regulating the work environment, preparing solid action plans, competing for fair salaries against the market and ensuring quality control. In her new capacity, she will oversee and continue to improve the HR policies and procedures and implement a practical approach to guarantee optimal results in the workplace reflecting the Rotana brand.       A native of Jordan, Rasha has climbed the Human Resources chain gaining knowledge and skill-sets allowing her to lead and guide the team effectively. She is well-trained with a background in interviewing, group training, reporting & investigating, health policies, local labour laws and managing performance. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and watching movies and lives by the quote: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”.

Saudi Coffee Company Partners with Siemens to Elevate Saudi Coffee Farming

Saudi Coffee Company is proud to announce today its collaboration with Siemens, through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to help in constructing a high-tech smart factory in Jazan based on Siemens’ electrification, automation, and digitalization technologies, while considering the highest standards of sustainability and efficiency.As fully owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Coffee Company is on a mission to transform Saudi Arabia’s coffee industry and present the nation’s deep-rooted coffee traditions to the world. The establishment of the smart factory is set to revolutionize coffee farming in Jazan. Currently witnessing the implementation of several development initiatives in modern technology, water management solutions, and advanced equipment, Jazan’s farmers will benefit immensely from this collaboration through having visibility and control over all their systems in one integrated platform with high tech.Saudi Coffee Company's vision expands beyond increasing production and job opportunities to include promoting a culture of collaboration and sustainability across the entire coffee value chain.This collaboration is part of Saudi Coffee Company’s initiatives to join forces with the private sector and introduce cutting-edge technology into Saudi Coffee Company’s production processes with the smart factory set to revolutionize coffee farming in Jazan. The construction and operation of the factory are in line with the latest global sustainability standards, ensuring a balance between economic growth and environmental sustainability. The complete digitalization includes unifying various systems under one advanced platform while also introducing initiatives like carbon capture, renewable energy adoption, responsible waste management, and eco-friendly packaging.Karim Chabara, CEO of Saudi Coffee Company emphasized that “This partnership marks a defining moment for Saudi Coffee Company in the coffee industry, as we are proud to be shedding light on the Kingdom’s coffee heritage and to help in elevating the local coffee production. We are delighted to join efforts with the private sector, leveraging their expertise to fully optimize our local resources and showcase our coffee heritage to the world.”Ahmad Hawsawi, CEO of Siemens in Saudi Arabia stated: “We are proud of our technology collaboration with Saudi Coffee Company, highlighting and developing coffee farming and manufacturing. Siemens is committed to transform manufacturing facilities into intelligent and connected ecosystems based on real-time data analysis, predictive maintenance, and seamless collaboration between machines and humans, leading to improved productivity, reduced costs, and enhanced product quality.”Hawsawi highlighted Siemens’ contribution in supporting the Saudi Arabia’s National Industrial Strategy through the cutting-edge digital technologies by leveraging digitalization and automation.

Haltia.AI champions ethical AI revolution

As the global focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) intensifies, Haltia.AI, a cutting-edge AI startup rooted in the UAE, is setting the standard for ethical AI application. As the company gears up for its highly-anticipated alpha release, the co-founders - CEO Talal Thabet and CTO Arto Bendiken - emphasise that ethics are not just a component of their AI platform, but the company’s north star."We keenly aware of the transformative power of AI and its potential consequences. It’s not just about building smarter machines; it’s about aligning them with the values that make us human," asserts Talal Thabet, CEO and co-founder of Haltia.AI. "This approach is deeply ingrained in our superstar team, guided by leading experts such as AI Ethicist Steve Cobb."Steve Cobb concurs, "We are setting a new paradigm. In a world where AI technologies are advancing at breakneck speed, we’re committed to shaping an AI landscape that is ethical by design, drawing on the combined decades of experience and leadership provided by Talal and Arto."With this commitment to ethical practices in mind, Haltia.AI recognises its influential role in the rapidly evolving tech landscape, calling for responsible innovation. Haltia.AI highlights the unparalleled expertise of its engineering team, each of whom is hand-picked for their prowess and commitment to excellence while rooted in ethical considerations.Consistent with the UAE leadership’s vision for international impact and technological advancement, Haltia.AI invites companies and institutions worldwide to collaborate. "The UAE stands as a beacon for global innovation and we aim to contribute to the UAE government’s legacy by spearheading partnerships in the ethical sphere," says Talal Thabet.As the company transitions from stealth to spotlight with its impending alpha release, this ethical stance serves as both a corporate mission and an industry call to arms."Our focus on ethics isn't a trend—it's a non-negotiable responsibility," concludes Talal. "We have the expertise and vision to not only implement ethical AI but to also guide other organisations in doing so."

Al-Futtaim Motors launches dedicated motorsport division

Al-Futtaim Motors has deepened its commitment to motorsport in the United Arab Emirates with the launch of a new Motorsport Division dedicated to expanding their support and involvement in all forms of motorsports, both on- and off-road, as well as esports racing.In addition to supporting motorsport, the new Al-Futtaim Motorsport Division will encompass the Toyota Gazoo Racing and Lexus F Performance brands in the UAE, both of which offer high-performance versions of some of the most popular models from each brand, such as the Toyota GR Supra, the Toyota Land Cruiser GR Sport, the Lexus RC F, Lexus GS F and the Legendary LFA, to name a few.Globally Toyota has an illustrious motorsport history spanning five decades of successful participations in the World Rally Championship, Formula One, FIA Cross Country World Cup and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. From the championship-winning Toyota Yaris GR WRC to the Toyota Hilux that has enjoyed huge success in the Dakar Rally, Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and the Dubai International Baja, Toyota vehicles have championed the spirit of motorsport at the highest level.Also no stranger to competing at the highest levels, Lexus first entered the world of motorsport in 2002 at the historic Daytona 24-hour race, and from 2006 to 2008, its cars won three straight victories in the 24 Hours at Daytona. In the UAE, Lexus stepped in the world of motorsport when they built the first ever Lexus RC F drift car which made its global debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2019, as well as launching the first Lexus F Club for F and F SPORT owners. Lexus has since competed successfully across a range of disciplines, from GT3 and GT4 series to endurance racing, hill climbs, off-road rallies, drifting and more.The newly launched Al-Futtaim Motorsport division builds on this proud tradition by supporting the UAE’s motorsport community through partnerships with illustrious home-grown sporting events such as the UAE Autocross Challenge, the Dubai International Baja, and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, as well as developing motorsport talent through the Toyota Gazoo Racing Academy, a driver development programme which took place earlier this year.Commenting on the launch of the new Al-Futtaim Motorsport Division, Jacques Brent, Managing Director at Al-Futtaim Toyota & Lexus, said: “Al-Futtaim Motors has always been deeply committed to motorsports in the Emirates, and this new division reinforces this commitment with a new team entirely dedicated to supporting and developing motorsports across the UAE. In a nation that is so passionate about motoring, the Toyota and Lexus brands have become an integral part of the motoring and off-roading culture of the UAE. The Al-Futtaim Motorsport division empowers us to further develop this culture and our historic ties with the UAE’s motoring communities, and engage and give back to them by developing and supporting local events and driving talent.”Ensuring the success of the new division will be a dedicated team led by Alaa Tarawneh, Motorsport Manager at Al-Futtaim Toyota & Lexus, with a mission to spearhead Al-Futtaim’s drive to support motorsports in the Emirates and build awareness around the exceptional performance of Toyota GR and Lexus F Performance models.The Al-Futtaim Motorsport Division’s calendar kicks off almost immediately with support for the UAE’s participation in the Toyota Gazoo Racing MENA Esports Cup, with the top two competitors qualifying to compete at the regional finals in Amman, Jordan, in October.This will be followed by event partnerships with several motoring events in the UAE including the Dubai International Baja and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, with more to be announced soon. Further developing the UAE’s undiscovered driving talent will be the second edition of the Al-Futtaim Toyota Gazoo Racing Academy, also set to launch later this year.The inaugural edition of the Al-Futtaim Toyota Gazoo Racing Academy was a huge success, with the different stages streamed to millions of viewers across the region on Shahid, the Arab world’s biggest digital streaming service, and Brandon Hancock was crowned as the winner and the Al-Futtaim Toyota Gazoo Racing Off-Road Ambassador for 2023.

Elie Kassis joins Futuretech as Sales Director

Futuretech has appointed Elie Kassis as Sales Director, across KSA. He will be heading the sales department.  Kassis is an industry veteran with more than 17 years of extensive global and regional experience, fulfilling roles with various multinationals, SMEs and start-ups within the marketing and advertising, telco, media, digital, and tech sectors, focusing mainly on Europe, Africa and the Middle East.In his role, as Sales Director, he will be responsible for growing the business in the MENA region with a special focus on the KSA market, working with both agencies and enterprise partners.Elie Kassis is an MBA graduate, specialised in International Business and a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Sciences. He is fluent in French, English, and Arabic languages. He is passionate about building and leading high-performing teams. He is an individual with a highly analytical, data-driven and strategic mindset.

PRCA MENA Conference 2023 agenda revealed

PRCA MENA, the leading professional association for public relations and communications in the Middle East and North Africa, is delighted to unveil the agenda for its highly anticipated PRCA MENA Conference 2023, set to take place on November 8th, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.Dedicated to industry professionals, this event is expected to draw both local and international attendees, marking a significant milestone for the PRCA MENA community.PRCA, founded in the UK in 1969, expanded its reach to the Middle East and Africa with the establishment of PRCA MENA in Dubai in 2016. Over the years, PRCA MENA has experienced steady growth, particularly in the past two years. Now, PRCA MENA is proud to venture into organising the Conference and Digital Awards in Riyadh for the first time, with the vibrant city providing the perfect backdrop for this occasion.Monika Fourneaux, Head of PRCA MENA, stated, "PRCA MENA is privileged to have members who work closely with us, and they have consistently expressed their desire for a conference in Saudi Arabia. In response to their needs, we partnered with One Group, a marketing and communication group based in Riyadh, to create an exciting conference program tailored for PR professionals in the region."This premier industry gathering promises to bring together the crème de la crème of the public relations world, providing a platform for networking, knowledge-sharing, and recognition of outstanding achievements in the field. The conference agenda boasts a diverse range of insightful sessions covering key PR industry topics and trends.Conference Highlights:Keynote Session: Prepare for an electrifying revelation.The Value of PR in MENA: Delve into a comprehensive report jointly crafted by PRCA MENA and YouGov, offering insights into how the PR industry is perceived across diverse countries and industries in the MENA region.Crafting Successful PR Campaigns: Unearth the secrets behind crafting successful PR campaigns in the distinctive Saudi Arabian landscape.AI vs. PR: Engage in a riveting panel discussion exploring the transformative potential of AI in PR and how the industry can adapt to this revolutionary change.Sponsored Sessions: Immerse yourself in a series of specialised sessions conducted in both Arabic and English, designed to provide practical insights and valuable takeaways.Evolving PR Agencies in Saudi Arabia: Gain perspectives on the dynamic shifts and challenges facing PR agencies in the Saudi market.Saudi PR VISION: Peer into the future of PR within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Esports Middle East Earns 'Great Place to Work' Status in UAE Gaming

