Mazen Fahad Al Bunyan appointed as CEO Standard Chartered Bank, Saudi Arabia

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Standard Chartered Bank announced the appointment of Mazen Fahad Al Bunyan as Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank Saudi Arabia, effective November 2022.Prior to joining Standard Chartered Bank, Mazen was the CEO of Alawwal Invest Company, the investment subsidiary of The Saudi British Bank (SABB/HSBC) based in Riyadh, where he led the integration of Alawwal Invest with SABB/HSBC Saudi Arabia. Prior to that, he held various leadership positions including Co-Head of Global Banking within SABB/HSBC Riyadh as well as Vice President of Corporate Banking Coverage for KSA and Kuwait at Deutsche Bank.Standard Chartered Bank Saudi Arabia launched its operations in Riyadh in June 2021, providing banking services to sovereign and government related entities, large corporates, financial institutions and multinational companies operating in the Kingdom. Commenting on the announcement, Dr Boutros Klink, CEO Standard Chartered Middle East (ex UAE) said “I am delighted to announce the appointment of Mazen Bunyan as Country CEO for Standard Chartered Bank Saudi Arabia. Mazen brings deep regional experience, and strong track record. In his new role as CEO, Mazen will oversee the operations of Standard Chartered Bank Saudi Arabia, and will lead the Bank’s expansion in the market, strengthen our client base, expand our products and services offering, and solidify our network in support of the Kingdoms growth ambitions.”Standard Chartered Bank operates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through its Standard Chartered Bank Saudi Arabia entity licensed by the Saudi Central Bank and its Standard Chartered Capital Saudi Arabia entity licensed by the Capital Market Authority.

BroadcastPro ME recognizes Intigral’s CEO as the OTT Executive of the Year 2022

Intigral’s CEO, Markus Golder was the recipient of one the top accolades at this year’s BroadcastPro ME Summit, ‘The OTT Executive of the Year, 2022’ award.The luxurious awards gala, attended by over 230 industry innovators and change-makers, celebrated a year of achievements, that culminated in the 12th edition of the BroadcastPro Summit that brought together the best minds in the industry to collaborate, refine and inspire the way forward to unlock the full growth potential within the sector throughout the GCC. Golder, one of the featured panelists at the summit, expressed his enthusiasm for receiving the prestigious accolade: “I am deeply honored to be recognized as this year’s OTT Executive of the Year. This award represents the hard work and dedication shown by all Intigral’s team members who came together during a very challenging yet exciting period to achieve this fantastic accolade. I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished in our endeavors to enhance the digital entertainment industry, guided by our customer-centric approach and embedded in the wonderfully unique Arabic culture.”Intigral took part as the ‘Strategic Partner’ in this year’s summit that brought together the stalwarts of the industry as well as promising new entrants to discuss and analyze current trends, share their experiences, and offer insights that will ultimately shape the future of the digital entertainment sector. The company has achieved significant success, as seen by its sweeping expansion into eight major markets in the region with its premium OTT platform Jawwy TV.Setting the stage for more exciting developments to come, Intigral has leveraged the vast digital nationwide transformation driven by Saudi Vision 2030 to deliver a seamless and personalized experience to its subscribers. The Jawwy TV platform has delighted viewers across the MENA region with its super aggregator strategy to curate high-quality content through partnerships with globally renowned providers such as MBC, OSN, STARZPLAY, Wide Khaliji, Shahid, and Discovery, offering customers access to over 200 Live TV channels and more than 28,000 Video on Demand (VoD) Arabic and Western titles.As one of the few companies in the region capable of delivering the latest advancements in streaming technology, Intigral has emerged as a leading challenger brand in the industry, captivating audiences and enabling them to access the Jawwy TV platform anywhere, on any device and all in one place.

