The Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC), has held its first periodic Board meeting for 2023. Chaired by HE Dr. Raja Easa Saleh Al Gurg, Founder & President of DBWC, alongside board members of the council. During the meeting held at the Council's headquarters in Dubai Chambers, the attendees discussed the main priorities for the current year and how to address the needs and requirements of the Council's members in Dubai's business environment.The Council also affirmed its commitment to promoting women's involvement in the holistic economic system of the Emirate of Dubai. To accomplish this objective, the Council will furnish women with essential support, resources, and opportunities, empowering them to engage in contemporary local and international business landscapes, as well as discover new frontiers in commerce and investment.This will also bolster their competitiveness in labor markets on local, regional, and global scales, aligning with the nation's ambitious objectives. Ultimately, these efforts will help realize the UAE Centennial Plan 2071.Lauding the wise leadership’s support, the council acknowledged that this support is the driving force behind its ongoing expansion, enhanced performance, and broadening network of connections.This support empowers the Council to cater to its members' needs, inspire and stimulate women to reach prominent roles, and attain success, distinction, and leadership in finance and business.During the meeting, members discussed the execution strategies for projects scheduled for the upcoming six months to further assist and nurture businesswomen and entrepreneurs in the emirate.The Council stressed that it will continue to foster investment in women’s capabilities, leadership, and interpersonal skills, while also capitalizing on the programs, services, and initiatives rolled out throughout the year to boost their competitiveness and capacity for growth in the business domain.Established in 2002 under the umbrella of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, the Dubai Business Women Council is the UAE’s leading platform for the personal and professional development of business women in the Emirate of Dubai. It aims to support businesswomen and entrepreneurs taking their first steps in the world of business. The Council plays a vital role in enhancing the contribution of businesswomen to the country's economy and promoting economic development in all sectors of the business community.
Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, increased its community 102 per cent to more than 200 startups in 2022 with 51 new early-stage companies relocating to the UAE’s capital to scale exponentially. By the end of 2022, Hub71 had onboarded startups that have raised almost AED 4.5 billion (US$1.2 billion) collectively in venture capital and created more than 900 jobs since its inception. In a year dedicated to driving impact for startups and Abu Dhabi, Hub71 facilitated 41 POCs for corporate partners valued at AED 160 million (US$ 43.5 million) and enabled founders to save AED 81 million (US$22 million) in costs through its Incentive Program.In 2022, Hub71 expanded its range of initiatives designed to attract tech startups worldwide to Abu Dhabi and break into the market with access to a growing pool of investors ranging from over 30 VC firms to family offices and commercial partners. The work of Hub71 is enabling the continued economic diversification of Abu Dhabi and technological advancements in the UAE as the nation progresses to become an Entrepreneurial Nation by 2031.Hub71 published its 2022 Impact Report ‘Gaining Traction, Driving Impact’, available to download here.Badr Al-Olama, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Hub71, said: “Abu Dhabi has arrived at the intersection of transformation and innovation. Hub71 is the driving force behind the growth of so many successful startups and technology companies that are pushing boundaries in more than 20 sectors. By the end of 2022, our startups have raised more than AED 4 billion. With this achievement, we are now solidifying the impact we generate on a global scale by doubling down on breakthrough technologies that are poised to make transformational impact across multiple sectors.”Characterizing Abu Dhabi’s tech ecosystemCovering the period from January to December 2022, Hub71’s Impact Report shares data, insights, success stories and developments from in and around Abu Dhabi’s tech startup community. The year saw Hub71 surpass 200 startups for the first time, initiate fundraising roadshows, launch Tech Barza - an exclusive capital club for family offices and expand Ventures Lab, the Venture Building program. Nine of the 51 startups onboarded by Hub71 in 2022 raised more than AED 36.7 million (US$10 million) in funding each, reflecting AED 575 million (US$156.7 million) collectively. Its diverse entrepreneurial community has 48 nationalities represented and the companies scaling from Hub71 are present in more than 20 sectors such as ClimateTech, FinTech, HealthTech, and EdTech. Applications to join Hub71 grew 102 per cent cohort-on-cohort with almost a third sourced by referrals from partners.Ahmad Ali Alwan, Deputy CEO of Hub71, commented: “Like in the years past, our top focus remains on generating impact. Our Impact Report presents the growth and strategic development of Abu Dhabi as a global technology ecosystem that enables startups to grow and scale. As we continue our pursuit of building homegrown unicorns, our 2022 impact results reinforce that Hub71 is a platform that champions innovation among startups and technology companies while supporting the nation’s knowledge-based economy and its transformation.”In 2023, Hub71 is broadening its reach into specific technology subsectors by launching Hub71+ specialist ecosystems dedicated to unlocking the potential of technologies including Digital Assets, ClimateTech and BioTech. The tech ecosystem is diversifying the capital pool to increase flows of investment to startup founders and is elevating its presence on the global stage, capturing opportunities to create value and mutually beneficial cross-border partnerships for the benefit of founders and entrepreneurs in Abu Dhabi and internationally.
UAE: YAAP, a new-age specialized content and influencer marketing company, today announced the appointment of Nandita Saggu as Partner to help drive the company's growth and expansion in the Middle East. She is known for leading high-performing teams and striking high-value deals in the region. YAAP had recently made another high-profile appointment by onboarding Sadia Akhter as a Partner. Nandita Saggu has over 18 years of experience across sectors and domains, including healthcare, retail, hospitality, FinTech, e-learning, SaaS tech, AI, custom web and mobile development, and performance and social media marketing. Before joining YAAP, she was the Chief Growth Officer at DViO, leading the digital agency’s Middle East operations. Nandita has a demonstrated track record of building startups’ client bases from scratch and driving exponential revenue growth — stints with Facelift GmbH, Blue Logic Digital, and mid- and large-size firms such as Dun & Bradstreet and Future Group exemplify it. "We are excited for Nandita to join our growing team and help accelerate our growth in the Middle East," said Arshad Zaheer, Senior Partner at YAAP. "With her wealth of experience in digital technology and her proven track record in driving business growth, we are confident that she will be an invaluable asset to our team as we look to expand our reach in the Middle East."Digital technology is Nandita’s forte, nurtured throughout the evolutionary phase of digitalization in the last couple of decades. With YAAP, Nandita intends to identify and leverage technologies, such as Web 3.0 and AI, to tap into emerging opportunities, enhance customer engagement, and scale the business sustainably. In the short term, her priority is to execute high-value deals, drive profitable digital strategies, and build customer relationships on a foundation of trust and value creation."I am looking forward to adding impetus to YAAP's expansion across the region and enabling more businesses to scale their digital marketing efforts tangibly and effectively," said Nandita Saggu. “Through disciplined financial planning, pertinent technology adoption, and effective stakeholder management, I aspire to propel YAAP to new heights in the region and beyond.”High-profile additions to the board are accompanied by impressive all-around growth at YAAP. It posted a top-line growth of 97% and a 5X jump in profitability for FY21-22 before acquiring Crayons Communications, a reputable advertising agency in the Middle East. Most recently, it partnered with leading US-based influencer marketing tool, Tagger Media, a self-serve platform, facilitating the latter's entry into the Middle East and India. YAAP’s portfolio includes esteemed clients such as Coca-Cola, Visit Dubai, Lufthansa, RuPay, American Express, Disney, Amazon, and Square Enix.
Only 40% of marketing executives in EMEA are very confident that their company’s current Customer Experience (CX) strategies are capable of winning and retaining customers. With high quality products and affordability rated as some of the most important drivers of loyalty, more must be done to digitise the customer journey. This is according to the findings of an international CX study conducted by SAS, one of the world's leading providers of analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, in partnership with the CMO Council.The challenge is to orchestrate a great customer experience that hits all the right notes: from digital self-service to meaningful personalisation, privacy and trust, as well as seamless omnichannel, including a ‘hybrid’ blend of physical and digital experiences. Consumers want a frictionless, rewarding experience when buying great products at affordable prices despite volatile geopolitical and macroeconomic trends.For EMEA businesses, the majority are working on accommodating existing digital and physical engagement models (87%), balancing personalisation and privacy (87%), adjusting to supply chain issues (81%), reacting to customers in real-time with personalised interactions (73%), and managing the frequency and volume of customer interactions (70%).The biggest problem with implementing the CX strategy still is coordination between departments. Just 11% of EMEA marketing executives believe their company is well positioned in this area, while just as few study participants (11%) attribute sufficient maturity to their company when it comes to executing CX measures against the backdrop of a completely transformed digital infrastructure.Leveraging augmented, virtual, extended, or mixed reality had the lowest number of mature ratings across all 13 of the CX capabilities. The technologies that are predominantly invested in are marketing analytics, AI, and machine learning, according to approximately two-thirds of the survey participants in each case. Marketing attribution and technology for measuring success play an important role, as confirmed by 55% of respondents in EMEA.Given how third-party cookies are on the way out, respondents across EMEA indicated that they plan on using contextual targeting (44%) and ad experimentation and testing (44%) to track and target customers with programmatic advertising. What is interesting to note is that 79% of EMEA marketing executives believe that the role of hybrid CX that combines physical and digital experiences will be an important requirement in the next 12-months.Many consider this to drive personalisation, innovation, and customer engagement. However, it is much easier to deliver hybrid CX on top of a completely transformed digital infrastructure that provides a 360-degree view of the customer and their experience with the brand. And yet, fewer than 1 in 7 marketers say they have a mature digital infrastructure. The good news is that brands are working hard on this.
Jarir Bookstore, KSA’s longest established bookstore and leading consumer tech retailer, has announced an exclusive partnership with London-based technology brand Nothing, bringing Phone (1) to the Saudi Arabia market.Phone (1) will be available across all stores and Jarir.com starting from the 1st of March 2023. Also, through this collaboration, Jarir Bookstore will offer premium service solutions for repairs, warranties, and other service solutions to all Phone (1) consumers.“Jarir is excited to partner with another quick-rising tech company that is offering something unique and different to the Saudi Arabian market.”, said Nasser Abdulaziz Alaqeel, COO of Jarir Marketing Co. He added, “We look forward to bringing the iconic, and highly regarded, Nothing tech products to Saudi Arabia.”The Phone (1) has received international recognition for its innovative design, including the award for "Best Inventions of 2022" by TIME magazine for its transparent back and unique Glyph Interface composed of 900 LED lights, a new way of communicating that minimizes screen time. The unique light patterns, paired with individual contacts, allow the user to know who is calling with in-house designed ringtones- offering an ultimate personalized experience.The Nothing Phone (1) is equipped with the latest technology, featuring a custom-built Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 778G+ processor, a 50 MP flagship dual camera, and a refined Nothing OS. The phone also boasts a 120Hz OLED display, ensuring a premium user experience."We've been inundated with requests for the Phone (1) to make its way to Saudi Arabia, and therefore we're absolutely thrilled to announce our partnership with Jarir Bookstore who is the leading retailer here." says Akis Evangelidis, Co-Founder and Head of Marketing at Nothing. "With its unparalleled design and cutting-edge technology, Phone (1) has been one of the most anticipated smartphone launches in recent years. We are excited to bring it to a market like Saudi Arabia, where people have a genuine appreciation for innovation and great design."Phone (1) has a 100% recycled aluminium frame, making it light and robust, while over 50% of the phone’s plastic components are made with bio-based or post-consumer recycled materials - an industry-leading percentage.The addition of Phone (1) to Jarir’s product portfolio is a testament to the company's commitment to staying at the forefront of emerging industries and providing the latest technology solutions to its customers. Phone (1) is available now at all Jarir branches, in store, and online at Jarir.com.
Today, adidas kicks off its partnership with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF), with the official launch of the team’s home and away jerseys. Inspired by the palm tree featured in the national emblem, the home jersey embodies the country’s growth, vitality, and prosperity with a touch of gold-like accents, adding elegance and a premium feel that will standout both on and off the field.The women’s national team will be wearing a slightly different jersey to the men’s team, with the home kit featuring a unique variation of the same palm tree-inspired design. This comes as the women’s team achieve another major milestone by becoming an official FIFA ranked nation for the first time in their history, further showcasing the federation’s commitment to the growth and development of women’s football in the Kingdom.The white away jersey features dark green sleeves inspired by the country’s flag, with the iconic adidas three stripes in gold. Both jerseys celebrate Saudi Arabia’s relationship between culture and football and is a must-have for all fans. Working together towards a common goal and vision, adidas cements the launch of the new kits with its “Weaved as One” campaign, which pays homage to the fabric of Saudi culture while simultaneously highlighting themes of unity within football communities and beyond. The inspirational campaign film follows men’s national team players, Mohammad Al Owais, Hassan Tambakti, Hattan Bahbri and Abdulelah Al Amri and women’s national team players Farah Jefry, Al Bandari Mubarak and Dalia Adel as they journey through Riyadh to present the official jersey to members of diverse communities that make up the DNA of Saudi heritage and sports culture. From the camel herding community of Northern Riyadh who have dedicated their lives to one of the oldest sports in the nation, to the women making waves at the forefront of the motorsports and rally racing industry, and finally the city’s passionate gaming and e-sports enthusiasts – each community is presented with the opportunity to be among the first to wear the jersey as a symbol of togetherness.The kit launch is the first in a four-year partnership between adidas and SAFF at a time where football continues to grow drastically at all levels across the country. The men’s team performed on the world’s biggest stage with their 2-1 win over Argentina at the FIFA World Cup, while the U-23 team won the 2022 Asian Cup while conceding zero goals. 2022 also saw the establishment of three new age groups (U-16, U-18, U-19) as part of the Kingdom’s investment in establishing a clear player pathway to the first team. In addition to the women’s team being a FIFA ranked nation for the first time, the growth of women’s football will be further enhanced through the introduction of a U-17 team.Both the home and away kits feature sweat-wicking, moisture absorbent AEROREADY technology and specially placed breathable mesh inserts, keeping the players feeling comfortable while competing on the pitch and fans feeling comfortable while showing their support. The range is also made using 100% recycled materials, continuing adidas’ commitment to help end plastic waste.Commenting on the official kit reveal and partnership, Bilal Faris, General Manager GCC, said:” We’re pleased to have worked closely with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation to develop the new team’s kit for the season. Inspired from the Kingdom’s national emblem, palm tree, we have ensured that the design of the jerseys embody the country’s goals and growth. Through our partnership, we strive to support the federation’s strategy to enhancing access to sports for the country and support emerging talents. As we celebrate the intrinsic relationship between Saudi culture and football, it’s a collection that I’m hoping players and fans can wear with huge pride - on and off the pitch.”Celebrating the arrival of the new Green Falcons kit, Saudi Arabian Football Federation President Yasser Al Misehal, said: “We’re extremely proud to usher in this new era for Saudi football with the famous three stripes of adidas emblazoned upon our men’s and women’s national team kits. They are a symbol of unity and inspiration, and to see our men, women, boys’ and girls’ players and fans wearing it as one – side to side, shoulder to shoulder – is exactly how football should be."In adidas, we have a partner that places equal importance to the women’s national team, which reflects how we operate at the Federation. Together we are excited to continue building on the strong momentum of Saudi football across both the men’s and women’s game, while inspiring millions of young footballers along the way.”The home and away jerseys available on adidas.com and select adidas retailers from March 23rd.