 Esports Middle East LLC (ESME), a world-leading esports and gaming solutions provider based in the Middle East, was awarded the first Great Place to Work® certification in the UAE for a company dedicated to that industry, after an exceptional year that saw big involvement in the growth of the industry.Great Place to Work® is a global research and management consultancy that recognizes the Best Workplaces™ in over 60 countries worldwide and provides premier business and advisory services.  Its mission is to improve people’s lives and create a better society by improving the workplace experience. The award was held at the annual ceremony in the UAE, where ESME was officially certified a Great Place To Work® after it was ranked highly across all fields.Employees now place an increasing amount of importance on a good business culture, and expectations for the workplace are also changing quickly. This is what the team at ESME and their leadership has managed to convey to the organization, and received its certification in August 2023. In the same vein it had previously been awarded as an “Excellent Service Provider” for its collaboration with Tencent.“Being recognized as a Great Place To Work® is an honor and a pleasure because we always thrive to be leaders in our industry from the inside out. Without its incredible workforce, Esports Middle East wouldn't exist today. Because of their perseverance and unwavering faith in our mission, this certification on top of Tencent’s 2020 "Excellent Service Provider" and the 2023 “Excellent Partner of the Year” is a big recognition for our work.”  stated Saeed Sharaf, CEO and Co-Founder of ESME on the occasion.Ibrahim Mougharbel, Managing Director of UAE for, Great Place To Work® Middle East stated: “Congratulations to the UAE's first Great Place to Work Middle East certified esports company for their exceptional focus on employee satisfaction and workplace culture. It is truly inspiring to see an organization prioritize the well-being of its employees, leading to this remarkable achievement. By valuing the opinions and feedback of their workforce, Esports Middle East sets an incredible example for organizations all around the world. This is a testament to their commitment to fostering a work environment where employees feel valued and supported. Keep up the fantastic work!”Esports Middle East is set to continue its successful streak in 2023, having recently closed the curtains on the Moontoon Mobile Legends Pro League ( MPL MENA) event.Since its inception in 2014, ESME has pioneered in the esports operation and marcom business, running highly profitable campaigns for brands such as Tencent Games, Samsung, Moonton, Coca-Cola, Spotify. Some of their most recent accomplishments include local legs of international events such as the PUBG MOBILE GCC Cup, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang MENA Pro League, as well as lending a helping hand to produce the official Arabic broadcast for PUBG Mobile Global Championship 2021 and the M4 World Championship and Asia Games..It is worth mentioning that thanks to this certificate, Esports Middle East is now the first esports and gaming company in the UAE to receive the highly coveted Great Place to Work®, and the second company in the MENA region after SAVVY Group in Saudi Arabia.

LinkedIn research reveals UAE professionals ready to embrace AI

According to new research from LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, employees are gearing up for a new way of working thanks to new advances in Artificial Intelligence such as generative AI. A majority of employees in the UAE (67%) believe that AI will bring significant changes to their work within the next year, and even more employees (72%) expect AI to significantly impact their work within the next 5 years.More than three quarters (81%) believe it is likely that AI will function as an “invisible teammate” who assists them with their work in the next 5 years.The UAE has been investing in AI long before the creation of ChatGPT and the recent uptick around AI. In 2017, the UAE launched its National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031, which aims to put the nation at the forefront of AI innovation in different sectors, an initiative considered the first of its kind regionally and globally.We see this enthusiasm about AI reflected in the UAE’s workforce as a little over half (54%) are already using AI in their job, with 41% trying out AI tools like ChatGPT. The possibilities of AI at work are endlessThe lack of knowledge about AI is not stopping UAE professionals from wanting to experiment with it. Although 30% of them say they have not been provided with any formal AI training from their employer, over half (59%) want to learn more, even if they don’t know where to start. It is clear that UAE professionals are optimistic about the potential AI can bring to their careers, with an overwhelming majority (98%) saying they are excited to use AI in their work, and a similar percentage (97%) who believe it will help their career progression in some way. Most are already thinking of ways AI can help them be more productive with 82% envisioning AI to improve their work-life balance. Over a third (67%) plan to use AI to say goodbye to boring work tasks and assist in answering questions they’re too embarrassed to ask their colleagues, and 63% have progression on their mind as they plan to use it for career advice. We also know that more needs to be done to educate professionals on how to use AI as 45% of them feel their colleagues know more about AI than they do, 48% have even admitted to pretending they know more about AI to look ‘in the know’ in front of teammates.Pairing soft skills with AI skills essential for the future  Overall, the mood of the nation is one of embracing AI and people are focusing on the skills they believe will complement AI the most, which comes as no surprise as the UAE was one of the first countries to adopt AI.Professionals in the UAE believe interpersonal skills such as problem solving (66%), time-management (69%), resilience and strategic thinking (67%) will become even more important as AI grows in prominence.With LinkedIn's data showing a significant 21-fold increase in global, English-language job listings mentioning AI technologies, including Chat GPT, since November 2022, embracing AI could be a pivotal move for those seeking career development.Ali Matar, EMEA Growth Markets Leader and Head of LinkedIn MENA, says: “Just as we’ve moved past the pandemic, once again professionals are adapting to another wave of change as generative AI becomes more prominent in the workplace. In a country as technologically progressive as the UAE, where a move towards innovation and integrating new technologies has long been apparent, it is encouraging to see that also its people are embracing the shift. Even more so, our data clearly shows that workers in the UAE are focusing on the many benefits AI can bring to their working lives, including more time to focus on the work they care about and helping with career progression.It’s also clear that people are eager to learn more about AI and we’re seeing a significant increase in conversations on LinkedIn with members already adding AI skills to their profiles, but our data also highlights the enormous value of soft skills as humans learn to partner with AI– and this is what is now shaping the future of work.”Top tipsWhether you’re AI-advanced or eager to learn, taking the plunge can help you in your career and job, and LinkedIn’s Career Expert Najat Abdelhadi shares some advice to get you started: Learn the lingo: Having the language to talk about and understand AI will put you ahead of the curve. Study up on popular AI skills with resources like LinkedIn Learning where you can find the most popular AI courses unlocked for free until the end of the year. A good place to start is with How to Research and Write using generative AI, and What is generative AI and you can find the full list here. Embrace the experts and tap into your network: Reach out to your network to share learnings and stay up to speed on AI by following thought leaders and subject matter experts on LinkedIn, including Allie Miller and Greg Coquillo.Sharpen up your soft skills: Don’t underestimate the value of highlighting your soft skills in a world being reshaped by AI. LinkedIn’s AI at Work report shows a staggering 25% shift in the skills demanded by various global jobs since 2015. And with AI accelerating these shifts, people can expect a swifter transformation, with the skills required for many jobs to evolve by at least 65% by 2030. The top skills anticipated to be most in demand: problem solving, strategic thinking and time management.Take advantage of existing tools: Use AI tools already available to you on LinkedIn including collaborative articles — knowledge topics published by LinkedIn with insights and perspectives added by the LinkedIn community. These articles begin as AI-powered conversation starters, developed with our editorial team. Next, with the help of LinkedIn's Skills Graph, the team connects each article with subject experts who contribute with their advice and insights. Microsoft’s WorkLab Guides also give helpful tips from how to use AI to dominate your task list to how to make in-person time count for your team.Acknowledge your AI worries: It’s okay to feel a little nervous or overwhelmed with new technology! People felt similarly when the internet was introduced and it’s important to remember that these changes don’t happen overnight. These are long-term changes and you can do the work to be part of the change, not just be impacted by the change of AI.

Baaz partners with Petal Ads

Petal Ads, a leading advertising platform by Huawei, and Baaz, the first Arabic social media platform, have inked a new agreement, strengthening the two companies’ successful collaboration. The signing ceremony took place at Huawei premises in Cairo, Egypt on July 18th. Through leveraging Petal Ads' innovative capabilities, Baaz aims to accelerate the growth of its social network throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.Baaz is a social media platform specially created in the Arab world for the Arab world. Baaz incubates diverse communities enabling users to connect with others who share similar interests, hobbies, and passion, all while upholding the region’s numerous significant cultural and societal values. Baaz Empowers those communities by providing them with innovative features enabling them to connect, conduct their conversations and share their content in a healthy environment. The platform employs advanced encryption technology that follows international laws and regulations to ensure privacy and data protection, and offers users a safe space for sharing authentic information through its easy and secure verification process. The official Baaz app is available on HUAWEI AppGallery and has already surpassed 6 million downloads in Egypt alone.Petal Ads, Huawei’s revolutionary next-generation advertising platform, enriches ads with premium features and utilizes big data analytics to perform meticulous multi-dimensional targeting in order to deliver them with pinpoint accuracy to users throughout HUAWEI Mobile Services’s smart ecosystem and beyond. In addition to Huawei’s own media, Petal Ads provides additional coverage in MENA’s major third-party apps and media. Currently, there are over 18,000 apps integrated with Petal Ads, attracting millions of users per month and enabling partners to communicate key information on a vast new scale.Petal Ads supports the creation of niche audiences through the Data Management Platform (DMP) for enhanced targeted advertising, as well as unobtrusive one-click installation, allowing users to download an app without having to navigate to a new page. Furthermore, with automatic bid adjustment, partners can improve conversions while drastically reducing cost-per-conversion, maximizing the effectiveness of any advertising budget.The Managing Director of Huawei Consumer Business Group, Eco Development and Operation, North Africa, stated: “We are overjoyed to share the establishment of this new partnership between Petal Ads and Baaz. HUAWEI Mobile Services prioritizes supporting the growth of local companies that can make a difference through their groundbreaking offerings and share our vision for a smarter AI world for all. We are confident that the unparalleled multidimensional targeting, excellent cost-effectiveness, and adaptability of Petal Ads will add more value to Baaz's vibrant social media platform.”The previous partnership between Petal Ads and Baaz during the fourth quarter of 2022 yielded exceptional results. The social network’s Petal Ads-powered installs campaign achieved an impressive amount of AppGallery installations and a competitive CPI rate in comparison to other advertising platforms. Building on this accomplishment, Baaz opted to extend its collaboration with Petal Ads through the second half of 2023, investing in always-on campaigns to drive strong app growth by tapping into Huawei's massive user base of over 730 million.“The partnership with HMS widens the horizons of collaboration to better serve our mutual and huge Egyptian users' base. At Baaz, we constantly seek partnerships that enhance our users' experience, empower them to purposefully lead communities, and encourage meaningful discussions around their interests,” said Mossab Sharayri, Chief Executive Officer at Baaz. “We have adopted a philosophy that thrives on change, new technology, teamwork, and partnerships within and beyond our organization, and Huawei’s innovative advertising platform, as well as its broader open, and smart ecosystem, align perfectly with our vision for developing the next generation of social media.”In addition to the revolutionary advertising capabilities of Petal Ads, HUAWEI Mobile Services provide partners with exclusive benefits throughout the company's ever-evolving smart ecosystem. HMS shares its knowledge and expertise to assist in the development of cutting-edge apps and creative digital services for regional users, while its partners gain access to a vast and active audience, resulting in genuine joint success.