Museum of the Future hosts mind-body medicine advocate Deepak Chopra

Dr. Deepak Chopra, a world-renowned pioneer in mind-body medicine and personal transformation, delivered a lecture at the Museum of the Future on Monday 21 November as part of the ‘Future Talks’ series. Helping people to unlock the power of meditation and work towards unleashing their true selves, Dr. Chopra took the audience on an experiential journey of inner discovery and enlightenment.The talk is part of the museum’s efforts to amplify the message that mental well-being, wellness, and happiness are important points of focus in the digital age. It builds on the Museum of the Future’s endeavours to provide experiences, such as the Al Waha exhibit, that encourage people to detach from technology and connect with their inner selves.During the lecture, Deepak highlighted the significance of joy as the most important measure of success and well-being, noting the need to harness technology in societies to create a critical mass of consciousness in the world, for a more peaceful, sustainable, healthy, and joyful world.Deepak also stressed the importance of having a leader with a proactive vision in anticipating and shaping the future. He said: "Dubai is very lucky to be blessed with visionary leadership that unites various components of society and creates a diverse social and economic system, strong enough to face any future challenge."Future Talks‘Future Talks’ supports the museum’s objective to provide a space where great minds come together to design and shape the future. It champions a knowledge-and technology-based movement in the region, bringing together people - from all around - to harness and channel their creative energies to create a better future for our communities.The series of talks have covered many topics such as humanity’s relation to robots, Dubai’s role in investing in the future, the future of mixed reality, the state of sciences and the Arab world, the future of mobility, the role of the metaverse as well as, the future of finance and technology. ‘Future Talks’ reflect the museum’s role as a global intellectual centre that brings together international partners and specialised research institutions to study current and future challenges to provide new and innovative solutions.The Museum of the Future has hosted seven leading experts, who have delivered sessions to nearly 2,500 members of the public. Past speakers include the first Emirati astronaut Hazzaa Almansoori, and future cities expert Professor Grey Clark, colonization expert Dr. Mohamed Qasem, metaverse thought leader Alex Kipman, robotics luminary Professor Oussama Khatib, and Binance founder Changpeng Zhao.

Good health insurance is top priority after high salary for MENA professionals

A new survey by, the Middle East’s #1 job site, revealed a variety of insights about lifestyles of professionals and how employers can elicit a healthy change in the workplace. According to the ‘Health and Wellbeing in the MENA’ survey, the majority of respondents (94%) have the intention to become regularly active and follow a healthy diet and 80% reveal that their work schedule allows them to allocate time for physical exercise.Interestingly, 92% of respondents believe that employers should be involved in the health and wellbeing of their employees. Further, 28% of respondents prefer working for an employer who provides health insurance over a higher salary, 13% believe that higher salary is more important and 59% believe that they are both equally important.Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at said: “Our latest survey highlights how an increasing focus on health is shaping MENA job seekers’ choices and what employers can do to promote a holistic approach to wellness at the workplace. The main aim of our research is to help both professionals and companies create a supportive environment to boost happiness and give rise to important conversations in relation to wellbeing.”Professionals in the MENA region look for multiple health and wellbeing aspects while searching for jobs. These include relaxed and friendly environment (58%), flexible work hours (23%), health insurance (12%), gym facilities or free memberships (5%) and healthy meals or snacks (2%). In fact, 84% of respondents claim that they will exercise more if their workplace had a gym or offered subsidized gym memberships.On a positive note, 70% of respondents say that their employer provides them with a health and wellbeing plan, workshops, or educational sessions. 80% believe that their current workplace provides a relaxed and happy atmosphere. Additionally, two-thirds of professionals (66%) are satisfied with the level of communication that exists within their organization.According to survey respondents, employers can take several actions to contribute in reducing stress at the workplace. These include offering a flexible workplace environment (53%), providing time / resources for physical activity (24%), organizing more social activities for the team (17%) and encouraging healthy eating habits (5%).Data for the ‘Health and Wellbeing in the MENA’ survey was collected online from October 3 to November 2, 2022. Results are based on a sample of 2,833 respondents from the following countries: UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Sudan among others.