LG MEA recently hosted its LG Showcase MEA 2023, which welcomed LG’s top executives, guests and partners to an exclusive platform complete with its innovations, products and solutions. The grand event provided visitors with an opportunity to experience the latest LG has to offer first-hand in an immersive setting highlighting the capabilities of each product.Held in Habtoor City Dubai, over 400 guests were welcome to have an exclusive look at the latest technological innovations that will be making its way into the MEA region. The showcase event also featured a dedicated area to exhibit their latest products and solutions that introduce a new category of evolving home appliances that are not only functional, but also offer unique upgradability and personalization.A key focus area during the exhibition was LG’s line-up of home appliance products, which includes refrigerators, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, air conditioning solutions and more. The line-ups were also joined by the ultra-premium LG SIGNATURE range, which is a testament to LG’s commitment towards bridging the gap between luxury and technology in the home appliance market.Commenting on the event, Kim Sa Nyoung, President of LG Electronics Gulf said: “The LG Showcase MEA 2023 is one of our largest events and we are proud to have a platform here where our latest innovations are displayed. Every appliance here targets a certain need from the customer. Not only do we tackle that need, but we also provide our customers with a new and unique experience with our line-up, by introducing revolutionary features to reliable home appliances. With each of these products, our customers can truly enhance their day-to-day living while giving their homes a different look altogether.”During the event, LG unveiled its second-generation LG SIGNATURE home appliance line-up. A series of revolutionary premium products, these appliances offer timeless design and innovation that bring home convenience and style. The line-up includes the LG SIGNATURE 4-Door French-Door refrigerator with Dual InstaView™, a washer and dryer pair with 7-inch LCD touch panels, Over-the-Range Microwave Oven with smart InstaView™ as well as the double Oven Slide-in Range, automatic time and temperature-setting functionality.The event also served as the platform to introduce the LG refrigerator with MoodUP™ to the region. LG’s MoodUP™ feature is known for its exciting and unique color options, which add a spin to any home kitchen. This time, LG has collaborated with the world-renowned Pantone Color Institute, to add a year of color, Viva Magenta, a strong crimson red. The refrigerator comes with LED color-changeable door panels, which can be easily swapped according to the kitchen theme. Owners of the 4-Door French-Door model can mix and match from 23 colors on the top and 19 colors on the bottom panels respectively with more than 190,000 possible color combinations at their disposal. This is all controlled through the intuitive LG ThinQ ® app and without the cost and hassle of having to physically replace any of its exterior elements.LG will also take the opportunity to introduce the CordZero A9 Kompressor™ with Steam Power Mop. Displayed at CES, LG’s first stick vacuum with Steam Power Mop nozzle provides wet and steam mopping functionality, while being completely wireless. It also comes with an All-in-One tower, an automated dustbin-emptying system that acts as a space-efficient and fast-charging docking station features a replaceable dust bag, and an intuitive display that provides real-time status updates. While steam mopping, the mops heat up to 60 degrees Celsius for easy and complete cleaning, while dual sensors protect from over-heating. An advanced, automatic water supply system also keeps the mop pads wet during mopping.Air Conditioning units are not always the most appealing home appliances, but with LG ARTCOOL Gallery Air Conditioner that can be changed. Featuring a bright 27-inch LCD screen with a simple and sophisticated frame, this new air conditioner looks more like a framed work of art rather than an advanced LG air conditioner. Not only does it deliver energy-efficient cooling and heating with LG’s DUAL Inverter Compressor™ and 3-way indirect airflow, but it can be customized via the LG ThinQ ® app with a range of static and animated images or favorite family photos to give that personalized look. It provides a more hygienic performance with AI Dry™ and operates at noise levels as low as 20 decibels and closes its ‘hidden’ bottom vane in sleep mode so as not to disturb or disrupt users’ rest.LG also takes an interesting spin on washing and drying, showcased with the LG WashTower™ Compact laundry solution. Keeping in mind space-efficiency, this home appliance combines both a washer and dryer with an all-in-one control panel and advanced AI in a single, space-efficient unit. The washer offers a generous 13 kilogram capacity and its dryer, a 10 kilogram capacity, and requires less installation space than the average stackable or side-by-side washer and dryer pair of the same laundry capacity. It also comes with a flat, unibody design that provides an optimal laundry experience and brings a subtle and minimalist aesthetic. The WashTower™ also uses advanced laundry technologies such as Artificial Intelligence Direct Drive™ (AI DD™) to identify the most suitable washing pattern (drum motions, water temperature and wash cycle time) for each load, reducing fabric damage to help clothing last longer. The Smart Pairing™ feature saves users time and hassle by syncing the dryer with the washer; automatically selecting the best drying cycle based on washer load settings, making it an excellent all-around performer.LG’s range of home appliances also include air purifiers, a line-up LG has actively merged with advanced technologies. The LG PuriCare™ AeroTower™ Air Purifying Fan with its True HEPA and UVnano™ LED, ensures powerful 3-step Filtration System for a thorough clean of the air at home, capturing 99.97% of fine dust and allergens . Meanwhile, the Deodorization filter removes odors and airborne chemicals for easier breathing and a more pleasant indoor environment. It is complemented by the exclusive LG UVnano™ LED Technology that kills 99.9% of bacteria on fan blades . Not only can it adapt to small or large rooms with customized airflow, but it also offers 10 fan speeds with oscillation settings, all controllable from its simple controls on top or through the remote control or LG ThinQ® app.
MMS launches self-serve ad platform The MBC Group's commercial division, MBC Media Solutions (MMS), recently launched a new self-serve platform, MMS Works, allowing consumers to advertise on the Arabic platform "Shahid."MMS Works will make it possible for companies, including SMEs, governmental organisations, people running smaller enterprises, and other newcomers to the digital advertising market, to take advantage of Shahid's Ramadan active users and maximise their brand's presence on Shahid AVOD. Ahmed Al Sahhaf, Chief Executive Officer, MMS says: “Shahid is the sought-after VOD platform for all Arab viewers, especially during Ramadan. With the increased content library offered since the beginning of 2023, all advertisers can now enjoy this meaningful scale-to-connect solution with their target audiences. The safe environment we offer is a testament of our continued commitment to offering our clients the most innovative and inclusive media solutions in the Kingdom and the region. MMS Works will expand the advertisement market potential and ease the way for brands to be present on Shahid, the world’s leading Arabic streaming platform.”
In the presence of HRH Prince Muhammad Bin Nasser Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the Governor of Jazan, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jazan Mountains Development Authority, Saudi Coffee Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Jazan Mountains Development Authority. The signing was also attended by HRH Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz Bin Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Deputy Governor of Jazan Region and esteemed delegates from the Public Investment Fund - Yazeed Abdulrahman Ibrahim Al Humaid, Deputy Governor and the Head of MENA Investments and Majid Alassaf, Consumers Goods and Retail Sector Head.Saudi Coffee Company is a subsidiary of the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund established to transform Saudi Arabia’s coffee industry. At the signing ceremony, Saudi Coffee Company Chairman Fahad Alnuhait, signed the MOU with Dafer Al-Fahad, Director General of the Jazan Mountains Development Authority aimed at developing the Kingdom’s emerging coffee industry and elevating it to a global product. The new signing enables Saudi’s coffee producing region of Jazan, which has been growing coffee beans for over three centuries, with additional resources to boost the capacity of its farms, the quality of its output and the reach of its produce.Speaking at the event Fahad Alnuhait, Chairman, Saudi Coffee Company said: “When Saudi Coffee Company was set up in 2021, our primary goal was to ensure that the national coffee industry is enabled along its entire value chain, from bean to cup. Today, we have taken leaps towards the realisation of that vision, laying the foundations for a world-class coffee industry in Saudi Arabia, making Coffea Arabica from Saudi Arabia a major player in the global marketplace.”The MoU aims to enhance grassroots cooperation between the entities and ensure economic sustainability from the ground up. It will ensurea a robust supply of coffee seedlings from the Authority to the Saudi Coffee Company and a joint commitment to growing local expertise in coffee cultivation. Both entities also pledged to developing national talent through training academies and programmes, with both benefiting from the upskilling of local farmers.Speaking at the signing, Dafer bin Ayed Al-Fahad, Director General of the Jazan Mountains Development Authority said: “We have a strong legacy of coffee cultivation here in Jazan, and this collaboration strengthens the potential of our industry by bolstering our global presence as well as the infrastructural integrity and technical expertise of our local industry.”The signing facilitates Saudi Coffee Company’s plans to boost production capacity by implementing the highest standards and global best practices to empower the national industry’s growth; create new jobs and promote Saudi Arabia’s capabilities to export the highest-quality coffee beans to the global markets. Over the next ten years, the Saudi Coffee Company intends to invest nearly SAR 1.2 billion in to meet this goal.“By building up the local coffee infrastructure, we aim to inspire our community to adopt global best practices, ground-breaking farming techniques and a sustainable approach in order to elevate our product and benefit from global reach,” concluded Karim Chabara, Chief Executive Officer, Saudi Coffee Company said.
Themed "Unleash Digital with Everything as a Service", the second Huawei Cloud Summit Middle East & Africa kicks off in Dubai on March 21. This event brings together over 300 government officers, cloud native industry experts, and customer representatives from the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa, with the aim of exploring how to make the best out of cloud and the vital role of cloud in boosting digital economy.At the event, H.E. Zhang Yiming, the Chinese Ambassador to UAE, gave a keynote speech on the significance of cloud computing on digital economy. “China is poised to partner with the UAE and countries in the Middle East and Africa in their digital cloud journey. Together, we will invigorate the industry with innovation, expand pilot projects with partnerships, and promote technical advances with young minds. Together, we will achieve technology and industry development centered on cloud computing, and pave the way for digital transformation and digital enablement,” said Mr. Zhang. Jacqueline Shi, President of Huawei Cloud Global Marketing and Sales Service, delivered an opening speech. She shared the latest progress of Huawei Cloud in the Middle East, and stated Huawei Cloud's stance on paving the way to bigger success for local customers and partners, as well as the companies that want to run businesses there. “In 2020, Huawei Cloud established its business departments in the Middle East. This year, we are launching the Saudi Arabia Region. We keep developing. We keep going digital. And we want to share our latest technologies and proven digitalization experience to you. We are always ready to serve you best,” said Ms. Shi.Also at this Summit, Frank Dai, President of Huawei Cloud Middle East, delivered a keynote speech “Unleash Digital with Everything as a Service”. In his speech, Mr Dai shared the digital transformation trends in the Middle East, and how Huawei Cloud can pave the way to digital success by providing technical innovations, proven expertise, and ecosystem support. He said that, "It has become a consensus that the cloud is the best way to accelerate digitalization. Our responsibility is to help enterprises go cloud, use cloud, and manage cloud better, so we can better deal with challenges such as data security, ROI optimization, and new technology application."To cultivate local talent and support startups with high potentials, Huawei Cloud launched the Huawei Cloud Startup Program 2023 for Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa. Joining in the launch ceremony were representatives from the UAE Ministry of Economy, Dinarak (a licensed payment services provider from Jordan), Ignite (a VC firm from Pakistan), and Eyon TV (startup representative from Kuwait). Through three key initiatives — innovative cloud platform, entrepreneurship enablement, and business resources — Huawei Cloud will provide lifecycle support for startups in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa. Huawei Cloud is committed to building a global startup ecosystem to empower 1,000 local startups to innovate and grow on Huawei Cloud in the next three years.Huawei Cloud is poised to become part of the growth engine for the local economy. Huawei Cloud launched the UAE Region in 2021, providing seamless cloud experience to local users. An investment commitment of $400 million USD was announced for the next 5 years to build a cloud Region in Saudi Arabia, extending quality, secure cloud services to local customers for them to stay competitive.In recent years, Middle East has been a major destination of business opportunities for many Chinese enterprises. Huawei Cloud’s "Go Cloud, Go Global" program helps Chinese enterprises expand into the Middle East. In this Summit, Huawei Cloud invited more than 50 decision-makers from over 40 Chinese enterprises for business exchanges with local organizations in Saudi Arabia and UAE. These visits are the channels for Chinese enterprises to understand better the local policy support as well as the local business environment and development.Huawei Cloud aims to build a cloud foundation for an intelligent world with Everything as a Service. Looking ahead, Huawei Cloud will continue to expand its global cloud infrastructure and provide customers, partners, and developers with stable, secure, and sustainable cloud services.
Sanjeevv Bhatia has been promoted to the position of Managing Partner in Emirate. He took to LinkedIn to announce this with a post saying, "I'm happy to share that I'm starting a new position as Managing Partner at Emirates ODS LLC!" Sanjeevv worked with various companies including Teknoware Middle East and NETIX global BV.
“We were able to help a vast number of SMEs navigate the post-pandemic landscape with greater ease and confidence. Our templatized e-commerce solutions and consultation services proved to be a game-changer for many businesses looking to establish a robust online presence and capitalise on the vast potential of the digital market,” says Yogesh Khanchandani, Co-Founder & Chief Business Strategy Officer at PivotRoots.Pivotroots, currently present in India and Dubai, is a data- and technology-led full-service digital agency offering services across strategy and consulting, digital media planning & buying, UI/IX, social & content, data & analytics, and custom solution building. The agency has worked with over 60 brands, like EmiratesNBD, National Bank of Kuwait, Amazon Prime Video, Upgrad, etc. Pivotroots recently expanded its martech solutions under PivotConsult to offer clients cutting-edge custom tech solutions that are tailored to their unique business needs. “To achieve this, we acquired DEEPFLUX, a tech company comprising software engineers who work closely with our brand strategists to develop custom infrastructures that drive efficiency and effectiveness,” says Yogesh in this interview with BF Firos, Associate Editor, Adgully. Excerpts: In a competitive digital marketing industry, what sets PivotRoots apart from other agencies in the UAE, and how do you maintain your competitive edge?In today's industry, it is essential to possess talent, agility, and vision for the future in order to stay ahead of the curve. At our company, our unwavering focus has always been on designing and delivering consumer-centric solutions that are backed by an extensive, data-driven strategy. Over our seven-year journey of building PivotRoots, we have constantly evolved and innovated ourselves. Initially, we began as an end-to-end digital marketing agency, but we soon shifted our focus to become a martech-first digital agency. Today, as an integrated solutioning agency, we provide a more efficient and effective approach to problem-solving. Our commitment to our clients is to provide a comprehensive view of their business and deliver solutions that meet their unique needs.Can you walk us through a successful campaign you've worked on, highlighting the challenges faced, solutions implemented, and results achieved?One of our most successful campaigns was for Father's Day, which we executed for our client FnP last year.FnP, a global gifting brand, faced two significant challenges. Firstly, its audience were not aware that FnP offered more than just flowers as gift options, leading to a perception issue. Secondly, they faced slow growth resulting from the conventional gifting behaviour of the audience, where gifts were exchanged only during occasions, festivals, or personal and professional achievements.To tackle these challenges, a comprehensive strategy was developed after conducting extensive research on market behaviour and human insights. The primary objective was to communicate that every moment could be made special with a gift, and one didn't need to wait for a special occasion. The campaign, #FathersTurnToReceive, was based on the insight that fathers, irrespective of nationality or socio-economic status, always believe in fulfilling the needs and desires of their loved ones. They are like gifts that keep on giving, and Father's Day was the perfect opportunity to make them feel the joy of receiving a gift as an expression of love, gratitude, and respect.As a result of the campaign, the brand search volume for the word "fnp" increased by 50%, and there was a brand intent increase of up to 57% from the previous month. Furthermore, during the ten-day campaign period, close to 1000 purchases were made resulting in a major success for the brand!With the pandemic shifting consumer behavior and expectations, how has PivotRoots adapted its services to cater to changing market demands?In the aftermath of the pandemic, the entire industry was grappling with the challenge of rapidly accelerating their digital transformation. Amidst this X5 digital acceleration, we stepped in and provided crucial support to numerous small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through our templatized quick e-commerce set-up and consultation services.Our priority was to help these SMEs fast-track their digitization process and align with the evolving needs of today's consumers. By providing tailored consultation services, we enabled these businesses to adapt to the changing market dynamics and stay ahead of the curve.We were able to help a vast number of SMEs navigate the post-pandemic landscape with greater ease and confidence. Our templatized e-commerce solutions and consultation services proved to be a game-changer for many businesses looking to establish a robust online presence and capitalize on the vast potential of the digital market.How do you ensure that your team stays up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in the digital marketing landscape, and how do you encourage innovation within the company?At our company, we take pride in our strict in-house protocol for training and certifications, which plays a pivotal role in managing the upskilling of our talented workforce. We firmly believe that investing in our employees' development and nurturing their skill sets is key to driving our growth and success.Our comprehensive training and certification programmes are carefully tailored to the specific needs of our employees, and we closely link them to promotions and bonuses. This approach not only ensures that our employees are equipped with the latest industry knowledge and skills but also incentivizes them to pursue excellence and strive for growth within the organisation.Additionally, we maintain and encourage Joint Business Plans (JBPs) with all our media partners. Our JBPs focus on fostering innovation, exploring out-of-the-box solutions, and delivering exceptional value to our clients. Through these partnerships, we aim to stay at the forefront of the rapidly evolving media landscape and leverage the latest trends and technologies to drive impactful outcomes for our clients.What metrics do you use to measure the success of a campaign, and how do you ensure that your clients' ROI is maximised?At our company, we understand that each client has unique goals that are closely tied to their business objectives. For this reason, we always take a bespoke approach and tailor our media solutions to meet the specific needs of our clients.For example, for a retail furniture store, our focus would be on driving measurable footfall into their stores, which can be achieved through targeted and impactful media campaigns. Similarly, for D2C clients, we prioritise increasing their month-on-month revenue by leveraging a range of media channels and optimising campaigns for maximum ROI.For FMCG brands, our objective would be to improve their brand metrics through effective communication and targeting. This could involve developing engaging content, leveraging social media influencers, and utilising data-driven insights to target the right audience segments.Overall, our approach is driven by a deep understanding of our clients' unique goals and KPIs, and we work closely with them to develop customised media solutions that deliver measurable business outcomes. By aligning our strategies with our clients' business objectives, we are able to drive meaningful results and help them achieve long-term success.What future plans does PivotRoots have for expansion or diversification of its services, and what new technologies or trends are you most excited about?At our company, we recognize that technology is rapidly transforming the marketing landscape, and we are committed to staying ahead of the curve. That's why we recently expanded our martech solutions under PivotConsult to offer our clients cutting-edge custom tech solutions that are tailored to their unique business needs.To achieve this, we acquired DEEPFLUX, a tech company comprising software engineers who work closely with our brand strategists to develop custom infrastructures that drive efficiency and effectiveness. With a strong focus on data and technology, we are aggressively scaling up our verticals in areas such as ML/AI, CDP, audiences, and anomaly detection.Our approach is driven by a deep understanding of our clients' businesses and the unique challenges they face in today's rapidly evolving marketing landscape. By combining our strategic expertise with the latest in cutting-edge technology, we are able to develop innovative solutions that drive real business outcomes for our clients.Overall, our expansion into martech solutions under PivotConsult reflects our commitment to staying at the forefront of the industry and providing our clients with the best possible solutions to meet their business needs. We are excited to continue driving innovation and delivering value to our clients through the power of data and technology.What, according to you, are the effective marketing strategies for SMEs in the UAE? How conducive is the UAE environment for SMEs?My recommendation for SMEs would be to prioritise a consumer-centric marketing strategy, a fundamental and effective approach for businesses to adopt. It involves putting the customer at the centre of all marketing efforts and focusing on understanding their needs, preferences, and behaviours in order to deliver personalised and relevant experiences.By adopting a consumer-centric approach, businesses can improve customer satisfaction, increase customer loyalty, and ultimately drive revenue growth. This approach allows businesses to build stronger relationships with their customers by providing them with personalised experiences that are tailored to their specific needs and preferences.To achieve this, it is important to gather and analyse customer data in order to gain insights into their behaviour and preferences. This data can then be used to inform marketing campaigns and strategies that are designed to resonate with customers and drive engagement.In today's highly competitive marketplace, a consumer-centric approach can give businesses a significant competitive advantage. By placing the needs and preferences of their customers at the forefront of their marketing efforts, businesses can build stronger, more meaningful relationships with their customers and drive long-term success.