GAMR to monitor and regulate the Saudi media sector

The General Authority of Media Regulation (GAMR) has announced that it will be the authority tasked with the supervision of the entire media sector in Saudi Arabia. The Cabinet has approved the new regulation giving authority to the body.GAMR declared its new mandate, encompassing the development, regulation, and supervision of the entire media ecosystem. This includes infrastructure enhancement, media content improvement, and elevating the media economy's contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). These strategic moves are in line with Saudi Vision 2030, aiming to propel the media sector forward as a pioneer, ensuring the delivery of transparent and reliable content.With its broadened scope, GAMR is now the authority in charge of all forms of digital media content on media and social platforms. Its mission involves fortifying the role of media in Saudi Arabia and aligning it with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030. GAMR places a strong emphasis on nurturing media talent and empowering Saudi youth through comprehensive training and development programmes. Additionally, the authority is committed to creating an attractive environment for media sector investors, streamlining procedures, and offering robust infrastructure support.GAMR is steadfast in its commitment to position the media sector as a vital contributor to the national economy. It will ensure market competitiveness and content quality by safeguarding media rights and the interests of media professionals. Furthermore, GAMR will champion the localization and empowerment of Saudi media talents.GAMR serves as a vigilant guardian of media professionals' rights and content integrity, proactively combatting piracy and enforcing regulations. It will persist in its efforts to support and enhance the capabilities of media professionals, including fostering media research and studies, hosting seminars and workshops, and implementing training programmes and incentives for budding media talents.The authority will continue to uphold national and societal values and is dedicated to enriching content diversity and expanding entertainment options within the media landscape. GAMR will maintain rigorous oversight of advertising and media content to ensure compliance with all regulatory standards, thereby preserving the integrity of the industry.

META Film Fest to return this November with four-day celebration of cinema

Organisers of the META Film Fest have announced the star-studded, four-day international motion picture gala will return to Dubai for its second edition from November 9-12. The annual festival, which showcases the very best of international film, promises an extraordinary celebration of cinema for filmmakers, industry professionals, and movie lovers alike.Building on the resounding success of last year’s inaugural edition, the META Film Fest 2023 will focus on delivering an unparalleled experience through its emphasis on quality content, workshops and masterclasses tailored for budding filmmakers, premieres of cutting edge independent and studio-produced films, and a prestigious, high-profile judging panel.With the support of content partners such as the Royal Film Commission – Jordan, Papillon Creative, Frontrow Entertainment, and MAD Solutions, and Festival Partners including Cinema Akil, the META Film Fest is set to bolster Dubai’s Creative Economy and support the UAE’s National Strategy for the Cultural and Creative Industries. The four-day celebration of film will take place at VOX Cinemas, Wafi City.Leila Masinaei, Founder of META Film Fest, said: “Following the festival’s hugely successful debut in 2022, this year’s META Film Fest will cement Dubai’s position and capability as a hub for filmmakers and creatives to congregate, share knowledge, and promote their own and their peers’ work. The festival garners immense appreciation from movie enthusiasts and industry professionals, and this year’s edition will see significant growth in both the number and calibre of films being shown.”The META Film Fest adopts an independent, objective approach in its shortlisting process, ensuring the best of the regional industry is spotlighted at the event. Over the four days, it will show more than 70 movies from 20+ countries, host 10+ workshops, and welcome more than 50 global celebrities and 15,000 attendees. The incredible roster of shortlisted films is set to be announced in the coming weeks.At the heart of the festival lies the star-studded red-carpet awards ceremony, which is set to attract luminaries from the film and entertainment industries, along with international and regional celebrities. The evening, a culmination of four days of cinematic celebration, will honour outstanding films in multiple categories, recognising the exceptional talent that contributes to the world of cinema.The awards this year will span 12 categories, covering feature films, short films, documentaries, debut works, student projects, films with a sustainability focus, and newly introduced special categories to celebrate home-grown UAE talent.Under the theme of 'Cinema and Sustainability', the festival has welcomed eco-friendly lifestyle and homeware brand Innara as its official Sustainability Sponsor, in addition to a number of new directors, aiming to spotlight the those leading the charge in sustainable practices in film.The festival is organised by GM Events and held in partnership with VOX Cinemas and Wafi City. Stephanie-Alexandra Chartier, Group Head of Marketing, Wafi Group said the partnership underscores its commitment to fostering the UAE’s creative economy strategy.“Emphasising local content production, promoting Arabic-language content, and empowering youth in the film industry are crucial aspects we wholeheartedly support,” she added. “Wafi City's exceptional ambiance and vibrant cultural scene make it a perfect location to celebrate the power of cinema and amplify the voices of emerging talents in this growing festival.”Sanjay Patney, Vice President – Sales & Marketing, Majid Al Futtaim Entertainment, added: “As a long-standing supporter of the regional cinema industry, VOX Cinemas is proud to sponsor the META Film Festival once again. Festivals such as this provide an important platform for filmmakers and key industry stakeholders to connect, share ideas and be inspired as well as enabling established and emerging talent to showcase their creativity on the big screen through the language of film.”Film lovers are urged to mark November 9-12 on their calendars with META Film Fest inviting the general public to embark on an unforgettable cinematic journey in the heart of Dubai. With opportunities to experience the magic of cinema, interact with industry professionals, and be a part of the burgeoning film community, those interested should stay tuned for updates and announcements.

Media maven and happiness evangelist Raj Nayak joins the advisory board of YAAP

YAAP, a forward-thinking specialized content and influencer marketing company, proudly announces the addition of Raj Nayak to its advisory board. Raj Nayak, the former Chief Operating Officer of Viacom18, will play a pivotal role in guiding YAAP's strategic initiatives for growth and expansion across regions. The appointment of Raj Nayak, a distinguished stalwart of the media and entertainment industry, underscores YAAP's commitment to its ambitious long-term goals and rapid growth plan. Atul Hegde, Founder of YAAP, expressed his delight at the collaboration, saying, "It's an absolute pleasure to have Raj Nayak join YAAP's advisory board. Raj's rich legacy and extensive experience in the media and entertainment industry will be instrumental in driving YAAP's strategic growth and expansion plans in the coming months. His addition to the board aligns perfectly with our ongoing expansion across regions, key leadership appointments, and our relentless pursuit of product and service excellence."Raj Nayak's illustrious career spans over three decades, during which he has founded and held leadership positions at some of the world's largest media and entertainment companies, including Star TV and NDTV. His most recent role as the Chief Operating Officer at Viacom18 saw him spearheading some of the network's most iconic shows and properties. Following his celebrated tenure at Viacom18, Nayak ventured into a new domain with House of Cheer, a full-service happiness and technology hub specializing in creation, curation, and consultancy, where he serves as the Managing Director.Commenting on his new role, Raj Nayak shared, "Embodying its philosophy of 'Built for Now,' YAAP has successfully harnessed content, data, and technology to deliver immense value to its clients, establishing itself as a dominant player in the industry. YAAP's promising roadmap for growth and expansion in the coming years, driven by innovation and strategic expansion into new markets, resonates with my business philosophy. It presents us with an exciting opportunity to break new ground together."YAAP has been on a trajectory of strategic growth, with recent additions such as Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman AlBanna, the former UAE Ambassador to India, to their advisory board, as well as key leadership appointments across India and GCC. The company has also formed a strategic partnership with Tagger Media, a leading US-based influencer marketing platform. These developments follow YAAP's acquisition of Crayons Communications, a renowned advertising agency in the Middle East, and an impressive financial performance, including a remarkable 97% increase in top-line growth and a fivefold rise in profitability for FY21-22. YAAP's prestigious client portfolio includes industry leaders such as NPCI, Visit Dubai, IndusInd, Lufthansa, SBI Cards, Disney, Apparel Group, MPL, Amazon, and Square Enix., a forward-thinking specialized content and influencer marketing company, proudly announces the addition of Raj Nayak to its advisory board. Raj Nayak, the former Chief Operating Officer of Viacom18, will play a pivotal role in guiding YAAP's strategic initiatives for growth and expansion across regions. The appointment of Raj Nayak, a distinguished stalwart of the media and entertainment industry, underscores YAAP's commitment to its ambitious long-term goals and rapid growth plan. Atul Hegde, Founder of YAAP, expressed his delight at the collaboration, saying, "It's an absolute pleasure to have Raj Nayak join YAAP's advisory board. Raj's rich legacy and extensive experience in the media and entertainment industry will be instrumental in driving YAAP's strategic growth and expansion plans in the coming months. His addition to the board aligns perfectly with our ongoing expansion across regions, key leadership appointments, and our relentless pursuit of product and service excellence."Raj Nayak's illustrious career spans over three decades, during which he has founded and held leadership positions at some of the world's largest media and entertainment companies, including Star TV and NDTV. His most recent role as the Chief Operating Officer at Viacom18 saw him spearheading some of the network's most iconic shows and properties. Following his celebrated tenure at Viacom18, Nayak ventured into a new domain with House of Cheer, a full-service happiness and technology hub specializing in creation, curation, and consultancy, where he serves as the Managing Director.Commenting on his new role, Raj Nayak shared, "Embodying its philosophy of 'Built for Now,' YAAP has successfully harnessed content, data, and technology to deliver immense value to its clients, establishing itself as a dominant player in the industry. YAAP's promising roadmap for growth and expansion in the coming years, driven by innovation and strategic expansion into new markets, resonates with my business philosophy. It presents us with an exciting opportunity to break new ground together."YAAP has been on a trajectory of strategic growth, with recent additions such as Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman AlBanna, the former UAE Ambassador to India, to their advisory board, as well as key leadership appointments across India and GCC. The company has also formed a strategic partnership with Tagger Media, a leading US-based influencer marketing platform. These developments follow YAAP's acquisition of Crayons Communications, a renowned advertising agency in the Middle East, and an impressive financial performance, including a remarkable 97% increase in top-line growth and a fivefold rise in profitability for FY21-22. YAAP's prestigious client portfolio includes industry leaders such as NPCI, Visit Dubai, IndusInd, Lufthansa, SBI Cards, Disney, Apparel Group, MPL, Amazon, and Square Enix.