New Cybereason study reveals the damage caused by ransomware attacks

Cybereason, the XDR company, today published results from a global study of organizations that had suffered a ransomware attack on a holiday or weekend. The study highlights an ongoing disconnect between the increased risk organizations face from ransomware attacks that occur on holidays and weekends and their readiness to handle them, as year-over-year, ransomware attacks during these times take longer to assess and resolve.The higher assessment and remediation times stem from the fact that 44% of companies reduce security staffing on holidays and weekends by as much as 70% from weekday levels. Shockingly, 20% of companies cut security staffing by 90% from weekday levels. Conversely, only 7% of companies are at least 80% staffed on holidays and weekends.Titled Organizations at Risk: Ransomware Attackers Don’t Take Holidays, the study of 1,203 cybersecurity professionals, across 8 countries including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), found that holiday and weekend ransomware attacks result in greater revenue losses than ransomware attacks on weekdays. One-third of respondents said their organization lost more money from a holiday/weekend ransomware attack, up from 13% of respondents in the 2021 study. In the education and transportation industries, the number of respondents reporting higher revenue losses jumped to 43% and 48%, respectively.“Ransomware actors tend to strike on holidays and weekends because they know companies’ human defenses often aren’t as robust at those times. It allows them to evade detection, do more damage, and steal more data as security teams scramble to mobilize a response. Cybereason found that risk assessment is slower, it takes companies longer to assemble the team to fight the initial attack, which leads to slower remediation and recovery times,” said Lior Div, Cybereason CEO and Co-founder.Financial losses aren’t the only thing businesses are concerned with when it comes to holiday and weekend ransomware attacks. In fact, ransomware attacks disrupt the lives of the security professionals defending businesses with 88% of respondents missing a holiday or weekend celebration due to a ransomware attack. These numbers were higher in the financial services industry, where more than 90% of respondents said they had missed out on time with family.“Disrupting cybersecurity professionals’ well-earned downtime and interfering with their personal lives takes a toll on their wellbeing, leads to burnout and causes some people to leave the field altogether. The overall success cyber criminals have attacking on holidays and weekends leads to them more aggressively targeting companies during these times as a way to further fuel their criminal empires,” added Div.Ransomware is preventable and many companies offer endpoint detection & response technologies that will stop the scourge. Implementing a security awareness program for employees and ensuring operating systems and other software are regularly updated and patched are steps in the right direction. In addition, organizations should ensure clear isolation practices are in place to stop any further ingress on the network or spreading of the ransomware to other devices. They should also evaluate locking-down of critical accounts when possible. The path attackers often take in propagating ransomware across a network is to escalate privileges to the admin domain-level and then deploy the ransomware.The full report can be obtained here: Organizations at Risk: Ransomware Attackers Don’t Take Holidays ( Methodology                                                                                                              The research was conducted by Censuswide in September of 2022 and a total of cybersecurity professionals took part in the survey—with participants from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and Singapore. Major industry verticals covered in the research include the Technology, Manufacturing, Financial Services, Retail, Healthcare, Automotive, Legal and Government sectors.

Cisco reveals top Cybersecurity threats trends in Q3 2022

Cisco Talos, one of the world’s largest private threat intelligence teams released its latest quarterly report that examines incident response trends and global cyber threats.Key findings:For the first time since compiling these reports, Cisco Talos Incident Response saw an equal number of ransomware and pre-ransomware engagements, making up nearly 40 percent of threats this quarter.The education sector was the most targeted by attackers this quarter, closely followed by the financial services, government, and energy sectors, respectively. For the first time since Quarter 4 2021, the telecommunications sector was not the top-targeted vertical. While the reason for the education sector being more frequently targeted this quarter is unknown, this is a popular time of year for adversaries to target education institutions as students and teachers have returned to school.Q3 was also characterized by previously seen high-profile ransomware variants such as Hive and Vice Society and a new ransomware family (Black Basta) that first emerged in April 2022 and had yet to be observed in incident response engagements.Cisco Talos also continued to observe threats that have been consistently present in previous quarters, including phishing and Business Email Compromise (BEC), attempts to exploit weaknesses or vulnerabilities in public-facing applications, and insider threats.Within enterprises, the lack of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) remains one of the biggest obstacles to corporate security, according to the report. Nearly 18% of engagements either had no MFA or only had it enabled on a handful of accounts and critical services, allowing the cybercriminal to log in and authenticate.Commenting on the report’s findings, Fady Younes, Cybersecurity Director, EMEA Service Providers and MEA, Cisco, said: “Today, more than ever, in an increasingly connected and digital age, cybersecurity is of the utmost importance. As enterprises and governments across the region seek to safeguard their data and businesses, Cisco continues to support our customers, helping drive rapid detection and protection against cyber risks.”He added: ‘Security is a game of data. The more insights we have into the threat landscape, the better our telemetry is, the higher the likelihood of being able to prevent security incidents. When a breach occurs, our capabilities can detect, respond and remediate threats as fast as possible.”More information is available on Cisco Talos' Quarterly Report: Incident Response Trends in Q3 2022 blog.