Myco, an innovative web3 video-streaming platform, powered by MContent, has collaborated with Xapads Media, a renowned programmatic adtech organization in the MENA region. Having worked with well-known brands across sectors such as fintech, e-commerce, and entertainment, Xapads has a solid presence in the region. Utilizing its state-of-the-art AI/ML-based tools and premium ad inventories, the adtech firm will execute Myco's performance campaigns targeting to increase its user base and retention rate. This will enable Myco to gather valuable user interaction and attract high-quality users. Ramneek Chadha, COO of Xapads Media, expressed his thoughts on the partnership with Myco, stating “we look forward to working closely with Myco to drive success for the brand. “He further added that “our expertise in programmatic advertising would be a benefit in helping Myco grow and expand its global reach, further establishing its position as a leading brand in web3 video streaming, funding, production, and distribution”.Myco is a platform that provides opportunities for both content consumers and producers. At present, it has nearly 1.5 million registered users from around the world, 500 top-notch content creator channels, and more than 100,000 user-generated videos. Additionally, it offers a range of original film productions (MyOriginals) and exclusive premium content. Gagan Uppal, Country Head, Xapads, MENA “I am really excited as through this partnership Myco is revolutionizing the industry by providing power to both the viewers and creators and we are happy to be a part of the journey. Hoping to achieve big things & grow together”!Tariq Jaser, the digital marketing manager at Myco, commented that “this partnership will leverage Xapads cutting-edge technology to target niche audiences and attract more quality users, driving new heights of success for the platform”.
Lemma, an independent Supply Side Platform (SSP) for large format ads, recently onboarded Ad Zone Global's Digital OOH screens in Kuwait. Ad Zone Global is one of Kuwait's fastest-growing digital out-of-home companies, with a screen network across 55+ locations. By integrating with Lemma, Ad Zone has become one of Kuwait's First Screen Networks to implement programmatic DOOH advertising. Ad Zone also gains from the integration as it can now instantly link its screens to programmatic demand worldwide, boosting revenue and giving clients better access to reach their target markets effectively. The integration will enable programmatic advertisers to trade DOOH inventory via global Demand side platforms alongside other programmatic campaigns. This new offering will give advertisers greater flexibility and control over their DOOH campaigns, allowing them to reach their target audience more effectively. The newly onboarded exclusive inventory is available on Lemma SSP in high-traffic areas such as busy roads, streets in and around shopping malls, Tech Parks, and other landmark locations across the region. These screens allow advertisers to reach a captive audience with high-impact, visually stunning ads. "Integrating Ad Zone Global DOOH screens onto our SSP platform is a game-changer for programmatic DOOH advertising in Kuwait," said Sabarish Pillai, Global VP Programmatic, Lemma. "Advertisers can now use this exculsive DOOH inventory from Kuwait to complement their digital campaigns and connect with a global audience in ways that were possible before. We are excited to see how this partnership with Ad Zone Global opens up new opportunities for creativity and engagement in the Digital Out of Home space." "As one of the first screen networks to implement programmatic DOOH advertising, we're setting ourselves apart from the competition," said Mr. Moahmmed Mostafa, CEO at AD ZONE-Global for Advertising. "As the DOOH landscape continues to evolve, we are committed to staying at the forefront of the industry & partnering with Lemma is helping us attain this effectively and efficiently."
Keel Comms is the first and only 'purpose-driven PR & Communications, social media & content agency' in the Middle East and North Africa region with sustainability as the core of its operations. Keel Comms was founded by Baha Hamadi, a veteran publicist and communication professional in the region. Baha Hamadi is a board member of the Public Relations & Communications Association (PRCA MENA), and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Community of ESG Practitioners. He also serves as a mentor for Dubai Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business.In this exclusive interview with adgully.me's BF Firos, Baha Hamadi, Founder & Managing Director, Keel Comms, dwells on the rationale of introducing ‘Purpose Relations,’ his vision for Keel Comms, the growth potential and challenges of the PR industry in the UAE, the changing dynamics and the future of PR, etc."Keel Comms strives to imprint a corporate citizenship mindset in its clients’ DNA. Whether at the inception, early or maturity phase, we advise clients on how to incorporate ESG factors into their operations and branding, ultimately helping them communicate and accentuate their efforts genuinely," Hamadi says. The main challenge the PR industry faces, says Baha Hamadi, is the one-size-fits-all approach that most PR agencies adopt. "The need to differentiate your service offerings has never been more important. Also, as agencies reach greater heights of success and expand, there is a risk that the special one-on-one client care will be sacrificed for overly commercial tactics," says Hamadi. Excerpts from the interview: What is your vision for Keel Comms?Considering the growing Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) movement globally, as well as the Year of Sustainability and COP28 locally, we aim to empower brands and individuals to play an active role during the Decade of Action and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs by 2030.Regardless of the SDGs and the deadlines we set for ourselves, we are on an endless mission to help make the world a more sustainable place—one company at a time. This is an ongoing exercise requiring a lifelong commitment. Unfortunately, we will never live in a world without problems. What we can do is extend a helping hand and be consistent about it.Whether through research, taking action, spreading the word or advocating for change, companies of all sizes and individuals from all walks of life are capable of creating meaningful impact.What is the USP of Keel Comms?Keel Comms is revolutionizing the MENA’s PR, social media and content sector by introducing ‘Purpose Relations’—the new face of Public Relations. Adopting a purpose-driven communications approach will help businesses make lasting impact while creating meaningful connections with their audiences.How do you define Keel Comms as a purpose-driven and sustainability-focused PR & communications agency?Keel Comms strives to imprint a corporate citizenship mindset in its clients’ DNA. Whether at the inception, early or maturity phase, we advise clients on how to incorporate ESG factors into their operations and branding, ultimately helping them communicate and accentuate their efforts genuinely.We recommend ways in which our clients can contribute to the SDGs—either through co-creating initiatives or by facilitating partnerships with other entities within our network. For non-profits whose values align with ours, we offer discounted rates.How can brands strike a balance between being socially responsible and staying true to the brand's values, while still achieving the marketing objectives?Brands can strike this balance by considering how each marketing effort aligns with their core values—which is a given—while ensuring their campaigns deliver social or environmental benefits. Adding the sustainability component to marketing is becoming increasingly important for brands across all sectors.Another way to maintain a balance between sustainability, brand values and marketing effectiveness in campaigns is by leveraging existing partnerships or creating new ones with organisations that share the same commitment to social responsibility. Through capitalizing on complementary strengths, partnerships have the potential to deliver exponentially greater outcomes than could be achieved alone.How do you evaluate the PR and communication industry in the UAE? What are its key growth potential and challenges?PR and communication in the UAE is one of the most vibrant and rapidly growing sectors across the Middle East region, driven by a wide range of market enablers, including a booming economy and increased demand for integrated marketing services. Key growth factors for the PR industry include an ever-increasing demand from both public and private companies for more advanced services such as ESG communications, reputation management, digital marketing, media relations, content creation, branding, and influencer marketing.The main challenge is the one-size-fits-all approach that most PR agencies adopt. The need to differentiate your service offerings has never been more important. Also, as agencies reach greater heights of success and expand, there is a risk that the special one-on-one client care will be sacrificed for overly commercial tactics. In other words, it can start to feel like clients are being processed through a factory instead of receiving personalized service from their agency partners. The traditional media landscape is undergoing drastic transformation with digital media and influencers assuming prominence. How will these aspects change the dynamics of the PR industry in the Middle East?The shift from traditional media to new media has had an immense impact. Digital channels present a much larger audience, providing brands with access to more potential customers. In addition, content is more easily disseminated and managed digitally, allowing for greater control over how campaigns are executed.Influencers have become increasingly important for driving engagement and creating a two-way dialogue between the brand and its target audience. This has allowed brands to create deeper relationships with consumers, while also providing a platform to spread organic messages in an engaging manner.What will be the future of PR in the region? Can you predict key industry trends?The future of PR in the Middle East region looks very promising as businesses continue to invest in their reputations. Key industry trends that can be expected to gain traction include an increased demand for content creation, storytelling, and reputation management; the use of AI to predict trends, drive engagement and personalize messaging; and a greater focus on influencer marketing to engage with audiences authentically.How will AI-powered analytics play a role measuring the effectiveness of PR campaigns?AI-powered analytics will play a crucial role as a PR measurement tool. AI algorithms can be used to collect and analyze data from various sources, such as website visits, social media followers, ratings and reviews, sentiment analysis, and more. This data can then be used to gain insights into how effective a certain campaign is and provide actionable recommendations for improvement.AI can also help detect anomalies that could affect the results of a campaign and alert marketers accordingly. Analyzing the data collected over time can also help PR professionals make informed decisions about future strategies based on past performance metrics.Is the emergence of AI-supported tools like Chat GPT/ BARD a boon or bane for the PR professional? The AI engine revolution can be both a boon and bane for communication professionals. These tools provide us with unprecedented levels of efficiency in producing customized content, while offering valuable data-driven insights that can inform decision-making and shape effective strategies.However, there is a concern about the accuracy of data output through AI. The other drawback is that AI could be used to spread misinformation or manipulate public opinion. It is up to us to ensure these tools are used responsibly, maximizing the benefits while mitigating any potential risks they may bring.
Yas Island Abu Dhabi has evolved as one of the world’s leading leisure and entertainment destination. It offers a plethora of adventure and endless entertainment opportunities with its world-renowned theme parks, top-notch sporting events and star-studded performances. If you are looking for a fun-filled destination during this summer travel season, Yas Island should be on the top of your list. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of your daily routine and indulge in thrilling experiences and plenty of high-end shopping. Be prepared to pack your bags and spend one of the most unforgettable summers of your life at Yas Island Abu Dhabi. It is an ideal holiday pick for travellers who are looking to spend some fun time with their family and friends.Access the holy trinity of enjoyment on each day of your stay when you book the Stay and Play package providing access to one theme park every night along with world-class stays and complimentary breakfasts. From award-winning family-friendly attractions to top waterfront dining experiences, and world-class hotels – Yas Island has it all!Mesmerize yourself with world-famous attractions!With the most iconic theme parks in the world, Yas Island has something for everyone. The highly sought-after Ferrari World Abu Dhabi distinguishes itself from other theme parks by offering rides that are both inspired by the Ferrari brand and suitable for all ages. Go on and beat the summer heat by taking a dive at Yas Waterworld known as ‘Water’s Greatest Playground’. The Waterworld features all things water, right from record-breaking slides to peaceful river rafting and its massive wave pools. Take the opportunity to immerse yourself in a fantasy land with the world’s largest indoor theme park – Warner Bros. World™ Abu Dhabi and surround yourself with your favourite DC superheroes, and iconic cartoon characters. Each of these theme parks are sure to give you a distinguished experience and leave you with memories for a lifetime.Feel the thrill of driving like a Formula 1 champion at the Yas Marina Circuit or call shotgun and have yourself seated with a professional racing driver for the ride of your life. The circuit also allows you to indulge in activities such as top speed dragging, go-karting and so much more. Finally, level up and experience the two record-breaking adventures together at CLYMB™ Abu Dhabi, which includes the world’s biggest indoor skydiving flight chamber and the region’s tallest indoor climbing wall. The place features as UAE’s ultimate indoor adventure hub and offers year-round exciting sports experiences. Treat yourself to delectable dining experiences at the bustling waterfront dining hot spots Yas Bay and Yas Marina. Featuring wide variety of cuisines catering to all taste you are sure to be spoiled for choices with dining options such as Cipriani, Asia Asia, Amerigos, Diablito, Iris and many more.Keep an eye out for these enticing upcoming events at Yas IslandWhile Yas Island boasts unlimited attractions, it is also home to amazing recurring concerts and events. As the outdoor season begins in the UAE, the island has curated a spectacular month for your summer vacation with the most iconic boy band – Backstreet Boys on 07th May 2023. The five-member band will take you on a sensational musical journey and perform their chart-topping hits. Once again Yas Island is all set to roll out the red carpet and host the 23rd edition of IIFA on the 26th and 27th May 2023, bringing Bollywood megastars and many revered celebrities of the silver screen under one roof.As June begins, witness the Global rock phenomenon and one of the most successful American rock bands of all time ‘Guns N’ Roses’ as they light the stages of Etihad Arena on fire. This is just the tip of the iceberg with a plethora of events lined-up for the entire year.