Coca-Cola introduces ‘drink of the future’ using AI

Coca-Cola, known for launching various limited-edition mystery flavours, has announced its latest mystery flavor, Coca-Cola Y3000 Zero Sugar, using AI.According to the brand, Coca-Cola Y300 is “the first futuristic flavor co-created with human and artificial intelligence.” The flavor is designed to celebrate an optimistic future through "the connections we make" and was created by tapping into both human and artificial intelligence as a way to understand how people envision the future. The taste of the Y3000 beverage was a two-step process. First, researchers at Coca-Cola collected ‘key flavour preferences and trends to understand what consumers imagine and think the future tastes like’. Then, that information was crunched by Coke’s artificial intelligence system to ‘help develop flavor profiles and pairings.’Coca-Cola doesn’t describe what the new flavor tastes like in any of its materials, but the drink comes in regular and zero sugar varietals. The use of AI, for Coca-Cola Creations, is a natural step that positions the drink in a way that could attract the interest of younger consumers who will want to try it, before potentially increasing their consumption of other Coca-Cola products. This latest version of Coca –Cola, doesn’t promote or reveal a flavor profile, such as cola, cherry or vanilla, but rather a mood or experience.Oana Vlad, Senior Director, Global Strategy, The Coca Cola Company, said,“We hope that Coca Cola will still be as relevant and refreshing in the year 3000 as it is today, so we challenged ourselves to explore the concept of what a Coke from the future might taste like. The ‘Real Magic’ brand platform celebrates unexpected connections that make the ordinary extraordinary, so we intentionally brought human intelligence and AI together for an uplifting expression of what Coca Cola believes tomorrow will bring.”While Y3000 is the first flavor developed with AI from Coca-Cola, it's not the first, nor the most unique flavor from the brand. Last summer, the brand released a "pixel-flavored" soda, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte.

du and Hashgraph association join forces for blockchain innovation at Envision

du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), inked a groundbreaking partnership with The Hashgraph Association at Envision 2023. The collaboration focuses on harnessing the potential of the Hedera blockchain to offer secure, traceable, and scalable solutions on a corporate blockchain platform.As part of this strategic alliance, du and the The Hashgraph Association will provide innovative blockchain solutions to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), governmental institutions, and municipalities. Leveraging the efficiency of Hashgraph on a decentralised, public network, the Hedera Distributed Ledger Technology ensures a trusted and reliable foundation for the newly developed solutions. Target sectors include manufacturing, healthcare, education, smart cities, and agriculture, catering to a wide range of industries seeking secure and efficient applications.Notably, Hedera stands out as the greenest proof-of-stake network according to UCL research, aligning perfectly with du's commitment to providing sustainable solutions. This synergy strengthens du's position as a leader in promoting ecological responsibility within the telecommunications industry. This partnership holds the potential to transform industries, drive innovation, and transform the way businesses operate in the digital landscape.

Deliveroo UAE reveals takeaway map of Dubai

Deliveroo has just revealed the launch of its Takeaway Map to showcase the most sought-after dishes in neighbourhoods across Dubai. Building on the platform’s deep understanding of the local market, the Takeaway Map takes customers on a culinary journey unveiling the most coveted dishes in the country. Starting with Dubai, Deliveroo is revealing the most popular dishes of the city’s diverse neighbourhoods. Dubai, the vibrant melting pot of cultures and flavours, comes alive through Deliveroo’s Takeaway Map. Extending to areas such as Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT), Greens, Jumeirah, Downtown Dubai, Motor City, Mirdif, Satwa, and Deira, the map guides customers through an immersive exploration of Dubai’s food scene, one neighbourhood at a time. Whether in the heart of the city or nearly by the sea, the Takeaway Map reveals that food lovers in Dubai Marina have a fondness for Margherita Pizza, while foodies in Downtown Dubai prefer the Rigatoni Bolognese. The map reveals that Birria is the ultimate pick for customers located in JLT. Residents in Jumeirah opt to start their day with the ultimate bite of a Breakfast Sandwich, whereas those living in Motor City prefer a comforting Chicken Sandwich. Travelling back to the Greens, Deliveroo’s Takeaway Map uncovers that the Katsu Curry is the favoured dish in the neighbourhood. Navigating to Satwa, Deliveroo’s findings show that residents sate their cravings with Chicken Strips. As the map crosses over the Creek, Deliveroo reveals that residents prefer salmon, with the Crispy Salmon Skin Sushi being the favourite dish in Deira, and the Salmon Bowl the most-loved in Mirdif. Yasmine Mroueh, Head of Commercial at Deliveroo UAE said, ‘At Deliveroo, our mission is to connect people with the food they love. Through our Takeaway Map, we celebrate the diverse culinary landscape that defines Dubai’s neighbourhoods. Dubai is a city where every corner has its own unique flavour, and we’re proud to deliver this world of food to our customers’ doorsteps.’ Whether a Dubai resident or a visitor, Deliveroo’s Takeaway Map of the city is a customer’s passport to an unforgettable culinary adventure.

Bahrain Tourism sees remarkable 51% surge in visitor numbers

The Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority (BTEA), recently unveiled its latest statistics for the period of January to June 2023, showcasing remarkable growth in their tourism sector. According to the latest BTEA data, Bahrain welcomed a staggering 5.9 million visitors during the first six months of 2023, representing a remarkable 51% increase from the same period in the previous year when 3.9 million tourists visited the country. This substantial surge in arrivals emphasizes Bahrain's growing attraction as a premier tourist destination. The Kingdom of Bahrain, renowned for its rich cultural heritage, vibrant shopping scene, and diverse tourist attractions has emerged as a desirable destination for tourists across the globe. It continues to make significant strides in its tourism sector. Bahrain, an island nation situated in the heart of the Arabian Gulf, has become a favorite choice for tourists seeking a unique blend of culture, history, and modernity. Visitors are drawn to its historical sites, such as the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Bahrain Pearling Trail and the ancient Qal'at al Bahrain (Bahrain Fort), offering a glimpse into the nation's rich history dating back over 4,000 years. Moreover, Bahrain's cultural festivals, stunning architecture and warm hospitality attract visitors from around the world. This showcases the country's commitment to embracing global cultural diversity while preserving its own traditions. The nation's culinary scene is another highlight, with a plethora of restaurants offering a delectable fusion of Middle Eastern and international cuisines. From authentic local dishes to gourmet experiences, Bahrain satisfies every palate. One noteworthy trend observed during this period is the increasing number of tourists from India. The country witnessed 87% surge in the number of Indians visiting Bahrain. In the first half of 2023, the number of Indian visitors soared to 5,04,173 compared to 2,69,302 for the same period in 2022, showcasing the substantial growth in this tourist segment. The Indian market has shown tremendous interest in Bahrain as a preferred destination for weddings, vacations, and relaxation. The Kingdom's proximity to India, convenient connectivity, and a diverse range of offerings cater to the preferences of Indian travelers, making Bahrain an attractive choice for both leisure and business purposes.  Maryam Toorani, Director of Marketing & Promotion at BETA, said, “Bahrain's significant growth in tourism during the first half of 2023 is a testament to the enduring charm of our country. We are delighted to welcome 5.9 million visitors who have chosen Bahrain as their destination of choice. As we continue to evolve and welcome travelers from around the world, we remain committed to crafting unforgettable experiences that showcase our rich culture, history, and the warmth of our hospitality.” Bahrain's government continues to invest in its infrastructure and initiatives to ensure the sustainability and growth of its tourism sector. These efforts include enhancing accommodation options, expanding transportation networks, and promoting cultural and recreational activities. As Bahrain's tourism industry continues to flourish, it remains committed to providing exceptional experiences for visitors from around the world and nurturing its relationship with India, a key market in its tourism expansion strategy.

Babyshop unveils lullaby for kids in war zones

Babyshop, the baby and children’s retailer in the MENA region, has launched an initiative called ‘Frequencies of Peace’ with the help of creative agency FP7 McCann. Its main aim is to improve the lives of children in war and conflict areas, in support of UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. ‘Frequencies of Peace’ is a lullaby, developed with a dedicated team of neuroscientists from music therapy platform ‘Spiritune’. It is a specially developed song, which can calm, soothe and assist children go to sleep while living in devastating situations and also for those who have had experienced the turmoil early in their lives.   Babyshop has adopted this novel approach to address and support babies and children affected by war by replacing the sounds of war with the sounds of a lullaby to bring comfort and hope across the Middle East. This will surely assist parents and caregivers, as the lullaby has been made by evidence-based research in music therapy and neuroscience from leading institutions, such as New York University and Stanford.Moreover, scientific studies show very clearly that music has a profound impact on the nervous system. Lullabies, in particular, are highly effective in regulating children’s nervous systems. Across the world, an estimated 200 million children are living in the world’s most lethal war zones in the Middle East. Babies exposed to the sights and sounds of terror and war have been shown to develop PTSD, depression, and high rates of anxiety as they grow up. According to UNHCR’s Global Trends Report 2022, children make up to 30% but account for 41% of all forcibly displaced people. Children living in countries affected by wars and disasters often experience psychological distress, including anxiety, sadness, fatigue, and sleep disturbances. Mitin Chakraborty, Head of Marketing at Babyshop, commented: “As Head of Marketing for Babyshop, I've seen firsthand the impact of collective action. 'Frequencies of Peace' was born from a realization that peaceful sleep is a luxury for children in conflict zones. This scientifically-designed lullaby is our humble attempt to offer them the tranquillity they deserve. It's a joint effort with our incredible partners—UNHCR, Spiritune, and Anghami—uniting us in the commitment to make a real difference, one lullaby at a time.”<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>Fanti Federico, Chief Creative Officer at FP7 McCann, noted: “We are extremely proud to be part of this campaign, and to work with Babyshop, the artist and the team of neuroscientists from Spiritune. There is nothing more rewarding than using creativity to build effective and long-lasting tools that can benefit underprivileged people. This Lullaby can not only help children in war and disaster zones, but it can also represent a meaningful symbol of peace for the wider audience.” He added “The process has been humbling to be part of, and with the support of the UNHCR we hope that we can bring comfort to millions of children all over the world.”In a world where millions of children are burdened by the trauma of war and its aftermath, the simple power of a lullaby offers a glimmer of hope and solace amidst the chaos.