Palo Alto Networks reports fiscal first quarter 2023 financial results

Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ: PANW), the global cybersecurity leader, announced today financial results for its fiscal first quarter 2023, ended October 31, 2022.Total revenue for the fiscal first quarter 2023 grew 25% year over year to $1.6 billion, compared with total revenue of $1.2 billion for the fiscal first quarter 2022. GAAP net income for the fiscal first quarter 2023 was $20.0 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, compared with GAAP net loss of $103.6 million, or $0.35 per diluted share, for the fiscal first quarter 2022.Non-GAAP net income for the fiscal first quarter 2023 was $266.4 million, or $0.83 per diluted share, compared with non-GAAP net income of $170.3 million, or $0.55 per diluted share, for the fiscal first quarter 2022. A reconciliation between GAAP and non-GAAP information is contained in the tables below."Our growth in Q1 was driven by customers continuing to increase their commitments to our security platforms as they are able to choose our best-of-breed capability and simplify their security architecture," said Nikesh Arora, chairman and CEO of Palo Alto Networks. "We are focused on expanding the breadth of our offerings and our pace of innovation to continue to drive share gains in the cybersecurity market.""We exceeded our top-line guidance while generating $1.2 billion in free cash flow and expanding our operating margins," said Dipak Golechha, chief financial officer of Palo Alto Networks. "We will continue to balance growth with profitability and cash generation to further strengthen our position in the market."Financial OutlookPalo Alto Networks provides guidance based on current market conditions and expectations.For the fiscal second quarter 2023, we expect:Total billings in the range of $1.94 billion to $1.99 billion, representing year-over-year growth of between 21% and 24%.Total revenue in the range of $1.63 billion to $1.66 billion, representing year-over-year growth of between 24% and 26%.Diluted non-GAAP net income per share in the range of $0.76 to $0.78, using 320 million to 326 million shares outstanding.For the fiscal year 2023, we are broadly raising guidance and expect:Total billings in the range of $8.95 billion to $9.10 billion, representing year-over-year growth of between 20% and 22%.Total revenue in the range of $6.85 billion to $6.91 billion, representing year-over-year growth of between 25% and 26%.Diluted non-GAAP net income per share in the range of $3.37 to $3.44, using 325 million to 331 million shares outstanding.Adjusted free cash flow margin in the range of 34.5% to 35.5%.Guidance for non-GAAP financial measures excludes share-based compensation-related charges (including share-based payroll tax expense), acquisition-related costs, amortization expense of acquired intangible assets, litigation-related charges, including legal settlements, restructuring and other costs, non-cash charges related to convertible notes, and foreign currency gains (losses) and income and other tax effects associated with these items, along with certain non-recurring expenses and certain non-recurring cash flows. We have not reconciled diluted non-GAAP net income per share guidance to GAAP net income (loss) per diluted share or adjusted free cash flow margin guidance to GAAP net cash from operating activities because we do not provide guidance on GAAP net income (loss) or net cash from operating activities and would not be able to present the various reconciling cash and non-cash items between GAAP and non-GAAP financial measures because certain items that impact these measures are uncertain or out of our control, or cannot be reasonably predicted, including share-based compensation expense, without unreasonable effort. The actual amounts of such reconciling items will have a significant impact on the company's GAAP net income (loss) per diluted share and GAAP net cash from operating activities.Earnings Call InformationPalo Alto Networks will host a video webcast for analysts and investors to discuss the company's fiscal first quarter 2023 results as well as the outlook for its fiscal second quarter 2023 today at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time/1:30 p.m. Pacific time. Open to the public, investors may access the webcast, supplemental financial information and earnings slides from the "Investors" section of the company's website at A replay will be available three hours after the conclusion of the webcast and archived for one year.