The new-age consumer behaviour is fast-evolving. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will see 147 percent growth in mobile wallet usage by 2025, according to Kearney. Further, it hints that 1 in 2 consumers in the MENA region is keen to experience Metaverse, and retailers are exploring Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to improve customer experience.More than 150 expert speakers shared their knowledge and insights with over 500 delegates and 300 companies on digital transformation and the growth of the e-commerce sector at the Internet Commerce Summit (ICS) 2023 held at the Conrad Dubai from 16-17 March 2023. Organised by IMAGES RetailME, the debut Internet Commerce Summit (ICS) MENA edition was built as a powerful platform that examined technology transformation, innovation and disruption across the e-commerce domain, for several business categories. This platform also brought to the front the future opportunities for the industry stakeholders to benefit from. Delegates at the two-day Summit, witnessed some exciting stories on digital transformation and innovative approaches, that is changing consumer behaviour and the way people shop.By the end of 2023, the MENA region’s e-commerce market size is expected to be worth US$100 billion. To catalogue the strongly evident growth of this vibrant market, IMAGES Group MENA unveiled its first ever E-Commerce Yearbook on March 17, 2023. This unique compilation in its debut edition has been dedicated to the homegrown digital commerce ecosystem. Through this volume, the Yearbook traces the growth of the regional e-commerce landscape mapping the journeys and success of indigenous brands across multiple categories. The Yearbook features 100 homegrown names in the e-commerce domain, highlighting how they have disrupted, set trends and created individualistic business models in their respective categories.Bhavesh Pitroda, Founder & Convenor of Internet Commerce Summit (ICS) was happy to see the confluence of great minds from across industries at the 2-day conference and said, "The good response of ICS MENA’s debut edition paves the way for more such thought leadership conferences to come. There is a lot of opportunity waiting to be explored within the domain of the digital e-commerce ecosystem. Every industry needs to utilise this untapped horizon to reach great heights. Customers will only get more demanding for a connected experience and it is now on all of us to make it agile and ready for them. That's the power of the internet and it will only grow manifolds." “We are pilot testing a project at Papa John’s Pizza that will capture multiple images of each of the pizzas prepared and served at our outlets and the software will scan the images to show if they were perfect by measuring the size of the pizza, ingredients, toppings and even the positioning of the pepperonis and other ingredients to show if each of the slices get equal amount of the toppings,” Tapan Vaidya, CEO of PJP Investments, franchisee of Papa Johns Pizza mentioned while speaking at the conference.“The software then analyses the images and sends quick feedback to the store management on the quality of the pizza. This is one of the ways we are trying to ensure the quality of our products and services, among many other developments to enhance customer experience,” he added.Piyush Chowhan, CIO of Panda Retail (part of Savola Group) said, “The customers are a step ahead and many retailers are still trying to catch up with their needs.”"E-commerce is a growing space in MENA. It is pivoting great success stories that are worth noticing. What is good to see is that these companies are spread across industries and they are powering category growth like never before. ICS helped connect these powerhouses with the enabler ecosystem and that makes the narrative even stronger. Moreover, it is so heartening to see that the enabler ecosystem piggybacking on technology advancement is always ready to offer customised solutions to brands and companies engaged in the internet business," Sudhakar Adapa, Founder & CEO, COMMERZIFY mentions.Justina Eitzinger, COO of IMAGES RetailME, when talking about the event mentioned, “The debut edition of the Internet Commerce Summit 2023 has been an out-and-out success with experts sharing their insights on the future of this evolving industry. As the consumers, industry and the government stakeholders in the Middle East are evolving, it is important to give them the best knowledge, information and insights so that they can help re-shape the industry as per the consumer demand.”A recent report by Amazon Payment Services indicates that consumers born between late 1990s and early 2010s are the driving force for digital payments, thriving on innovation, convenience and seamless experiences. However, it is the Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, who have the highest spending power. The research shows that 51 percent of Gen Z in the UAE use digital or mobile wallets for daily payments, compared to 48 percent in Saudi Arabia, and 43 percent in Egypt. Moreover, 20 percent of UAE respondents reported a decline in cash usage, with 50 percent of Generation Z respondents confirming that they exclusively use cards for transactions. Tamana Padhi, Principal, Consumer Industry – Retail, said, “The global Metaverse market is set to grow at 33 percent reaching $1 trillion in 5 years. The MENA region is set to build a $360 billion economy around Metaverse in 10 years. Overall consumers in MENA are maturing.”Attendees at ICS covered the entire value chain of digital commerce businesses across MENA, India, Europe, and the US. A number of industry leaders, experts and changemakers spoke at the two-day summit, including Brandon Rowberry - CEO – Aster DM Healthcare - Digital Health; Nader Amiri, Founder - elGrocer; Leena Khalil, Co-founder and CCO of Mumzworld; Piyush Chowhan, CIO, Panda Retail Company (Savola Group); Anthony Nehaenko, Co- Founder and CCO of YallaMarket; Peter Gesper, Senior Vice President of IT, Noon; Sayed Habib, Director, Business Development, Franchise & E-commerce - Danube Home; Mouna Abbassy, Founder and CEO, IZIL Beauty; Sadeq Abdulrasool – Chief Digital Officer – Homiez.me, Adam Docrat – Head of IT- Aster Retail GCC, Shah Hassam – CEO, Jerdoni, Kartik Bhatt – COO – GCC – Sharaf Retail, Tarek Barakat – Marketing & E-Commerce Director – Beside Group. Imad Hammad – Founder / CEO – CarSwitch.com, Steve Webster – Digital Director – Liwa Trading Enterprise, Anish Mohamed- Group CIO – Lulu Group International, Mohammad Alabbar – Founder & CEO – Akaar Homes, Santosh Krishnamurthy – Head of Digital & Retail Transformation – BFL Group, Rehana Raj – Operations Head – Choithrams and Sandeep Sharma – Director Group Procurement & International Markets – Domino’s Pizza and several others.One of the key highlights of the event was the IMAGES ME E-Commerce Awards 2023, powered by Commerzify — the debut edition of MENA’s most authoritative recognition for excellence in e-commerce. This award in its debut edition celebrated some of the notable e-commerce journeys for brands across categories, tracing their growth across the digital runway.Internet Commerce Summit 2023 AwardeesNoCategoryAwardees 1IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Beauty and WellnessLiht Organics 2IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Food and GroceryLulu Hypermarket3IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Food ServiceFilli Café4IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Fashion and LifestyleBFL Group5IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: JewelleryEtika Jewels6IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: KidswearBabystore7IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Pharmacy and HealthcareLife Pharmacy 8IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: FootwearDropkick9IMAGES ME Most Admired Ecommerce Company of the Year: Leisure and Gift LetsTango.com 10IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: MarketplaceMenakart11IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Home and HousewareDanube Home12IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Marketing and Customer ReachPetzone13IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Customer ExperienceKibsons14IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: OmnichannelCapabilityLulu Hypermarket15IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Fulfilment and Customer ServiceKibsons16IMAGES ME E-COMMERCE PERSONALITY of the Year: FashionDharmin Ved, CEO, 6thStreet.com17IMAGES ME E-COMMERCE PERSONALITY of the Year: MarketplaceMohamed Alabbar, Founder, Noon.com
Bigo Live, a leading social livestreaming platform, is thrilled to announce its latest initiative for Ramadan in the MENA Region. The holy month of Ramadan is a time for spreading positivity and sharing joy. Bigo Live encourages broadcasters to create a chain of kindness by sharing religious stories, cooking food during Ramadan, or acknowledging good deeds and acts of kindness around them, Bigo Live users can join popular singer Bessan Ismail, actress Sara Mohannad, chef Amouna_cuisine, blogger Dyl3r, and more influencers to explore new ways to celebrate this season while building new communities that can last a lifetime.Bigo Live is inviting its users to join in the celebration of the holy month of Ramadan by sharing their favorite recipes, movies, insightful health tips, and how they are preparing for Ramadan on Community. For instance, users can join "Gathering is best in Ramadan," a growing community of around 13,000 global Muslim users who contribute health, fitness, and self-care information to engage with other users during the holy month. Additionally, users who share their Iftar meals in the food community will also have the opportunity to be awarded. As dressing conservatively is important for both men and women during Ramadan, Bigo Live has introduced new Ramadan clothes for avatars to try on under the platform's Virtual Live feature. With the most updated version of the platform, users can dress up their personalized 3D avatars from the available selection while going live, delivering a more immersive experience. This feature will enable users to showcase their fashion sense while also respecting the traditional values of the holy month.A spokesperson from Bigo Live said, “As we celebrate Ramadan, Bigo Live is dedicated to providing a safe and inclusive environment for all our users, and we will continue to work towards promoting positivity and togetherness on our platform. We are confident that our in-app activity for Ramadan will foster a sense of community and inspire our users to be kinder and more compassionate towards one another. We look forward to celebrating this special season with our users and wish everyone a blessed Ramadan.” Bigo Live will continue to spread positivity and joy on its platform and celebrate the spirit of kindness, caring, generosity, and solidarity during Ramadan. By encouraging its users to create a chain of kindness and share their unique and innovative content this Ramadan, the platform aims to foster a sense of community and togetherness during the holy month.
HE Khalifa Al Zaffin, Executive Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation and Dubai South; HE Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET); HE Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs; and Mohsen Ahmad, CEO of the Logistics District - Dubai South and Mohamed Shael Alsaadi, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Consumer Protection and Fair Trade today witnessed the inauguration of Amazon’s latest Fulfillment Center in the UAE. Following the inauguration, the dignitaries were given a tour of the facility by Ronaldo Mouchawar, Vice President of Amazon Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Prashant Saran, Director of Operations for Amazon MENA and Zeina El Kaissi, Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs for Amazon MENA.The new Fulfillment Center has a storage capacity of 2.1 million cubic feet, which will increase Amazon’s total storage capacity in the UAE by 70%. As the company gears up for increased customer demand during the Holy month of Ramadan, the investment will enable Amazon to delight customers with a wider selection of products across electronics, appliances, groceries, fashion, books and more. Amazon brings 25+ years of logistics technology and innovation to support the country’s ecommerce ecosystem. The new facility will house innovative solutions for its operations, close to three kilometers of conveyance equipment, spread across five floors and covering an area of more than 350,000 sqft.Supporting Dubai and UAE’s agenda for a digital economy, the enhanced capacity will provide entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) access to Amazon’s fulfillment capabilities and world-class logistics expertise. In order to reach a wider customer base faster and more efficiently, SMBs can take advantage of the Fulfilled by Amazon offering that allows them to store, pick, pack and ship customer orders through Amazon. The company recently announced its commitment to host products from 100,000 businesses, including local SMBs, on its UAE website Amazon.ae by 2026, in support of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to make Dubai a global digital economy.The facility is located in Dubai South’s Logistics District, enabling efficient services, speed, operations, and uninterrupted access to Jebel Ali Port and Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC). The district comprises of multiple zones that facilitate distribution, including a Freight Forwarding Zone; EZDubai, a fully dedicated e-commerce free zone strategically located in the heart of the district; and a Contract Logistics Zone.H.E. Khalifa Al Zaffin, Executive Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation and Dubai South, commented: “At Dubai South, our mandate is to support the government’s economic diversification efforts through the different services and solutions that we provide to local and international companies. We have created a world-class logistics, supply chain and warehousing infrastructure ecosystem, making it an ideal location for Amazon’s new facility. We are thrilled to welcome the company’s second Fulfillment Centre in our Logistics District, as hosting a global e-commerce company like Amazon expanding its investment in the UAE brings us closer to our mission to catalyze the UAE’s economic growth.”Speaking at the inauguration, H.E. Helal Al Marri, Director General of the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) said: “Dubai’s leadership has outlined a clear economic growth roadmap for the coming decade that capitalizes on the emirate’s business enabling infrastructure and highly developed global logistic network to deliver accelerated expansion opportunities for both international and local companies, whilst offering a strong competitive advantage to those choosing Dubai. In line with our Economic Agenda 2033’s (D33) strategic objectives, we welcome the ongoing expansion of Amazon here and its catalyzing role in the wider development of an economy centered on innovation and technology that enables talent.”According to H.E. Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs, CEO of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation: “Dubai has transformed into a significant hub for the world's largest e-commerce companies. The city's exceptional infrastructure and logistics capabilities have propelled it to become a launchpad for e-commerce worldwide. The launch of Amazon's new shipping center in Dubai South is a testament to Dubai's unwavering commitment to achieving global leadership in cross-border e-commerce. This achievement adds another remarkable milestone to Dubai's already impressive record of accomplishments in the field.Ronaldo Mouchawar, Vice President of Amazon MENA, said, “At Amazon, we continue to emphasize our focus on providing the best and fastest selection of products to our customers in the UAE. Fulfillment Centers have a ripple effect across the economy, contributing significantly to the growth of ecommerce sales, building capacity and accelerating entrepreneurship by allowing sellers and start-ups to leverage Amazon’s world class fulfillment offerings to reach more customers with a wider selection of products. At the same time, we continue to invest in building the UAE’s talent capabilities, creating diverse career paths in an industry-leading workplace.”As a responsible employer, Amazon nurtures a diverse and inclusive workplace where every individual is encouraged to grow and advance their careers. Many of the leadership roles in the new Fulfillment Center are held by women. With access to a variety of roles ranging from operations, analytics, to health and safety and supply chain, all employees have access to training, upskilling and mentoring programs that benefit the country’s wider talent pool and equip them for the evolving labor market.Prashant Saran, Director of Operations for Amazon MENA, said, “We are excited to partner with Dubai South once again. With the opening of this facility, we are geared up to offer even more products to more customers during the busy time of Ramadan. The new Fulfilment Center will be equipped with Amazon’s latest global innovations to ensure speed, safety and reliability with every order. As a good corporate citizen, we always strive to create opportunities for employees, partners and the community while growing sustainably and responsibly.”Amazon is committed to embedding sustainable practices across all its operations as it expands its presence across the UAE. The new facility incorporates carbon-friendly design concepts, efficient control systems, data and analytics to improve energy efficiency. Amazon continues its relentless focus on the safety and well-being of its employees, deploying cutting-edge technology to assist employees and keep them safe while delivering for customers.Since its launch in the UAE, Amazon has been investing in strengthening its presence and launching various service offerings to enhance the order fulfilment experience for customers in the UAE. Today, Amazon Operations’ network across the UAE comprises of three Fulfillment Centres, three sort centres, eight delivery stations and a network of small and medium businesses working as Delivery Service Partners.
IBM Security released its annual X-Force Threat Intelligence Index finding that although ransomware’s share of incidents in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) held steady at 18%, globally defenders were more successful detecting and preventing ransomware. Despite this, attackers continued to innovate, with the report showing that globally the average time to complete a ransomware attack dropped from two months down to less than 4 days. According to the 2023 report, the deployment of backdoors, which allow remote access to systems, emerged as the top action by attackers in the MEA region last year. Backdoor deployments were detected in 27% of the cases X-Force responded to in this region in 2022. Ransomware and worms tied for the second-most common attack type in the region at 18% each. The uptick in backdoor deployments can be partially attributed to their high market value. X-Force observed threat actors selling existing backdoor access for as much as $10,000, compare this to stolen credit card data, which sells for less than $10 per card today.As organizations across the MEA region try to address the ever-evolving cyber threats landscape, Frida Kleimert Knibbs, Security Leader at IBM MEA, stressed the critical role of threat intelligence in safeguarding against these threats. She commented: “Proactively managing security risks and evolving cybercrime tactics is a critical priority for organizations across MEA. The X-Force Threat Intelligence Index findings demonstrate the continued threat of ransomware and the increasing use of thread hijacking tactics.”She added: “To safeguard against these threats, it's imperative that companies remain vigilant and focus on effective incident response planning. As the security landscape evolves, it is crucial to prioritize threat intelligence and strengthen defenses”.The IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence Index tracks new and existing trends and attack patterns – pulling from billions of datapoints from network and endpoint devices, incident response engagements and other sources.Some of the key findings in the 2023 report include:Extortion: Threat Actors Go-to Method. The most common impact from cyberattacks in 2022 was extortion, which was primarily achieved through ransomware or business email compromise attacks. Extortion and financial loss each accounted for half of identified impacts in incidents across the MEA region in 2021. Manufacturing was the most extorted industry globally in 2022, and it was again the most attacked industry for the second consecutive year. Manufacturing organizations are an attractive target for extortion, given the extremely low tolerance for down time.Cybercriminals Weaponize Email Conversations. Thread hijacking saw a significant rise in 2022, with attackers using compromised email accounts to reply within ongoing conversations posing as the original participant. X-Force observed the rate of monthly attempts increase by 100% globally compared to 2021 data. Over the year, X-Force found that attackers used this tactic to deliver Emotet, Qakbot, and IcedID, malicious software that often results in ransomware infections.Legacy Exploits Still Doing the Job. The proportion of known exploits relative to vulnerabilities declined 10 percentage points globally from 2018 to 2022, due to the fact that the number of vulnerabilities hit another all-time high. The findings indicate that legacy exploits enabled older malware infections such as WannaCry and Conficker to continue to exist and spread.Phishers “Give Up” on Credit Card Data. The number of cybercriminals targeting credit card information in phishing kits dropped 52% globally in one year, indicating that attackers are prioritizing personally identifiable information such as names, emails, and home addresses, which can be sold for a higher price on the dark web or used to conduct further operations.Finance and Insurance Remain Prime Targets for Cyberattacks in MEA: In the Middle East and Africa, Finance and insurance was the most-targeted industry in 2022, accounting for 44% of incidents and down slightly from 2021 at 48%. Professional, business and consumer services accounted for 22% of attacks, with manufacturing and energy tying for third place at 11%.The report features data IBM collected globally in 2022 to deliver insightful information about the global threat landscape and inform the security community about the threats most relevant to their organizations. You can download a copy of the 2023 IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence Report here.
MENA Fintech Association (MFTA), a leading industry association for fintech in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, is proud to announce that Akshay Chopra, Vice President, Head of Innovation & Design, CEMEA (Central & Eastern Europe, ME & Africa) at Visa, has joined its advisory board.Akshay brings over 16 years of experience across Asia-Pacific and CEMEA, with a focus on driving inclusive innovation and next-gen product development in payments and commerce. Akshay also holds 7 FinTech patents and is a serial venture investor in tech startups. In his role at Visa, he leads a team responsible for developing and executing the innovation strategy for the CEMEA region. Akshay has also been instrumental in driving adoption of new payment technologies such as tokenization, contactless payments, small merchant solutions and mobile wallets."We are thrilled to welcome Akshay to our advisory board," said Nameer Khan, Chairman of Mena Fintech Association. "His extensive experience in fintech and innovation will be invaluable to the fintechs in MENA and the wider community, as we work to promote the growth and development of the fintech ecosystem in the MENA region."As a member of the advisory board, Akshay will provide strategic guidance and support to MFTA, as well as help drive dialog with industry leaders and stakeholders. He will also play a key role in shaping the future of fintech in the MENA region.“MENA’s FinTechs are poised to transform real lives and businesses,” said Akshay. When these innovators act with ingenuity and an inclusive mindset, everybody wins. MFTA has played a key role in building the region’s preeminent FinTech community; I am honored to support its objectives and foster the ecosystem’s growth.”
SolutionBuggy, India's largest manufacturing consulting platform dedicated to small and medium scale enterprises, gears up for overseas expansion by foraying in the Middle-east region. Looking at the huge potential in the Middle-East market, SolutionBuggy intends to open a new office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).The manufacturing consulting platform currently has offices in Noida and Bengaluru, but is working on projects all over India. Through the successful completion of projects in markets like Nepal and Switzerland, it has already initiated its establishment in the global market. The company also plans to expand into countries in Africa like Ghana, Zambia, and Nigeria.Talking about the company’s expansion plans, Arjun N, Founder and CEO, SolutionBuggy said, "Previously dependent on oil, the Middle East market is now looking at new industries and investing extensively in them, including textiles, chemicals, drone technology, agri-tech, and organic fertilisers. After completing more than 3000 projects in India, our team began receiving numerous enquiries from the Middle East region, initially to see whether our company could compete with some of the quotes they had from China. The clients we worked with had complete faith in us as a result of our ability to demonstrate transparent and superior quality services, and greater access to a large pool of talented experts located throughout India and managed by a single point of contact i.e., SolutionBuggy. As a result, we were rewarded with the complete implementation of a silk textile manufacturing unit setup in the UAE.""We see enormous potential in developing countries for industrial facilities. Many times, businesses have been caught in a bind with equipment that is either not producing the desired results or requires a specialised workforce to operate. In these situations, SolutionBuggy as a platform gives access to both new and established sectors, allowing them to improve their workflows and hire the best personnels for their projects. Therefore, whether an ethanol plant is built in Mirzapur or Zambia, we have the engineering know-how to complete the project." shares Guruprasad Bangle, Co-founder & Chief Technology Officer, SolutionBuggy.SolutionBuggy is focusing on the markets in Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Brazil in industries like food processing, ethanol plants, aerospace and defence, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and electric vehicles."We are having a stellar growth rate of almost 110 percent over the last year, and this is looking at only India's business. Once we consider our order books from outside countries, we are looking at even higher growth rates," said Vikas Manral, Co-founder & CMO, SolutionBuggy.SolutionBuggy is an end-to-end project management consulting firm that is eager to grow in other locations and take on complete implementation projects for new plant setup, technology transfer, diversification, etc. Notably, the manufacturing consulting platform also collaborates with trade bodies and consults in Denmark, Israel, Germany, Malaysia and France to assist businesses from these countries in entering the Indian market through joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, technology transfers, and contract manufacturing.