From words to results: The power of good communication

Maya Angelou once famously said: 'Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.' This profound statement continues to hold true in the present day. Women, often referred to as the fairer sex, have consistently confronted and conquered the myriad challenges that cross their paths. They have demonstrated an indomitable spirit and emerged as inspiring role models for countless others.Karolina Slowikowska-Jaworowska is a prime example of a successful woman who has made a significant impact over the past two decades in the fields of media and communication. With more than 20 years of experience as a communications specialist, she stands as a testament to what determination and expertise can achieve. In an exclusive interview with Adgully, Karolina Slowikowska-Jaworowska, Director-Brand Communications at amana, delves deep into her journey of success within the realms of media, content, PR, and finance. She shares insights into the evolving role of women in our predominantly male-dominated society. Furthermore, she discusses her passion for writing and public relations, highlighting how these two facets complement each other seamlessly. Excerpts:Can you please share your career journey? How do you think the role and scope of women leaders have widened in the current market ecosystem in the UAE?My career journey started nearly two decades ago in the field of journalism, where I had the privilege to work with some of the world's most distinguished journalists, including Pulitzer Prize finalists, at the renowned Reuters news agency.Around a decade ago, I smoothly transitioned into the realm of communications and media relations. It felt natural. I’m now working in the world of finance, which I’ve grown to consider the lifeblood of any economy.While it's true that women have not traditionally dominated the financial sector during my journey, I have been fortunate to work in environments that were exceptionally supportive and inclusive, regardless of gender ratios. I firmly believe that the dynamics of one's workplace depend on the people around you.Over the years, I have witnessed a notable increase in the representation of women in the financial sector—an encouraging trend. It reflects the success of educational systems in providing girls with access to finance, mathematics, and science-oriented education while actively fostering their interest in these subjects. This transformation benefits not only the economy but also corporations, which now have a growing pool of talented women in fields that were previously male-dominated.We are increasingly aware that diversity, particularly in terms of diverse perspectives and thought, is a crucial driver of progress and innovation. This evolution is undoubtedly a positive sign for the industry and society at large.You are Director of Brand Communications at amana as well as have been an Editor and play many other roles simultaneously. What drives Karolina Slowikowska to fulfill all this?My passion for journalism and communications is deeply rooted in my upbringing and personal experiences. Watching my father, a dedicated journalist, immersed in his work left a lasting impression. Those father-daughter trips to his newspaper, the print section with that unique smell of ink and paper that I still remember, all left me enamored with the power of media. Now, as the Brand Communications Director at amana, I carry forward that energy and understanding. I firmly believe that effective communication is vital in fostering trust within the financial industry. I'm driven by the knowledge that my team and I contribute significantly to our brand and company's success.What is your first love? Media communications or content strategy? What is the one topic that you really like to write about?Both! Media strategy and content strategy are two essential components of a comprehensive communications plan, each serving distinct yet common purposes.Media strategy primarily focuses on selecting the right channels and platforms to distribute content effectively. It involves decisions about advertising budgets, media buying, target audience analysis, and scheduling. The goal is to ensure that the content reaches the desired audience through the most appropriate channels, such as social media, TV, radio, or print.On the other hand, content strategy is concerned with creating and curating compelling, relevant, and valuable content. This includes defining the messaging, tone, and style, as well as determining the types of content (e.g., articles, videos, infographics) needed to engage and inform the target audience.The two strategies are intimately connected. A well-considered content strategy informs the media strategy by providing the content that will be disseminated through chosen channels. Conversely, the media strategy guides the content strategy by determining where and when to publish content for maximum impact.For a communications director, daily responsibilities involve overseeing both strategies. This includes monitoring content creation, ensuring it aligns with the brand's goals, and adapting media choices based on real-time feedback and data analysis. The director must maintain a delicate balance between the two to achieve optimal communication outcomes. This entails continuous evaluation and adjustment to keep the strategies intertwined and effective.What can you say about the dynamics of the communication Industry, especially in the MENA region? What can you predict about its future?We live in an incredibly fast world where change is practically constant. And this is also true of the communications/PR industry. The PR industry is dynamic, constantly evolving to adapt to changing media landscapes and communication technologies. It involves building and managing relationships between organisations and their audiences, utilizing storytelling, social media, and data analytics to shape public perception. Flexibility, agility, and adaptability are key in this ever-shifting landscape. With the recent emergence of AI, we’re entering an entirely new phase, where change is even faster and adaptability will be the absolute key.What is your mantra for maintaining a successful work-life balance?It takes a village! Achieving a healthy work-life balance for women and men, especially in senior or leadership roles, first requires the acknowledgment that ‘balance’ is an important part of our lives. There are a few ways that I think can help anyone achieve a better work-life balance:• Prioritising tasks and responsibilities• embracing technology to work remotely when possible• establishing clear boundaries by setting designated work hours and respecting personal time• regularly scheduling self-care and leisure activities• learning to ask for help from a strong network, including family, friends, and mentors.I have been fortunate to collaborate with incredible teams and exceptional managers over the years. I've witnessed a significant evolution in corporate culture during the last couple of decades, with companies, leaders, and managers increasingly prioritizing work-life balance and mental health. As someone who leads a team, I'm making every effort I can to live by the above rules. This includes setting clear boundaries, promoting flexibility, and actively encouraging a healthy work-life balance to ensure that my team thrives both personally and professionally.According to you, what makes women the best in crisis management?Studies suggest that women often exhibit qualities such as empathy, collaboration, and strong interpersonal skills, which are often crucial during high-pressure situations. Their communication style also tends to be more transparent and inclusive, fostering trust among stakeholders. Additionally, women leaders are often seen as more approachable and relatable during crises. While individual capabilities vary, these findings underline the valuable contributions women can make in effectively handling crisis communication scenarios.A good example of a study that provides insights into women's effectiveness in crisis communications is "Crisis Communication in Public Relations: A Test of the Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) in the Context of Female CEOs" by Audra Diers-Lawson and Julia L. Daisy. This research examines how female CEOs handle crises in their organizations. It found that female leaders tend to adopt more accommodative strategies and engage in proactive communication during crises, contributing to more positive public perceptions and outcomes.What are the five most effective leadership lessons that you have learned and would like to share with others?Leadership, in my experience, transcends authority. The top five lessons I have learned include the importance of emotional intelligence, building positive team relationships, practicing empathy, fostering a sense of common purpose, and continuous personal growth. True leadership isn't just about power; it's about connecting, understanding, and guiding others towards shared goals with compassion and emotional acumen.Is there anything in your career bucket list that you have yet to do?I would like to develop my own course or workshop, so I can share my expertise and knowledge, helping to empower leaders and individuals in mastering public speaking and effective communication. This also aligns with my long-term goal of sharing insights and knowledge through a potential book, enabling others to communicate confidently and authentically, fostering stronger connections and building better relationships with brands, people and/or institutions. One day, I’ll find the time!

Synamedia Showcases the Future of Sports Video Streaming at IBC

Leading video software provider Synamedia today announced that it will share its vision of the future of sports streaming at IBC 2023 with a preview of several innovations from its R&D labs designed to meet Video Network’s target customers’ needs: B2B distribution SaaS solutions, D2C streaming SaaS solutions, and IP network optimisation products. These early technologies will include compression, CDN switching, in-stadium experiences and a new way of distributing sports content. According to Marc Baillavoine, recently appointed as CTO of Video Network at Synamedia, “With many patented and unique technologies, our video network portfolio meets the needs of every type of video service provider from niche streamers through to tier-1 operators with specific scaling and operational needs. Working with these customers we know how sports streaming pushes technology to its limits. Anticipating future demands for flexibility, scalability, and quality of experience - yet with an eye on cost control - we are continuing to innovate. Just like concept cars in the auto industry, we now want to share our vision to get content owners and operators’ feedback and to collaborate on real world applications.” Synamedia believes it will have the industry’s first demonstration of Versatile Video Coding (VVC) running in the cloud on the latest Amazon Web Services (AWS) instances. It will highlight the benefits of using AI for compression, including customisation by sport to optimise the results depending on the sports. For example, it features a lightweight, real-time AI model that ensures every image is properly rendered, including the grass on the field. It will also show how it can support compression in 8K. Continuing its efforts towards a more sustainable streaming, another demonstration will show how Synamedia is optimising energy efficiency with a multi-CDN approach that simultaneously improves QoE by negotiating between the CDN tenants for more optimal usage of physical resources. Synamedia will also highlight a breakthrough solution that combines ultra-low latency, with sub-second glass-to-glass latency alongside content delivery at scale, combining the latest standards. Building on an earlier demonstration at NAB 2023, Synamedia will show enhancements to its immersive in-stadium experience with partner NativeWaves. This application brings viewers closer to the action when watching their favourite teams and athletes at home, on-the-go or from their stadium seat. It includes Synamedia’s end-to-end ultra-low latency to allow fans to instantly re-watch the action – such as scores, overtakes, injuries - from different camera angles using companion devices at home or 5G devices while in the stadium or on the move.  Synamedia will also provide a sneak peek at its latest innovation in global content distribution that will reduce content acquisition and distribution costs. This new business model uses SaaS gateways that will allow customers to be operational in minutes with auto registration and signal availability. This means sports content owners will be able to quickly start delivering content when and where they need it using cloud connectivity and CDNs. It will also make it easy for them try out new business models in different regions and extend their reach. Synamedia demos will be at IBC 2023 in hall 1 balcony suite 21.