Netflix released the first look images of the upcoming Arabic psychological thriller, The Matchmaker, giving a first glimpse at the eerie and atmospheric story. Set against the striking backdrop of AlUla, which is steeped in history and brings an undercurrent of magic, The Matchmaker is one of the first psychological thrillers from Saudi Arabia.The Matchmaker follows Tarek (Hussam Alharthy), an IT worker who becomes powerfully infatuated with his office’s beautiful intern (Nour Alkhadra). He follows her to a desert resort beset by bizarre forces, where a matchmaker (Reem Alhabib) promises men to pair them with their perfect bride. But when Tarek wanders outside the bounds of the resort, he uncovers an ancient vengeance.The Matchmaker is produced by Telfaz11 and directed by Abdulmohsin Aldabaan. The movie is filmed entirely in AlUla, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Saudi Arabia.
D360 Bank unveiled plans at the Financial Sector Conference (FSC) held on 15 and 16 March 2023 for its imminent launch as one of the newest digital banks to operate in Saudi Arabia.The Chairman of the Board of D360 Bank, Mr. Taha Al Kuwaiz, thanked the FSC members and organizers for providing D360 Bank a platform to share exciting news on the upcoming launch of the newest digital bank to open its doors to the public. The Chairman also shared insights into the story of how D360 Bank came into being, and how it is anchored by the prestigious Public Investment Fund and Derayah Financial. He went on to say, “Derayah Financial has successfully been established in the market for more than 15 years, as the third largest broker in the Kingdom, with currently 96-99% of our customers using digital channels.”D360 Bank is built on the solid foundations of a great team, outstanding market expertise and cutting-edge technology, which also underpins the competitive advantage we have as a Digital Bank, added Mr. Al Kuwaiz.The Chairman thanked the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA), Ministry of Finance, Capital Market Authority, and Financial Sector Development Program, for promoting and enabling fintechs, which have allowed technology to play a major part in the establishment of D360 Bank, and level the playing field with big banks.The Chairman, further said, “the team has been working on the launch of D360 Bank for the last four years and we have a license in place, some great partners, and we see D360 Bank serving the underserved segments of banking, the Kingdom’s youth, SMEs, and B2B markets and indeed all untapped areas of banking, with a focus on banking made simple and customer-centric.” Mr. Mohammed Ghonaim, Acting CEO of D360 Bank, said: “With internal operations now live, D360 Bank is due to announce very soon when it will open its doors for public registration,” calling on customers to stay tuned for further announcements via the D360 Bank website.On the sidelines of the Financial Sector Conference (FSC), Ghoneim pointed out that D360 Bank will provide various services that will make users' digital banking experience enjoyable and accessible all the time, at competitive prices.“D360 Bank has adopted advanced technologies that rely mainly on data to effectively serve clients through Sharia-compliant products and services that meet their needs, now and in the future, in line with the Vision 2030 objectives related to digitization and support for SMEs,” Ghonaim added.
Keel Comms is the first and only 'purpose-driven PR & Communications, social media & content agency' in the Middle East and North Africa region with sustainability as the core of its operations. Keel Comms was founded by Baha Hamadi, a veteran publicist and communication professional in the region. Baha Hamadi is a board member of the Public Relations & Communications Association (PRCA MENA), and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Community of ESG Practitioners. He also serves as a mentor for Dubai Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business.In this exclusive interview with adgully.me's BF Firos, Baha Hamadi, Founder & Managing Director, Keel Comms, dwells on the rationale of introducing ‘Purpose Relations,’ his vision for Keel Comms, the growth potential and challenges of the PR industry in the UAE, the changing dynamics and the future of PR, etc."Keel Comms strives to imprint a corporate citizenship mindset in its clients’ DNA. Whether at the inception, early or maturity phase, we advise clients on how to incorporate ESG factors into their operations and branding, ultimately helping them communicate and accentuate their efforts genuinely," Hamadi says. The main challenge the PR industry faces, says Baha Hamadi, is the one-size-fits-all approach that most PR agencies adopt. "The need to differentiate your service offerings has never been more important. Also, as agencies reach greater heights of success and expand, there is a risk that the special one-on-one client care will be sacrificed for overly commercial tactics," says Hamadi. Excerpts from the interview: <img src='https://erp.adgully.me/artical_image\b9614508203e687b167ddd075279add2' class='content_image'>What is your vision for Keel Comms?Considering the growing Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) movement globally, as well as the Year of Sustainability and COP28 locally, we aim to empower brands and individuals to play an active role during the Decade of Action and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs by 2030.Regardless of the SDGs and the deadlines we set for ourselves, we are on an endless mission to help make the world a more sustainable place—one company at a time. This is an ongoing exercise requiring a lifelong commitment. Unfortunately, we will never live in a world without problems. What we can do is extend a helping hand and be consistent about it.Whether through research, taking action, spreading the word or advocating for change, companies of all sizes and individuals from all walks of life are capable of creating meaningful impact.What is the USP of Keel Comms?Keel Comms is revolutionizing the MENA’s PR, social media and content sector by introducing ‘Purpose Relations’—the new face of Public Relations. Adopting a purpose-driven communications approach will help businesses make lasting impact while creating meaningful connections with their audiences.How do you define Keel Comms as a purpose-driven and sustainability-focused PR & communications agency?Keel Comms strives to imprint a corporate citizenship mindset in its clients’ DNA. Whether at the inception, early or maturity phase, we advise clients on how to incorporate ESG factors into their operations and branding, ultimately helping them communicate and accentuate their efforts genuinely.We recommend ways in which our clients can contribute to the SDGs—either through co-creating initiatives or by facilitating partnerships with other entities within our network. For non-profits whose values align with ours, we offer discounted rates.How can brands strike a balance between being socially responsible and staying true to the brand's values, while still achieving the marketing objectives?Brands can strike this balance by considering how each marketing effort aligns with their core values—which is a given—while ensuring their campaigns deliver social or environmental benefits. Adding the sustainability component to marketing is becoming increasingly important for brands across all sectors.Another way to maintain a balance between sustainability, brand values and marketing effectiveness in campaigns is by leveraging existing partnerships or creating new ones with organisations that share the same commitment to social responsibility. Through capitalizing on complementary strengths, partnerships have the potential to deliver exponentially greater outcomes than could be achieved alone.How do you evaluate the PR and communication industry in the UAE? What are its key growth potential and challenges?PR and communication in the UAE is one of the most vibrant and rapidly growing sectors across the Middle East region, driven by a wide range of market enablers, including a booming economy and increased demand for integrated marketing services. Key growth factors for the PR industry include an ever-increasing demand from both public and private companies for more advanced services such as ESG communications, reputation management, digital marketing, media relations, content creation, branding, and influencer marketing.The main challenge is the one-size-fits-all approach that most PR agencies adopt. The need to differentiate your service offerings has never been more important. Also, as agencies reach greater heights of success and expand, there is a risk that the special one-on-one client care will be sacrificed for overly commercial tactics. In other words, it can start to feel like clients are being processed through a factory instead of receiving personalized service from their agency partners. The traditional media landscape is undergoing drastic transformation with digital media and influencers assuming prominence. How will these aspects change the dynamics of the PR industry in the Middle East?The shift from traditional media to new media has had an immense impact. Digital channels present a much larger audience, providing brands with access to more potential customers. In addition, content is more easily disseminated and managed digitally, allowing for greater control over how campaigns are executed.Influencers have become increasingly important for driving engagement and creating a two-way dialogue between the brand and its target audience. This has allowed brands to create deeper relationships with consumers, while also providing a platform to spread organic messages in an engaging manner.What will be the future of PR in the region? Can you predict key industry trends?The future of PR in the Middle East region looks very promising as businesses continue to invest in their reputations. Key industry trends that can be expected to gain traction include an increased demand for content creation, storytelling, and reputation management; the use of AI to predict trends, drive engagement and personalize messaging; and a greater focus on influencer marketing to engage with audiences authentically.How will AI-powered analytics play a role measuring the effectiveness of PR campaigns?AI-powered analytics will play a crucial role as a PR measurement tool. AI algorithms can be used to collect and analyze data from various sources, such as website visits, social media followers, ratings and reviews, sentiment analysis, and more. This data can then be used to gain insights into how effective a certain campaign is and provide actionable recommendations for improvement.AI can also help detect anomalies that could affect the results of a campaign and alert marketers accordingly. Analyzing the data collected over time can also help PR professionals make informed decisions about future strategies based on past performance metrics.Is the emergence of AI-supported tools like Chat GPT/ BARD a boon or bane for the PR professional? The AI engine revolution can be both a boon and bane for communication professionals. These tools provide us with unprecedented levels of efficiency in producing customized content, while offering valuable data-driven insights that can inform decision-making and shape effective strategies.However, there is a concern about the accuracy of data output through AI. The other drawback is that AI could be used to spread misinformation or manipulate public opinion. It is up to us to ensure these tools are used responsibly, maximizing the benefits while mitigating any potential risks they may bring.
XS.com, the Global FinTech and Financial Services Provider has today welcomed Andreea Ilies as their new Global Head of Events. This appointment brings a wealth of expertise to the quickly expanding XS.com team and will enhance the brokers ability to host and manage successful events and seminars on a global scale.Andreea joins the XS Group bringing with her over 5 years of experience as the Head of Production of iFX EXPO - the largest global B2B Fintech conferences, held across the world. Andreea will use her expertise to play a key role in shaping the strategy and vision of XS.com’s marketing department, and she will work closely with different teams across the organization.Mohamad Ibrahim, Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at XS.com made the following statement to the press about the new hire:“I’d like to welcome Andreea Ilies to the team now that she has officially joined XS.com as our new Global Head of Events. This is a significant development for the XS Group as the main focus at XS.com is people – our clients and our employees. Going forth we will focus heavily on networking and educational events to provide everyone with the face-to-face support they require to be successful in their trading journey. Andreea’s track record in the industry speaks for itself and I’m excited at the prospect of working with such a talented and experienced professional to make these new goals come to fruition. Andreea will play a critical part in driving growth and success for the rising XS.com brand and I wish her all the best in her new role”.Andreea Ilies, the new Global Head of Events at XS.com, said:“I’m excited about this new opportunity and I’m eager to make a positive impact in my new role as Global Head of Events. I’m looking forward to working with an extremely talented team to help drive growth and success whilst leveraging on my past years of event and marketing experience to further enhance the XS.com brand and attract new clients. This is a truly exciting time for the XS Group and for the industry as a whole. I believe in 2023, events, trade shows and seminars will be of significant importance in the finance sector as we push forward with a more social and personalised approach to doing business. I look forward to playing my part by sharing my expertise in this field and working towards a bright future for the XS Group.”This news announcement comes only a short while after the XS Group announced a new addition to the team with Ahmed Negm joining as XS.com’s new Head of Market Research for the MENA region and Stephanie Michael joining as the new Head of Human Resources (HR).
we’ve accumulated over 50 years of expertise, and always operated at the forefront of racing. Our SF23 race car, which will be used in the Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League, is a huge leap forward in technical performance and, importantly, carbon neutrality, so it’s very exciting to see it being driven by an autonomous technology stack. This partnership with ASPIRE is yet another example of our ambition and we cannot wait for the first race.” Andrea Pontremoli, CEO of Dallara, said: “For over 50 years, the Dallara name and motor racing have been in lockstep. We have designed and manufactured some of the most important racing cars in the sport, forever pushing the boundaries of what has been possible. To continue that journey, and in line with our vision to design and build the fastest and safest cars in the world, we are so excited to partner with ASPIRE to shape the future of mobility. The Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League will set the pace and drive new levels of performance, safety, efficiency, and importantly, sustainability, in autonomous technologies. Watch this space.” The Autonomous Car Race will be the first among a series of autonomous vehicle races in the Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League launching in 2024, which will include autonomous offroad racing, autonomous drone racing, and more. This will make Abu Dubai and the United Arab Emirates the world capital for extreme autonomous racing. Open to all teams from previous autonomous racing challenges, teams from universities around the world, public and private research institutes, will be welcome to participate.
Majid Al Futtaim, a leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, today released its ‘State of the UAE Retail Economy’ Q4 report, which revealed that overall consumer spending was up 19 percent in 2022 compared to the previous year.There was a notable 13 percent growth in spending across the retail economy for the full year including, leisure and entertainment (29 percent), fashion (25 percent), hypermarkets and supermarkets (11 percent) and general retail (9). This increase was driven by the rise in international visitors to the UAE, which more than doubled to 14 million in 2022, bolstered by major events including FIFA World Cup in neighbouring Qatar.growth for the long-term.”Macroeconomic TrendsThe UAE posted its strongest annual GDP growth since 2006, jumping to 7.9 percent, from 3.9 percent in 2021. The drivers of this boost were broad-based, across oil and non-oil sectors. As expected, oil remained the main component due to a rise of around 38 percent in the average oil price, causing the sector to rebound to 11.4 percent growth, after contracting by 0.7 percent the previous year.The non-oil economy demonstrated robust growth at 6.6 percent, buoyed by government efforts to attract investments and boost the country’s tourism sector.Consumer Behaviour TrendsThe final quarter of 2022 saw people becoming more cautious with their spend, opting for discounts and deals for essential items, and cutting back on non-essential’s such as electronics.The average spend per transaction in hypermarkets and supermarkets was down 3 percent during the year, however overall spending in the segment was up 11 percent on the year prior, showing movement towards smaller basket value and more frequent transaction.The extended 2.5-day weekend also influenced the increase in consumer spend, with weekend retail sales increasing by 11.3 percent versus the previous year. This translated to additional spending of approximately AED 5.5 billion according to Majid Al Futtaim Point of Sales (POS) data.Consumer SentimentIn Majid Al Futtaim’s Happiness Lab survey, approximately 90 percent of respondents viewed the UAE’s current economic situation positively. The Majid Al Futtaim POS data indicated that this optimism is evidenced by a peak in absolute consumer spending in the fourth quarter of 2022, which accounted for 29 percent of all retail economic activity during the year.Burgeoning Digital EconomyAnalysis suggests that the UAE has the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce market, with sales forecast to reach USD 9.2 billion by 2026. Spending in this area peaked in Q4 2022 and grew by 20 percent for the full year compared to 2021, with three-quarters of consumers saying that digital payment methods are the preferred option, according to Majid Al Futtaim POS data.Fintech solutions such as buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) gained pace, with 45 percent of consumers using Buy now, pay later (BNPL) financing in the past year, up from 21 percent a year earlier.A majority of online spending by residents was in the hypermarket and supermarket sector, which witnessed spending growth of 40 percent during the year.UAE Property MarketThe real estate sector witnessed a record-breaking year, with property sales at a 12-year-high in terms of volume and value.Transactions jumped 60 percent in comparison with 2021, with sales values climbing by 76 percent to AED 265 billion in 2022. The market hit its peak in Q4 at 27,000 transactions, up from 16,000 a year earlier.
The Cultural Development Fund (CDF) has announced the launch of the Film Sector Financing Program, with a portfolio of SAR879 million. The program is an initiative of the IGNITE Digital Content Program.The announcement took place at the Ignite the Scene event, organized in Riyadh by the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. The program is open to local and international companies working in the Saudi film sector. It aims to foster a sustainable and thriving Saudi film industry by empowering the private sector with financing packages that support local content and promote filmmaking. These packages are especially geared toward small and medium enterprises in this emerging sector, which is increasingly garnering interest from local and international investors and film enthusiasts.“We are excited to announce that we have partnered with strategic financial institutions across the country to provide companies working in the film sector with the financial solutions to shore up the film sector, establish financial sustainability for film projects, and enable healthy market dynamics,” said Mohammed Bindayel, Chief Executive Officer at CDF. “We invite all financial and investment institutions to join this mission to build and empower this emerging sector.”Bindayel added that the program will activate two funding vehicles “lending” and “investment”. During the event, CDF launched the “lending” vehicle by signing two agreements with its financial partners “Lendo” and “Sukuk Capital” to provide financing packages to companies working in the Saudi film sector. The “investment” vehicle will be launched later this year.The program was created in response to the growing interest in film sector in the Kingdom. Companies working in the film sector can get funds for their projects by applying through CDF website https://cdf.gov.sa/film.The Cultural Development Fund was founded in 2021 with the aim of further enhancing the cultural landscape within Saudi Arabia. Organizationally linked to the National Development Fund, the Fund was established as part of the Quality of Life Program's initiatives to promote the development of a self-reliant cultural sector and empower. The Fund actively supports a variety of cultural activities, facilitates investment, and seeks to improve the domestic culture sector's profitability aligning with Saudi Vision 2030.
Cloudflare, Inc., the security, performance, and reliability company helping to build a better Internet, today announced it is entering the fraud detection market to help businesses quickly identify and stop online fraud–including fraudulent transactions, fake account signups, account takeover attacks, and carding attacks–before it impacts their brand or their bottom line. Powered by sophisticated machine learning models and global threat intelligence, Cloudflare is developing Cloudflare Fraud Detection to quickly stop account and payment fraud while also blocking the bots and humans behind it – automatically, and at global scale.Digital fraud threats are ever evolving, highly targeted, and can be committed by both humans and bots. According to PWC’s Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey, more than half of companies with at least $10 billion in revenue experienced some sort of digital fraud in the last two years–the highest level in decades. Today, businesses often employ resource-heavy teams or rely on multiple vendors to help fight fraud. However, both options can hinder the speed and experience of a customers' transaction. What's more, they inherently lack access to robust threat intelligence, making it harder for businesses to understand if fraud is coming from a bot or a human, and then stop it in real-time. As attacks increase in volume and attackers evolve their tactics, businesses need a faster, more comprehensive way to stop attacks the moment they are detected.“Customers have long trusted us to help protect them online, and now we’re taking that even further by tackling online fraud,” said Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare. “With our massive global network, we can see more, and secure more. We believe we can use our network to stop online fraud faster than anyone else–so business leaders will no longer be kept up at night worrying that online fraud will hurt their brand, their customers’ experience, or their revenue.”Cloudflare’s global network spans more than 285 cities in over 100 countries to power millions of websites, APIs, and mobile applications–including major online retailers, global financial institutions and payment providers. That will allow Cloudflare to develop real-time advanced detection models that provide greater insights into online fraud threats, and run those models in near-real time to stop threats without any impact on performance. Cloudflare Fraud Detection will first synthesize different threat activity it sees across the globe and across many different Cloudflare products. For example, Cloudflare Fraud Detection will combine insights from Cloudflare's cloud email security–like phishing attacks–with information about emerging attacks from the Cloudforce One threat intelligence team to determine if a new user signup may be fake. Cloudflare Fraud Detection will then help businesses act immediately–such as to block fraudulent transactions in real time–because its machine learning platform runs across the entire Cloudflare network instantaneously. These architectural advantages will enable businesses to quickly and automatically block new threats that emerge–often before a single fraudulent transaction can be processed.With Cloudflare Fraud Detection, businesses will have a consolidated fraud management solution with several threat-specific detection capabilities to:Stop bots at global scale: With Cloudflare’s existing expertise in bot management, businesses will be able to automatically block malicious bot traffic–no human intervention needed.Safeguard brand reputation and consumer trust: Brands should not have to choose between a seamless customer experience and security. Cloudflare will help prevent attackers from creating fake accounts, without adding complexity or extra steps to the customer journey.Protect consumers even if they’ve fallen victim to a past breach: Credential stuffing attacks take advantage of people using the same password across multiple websites by using login credentials that have been breached from one site to try to gain access to other websites’ accounts. With Cloudflare Fraud Detection, brands will be able to detect and stop these attacks.Prevent the use of stolen credit cards: Hackers increasingly use large bot networks to exploit stolen credit card information to commit online fraud at massive scale, making purchases before consumers can even notice. Cloudflare Fraud Detection will have built-in detection capabilities to identify and stop these botnets.
AmiViz, the Middle East region’s first enterprise B2B marketplace recently celebrated its success by recognizing and awarding its channel partners for their efforts and achievements at AmiViz Partner Excellence Awards 2023.This year the company decided to go local and conducted AmiViz Partner Excellence Awards at three locations; Dubai, Riyadh, and Cairo to cover the entire Middle East region. The awards were presented at a glittering ceremony in each of these cities to recognize the importance and contribution of partners that have been driving the marketplace toward new heights.During the course of awards, AmiViz updated partners about its roadmap for new technologies and products. The company also shared the new key features of its marketplace, and how it benefit partners.Ilyas Mohammed, COO at AmiViz said “No business can be successful without the support and loyalty of their partners, and to acknowledge, the role partners play in our growth, we wanted to value their contribution and extend our gratitude by recognizing their efforts with an award.”“We appreciate all our partners for embracing AmiViz B2B platform and working with us. I take this opportunity to once again congratulate all the award winners for their contribution and look forward to seeing them next year with a new set of awards” Ilyas added.
Urban Company is APAC, and Middle East’s largest home services company. Bhavya Sharma, Director- Communications & ESG, Urban Company, talks about the growing importance of gig workers for companies and the economy, the challenges, as well as the importance of their skilling and training.As per a NITI Aayog Report in 2022, the proportion of gig workers among the total workforce rose from 0.54% in 2011-12 to 1.33% in 2019-20 and will have an estimated 2.35 crore people employed as gig workers by 2029-30. This exponential rise is attributed to several reasons such as increased Internet penetration, rising demand for flexible work, a young employable population, and a need to improve livelihood. Excerpts from the interview:What are the challenges with employing a gig workforce?One of the biggest challenges in building a services marketplace is having a skilled workforce. Despite the presence of a strong informal services and contract labour sector in India, less than 5% of the workforce is formally skilled, compared to 75% in Germany and 96% in South Korea. As a result, skilling, reskilling, and upskilling the country’s youth, to make them employable is critical.The other big challenge is matching the availability of service professionals and consumer demand. A strong technology backbone is necessary to ensure sync between demand and supply, especially during peak times. Through technology, key aspects (such as pricing, availability optimisation, professional assignment optimisation, and incentives) smoothen out mismatch and offer a competitive advantage.What are the initiatives and programs that Urban Company has introduced for its partners?Urban Company has always invested in the growth and development of its service professionals. We have identified and work towards the following four partner enablement pillars:Improved earnings: As per our recently published Urban Company Earnings Index, in Q4 FY 2022, partners who delivered at least 30 orders a month, earned about INR 31,000 per month, with the top 20% earning over INR 40,000 per month. Further, according to the findings of PGA Labs’ Earnings Benchmarking Study, Urban Company partners earn at least 60% higher net monthly earnings than their offline counterparts while working for considerably fewer hours (almost 50% less).Training & upskilling: One of our largest areas of investment is training and upskilling of our service professionals. We train the service professionals on both technical and soft skills through our physical and digital training infrastructure. The training programs range from 4 days to 45 days, depending on the candidate’s skill level and profession chosen. Upon successful completion of the training and clearing of the final assessment, service professionals also get Skill India certificates.Since 2014, the company has invested more than INR 150 crores in through a network of over 100 training centers pan India, and an in-house team of 200+ full time trainers.Safety net: Urban Company also offers a safety net to its partners in the form of insurance and access to financial support. All active partners on the UC platform in India are covered under a comprehensive health insurance plan of up to Rs 2 lakhs and 12 free medical consultations for self and family, whichever is applicable. They also have access to the Group Life and Accidental Insurance cover. Some of the key aspects covered under the policy are life insurance (Rs 6 lakh), disability cover (Rs 6 lakh), accidental hospitalisation (Rs 70,000), accidental OPD treatment (Rs 10,000), among others.Wealth creation: To ensure that our service professionals also benefit from the growth of the platform, in 2022, we announced an industry-first Partner Stock Ownership Program (PSOP). Under this plan, we have so far granted stocks worth more than Rs 5.2 crore to about 500 partners.Overall, these initiatives demonstrate our commitment to the well-being and professional growth of our service professionals. A strong testament to Urban Company’s commitment towards partner development has been our ranking in the recently launched Fairwork India Ratings, where Urban Company scored the highest among industry peers on the principles of fair pay, fair conditions, fair contracts, and fair management.Please throw light on your partnerships with NSDC, PSOP program, and the vast network of training centers?In 2022, we further strengthened our partnership with NSDC on training, financing and promotion of skill-based services in India. Under this partnership, all Urban Company service professionals will be provided co-branded QR-coded digital certificates upon successful completion of the training and clearing of final assessment. By virtue of this partnership, all service professionals will also become members of the Skill India portal (SIP). Further, these certificates will be available on both the NSDC’s Skill India portal and the Urban Company app, enabling customers to view details of the professional delivering the service.In 2022, Urban Company announced an industry-first Partner Stock Ownership Program (PSOP). We have set up a fair and meritocratic process for awarding these shares, considering the performance of service partners and their longevity on the platform. The entire process is rule-based and transparent, with an advisory panel providing complete guidance.Under this plan, we have so far granted stocks worth more than Rs 5.2 crore to about 500 partners. In order to build a diverse and inclusive partner ecosystem, of these 500 recipients, 30% are female partners from the Beauty & Wellness vertical. Further, among the cities, Bangalore had the most number of partner shareholders at 26%, followed by Delhi NCR (22%), Mumbai and Pune (together accounting for 16%) and Hyderabad (15%).What is special about Urban Company’s Cleaning Training Programme?Cleaning services is one of the most booked services on the Urban Company platform. This vertical has received so much customer love because of the experience we deliver on the back of a solid training program. We have a unique training program that covers everything – from technical aspects pertaining to stains and chemicals to grooming and soft skills. Our training centers have mock setups of kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms that allow service professionals to get practical training before they go live on the platform.What is special about Urban Company’s health insurance for partners, loans, etc.?The company also provides health insurance coverage up to Rs 600,000, including personal accident insurance, and partners have access to health insurance benefits up to Rs 200,000. The company has launched a comprehensive health insurance policy in partnership with ACKO Insurance that provides coverage of Rs 2 lakh to all UC Plus service partners. Additionally, the platform provides loans to its partners through tie-ups with NBFCs. These loans are small-ticket personal loans typically in the range of Rs 10,000-50,000 and are easily accessible via the app.What is the vision of Urban Company when it comes to upskilling its partner network?Urban Company’s goal is to train and upskill 500,000 service partners by 2030, including at least 200,000 women service partners.How has the pandemic affected your operations and how did you deal with them?The impact of pandemic on business operations was limited to the early stages of the pandemic due to lockdowns and other restrictions. However, since then, our business has only scaled higher.We expanded our geographic footprint from about 20 cities to 55+ in total. We also introduced new services such as haircuts for men and women, nail art services, laser hair reduction for women and more.
The ftNFT Phygital Space is holding the Grand Opening ceremony on March 16th in Dubai Mall. After which, it is hosting the International NFT Awards during a Gala Dinner at Armani Hotel.The ftNFT Phygital Space is the second shop opened by ftNFT, following the grand success of their first-ever phygital shop at the Mall of the Emirates. Providing an immersive virtual experience, the shop holds a massive gallery with various forms of art being portrayed for all visitors to see. The Grand Opening is taking place on March 16th, and after the initial ceremony, ftNFT will hold a Gala Dinner at Armani Hotel, hosted by the esteemed magician, Luca Gallone. During the dinner, ftNFT will be presenting the very first International NFT Awards in the UAE. Several accomplished NFT artists, influencers, foundations and brands will be presented throughout the event to celebrate their achievements. Some of the many nominees for the awards are: the Al Jalila Foundation, Jetex, Huawei and Dubai Police.It is worth mentioning that ftNFT unveiled its first ftNFT Phygital Space franchise in Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi. This is the debut to an annual NFT Awards ceremony that ftNFT will be hosting moving forward, endeavouring to commemorate all aspects of the NFT industry and beyond.
Snap Inc. has unveiled a new feature in Family Center that will enable parents to set limits on the type of content their teens can consume on Snapchat. Family Center was launched last year to support positive parental control and a safer digital future.The feature will also allow teens to notify their parents when they report an account or a piece of content to Snap's Trust and Safety team. This is coupled with the publishing of Snapchat’s new eligibility Content Guidelines, all of which seek to make Snapchat a better, safer place for Snapchatters.On Snapchat, there are two places where content can potentially reach a large audience: Stories is Snapchat’s content platform, where content creators, Snap Stars, and media partners provide trusted news, entertainment, sports and other genres. Stories is not an open platform – and creators and partners must abide by content editorial guidelines.Spotlight is Snapchat’s entertainment platform, where Snapchatters can watch fun and creative content created by members of the community.Family Center aims to offer parents the tools to gain insight into who their teens are communicating with, in a way that simultaneously respects their teens’ autonomy. Snap will continue to roll out additional tools over time to help make Family Center more customized to the needs of individual teens as well as their parents.Georg Wolfart, Head of Policy at Snap said, “From the start, Snapchat was designed to be different. As opposed to traditional social media platforms, Snapchat was made to provide a private, positive and safe platform to interact, which includes what content is consumed. This is why Family Center was made to ensure both privacy and safety. In our recently published whitepaper with PwC and RLC, Snapchat was ranked the #1 happiest platform when compared to other apps. Snapchat provides a non-judgemental platform to enhance real relationships with the people and things you love. We are deliberate about the type of content we allow on our platform, and our policies are designed to uphold these standards.”Snapchat reaches more than 90% of 13-to 34-year-olds in the Kingdom and 71% of parents. As countries in the MENA region continue to adopt emerging technologies, it is imperative that safe online spaces for the region’s youth are prioritized. In recent years, the UAE has emphasized the need to enhance digital well-being, providing a safe environment for everyone, but especially teens and children. Snapchat realizes its responsibility towards its users and the wider community and is dedicated to remaining a safe, fun, and curated platform.
Hoko Agency Middle East, a leading luxury agency and event creator in the sport, entertainment, blockchain and technology industries, has announced a new partnership deal with Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake, which will see Hoko Agency represent the Formula 1 team as one of its sponsorship agencies. As a leading global entity with strong ties to the UAE in particular, Hoko Agency will represent Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake across the world, with a particular focus on the Middle East and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.The newly announced collaboration extends Hoko Agency's existing relationships with the world of Formula 1 - the agency's portfolio includes multiple deals with teams and individual drivers within the sport. Working with Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake brings a new level of depth to Hoko Agency's strong sporting associations.To further support the partnership with Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake, Hoko Agency has also announced that it will open a new office in Saudi Arabia's capital city, Riyadh. The latest office joins the agency's global network, which includes offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE, and Singapore. Launching a Riyadh office will allow Hoko Agency to further support the aims and goals of its agreements with Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake, as well as strengthening the agency's presence in the Kingdom during an exciting time of growth and development across the country.Speaking on the announcement, Bally Singh, Founder and Chairman of Hoko Agency, said: "We're thrilled to welcome Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake into our growing portfolio of partnerships. As a premier team in the sport of Formula1 and a keen pursuer of next generation engagement opportunities - such as the metaverse, Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake represents an exciting opportunity to branch out and seek innovative collaborations that will establish solid connections for many years."Hoko Agency has built a solid network of partnerships that includes representation from across the range of sectors it focuses on - particularly in the fields of crypto, blockchain, and Web 3.0. Amongst others, its partnerships include leaders such as cryptocurrency exchange OKX, MoneyGram International - a cross-border P2P payments and money transfer company, and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), an international financial centre and free zone in the UAE's capital.Hoko Agency is committed to building bridges between industries such as entertainment and sports - including Formula 1. This crossover enables Hoko Agency's partners to access and unlock new value, while discovering increasingly popular ways to keep fans and customers engaged across varied channels.Over the past eight years, Hoko Agency has wowed audiences in the UAE with its luxury hospitality offerings during the Abu Dhabi Race Weekend, held each year to coincide with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Hoko Agency's presence during the Race Weekend has grown consistently over the years, becoming an increasingly compelling proposition for premium guests and international celebrities alike.