Visa and FAB announce winners of second UAE edition of She's Next program

Visa (NYSE: V), the world's leader in digital payments, together with First Abu Dhabi Bank today announced Jennifer Sault, the Founder of Thrift for Good, a charity shop in Dubai that rehomes preloved clothes and items to raise funds for children’s charities around the world, as the much-anticipated winner of its second She's Next grant program for UAE. The winner was selected at an award ceremony held at Museum of the Future in Dubai.Handpicked from a pool of over 880 applicants from across the GCC, the winning woman-owned small business received a US$50,000 grant along with a year of business coaching from International Trade Centre (ITC), a United Nations and World Trade Organization, and US$3.000 of Amazon Web Services credits. The business coaching will be provided by the ITC SheTrades Initiative, ITC’s flagship women and trade program. The winner was selected from a pool of applicants representing a range of sectors including but not limited to textiles, education, food and beverage, professional services, beauty and wellness.A jury evaluated entries based on the following criteria: the progression of applicant’s entrepreneurial journey; robustness of their business metrics; digital presence; and demonstrated ability to problem-solve confidently. The members of the jury included: Shaikha Ali AlNaqbi, Head of Contracting Segment – Corporate Banking, First Abu Dhabi Bank; Khuloud Al Omian, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, Forbes Middle East; Carl Manlan, VP, Inclusion Impact & Sustainability, Visa, CEMEA; Houda Buhumaid, Chief Impact Officer, Dubai Holding; Wendy Paratian, Program Officer, She Trades; and Hadi Aloh, Head of Sales, Commercial Segment, UAE, AWS.For the first time, She’s Next included a People’s Favorite award, voted for online by members of the general public. This award with cash prize of US$10,000 went to Nada Alawadhi, the Founder of The Bookshelf, a bilingual book subscription for kids.Further highlighting the increasing focus on sustainability in today’s local business landscape, most of the She’s Next applicants showcased sustainable business practices. In fact, based on the SMB Digitization Index commissioned by Visa to support the She’s Next program, all the women entrepreneurs surveyed in the GCC (100%) acknowledged the increasing importance of sustainability in the current business landscape, indicating their commitment to reduce waste, recycle products (45%), and minimize plastic usage (51%).Through their participation in the She's Next program, these women entrepreneurs have already gained access to practical insights from women leaders, valuable tools, educational resources, and facilitated trainings. This includes access to AWS Connected Community and ITC SheTrades Initiative's "Elevate Your Business" training program. Visa and ITC will also provide one-to-one advisory support for 30 finalists – equipping these individuals with the guidance and insights to boost their business and financial strategies."In a world where women-owned small businesses consistently demonstrate their resilience and future-forward optimism, Visa is proud to acknowledge and support these trailblazing female entrepreneurs in UAE. We extend our heartfelt congratulations once again to the winners of She’s Next in UAE and look forward to supporting them in their business journey," said Dr. Saeeda Jaffar, Visa’s SVP and Group Country Manager for GCC.Sara Al Binali, Group Head of Corporate, Commercial, and International Banking at FAB, said: “The She's Next winners exemplify the strength and depth of women-owned businesses in the UAE. FAB is proud to be part of a program that is proving to be so effective at empowering and elevating women entrepreneurs in their journey to success. As we celebrate these exceptional winners, we eagerly anticipate their businesses reaching new heights and making a lasting impact on the UAE's entrepreneurial landscape.”

Gartner forecasts 15mln electric cars will be shipped in 2023

Dubai: Nearly 15 million electric cars (battery electric and plug-in hybrid) are expected to be shipped worldwide in 2023, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc. Shipments of electric cars are estimated to increase 19% in 2024, to total 17.9 million units.Gartner forecasts that shipments of all electric vehicles (EVs) - cars, buses, vans and heavy trucks - will total 18.5 million units in 2024, with electric car shipments will representing 97% of total EV shipments next year (see Table 1).Globally, battery electric vehicles (BEV) shipments are forecast to grow from 9 million units in 2022 to 11 million units by the end of 2023. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs are expected to grow at a slightly slower rate, from 3 million units in 2022 to 4 million units in 2023.“The proportion of PHEV, as a percentage of total EVs in countries like the U.S., Canada and Japan will slightly grow as consumers in those countries prefer PHEVs to BEVs. U.S. consumers who are transitioning from a pure internal combustion engine (ICE) car are choosing to adopt PHEVs over their BEV counterparts because PHEVs combine the ability to deliver emission free urban driving, with the convenience of gasoline powered propulsion for longer journeys,” said Jonathan Davenport, Sr Director Analyst at Gartner. “The situation is different in Western Europe, China and to a lesser extent India, where consumers favor BEV’s lower overall running costs, quieter driving experience and green credentials.”EV Models to Represent Over 50% of Car Maker Models by 2030Governments’ decisions to reduce particulate matter emissions from vehicles and some country-level initiatives, such as implementing legislation to only allow the sale of zero-emission vehicles and seeking to enforce PHEV as a minimum, led to changes in automaker behaviors. Some automakers are looking to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035 and others are aspiring to achieve sales of 40% to 50% of annual U.S. volumes of electric vehicles by 2030. In addition, the growing importance of EVs has led to new market entrants launching EV platforms.“Ever-tightening emission regulations will lead automakers to pivot more than half of the vehicle models marketed to EVs by 2030,” said Davenport.By 2027, BEV Prices to Reach Parity with ICE Vehicles of Similar Size and ConfigurationGartner analysts expect that by 2027, the average price of a BEV will reach parity with ICE vehicles of similar size and configuration, which will accelerate the global adoption of EVs. However, by 2030, power generation and network capacity have the potential to act as inhibiting factors to mass EV deployment regardless of price.“Unless countries take actions to incentivize EV drivers to charge outside peak electricity consumption periods, the switch to EVs may put an additional strain on both the power generation capacity and the distribution infrastructure,” said Davenport.“Using dual day and night or even half-hourly electricity tariffs can incentivize EV drivers to charge outside peak times, which would require a mass roll-out of smart metering,” added Davenport. “Likewise, the ability of utilities to control EV chargers directly via application programming interfaces (APIs) would enable EV charging to be momentarily curtailed at peak consumption times to ensure grid demands weren’t exceeded.”Gartner clients can read more in “Forecast: Electric Vehicle Shipments, Worldwide, 2022-2032” and “Forecast Analysis: Electric Vehicle Shipments, Worldwide.”

More than 250 global experts to address 12th IGCF tomorrow

Sharjah: Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of Sharjah Media Council (SMC), the 12th annual International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2023) is set to convene tomorrow (Wednesday) under the theme 'Today's Resources... Tomorrow's Wealth' in Expo Centre Sharjah.Organised by the Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB), IGCF 2023 brings together the experiences and expertise of more than 250 thought leaders, thinkers and experts in government communication, both at local and international levels. They will be leading over 90 main discussions, side sessions, inspiring speeches, seminars, programmes and activities on 14 stages in collaboration with 35 local, regional and international partners.The two-day event will underscore the role of government communication in managing and optimising a country's resources, over 4 main pillars - natural resources; non-material resources of culture, arts, sports, and human capital; technology and data, the wealth of our era. The forum will also explore government communication’s role in identifying and optimising sources of future wealth.In its 12th edition, IGCF will also promote a comprehensive developmental culture, with a focus on individual well-being and strengthening communities' resilience by offering the practical ideas and insights from distinguished speakers, including HE Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment and Chairperson of the Emirates Food Security Council; Frank Caprio, the world famous US judge known as "The Nicest Judge in the World"; David Daokui Li, a prominent Chinese economist and the Director of the Center for China in the World Economy (CCWE) at Tsinghua University; Dr. Raja Al Marzouqi, GCC Chief Negotiator – FTA Negotiation; Dr. Osama Kamal, former Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources; Dr. Ayman Ayyash, Chairman of the Royal Commission for the Mining Sector, Jordan.Other distinguished speakers who will address the forum include Maria Antonia, Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Philippines; Koh Jean, Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Digital Platform Government, South Korea; HE Ambassador Ahmed Rashid Khattabi, Assistant Secretary General of the Arab League; Robin Sharma, renowned global leadership expert and Canadian author; Prof. Dr. Ger Graus, Global Director of Education, KidZania; Ambassador Marco A. Suazo, Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) New York Office; Prof. Dr. Fan Gang, Professor of Economics, Peking University and President of China Development Institute; Prof. Alexander Likhotal, President of the International Green Cross; Dr. Inhyok Cha, Digital Twin TF team leader of the Presidential Committee on the Digital Platform of the Republic of Korea, Sheikh Salman bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, CEO of the National Center for Cybersecurity, Dr. Mohamed Hamad Al-Kuwaiti, Head of Cyber Security for the Government of the UAE, Eng. Khalifa Musabeh Ahmed Alteneiji, Chairman of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock in Sharjah.Optimal resource investmentOver the course of two days, IGCF 2023 will highlight the importance of strengthening partnerships between countries to achieve optimal resource investment and utilisation. It will shine light on successful global experiences and practices in resource investment, such as food and water security and the adoption of green energy sources. The forum will also explore the significance of non-material wealth for societies, including human and cultural wealth encompassing heritage, arts, sciences, talents, education, and technologies, while emphasising the role of government communication in defining these assets' concepts, highlighting their value and impact on development.IGCF will also address the challenges and solutions in building and preserving these forms of wealth, and demonstrate ways in which society can transform them into a key fuel for socioeconomic progress.

Dubai International Chamber further strengthens its presence in Europe

Dubai: Dubai International Chamber, one of the three chambers operating under the umbrella of Dubai Chambers, has inaugurated a new representative office in Paris to boost trade and investment with France. The launch comes just days after the inauguration of the chamber’s new office in Italy, further strengthening its presence in Europe and increasing the total number of international representative offices to 24 across five continents.The opening comes as part of the ‘Dubai Global’ initiative, which seeks to attract new business, investment, and talent to the emirate while enabling Dubai-based companies to expand into priority international markets. Launched by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, Dubai Global aims to establish a powerful network of 50 representative offices around the world by 2030.The inauguration ceremony for the new office was held with the participation of Her Excellency Hend Al Otaiba, the UAE Ambassador to France, and Salem Al Shamsi, Vice President of Global Markets at Dubai Chambers, in the presence of distinguished representatives of the French business community.Commenting on the launch of the Paris office, Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, said: “France is one of the strategically important global markets in which we are keen to establish our presence. Our network of international representative offices will play a key role in boosting Dubai's non-oil foreign trade from AED 1.4 trillion to AED 2 trillion by 2026, in line with the goals of the emirate’s five-year foreign trade plan.”Lootah added: "We remain committed to achieving our strategic priorities and strengthening our efforts to attract companies from France and the wider European region to Dubai, as well as assisting Dubai-based companies that wish to expand into France. The new office in Paris unifies our efforts to enhance the reach and resilience of Dubai businesses in global markets while supporting the Dubai Economic Agenda by attracting new foreign direct investment to the emirate."Her Excellency Hend Al Otaiba, the UAE Ambassador to France, commented: “Dubai International Chamber’s opening of a new Paris office is testament to the strength and dynamism of France-UAE trade relations. This milestone comes at a crucial moment in time as our economy is diversifying at full speed, presenting exciting new opportunities for French companies to expand their footprint in the UAE in fields varying from space and technology to health and luxury."472 French companies registered with Dubai Chamber of Commerce during the first seven months of 2023 alone, up 33% from the same period in 2022. This impressive growth brought the total number of member companies from France to 3,068, underlining the strong level of interest in Dubai among the French business community.The value of non-oil bilateral trade between Dubai and France reached AED 24.6 billion during 2022, representing significant year-on-year growth of 33.7%.Prominent sectors for trade between the UAE and France include aircraft and parts, machinery, precious stones and metals, perfumes and cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products. The new office in Paris will further strengthen an already robust commercial relationship by identifying and capitalising on high-potential trade and investment opportunities in areas such as cereals, dairy products, jewellery, and the automobile industry.The Dubai International Chamber team in Paris will focus on building strong relationships with key public and private sector stakeholders, as well as providing comprehensive support for French companies seeking to enter Dubai and expand internationally through the emirate. The launch of the office creates new channels for communication and economic cooperation between the two markets and will strengthen cooperation with local partners to co-organise networking events, business seminars, and business matching events.Dubai’s strategic location and world-class logistics facilities have established the emirate as a preferred trade hub for French companies with global ambitions. Offering easy access to over 2.2 billion consumers, Dubai serves as a gateway for businesses in France and the wider European continent looking to expand their footprints globally.