The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized a meeting with the affiliates of Tijara 101, the Small and Medium Enterprises Center, which is one of the Chamber's most significant initiatives. Tijara 101 was launched to support young entrepreneurs and encourage them to participate in the business and economic landscape.The meeting was attended by HE Mohammad Ahmed Amin Al Awadi, Director-General of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), as well as Ibrahim Rashid Al Jarwan, Director of SCCI's Economic Relations Department, and Mona Omran Ali, Director of Tijarah 101 Center.During the meeting, the chamber discussed the latest developments related to affiliates’ projects and explored ways to overcome any challenges they may be facing. It also reviewed the services provided to them and discussed opportunities for affiliates to participate in the Chamber's events, trade missions, and exhibitions that are relevant to their business activities. The Sharjah Chamber and Tijara 101 affiliates also explored ways to collaborate and benefit from the SCCI services to further support their projects.Supportive EnvironmentWelcoming the affiliates of Tijarah 101, Al Awadi emphasized that this meeting reflects the Chamber's commitment to maintaining close communication with them and extending continuous support.He further underscored the importance of the center's affiliates in contributing to the strategic initiatives of the Emirate of Sharjah and enhancing its reputation as a key hub for innovative businesses.Additionally, Al Awadi highlighted the Chamber's relentless efforts to create a supportive environment for the affiliates by integrating all its sectors and providing the requisite infrastructure to facilitate the implementation of cutting-edge projects, enhance their capabilities, and address any challenges they may encounter. He added that the Chamber will spare no effort to empower young entrepreneurs passionate about building regional and global brands.Al Awadi lauded the pivotal role played by Tijarah 101; a critical initiative launched by the Sharjah Chamber that receives undivided attention. He spoke highly of the Chamber's steadfast commitment to supporting and encouraging entrepreneurs to establish and expand their businesses by offering commercial offices to the affiliates to help launch their ventures.Al Awadi also urged the center's affiliates to take advantage of the services provided by Expo Centre Sharjah and participate in the events it organizes, in addition to those hosted by the Sharjah International Commercial Arbitration Centre (Tahkeem). Furthermore, he emphasized the Chamber's numerous privileges granted to the affiliates, serving as a vital incentive to facilitate the growth and development of their businesses.At the end of the meeting, the center's affiliates expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the pivotal role played by the Chamber in extending their support and assistance, allowing them to establish their projects successfully. They stressed that Tijarah 101 Center served as an ideal platform to launch their entrepreneurial aspirations, acting as a prominent business incubator that furnished them with invaluable guidance and counsel to navigate their path towards success.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has been recognised as the second most valuable Middle Eastern utilities brand and its brand value has risen by 30%, according to Brand Finance, the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD&CEO of DEWA has been ranked 3rd among the top CEOs in the Middle East as per the Brand Guardianship Index 2023 issued by Brand Finance.Brand Finance notes that leaders who build the most sustainable legacy for their businesses are those who balance the needs of investors, employees, customers, partners, governments, regulators and the media. Brand Finance uses a balanced scorecard of measures that capture the ability of a CEO to act as the guardian of their company's brand and a steward of long-term shareholder value.The Brand Guardianship Index includes three main pillars including 'Equity' factors which reflect current perceptions, 'Performance' factors which reflect the tangible results of these perceptions, and 'Investment' factors which support future performance. These three pillars are informed by various sub-measures. DEWA’s results surpass major European and American utilities in several key performance indicators. Losses from electricity transmission and distribution networks were reduced to 2.2% compared to 6-7% in Europe and the USA. Water network losses were also reduced to 4.5% compared to around 15% in North America. DEWA has achieved a new world record in electricity Customer Minutes Lost (CML) per year. Dubai recorded 1.19 minutes per customer, compared to around 15 minutes recorded by leading utility companies in the European Union.
Dubai Lynx, MENA’s Festival and Awards for creative excellence in branded communications, has tonight revealed this year’s winners at the live Awards Ceremony. Among the winners were some notable firsts, including Saudi Arabia's first Grand Prix within Mobile, alongside their first Gold in Radio & Audio. The United Arab Emirates received a Silver Lynx within Glass: The Award For Change for the first time. Jordan was awarded within Creative Effectiveness for the first time, taking home a Bronze Lynx.Ian Fairservice, Vice Chairman, Dubai Lynx, said, “After a successful return to a physical event yesterday, I’d like to congratulate our 2023 Dubai Lynx Award winners, for setting the creative benchmark in MENA for a 16th year. It has been fantastic to bring MENA’s creative community together to network, learn and be inspired by the rich mix of speakers and champions for creativity in the region. A huge thank you to all our Jurors for their hard work and expertise in selecting this body of work.”Simon Cook, CEO, LIONS, added, “We can see lots of exciting shifts taking place in the Middle East and North Africa and this year’s winners really showcase the level of excellence coming from the region and the new trends emerging from a ‘post pandemic’ body of work. The deep insights from this year’s work will be explored in the Dubai Lynx Creativity Report, providing the official rankings for this year’s top performing Networks, Agencies and Companies from across the region.”This year’s Grand Prix winners are:Brand Experience and ActivationFrom 177 entries received, 16 were awarded: 2 Gold, 5 Silver, 8 Bronze Lynx Awards and the Grand Prix that went to ‘The Unstainable Thobe’, Heinz, Wunderman Thompson, Dubai, United Arab EmiratesCreative CommerceFrom 44 entries received, 4 were awarded: 2 Silver, 1 Bronze Lynx Awards and the Grand Prix that went to ‘The Hidden Room’, Home Box, Leo Burnett, Dubai, United Arab EmiratesCreative EffectivenessFrom 19 entries received, 4 were awarded: 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze Lynx Awards and the Grand Prix that went to ‘The Elections Edition’, An Nahar Newspaper, Impact BBDO, Dubai, United Arab EmiratesCreative Strategy
Bringing together the journeys of some of the world’s most inspiring female leaders in arts, sports, politics, hospitality, financial services and beyond, Mastercard has unveiled a coffee-table book, ‘Lasting Legacy - Honoring 25 Visionaries to Celebrate 25 Years of Priceless’. Launched during Women’s Month 2023, the book marks the 25th anniversary of Mastercard’s renowned Priceless platform, which has been connecting people to their passions for a quarter of a century.Mastercard is committed to creating a more equitable world for all and this project marks the company’s latest milestone in unlocking opportunities and celebrating the role of women in society. By exploring the role of these trailblazers, the book aims to inspire readers to take action in their own lives and communities to close the gender gap and create a more inclusive future.The legacy piece highlights the journeys and impact of women including Raha Moharrak, Adventurer; Sconaid McGeachin, Director of Communications and Marketing at COP28 UAE & Former Senior Vice President Communications at Expo 2020 Dubai; Ambareen Musa, Founder & CEO of Yabi by Souqalmal; Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director General of Emirates Nature-WWF; Nona Gaprindashvili, Chess Legend, and Ola Doudin, Co-founder & CEO of BitOasis, among others.“This book has been a true labor of love for us, and a testament to the women who are driving progress and uplifting communities around the world. It is our hope that the stories in ‘Lasting Legacy’ will encourage readers, regardless of their gender, to pursue their passions and make a positive impact on society, to inspire generations to come,” said Beatrice Cornacchia, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard.“Throughout my journey, I was always surrounded by extremely amazing women from whom I draw inspiration from. Ranging from family, friends to the team that makes Sarah’s Bag. Never underestimate the power of being inspired. It’s the drive behind every remarkable project.” – Sarah Beydoun, Founder & Creative Director of Sarah’s Bag.‘Lasting Legacy - Honoring 25 Visionaries to Celebrate 25 Years of Priceless’ represents the evolution of Mastercard's Priceless platform, which has progressed to reflect the company’s ongoing transformation and the changing world of consumers. As Priceless marks 25 years, Mastercard continues to tap into people’s passions as it enables opportunities for people the world over to pursue their passion and purpose.The book will be available from 14 March 2023, and be available online, across libraries, universities, schools, and on BooksArabia.com.
The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup is headed back to the United Arab Emirates, after the FIFA Council appointed Dubai as host of next year’s tournament at the 21st FIFA Council meeting held in Doha, Qatar, today.Additionally, the Seychelles is set to host its first-ever FIFA tournament in three years’ time, with the FIFA Council also awarding hosting rights for the 2025 edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup at the meeting in the Middle East.Dubai played host to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in 2009 and, 14 years on, the tournament will return to the Arab world for its 12th edition.Subsequently, the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup will arrive in Africa for the first time for edition No. 13. With the Seychelles securing hosting rights for the tournament, a nation from every confederation will have organised the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in the 20 years since the inaugural tournament in Brazil in 2005.In 2025 the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup is set to be staged in Victoria, on the island of Mahé, surrounded by crystal clear waters and coral reefs.Following today’s FIFA Council meeting in Qatar, FIFA Director of Tournaments, Jaime Yarza, congratulated Dubai, and the Seychelles for being appointed as hosts for the next two FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups.“This is a very exciting moment for Beach Soccer as it is the first time that FIFA has simultaneously appointed hosts for two editions of the tournament,” Yarza said.“We are delighted to go back to the UAE where FIFA hosted one of the best Beach Soccer tournaments in history in 2009.“At the same time, in 2025 the Seychelles will be hosting its first FIFA tournament, which will complete the tour of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup being hosted in all six confederations.“63 million viewers around the globe watched the last edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in 2021, with each match securing an average viewership of over 2.2 million viewers. This was an enormous increase compared to the previous edition in 2019, so we are confident that in 2023 and 2025 the focus on, and passion for, Beach Soccer will increase again.”The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup promises goals galore – in 2021, the tournament recorded an average of 9.4 goals per match, the highest goals per match ratio of any FIFA tournament in history.Key dates and further information regarding the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in 2023, and 2025, will be released by FIFA in due course.
Royce PLC has appointed John Kelly to the role of President – Middle East, Türkiye and Africa (META), with immediate effect. Previously Kelly spent six years as Senior Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa, for the firm’s Civil Aerospace business.Kelly started his career with Rolls-Royce in 2001, joining as a graduate trainee in the Defence business, where he rose to become a senior manager before joining Civil Aerospace.In his new role, Kelly will assume group-wide leadership and representation across the META region for engagement with senior stakeholders in government and industry.Rolls-Royce employs over 300 specialists in the Middle East, including those engaged in engineering and technical roles supporting commercial aviation, industrial and defence customers. It has had a substantial presence in the region for more than 50 years.John Kelly said:“My vision is to ensure Rolls-Royce builds on the solid foundations it has established across the META region and for each of our business units. While we are renowned for excellence in civil aerospace, we will leverage opportunities for all the Rolls-Royce businesses, providing solutions for the region’s major infrastructure projects and industrial customers. Our technology can play a fundamental role in enabling the transition to a low carbon global economy.”With bold ambitions for the future, Kelly is committed to growing partnerships across META which reflect Rolls-Royce’s core engineering and technological innovations. As the region looks towards COP28, set for Dubai later this year, these are anticipated to increasingly focus on sustainable aviation, decarbonisation solutions and the energy transition, all of which are embodied in Rolls-Royce’s net zero commitments.
Hope Ventures, the investment arm of Hope Fund and producers of the entrepreneurship-themed reality television show, Beban, has announced the conclusion of its second season, whereby entrepreneurs pitched for equity investment in front of a panel of regional investors which aired on Bahrain TV, AlRai TV, Dubai TV, and the region’s first and biggest video-on-demand platform, Shahid.Beban was created in alignment with Hope Ventures’ mission of facilitating investment opportunities for promising entrepreneurs with high-potential, scalable businesses alongside strategic investors of the private sector who can accelerate these businesses’ growth into regional and international markets.Through its first and second seasons, the show successfully shed light on a total of 62 entrepreneurs from the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates and featured 28 investors representing the private sector from Kuwait, the Sultanate of Oman, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Kingdom of Bahrain.Beban has also successfully facilitated the co-investment in local and regional opportunities by the public and private sectors alongside one another, with the total investments exceeding USD 6,260,000 raised by 30 businesses.The show saw the provision of over USD 320k worth of perks, courtesy of 21 value-add partners across both seasons, where entrepreneurs gained access to unique business development opportunities in areas where they need the most support, such as marketing and PR, bookkeeping and accounting, and sales, among many others.In addition to access to business perks, Beban participants benefited from the intensive training bootcamp, which was delivered by professionals and industry experts in preparation for their pitching on the show.Beban has continued to grow and reach new arenas throughout both of its seasons, with season 2 being the first television show in the MENA region to be 100% powered by renewable energy through Hope Ventures’ partnership with The Oil and Gas Holding Company B.S.C (closed) (“nogaholding”) and the Electricity and Water Authority (EWA). Another milestone of Beban season 2 was the introduction of ‘Beban Crowdfunding,’ an equity-based crowdfunding platform that allows viewers to invest in-real time in opportunities pitching on the show, making Beban the first interactive reality TV show in the world with an interactive crowdfunding element to it.His Excellency Aymen bin Tawfiq Almoayed, Chairman of Hope Fund, said: “Beban is a regional investment platform that promotes cross-border deal flow, funding and exposure to strategically accelerate the growth of promising businesses by matchmaking them with regional investors who can provide access to their expertise, networks and on-the-ground knowledge to support their expansion beyond local borders.”He added: “As a television show, Beban has left a powerful impact, educating and inspiring the pursuit of entrepreneurship while highlighting that there are no limitations to creativity and innovation once paired with hard work and dedication. Today, after Beban, who is to tell a 16-year-old girl, that she cannot be an entrepreneur, pitch her business on a television show broadcasted on the region’s biggest channels, and successfully fundraise from four strategic investors? Who is to tell a business that persisted in the LogiTech sector that it cannot have a unicorn of the same sector guide it towards international growth? Doors of opportunity are open to all, and our goal of synthesizing hope amongst the community remains to be a key objective.”Fajer Saleh Al Pachachi, General Manager of Hope Ventures, commented: “I am thrilled to be concluding season 2 of Beban with the remarkable results and impact the show has left amongst viewers. At Hope, we commend the entrepreneurs who took part in the show, and our aim remains to facilitate strategic investment opportunities for high-potential, scalable businesses alongside the private sector through Beban. The show’s distinctiveness comes from its multiple offerings that empower entrepreneurs to scale their businesses, be it the opportunity to fundraise, regional exposure, business perks, or alternative funding through Beban’s seamless equity crowdfunding platform ‘Beban Crowdfunding.’ Having concluded season 2, we are excited to welcome the new season’s entrepreneurs and look forward to facilitating more success stories in the MENA region.”Entrepreneurs looking for an opportunity to fundraise to register and participate in the show through the website hopefund.bh/beban, noting that applications close on April 30th.Beban Season 2 acknowledges its sponsors; The Oil and Gas Holding Company (nogaholding), Tamkeen Bahrain, Al Areen Palace & Spa by Accor, TRACCS, BEYON Money, Zain Bahrain, GMI, Ahli United Bank, Kuwait Finance House (Bahrain), The Benefit Company, Amakin, and Al Salam Bank for their affirmed commitment to empowering Bahraini entrepreneurs and accelerating their growth through investment, knowledge, and access to business opportunities.
SEDCO Holding, a leading Saudi investment company, launched Rowad Nomou, a financial management program intended for entrepreneurs in tech and innovation startups, whose businesses have reached a certain level of growth and are looking to acquire the necessary knowledge on how to grow their business further through external funding.The launch was followed by three Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) signings with “Monsha’at”, “Kafalah” and Dulani Business Center during Biban 2023 Forum. The agreements aim to support the nationwide financial literacy awareness and support the Kingdom’s startup ecosystem.Through these partnerships, SEDCO Holding will supply the curated “Rowad Nomou” program, which includes a series of digital videos and tools designed for entrepreneurs and startups. The program will be available on the new Rowad website. SEDCO Holding will also collaborate with the partners to share knowledge, organize financial management workshops, training programs and educational sessions.Commenting on the launch, Mohammed Mosly, Chief Operating Officer of SEDCO Holding, said: “The business environment in Saudi Arabia witnessed a great shift, as Saudi Vision 2030 outlined goals to be achieved in the startup ecosystem front. This includes increasing the contribution of SMEs from 20% to 35% of the country’s GDP, which will positively impact the economy, sustainably develop society, and propel the growth of companies. As such, Rowad program aims to educate entrepreneurs and develop their financial management and planning skills to ensure that they can fulfil their roles of achieving sustainable growth in the Kingdom. To accomplish this, Rowad program aims to support entrepreneurs and startup owners learn how to manage their finances. This will in turn raise the number of successful, locally owned businesses within the Kingdom, aiding Saudi Arabia achieve growth, development, and prosperity.”"Rowad Nomou" program will offer a comprehensive content covering the fundamentals of financial management, financing, financial resources, accounting, profit and loss accounts, balance sheets, cash flow, and Islamic banking services. The program will also tap into types of financing available, the investment preparation process, business and financial models, valuation, due diligence, and investment closure.The program’s modules begin with short introductory videos from inspiring presenters from across the Kingdom’s startup ecosystem – successful founders, investors, legal and financial consultants – sharing key insights and lessons learned from their experiences. Topics are taught through a variety of digital learning components, including diagrams, illustrative animations, and interactive exercises.The program also includes necessary tools that enable the owners of SMEs to overcome challenges in securing financing throughout the various stages of their business and startup’s growth journey, starting from the seed funding to private equity investments.Additionally, a study conducted by “Rowad” program revealed that the difficulties of securing funding and financing, along with the competition in the markets, are among the most critical challenges facing SMEs, which hinders their continuity. It is shown that 79% of companies close their business within the first three years of starting their commercial activity. The study also revealed that most entrepreneurs manage their finances themselves and obtain funding through soft loans or family support, which makes financial awareness programs essential for ensuring business continuity.The newly launched “Rowad Nomou” program follows the success of the “Riyali” financial literacy program, which is a pre-existing program SEDCO Holding launched in 2012.