Indosuez Wealth Management strengthens ME operations with new leadership

Dubai: Indosuez Wealth Management, the global wealth management arm of Crédit Agricole Group, is pleased to announce the appointment of Emile Salawi as Head of the Middle East. This strategic appointment further strengthens Indosuez's commitment to the region and comes within the scope of the recent opening of its DIFC branch in October 2022 and the recruitment of Vanik Baghramian as its Senior Executive Officer.Emile Salawi will lead the organization's efforts across the entire Middle East region, capitalizing on the expertise of not only the Indosuez Wealth Management teams in Geneva, Zurich, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi, but also the unique capabilities of Crédit Agricole CIB and Amundi teams in the region. Salawi has an outstanding wealth management track record in driving business growth and delivering high-standard quality relationship management to high-net-worth individuals.Isabelle Jacob-Nebout, Head of Wealth Management for Indosuez in Switzerland, Middle East and Asia , said:"We are delighted to announce Emile Salawi as the new Head of Middle East, further bolstering our commitment to this key market. As highlighted in the recent Wealth Report by Knight Frank, the UAE recorded the world's fastest growth rate of ultra-rich individuals standing out with an impressive 16.9% growth in their population of UHNWIs for the region.Emile's extensive experience and multifaceted skill set make him the ideal leader to capitalize on these opportunities, strengthen our presence in the region, and deliver exceptional client experiences."With the recent opening of its DIFC Branch in October 2022 and the recruitment of Vanik Baghramian, as Senior Executive Officer of the bank’s branch in DIFC, Indosuez Wealth Management, which roots date back to 1949 in the Arabian Gulf states, now boasts a dual presence in the UAE, comprising: a DIFC Branch operating under the regulatory purview of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and a Representative Office in Abu Dhabi governed by the Central Bank of UAE within its on-shore jurisdiction. The Group’s ongoing expansion uniquely positions the business to effectively cater to the diverse financial needs of its clientele and further contribute to the flourishing financial landscape of the region.BiographiesEmile Salawi brings over two decades of comprehensive international banking experience to the Middle East clientele, with a background in investment banking at UBS, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and Deutsche Bank, as well as in private banking at BNP Paribas. He joined Indosuez Wealth Management, in 2020 as Head of Key Clients and Family Offices of CA Indosuez (Switzerland) SA.Vanik Baghramian was with UBS for 15 years, covering various wealth management positions, including Head of Arabian Gulf business in Geneva and member of the MEA Management Committee.

Neo Capital Names Babak Sultani as CEO to Lead Growth and Strategy

Neo Capital, a leading global real estate investment management firm, announced today the appointment of Babak Sultani as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Babak will be based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and takes up this role with immediate effect.In his new role, Babak will focus on strengthening Neo Capital’s position in the market, with the objective of growing the firm’s Assets Under Management (AUM) from approximately US $1 billion to US $3 billion in the medium term. He will spearhead efforts to expand the firm’s investor base in the GCC, as well as lead the acquisition and asset management activities; ensuring optimal performance and value creation for investors and shareholders.Babak Sultani brings over 20 years of real estate experience to Neo Capital. He joins from Investcorp, where he spent 15 years and held the role of Managing Director of the Real Estate Group. During his tenure, he played a crucial role in growing Investcorp's real estate AUM to over US $10 billion. Babak holds a Master’s Degree in Science in Accounting from the University of Texas at Arlington.Commenting on the appointment, Hani Obaid, Founder and Chairman of Neo Capital, said: "We are delighted to welcome Babak as our new CEO. His extensive experience in the real estate industry, combined with his strategic and leadership skills, will be instrumental in leading Neo Capital through its next phase of growth. Babak's appointment brings structure, focus, and a strong client-centric mindset to the role."Babak Sultani, Chief Executive Officer added, "I am excited to be joining Neo Capital at this time of its growth journey. The market timing is ideal and I see great potential in the firm. With a strong team already in place, I believe we have the expertise and skill set required to deliver on our strategic objectives and capture more opportunities while delivering value to our clients."Founded in 2015, having transacted approximately US $1 billion to date, Neo Capital has a strong track record of successful transactions across the US, Western Europe, and the UK. The latest addition to their portfolio is the acquisition of Liverpool’s Royal Albert Docks, a historical site and landmark attraction in the City of Liverpool, UK.

Dubai Sports World wraps up its largest edition ever

The 2023 edition of Dubai Sports World (DSW) - Dubai’s largest and most diverse indoor summer sports destination - has concluded its largest edition to date, setting new records with its larger-than-ever array of sports offering and cutting-edge fitness facilities for all age groups throughout the summer. Celebrating its 13th edition this year, Dubai Sports World returned with an unparalleled selection of sports fun spread across an expansive 300,000 square feet featuring over 40 courts and pitches at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). Complemented by a multitude of new fitness facilities, the event spanned three months, from 01 June to 10 September, and was organised by DWTC in partnership with the Dubai Sports Council and in support of the UAE leadership's commitment to fostering a healthier and more fitness-oriented lifestyle. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2023 EDITION This year, participants took part in a plethora of sports, fitness classes, academic coaching, and an exciting range of activities for all ages. DSW offered the perfect haven for sports enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, said: "Dubai Sports World has become an essential event in the city’s annual sporting calendar, creating a positive impact on sports, physical fitness, and community participation. The 2023 edition has set new standards for success - from the number of events and participants to the diversity of sports and activities on offer, and the involvement of leading sporting academies.” “At Dubai Sports Council, in close collaboration with Dubai World Trade Centre and government entities, we have worked tirelessly to make Dubai Sports World inclusive and accessible – a place for people of all ages, all abilities and from all walks of life. For this edition, we welcomed seniors from the Thukher Club and hosted cleaning engineers from Dubai Municipality and the hardworking personnel of delivery companies in Dubai. The participants enjoyed a positive sporting experience - fostering wellbeing and happiness while strengthening community bonds. It’s also a small way in which we can convey our appreciation for the invaluable services they provide to our city and its community members." Featuring new facilities for the season, such as pickleball courts, a 300m running track, a dedicated gym equipped with top-of-the-line Matrix cardio and strength training equipment, and a private fitness studio with daily pay-as-you-go classes spanning HIIT, Martial Arts, Zumba, and Yoga, the 2023 Dubai Sports World truly delivered the ultimate summer escape. Mahir Julfar, Executive Vice President of Dubai World Trade Centre, said, “We are extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished with the 13th edition of Dubai Sports World. We’ve not only achieved substantial growth in the number of participants, sports offered, fitness challenges and venue space but also had various initiatives that brought the local community together. Our mission complements the Dubai Government’s agenda to empower all community segments from all fitness levels and age groups including the children, the elderly, and people of determination to lead a healthy lifestyle, while promoting the Emirate as a fitness destination. We thank all our partners, sponsors, and participants who made this edition a huge success. We have big plans for next year and are looking forward to a bigger and better edition of Dubai Sports World in 2024." EXPANDED FACILITIES In 2023, DSW’s comprehensive offering encompassed over 40 courts and pitches, including 17 badminton courts, 8 table tennis tables, 6 football pitches, 3 basketball courts, 2 padel courts, 2 tennis courts, 2 volleyball courts, 1 cricket pitch, and 2 pickleball courts. INCLUSIVE EVENTS FOR ALL AGES AND ABILITIES The 2023 edition of DSW was a catalyst for promoting an active and wholesome lifestyle across all segments of the community, including the elderly, children, and People of Determination.  DSW collaborated with various organisations such as the Community Development Authority, the Emirates Down Syndrome Association, and the Dubai Police, among others, to make sports activities more accessible to everyone. This included days for the elderly, providing them with the opportunity to participate in their favourite sports and activities throughout the event, and in partnership with the Emirates Down Syndrome Association, DSW offered courts and pitches for people with Down Syndrome to play their favourite sports alongside their companions each week throughout the event. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT The 2023 edition also saw DSW host a ground-breaking community event for delivery drivers, the first of its kind, as part of the ‘Sports Summer’ initiative launched by Dubai Sports Council. The event brought together more than 450 delivery workers from prominent companies - Talabat, Deliveroo, Careem, Noon, Noon Food, and Now - uniting them in sportsmanship and camaraderie. The event included organising fun sports and entertainment competitions in five different games: tug of war, football, volleyball, badminton, and cricket. In a first for DSW, the year saw the debut of the HYROX event in Dubai, combining running with functional workout stations. With divisions catering to all skill levels, HYROX promoted inclusivity, teamwork, and personal accomplishment. Other initiatives featured local community fun events, such as the Zumba Masterclass, World Yoga Day, and Balance and Control Challenge, which introduced unique physical trials namely "Balancing Act," "No Touch Stand Up," and "Low Boat Pose Challenge." These enjoyable contests not only tested participants' physical prowess but also fostered a sense of achievement and unity. SPORTS ACADEMIES To break new ground at DSW in tuition and coaching, Dubai Sports World this year also partnered with 12 renowned sports academies, providing children aged 4 to 14 with exceptional skills training and endless fun throughout the summer. Children were able to try out the various academies that train at DSW throughout the summer, which included Real Madrid Academy, Star Football Academy, Soccer Kids Academy, IFA Sports Academy, Irish Football Academy, MVP, Star Basketball Academy, Professional Sports Academy, Deepika Sports Academy, Star Badminton Academy, Tennis 360 and American Middle-Eastern Dance Conservatory. "Dubai Sports World has consistently provided an exceptional opportunity for kids to actively participate and thrive during summer. Our summer camp, featured Accredited Coach Education Program (ACEP) qualified coaches and emphasised the vital role of basketball in children's development, nurturing teamwork skills, and improving their fitness levels,” Anees Makrous Co-Founder of Star Basketball Academy commented. On keeping the community active during summer period, Gwen Tan-Sproule, Founder and CEO of Tennis 360 said: "The variety of sports & facilities at Dubai Sports World is truly exceptional and a lifesaver in summer! The Dubai Sports World team is dedicated to enhancing the customer experience by continuously improving and upgrading their facility. This commitment provides us with the platform to deliver well-structured and progressive tennis programs for both children and adults. Our fruitful collaboration with Dubai Sports World over the past 12 years has made a significant impact by involving everyone in tennis and fostering awareness among diverse age groups in the community, inspiring everyone to remain active throughout the summer season." Sriyani Deepika, General Manager and Head Coach at Deepika Sports Academy said: "At Deepika Sports Academy, badminton transcends mere sport; it's a vehicle for nurturing relationships and instilling core values like teamwork, respect, and resilience. Beyond imparting the fundamentals of badminton, our summer camps are crafted to boost self-esteem through interactive learning experiences. We are grateful to have joined with Dubai Sports World in its 13th edition as this collaboration has played a pivotal role in amplifying the reach and impact of this wonderful sport."