Robotic solutions provider Mic Robotics has hired Prism Digital, Dubai-based full-service digital marketing company, to design a complete brand-new mobile-first, SEO-friendly website.Mic Robotics is a leading provider of robotic solutions with expertise in the field of indoor robotic solutions providing brand new intelligent delivery robot solutions for customers.The mandate includes creating a sleek new modern website powered by mobile-first technology, offering an enhanced customer experience. The website is custom designed to incorporate product listings and ZOHO enquiries where vendors of Mic Robotics will be able to get all the information they need.The Progressive Web Application (PWA) website, which is driven by mobile-first technology for an enhanced user experience, has recently been launched in the UAE and is now ranking on top Google SERPs for more than thirty keywords for the location. PWA websites function on low-bandwidth networks and offline as well. Websites like IKEA, Facebook, Instagram, and Netflix all make use of the PWA platform.Eason Chen, General Manager, Mic Robotics, said: “In an effort to achieve our company’s vision, we recognized the need for a modern website and increased visibility on search engines. We are extremely happy to partner with Prism Digital, given their massive body of experience and we are really appreciative for the support of the impressive team for the past one year. We look forward to working with them in the future for additional services.”Lovetto Nazareth, Managing Director, Prism Digital, comments: “We are thrilled to be working with Mic Robitics as a respectable and reputed robotic solutions brand. With our 20+ years of experience managing websites, we understand the modern day dynamics of customer demand and look forward to adding strategic value to the company’s vision. The new Mic Robotics website and the strategic search engine optimization services will help Mic Robotics reach out to customers looking for intelligent and automated delivery solutions.”The React JS and Laravel-built website can be used as both a website and a mobile application as it is an open-source MVC framework and custom-built PWA solution that provides brands with flawless Mobile-first user experience and API connects to their preferred ERP and inventory systems. PWA websites enable brands to increase on-site conversions by over 80% by providing an effortless mobile buying experience.
Ezra, the microlending fintech which provides ‘easy and rapid’ credit solutions across Africa and emerging markets, has announced the appointment of Andrew Goodrich as its Chief Risk Officer. This appointment is a key milestone in Ezra’s ambitious expansion strategy to support the financially underserved in emerging economies.Bringing with him more than 30 years’ experience to the role, Andrew will oversee the data engineering, predictive analytics, and credit risk/fraud functions at Ezra, progressing, ensuring business optimisation is achieved through enhanced standardisation and credit risk management governance. In addition, he will be tasked with streamlining efficiencies within these functions across the many markets that Ezra operates.Andrew, who has spent much of his life in South Africa, will be based out of Ezra’s Dubai office. Prior to joining Ezra, Andrew held the position of BankTech Executive at MTN Group, Africa’s largest mobile network operator. During his tenure, Andrew was accountable for defining, establishing and driving the BankTech strategy, a new credit product unicorn vertical within MTN Group. Andrew has also worked as Credit Risk Director with JUMO, where he established the credit risk, prediction and fraud analytics structure, focused on standardisation, and drove enhanced prediction and credit risk value to the internal and external stakeholders.Some of Andrew’s other career highlights involve working for a number of start-ups. These include a niche credit risk solutions consultancy, which was successful in assisting several start-ups in South Africa, as well as an e-commerce / digital credit provider, and numerous fintech and finserv businesses throughout Africa and Asia.In his new role, Andrew will report directly to CEO, Erwan Gelebart, and will be part of the company’s leadership team.Commenting on his appointment, Andrew Goodrich said: “I’m excited to help drive a financial inclusion agenda with a forward-thinking company like Ezra. My mandate will cover the full spectrum of credit risk by serving financial credit in a responsible manner, especially in emerging markets, where we have an opportunity to help our customers to get their foot onto the financial services ladder. I relish driving a sustainable approach so that we can build long-term relationships with customers, supporting and providing them with relevant credit products.Overall, risk management is essential for maintaining the balance between providing access to credit and protecting both lenders and consumers. I am excited to help drive our company’s vision and, with our partners, leverage alternative credit scoring to make a difference to peoples’ lives.”Commenting on his appointment, Erwan Gelebert, CEO at Ezra said: “We are thrilled to welcome Andrew to the team. With decades of experience in the consumer finance and financial services industry, Andrew will play an integral role in helping to fortify our presence, especially in emerging markets where we work with banks, telecoms, mobile wallets and utilities, to help companies to innovate faster and fulfil their customer needs at scale.”
Biban 2023 Saudi Arabia’s flagship startup and SME forum has brought leading entities from around the world together to sign a series of landmark agreements worth approximately $13.8 billion in support of the startup community.Organized by the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Monsha'at), the event held from March 9 to March 13, 2023, at the Riyadh Front Exhibition & Conference Center has set a new benchmark for partnerships, with a diverse range of collaborations and initiatives being launched to empower entrepreneurs.The fifth and final day of the forum brought more regional and global organizations together to usher in a new era of Saudi entrepreneurship in line with Vision 2030 powered by state-of-the-art programs, innovation and effective joint-working.Notable highlights throughout the event included agreements made by the Saudi Development Bank to support entrepreneurs and SMEs with $6.4 billion, the Small & Medium Enterprises Bank to provide support estimated at $2.8 billion, and the Kafalah Program with a $1.5 billion agreement with diverse entities.Monsha’at also announced an MoU with Huawei Tech Investment Saudi Arabia Limited to enhance the digital transformation of the Kingdom’s SMEs, in addition to launching a partnership with Saudi Cloud Computing Company (SCCC) Alibaba Cloud. MoUs were also signed with the Ministry of Energy and Nine66 a Savvy Games Group company.Another major announcement at Biban 2023 arrived with the confirmation that local sellers in Saudi Arabia will gain access to Amazon’s global market in the US, Europe and Asia.Creating an enabling environment for global leaders, experts, and industry professionals to network, collaborate, and pioneer solutions to pressing business challenges, Biban 2023 was a diverse showcase of entrepreneurial excellence. The forum set the stage for the future of entrepreneurship, providing next-generation SMEs and startups vital access to all-important insights, resources and connections.Biban 2023 also hosted the final round of this year’s Entrepreneurship World Cup: a startup pitch competition and support program, co-hosted by the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) and Monsha’at. The Global Finals featured 100 up-and-coming startups from all over the world representing 53 nations. The tournament offered competitors the chance to win $1 million in cash prizes and benefit from access to start and scale-up capital, new connections and ideas. White Helmet, a Saudi-based company that provides a platform to manage and monitor construction operations remotely from anywhere and at any time was announced, on Day 4 of the Biban forum, as the winner of the EWC grand-prize: a US$300,000 share of the $1 million prize pot.In 2nd place was NDR Medical from Singapore, receiving a US$20,000 prize, with the third place going to Hera Health from the US with a $150,000 prize.
The Retail Summit, an annual event providing unprecedented access to hear from global retail giants on the future and movement of the retail sector, remains the ultimate industry networking event on the global calendar, and commences today and tomorrow.The highly-anticipated two-day summit brings all industry players under one roof, from international brands to local franchise partners, hosted at two iconic locations including Atlantis, The Palm and the recently-launched Atlantis, The Royal. The Retail Summit is dedicated to being the catalyst for international brands who are looking to either establish an in-market presence or sell via cross-border ecommerce to the United Arab Emirates. The future epicenter of trade, Dubai is the fastest-growing economy in the world, making it a prime location for brands looking to expand their global footprint by setting up operations and tapping into the vast potential of the region. The Retail Summit gives local brands the opportunity to expand into international markets by meeting mentors to widen professional networks and create partnerships, allowing regional companies to reach international heights.The top echelon of regional and internationally-renowned retailers and franchise specialists will provide extensive insights into the successful concepts of international brands, in which attendees can interpret locally and roll out in their respective and relevant markets.Over the course of 2 days, attendees will meet executives from major global retailers including fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Ward, CEO of Harrods, Kristina Blahnik, CEO of Manolo Blahnik, Jo Malone, Founder of Jo Loves, David Gandy, Founder, Wellwear, Manju Malhotra, CEO, Harvey Nichols and Tom Athron, CEO of Fortnum & Mason, to name a few.Accompanying these retail giants are regional master franchise specialists such as Chalhoub Group, 6thStreet, Magrabi, Apparel Group, Souq.com, Amazon, Sultan Center Group, Alsulaiman Group, Papa John’s, Majid Al Futtaim, Al Tayer, Al Shaya, Azadea, Kamal Osman Jamjoon, Landmark Group, LIWA, Noon and Namshi.The summit runs in partnership with Dubai Chambers. Commenting on the occasion, Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President & CEO of Dubai Chambers, said: "Backed by a significant growth in the e-commerce market, Dubai continues to be a competitive destination for retailers and industry stakeholders who look to capitalize on the emirate's strong and sustainable economic fundamentals, solid digital infrastructure and its thriving business ecosystem. We value the contribution of this industry to Dubai's economy and its image as an international retail hub.""Public and private partnerships provide a critical driver for innovation and development in the retail industry. By joining forces, both sectors can leverage their respective strengths to create a more sustainable, competitive, and inclusive retail ecosystem," he added.Gary Thatcher, CEO and Co-Founder of The Retail Summit, shares, “I am very proud of The Retail Summit team for working so diligently as we enter the final moments before the event. We believe that the third-edition is going to be the biggest yet as we draw a big focus on both the regional and international connectivity”.
Leading e-commerce experts discussed the prospects, trends, and peculiarities of the e-commerce industry in the MENA region. Discussions ranged from business models in e-commerce, such as marketplaces and D2C channels, to digital marketing, data analytics, and approaches to e-commerce business development.The conference featured an impressive lineup of speakers, including distinguished industry leaders, such as Anshuman Anand, Vice President of Apparel Group, Jonathan Flender, Digital and E-commerce General Manager at Al-Futtaim, Aadil Shaikh, Regional Product Lead at Amazon, Ivan Gudkov, E-commerce Vertical Lead at TikTok, Abhishek Shah, Co-founder and CEO of RSA Global, and Mohamad Anas Derieh, Head of E-commerce at Arla Foods, among many other esteemed experts.The conference was opened by Daria Tkachenko, CEO of Sellematics and Sellscreen, the companies that organized the conference, and Leo Dovbenko, CEO and Co-founder of YallaMarket and YallaHub, and partner of the Marketplace & D2C ?onference 2023.Daria Tkachenko presented an incredible report on the benefits of analytics services for customers, and demonstrated trends, strategies, and forecasts for e-commerce in the MENA region. She spoke about how the MENA region is the fastest-growing market in the world with 25% predicted growth, and shared data insights from Sellematics showing that the number of sellers in November had increased by 6% compared to August, and that there was a significant increase in revenue in all categories in the Noon UAE marketplace. She also highlighted the importance of analytics for e-commerce success. All the data insights were received from the Sellematics service.Leo Dovbenko, the conference partner, discussed the growth trends in the region and the unique market dynamics that set the MENA region apart from the rest of the world. He shared details of YallaHub's marketplace aggregator, which has already helped launch 40+ successful brands in the region. Dovbenko emphasized the importance of a solid GTM (Go-To-Market) strategy for launching new products in the market.The Marketplace & D2C ?onference 2023 was an inspiring event that showcased the MENA region's potential for e-commerce growth. Given the impressive turnout and the quality of the discussions, it is clear that the e-commerce industry in the region is poised for further expansion, and we can't wait to see what the future holds.
8 in 10 women in the UAE workforce highlight that the opportunity to progress to top leadership positions is key for them, with 73% feeling they have opportunities to lead at their workplace. This is according to a survey conducted by leading management consulting firm, Kearney. The survey reveals 61% of UAE’s workforce think more women in leadership roles will positively impact their organization, with 39% seeing the future top leader of their current organization to be a woman. The study conducted ahead of International Women’s Day 2023 explored the sentiment around women in leadership positions, the path to progress and the challenges faced.The UAE is ranked as a leading country in gender equality in the region, with women making up 66% of public sector workers and 30% in leadership roles. The last decade has seen multiple policies that support inclusivity and diversity come into play, aimed at facilitating women’s role in the workforce. While there have been positive strides towards a more equitable work environment at a national level, the survey reveals that leaders in the private sector still have work to do to pave the way for female talent.81% of the women surveyed claim that it’s difficult for them to get the support they need to take on leadership roles. When asked about the challenges faced in the workplace, a quarter (25%) of women stated their goals are too ambitious, 21% felt the organizational culture at their current workplace does not encourage them to lead, and 18% stated they face discrimination by their coworkers.“The UAE has a strong commitment to empowering women at work for the development of the local economy, as part of We the UAE 2031 Vision, as well as the realization the UN SDG Goal 5 of achieving gender equality. The policies and host of national initiatives that promote an inclusive and balanced work landscape have been key to driving increased female participation in the workforce and at leadership positions. To support ambitious women aiming to climb the career ladder, business leaders in the private sector have a major responsibility to provide women with the relevant support and training to progress in their careers and open up opportunities for them to take a seat at the leadership table,” commented Isabel Neiva, Partner at Kearney Middle East & Africa.When questioned on how their organization supports their career development, only 26% claimed that they receive regular training and development and 22% said they are offered opportunities for regular career reviews and/or promotions.Having a leadership team that is genuinely committed to diversity and inclusion was flagged as a key priority for 81% of respondents (both men and women), emphasizing the important role that current business leaders play in accelerating the achievement of a more diverse and equitable workplace. 61% reveal their current organization has diversity, equity, and inclusion targets, including having more women at the board level, however, only 16% of those claim that these have been publicly announced. 27% believe the organization does not have such targets, and 12% were unsure.“Diversity, equity, and inclusion are proven pillars of success and provide the basis for future growth of organisations. To accelerate the pace of change, a forward-thinking approach must be instilled from the top of the hierarchy, from the senior leadership team, trickling downward into management teams and the workforce. Setting diversity targets and publicly stating them is an important step towards enforcing accountability in organisations, to ensure that the leadership team works towards hiring and nurturing female talent, and to provide them with the tools and opportunities needed to progress,” concluded Chiara Riffaldi, Partner at Kearney Middle East and Africa.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Roxy Cinemas is bringing back some of the best movies of 2023 back on the big screen. Guests can sit back, relax and watch some of their favourite Oscar nominated films including Elvis, Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Fabelmans, and Triangle of Sadness, for only AED 40.ELVIS: Whilst on a mission to transform the mainstream rock and roll culture of the USA, singer Elvis Presley uses his fame to highlight racism within the countryTOP GUN: MAVERICK: Thirty years of service leads Maverick to train a group of elite TOPGUN graduates to prepare for a high-profile mission while Maverick battles his past demons.AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER: Jake Sully and Ney'tiri have formed a family and are doing everything to stay together. However, they must leave their home and explore the regions of Pandora. When an ancient threat resurfaces, Jake must fight a difficult war against the humans.
Leading global communications agency, Ruder Finn, today announced the expansion of Atul Sharma’s role as CEO of Ruder Finn India, which comprises Ruder Finn India and RF Thunder India. After leading Ruder Finn’s growth in India for the last four years, Sharma is now also being appointed the role of Head of Middle East as part of the company’s planned footprint expansion. Sharma will bring together a new team to expand the firm’s network and set up operations in the Middle East region to meet the growing demand for public relations, marketing communications, digital, and corporate reputation in this region.“We are delighted to appoint Atul as the CEO of Ruder Finn India and Head of our new ventures in the Middle East,” said Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO, “RF India’s transformative growth has been led by a strong leadership team under Atul. Atul has been leading the charge on consulting for our clients on emerging technologies with the growing team in India. Further, we have envisioned paving our way in the Middle East for some time, and I am confident that Atul will help us to tap into the market as we mark our next growth phase in that region.”Sharma joined Ruder Finn Asia in 2018 as Managing Director, Vice President of Ruder Finn India, responsible for overall management and operations, and establishing Ruder Finn as a major player in the India market. With a transformative leadership style, Sharma has led Ruder Finn India to become the fastest growing PR firm in India, building its sectoral expertise across Technology, Brand, Corporate, Auto, Entertainment, Education, Lifestyle, B2B, and Start-Ups, amongst others. The India office has grown multi-fold in the last four years with a strong focus on technology, data analytics and insights and storytelling at its core. Sharma has brought on board extremely competent talent across all the five offices in India. Ruder Finn India is also the first PR firm in the region to launch Web3 Practice to help brands understand and build communities for their various stakeholders.Sharma will continue to lead his team in India, which has experienced exponential growth in staff in the last four years, as well as grow the team in the Middle East as he spearheads the initiative to expand Ruder Finn’s footprint in the region. In addition to his work at Ruder Finn, Sharma also acts as President of the PRCAI (Public Relations Consultants Association of India) wherein he is leading various initiatives to make the PR industry more professional, ethical and prosperous.“It is an honor to be named CEO of the Ruder Finn India Group, which has been recognized as one of the fastest growing mid-size public relations firms in the region, with a strong portfolio of clients backed by exceptional talent,” said Atul Sharma, CEO Ruder Finn India & Head Middle East, “I am also excited about the opportunities in the Middle East for its strong presence in sectors including energy, luxury and retail. I am looking forward to helping build and establish the Ruder Finn presence in the GCC markets.”“We are thrilled to have Atul expand his role. As a respected industry veteran his strong understanding of business growth but also staying ahead of the curve with innovation makes him a strong leader to drive this next chapter of growth for us,” said Elan Shou, Regional Director, Asia, Ruder Finn, “We are certain with our footprint expanding globally, we will truly be able to integrate and drive more synergy for global mandates across locations especially in newer sectors like defense, Web3, aggregator economy etc.”