Publicis Groupe ME sponsors MeasureCamp’s debut in Dubai

Publicis Groupe Middle East, a global leader in marketing, communication, and digital transformation, has sponsored MeasureCamp Dubai, the digital analytics' unconference' for and by the digital analytics community.The sponsorship reinforces Groupe's commitment to fostering innovation and collaboration within the digital and tech domain.Inspired by the success of BarCamps and the global MeasureCamp community, the inaugural MeasureCamp Dubai saw many industry professionals, beginners, and enthusiasts gather to share ideas, knowledge, and insights in an informal and interactive setting.Bassel Kakish, CEO, Publicis Groupe Middle East & Turkey shared, “"We recognise the pivotal role digital analytics plays in the future of businesses, which is why events like MeasureCamp Dubai hold immense importance.”Commenting on the Groupe's partnership, Rajesh Verma, Business Director of Epsilon and one of the committee members of MeasureCamp Dubai, said, “At Epsilon we believe that technology and data-driven solutions can transform the future of marketing and customer experience, and MeasureCamp is a great place to discover what’s next for digital analytics and measurement. Having Publicis Groupe ME as a sponsor elevates MeasureCamp Dubai to new heights.”Publicis Groupe has significantly accelerated its foray into providing real identity and data-driven solutions through Epsilon and continues to actively partner and collaborate to converge upon new insights and diverse perspectives in the field. Originating in London in 2012, MeasureCamp has swiftly evolved into a global phenomenon, with over 20 local editions annually. These 'unconferences' defy conventional passive conferences, fostering lively discussions and idea exchanges. From a modest 130 attendees at its inception, MeasureCamp now spans 24 cities worldwide.

DSMG wraps up the spectacular Dubai Summer Surprises 2023

Dubai Shopping Malls Group (DSMG) has announced the successful conclusion of the highly anticipated 'Shop, Drive & Live It Up' campaign part of the 2023 edition of Dubai Summer Surprises. After a thrilling ten-week run, the campaign has offered the lavish Nissan X-trail to 6 lucky winners among thousands of participants, namely: Wahida Gani, Sunu V Jacob, Nikita, Jayson Reyes, Khalid AlJallaf and Deebu George.Drawing attention and excitement from enthusiastic shoppers, the 2023 DSS took retail therapy to newer heights this year with captivating promotions and offers for one and all. This year's DSS also offered extensive discounts and distinguished experiences for its shoppers through its 20 participating malls.Majid Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Shopping Malls Group, expressed his delight at the success of this year’s DSS, saying, “Once again, the Dubai Shopping Malls Group has delivered an extraordinary summer shopping experience with the 2023 Dubai Summer Surprises. We are proud to have been part of an event that brings joy, excitement, and unparalleled value to our shoppers. This year's DSS was a testament to Dubai's resilience and its commitment to offering world-class entertainment and shopping experiences. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our partners, retailers, and the entire Dubai community for their unwavering support.”Wahida Gani, one of the winners of the Nissan X-trail, said, “It is an incredible feeling! This was my very first time participating, and I can't express how blessed I feel to have won the car. It's truly a wonderful experience, and I'm so grateful for this opportunity.”Jayson Reyes, another Nissan X-trail winner said, “I am overjoyed and still in disbelief that I won the raffle! After participating at Dubai Outlet Mall for three consecutive years, it's incredibly rewarding that my persistence has finally paid off. Patience truly is the key, and I'm so thankful to DSMG for this opportunity. This victory has inspired me to participate again next year with the hope of winning once more. Thank you all for this incredible experience!”As the curtains fall on the 2023 Dubai Summer Surprises, DSMG remains committed to enhancing the shopping experience for residents and visitors in Dubai. The organization is already setting its sights on the future, promising to bring more joy, discounts, and surprises to the city's retail landscape in the years to come.

Saudi's first social media network Jaco attracts 1 million users

Saudi Arabia’s first social media network Jaco has attracted more than 1 million users in its first two months.In his first appearance on the business stage of Jaco, Saudi entrepreneur Fahd Al-Shidi, the supervisor of the project, announced a special challenge the team is undertaking to reach five million users soon.He added that Jaco's attraction of more than one million users in the coming two months from other networks, including well-known names, proves that they share our ambitions to present the world with a leading Arab social networking platform capable of challenging and competing.At the official launch ceremony of the Jaco application in Riyadh, attended by influencers and VIP guests, Al-Shidi expressed his happiness with the success Jaco has achieved so far, announcing that the network has acquired one million new users in just two months. He expressed his confidence that Jaco will reach five million users by the end of the year.He added that launching a new network like Jaco is a difficult challenge, but its acquisition of one million users in a few weeks indicates that it could change the rules of the game. The question remains: Will Jaco enter the club of major social networks soon? We hope so.The announcement received widespread attention, as the hashtags #Jaco_Million_User and #Jaco_Million_Subscriber dominated various social media platforms, including Twitter, on Thursday. This generated significant engagement from renowned Saudi, Gulf, and Arab social media influencers.

Enas Rashwan launches Saudi Ad School in Riyadh

Enas Rashwan, the visionary behind Cairo Ad School, has announced the inauguration of the Saudi Ad School in Riyadh, marking a significant milestone in the realm of Saudi advertising education.This pioneering ad institution is celebrated as the “first Saudi occupational advertising institute” in the country, designed with the noble mission of empowering the upcoming generation of Saudi advertising professionals.Enas Rashwan, the accomplished Founder and President of both Saudi Ad School and Cairo Ad School, boasts a rich tapestry of experience spanning over 18 years in the advertising and communications sphere. Having initially established Cairo Ad School to bridge the educational gap for creative industry professionals in her region, Rashwan has now extended her vision to Saudi Arabia.Rashwan envisions the Saudi Ad School as an extraordinary platform for aspiring creative talents in Saudi Arabia, where they can cultivate their skills and make a profound impact on the advertising industry, all while aligning with the ambitious objectives of Vision 2030.In order to achieve these goals, Rashwan has invited industry professionals, encouraging them to contribute through mentorship and collaborative partnerships. She firmly believes that the Saudi Ad School's mission hinges on the substantial involvement of industry luminaries and key stakeholders.The school's comprehensive programmes will offer industry-specific training, equipping budding talents with the requisite skills and knowledge demanded by the advertising field. These training modules encompass top-tier specialized education and hands-on experience through industry projects, internships, and workshops.In addition to offering real-world insights and opportunities, the school maintains strong ties with advertising agencies, industry experts, and influential figures, ensuring students receive a holistic education.The school's distinctive feature lies in its cultural integration, where it seamlessly weaves cultural sensitivity and local context into its curriculum. This approach enables students to create campaigns that resonate with and authentically reflect the Saudi culture, thereby establishing a profound connection with the Saudi audience.The Saudi Ad School's offerings are organised into four core pillars: educational programmes, career development, talent placement recruitment, and a community platform.Under educational programmes, students can explore an array of courses encompassing disciplines like copywriting, art direction, strategic planning, ad filmmaking, branding, and digital marketing.As a vibrant community platform, the school fosters networking events and awards festivals, tapping into the extensive online resources and networks of industry organizations and creative professionals.Furthermore, the Saudi Ad School offers flexible educational options, including diplomas (6 months), mini diplomas (3 months), courses (5 weeks), workshops (3 days), and sessions (3 hours) to cater to the diverse needs of its students.

Etihad Airways takes off with bollywood icon Katrina Kaif as brand ambassador

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has announced its partnership with Bollywood superstar Katrina Kaif as the new brand ambassador. This collaboration marks an important milestone as Etihad strengthens its presence in the Indian market and reunites with one of India’s most celebrated Bollywood stars.Katrina Kaif, renowned for her global appeal and elegance, embodies the shared commitment to excellence as she reunites with Etihad. Her association with the airline will be unveiled through a captivating series of videos to be showcased across Etihad and Katrina’s social channels.Katrina Kaif shares her excitement about the association: “I am thrilled to be back with Etihad Airways, a brand synonymous with world-class travel experiences. The airline's commitment to excellence and its dedication to bringing people together resonate with my own values. I am excited to be part of a team that aims to create thoughtful connections and memorable experiences. I look forward to representing Etihad and being a part of their journey."Amina Taher, Vice President of Brand, Marketing and Sponsorship at Etihad Airways, explains the significance of this collaboration: “We are thrilled to welcome Katrina Kaif to the Etihad Airways family as our brand ambassador. Our partnership with Katrina is far from ordinary, it embodies the spirit of innovation and sophistication our airline represents, while celebrating our commitment to uniting cultures and communities. With her remarkable journey and global recognition, we're not only showcasing Etihad's offerings, but also fostering authentic connections that genuinely resonate with Indian travellers and celebrating our commitment to India.”The new partnership builds on Katrina’s collaboration with Etihad in 2010 when she was featured as a discerning traveler showcasing Etihad’s travel experience. Her prior partnership showcased her appreciation for the airline's commitment to comfort and top-notch service. Returning to partner again, Katrina and Etihad are showcasing Etihad’s strengthening relationship with Indian communities both domestically and in significant global markets such as the UAE, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.As the brand ambassador for Etihad, Katrina will be featured in a series of creative and engaging campaign videos that highlight the airline's commitment to unparalleled comfort, flawless service, and seamless global connectivity. Her partnership with the airline bolsters its foothold in the Indian market, where it currently serves 8 Indian cities, further solidifying Etihad as the preferred choice for travelers and aligning seamlessly with the airline's strategy for sustained growth in India.The first video from the collaboration to be unveiled features Katrina Kaif on board Etihad’s newest A350 aircraft, offering a cinematic journey filled with emotions akin to a Bollywood film – featuring drama, love, and delightful surprises. The film also highlights the exclusive Armani-Casa dining wear, luxurious bedding, and complimentary in-flight Wi-Fly service, beautifully encapsulating the very essence of Etihad's unwavering commitment to excellence. The captivating film can be seen on both Etihad and Katrina’s social media channels now.