As disruption persists, digital investment will drive efficiency

Unprecedented headwinds over the past two years - pandemic, war, labour and supply chain challenges, inflation - are making it much more expensive to run a business. Under pressure to reduce costs and increase efficiency, many companies are turning to automation and cloud technology to drive immediate value across all departments.Parallels between the start of the pandemic and this new phase of global uncertainty are striking. Companies which accelerated their digital transformation during the public health crisis were able to pivot quickly and come out stronger. The same applies today.According to Accenture research, ‘Leader’ businesses doubled down on their tech investment during 2020 and 2021. As a result they are now growing five times faster than ‘Laggard’ businesses.It also found that a new group of ‘Leapfrogger’ businesses. Those that targeted over twice as many processes for digital transformation during the pandemic, are now growing four times faster than Laggards and closing the gap on Leaders.In today’s high-cost environment, leaning into digital investment is an essential enabler for driving efficiency and profitability, whilst boosting innovation and ensuring competitive advantage.Success now means connecting with customers in new, simpler and more cost effective ways. It means consolidating and reducing complexity and automating workflows across their technology stack.Automation as a Strategic AssetAccording to Statista, worldwide spending on the two primary types of business automation, robotic process automation and intelligent process automation, is expected to hit $19.3 billion this year, up from $13.6 billion two years ago. The impact is profound, affecting the way we work and serve customers.AI and machine-learning are being used by major global manufacturers and retailers to rethink supply chain management, to effectively manage rising supplier prices, and to determine how best to meet customer purchasing preferences.Companies need to create incredible customer experiences across every interaction to stay competitive. For retailers, this means infusing digital across the entire physical and virtual shopping journey to deliver seamless and personalized experiences.From setting up self-service technologies to reduce the cost of customer support, to driving productivity for a sales or marketing team to get better at measuring ROI, we can expect to see greater focus on data, analytics, and AI as economic turbulence continues.Only by working on one trusted platform in real time — giving every employee a single shared view of the customer - can organizations expect to drive higher levels of productivity and customer loyalty at a lower overall cost to serve.Across the public sector from vaccine distribution management to call center operations, governments and citizens have seen first-hand the power of what technology can do for them: delivering high quality digital services, driving efficiencies and cost-effectiveness.According to a global Salesforce survey of 600 CIOs and IT decision makers, the vast majority (91%) of respondents report that demand for automation from business teams has increased over the last two years. Specifically, the highest demand for automation came from four departments: Research and development (39%), Administrative/operations (38%), Customer service (33%), Marketing (26%)]Automation is also playing a major role in workforce engagement, reducing time spent on repetitive tasks and empowering workers to focus on more strategic activity. Collaborative technologies are reimagining how teams work together, organize their people, and deliver greater customer experiences in this digital-first and work-from-anywhere world.Building Better ResilienceIn the digital economy, the businesses that adapt to changes quickest will thrive. As disruption continues, CEOs who previously delegated their digital strategy want to take direct leadership today.From business performance, employee skills preparedness, societal equity to climate change, technology is fundamental to driving efficiencies and smarter implementation in all these areas.Although we cannot predict the future, we can be strategic and build better resilience. We must rethink our approach to efficiency at every level, in every department. We must commit to continuous innovation to solve customers’ problems, ensuring seamless service from anywhere, and adapting to customers’ changing priorities. This in turn will provide opportunities for success in the long term.

ADX hosts top celebrities and business magnates

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) hosted a delegation from Access Abu Dhabi, a Maven Global Access program, supported by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), that aims to spotlight Abu Dhabi as a destination where organizations can achieve global expansion. The delegation featured sports legends, Patrice Evra and Metta World Peace, along with Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary and business magnates from the US.The Access Abu Dhabi delegates were given a tour of ADX’s facilities and a briefing on the leading role that ADX is playing to enhance the Emirate’s position as an attractive destination for international capital, in line with the strategy of the Government of Abu Dhabi. After the briefing, Mr. O’Leary and the Maven Global Access delegation took part in a bell ringing ceremony at ADX’s trading floor to signal the start of trading accompanied by the Exchange’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Saeed Hamad Al Dhaheri, and members of ADX senior management.This visit is part of a wider initiative that showcases the array of business opportunities in Abu Dhabi and introduces key stakeholders to US companies seeking to expand into Abu Dhabi’s thriving business and innovative ecosystem. The visit also highlights the continuous efforts of Abu Dhabi’s government in promoting the city as a top destination for businesses to invest, innovate and grow.Saeed Hamad Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ADX, said: “We were delighted to host the Access Abu Dhabi delegates at ADX. This visit showcases the role that ADX plays as a key stakeholder in attracting international capital and business to Abu Dhabi, which is part of our strategy for building bridges with international parties and showcasing the best of what Abu Dhabi has to offer.”Access Abu Dhabi, a Maven Global Access programme supported by ADIO, engages, enables and empowers companies to fast track their global reach with expansion to Abu Dhabi. The Founder of Access Abu Dhabi, Sarah Omolewu has leveraged her experience and extensive network in celebrity and investor circles in the US to secure entrepreneurs and ambassadors for the program.

Meet the executive team: CEQUENS announces new hires

The leading communication solution provider headquartered in Dubai, UAE, CEQUENS, announces new executive hire roll out in line with the company’s five-year expansion plan.Boasting over 25 years of experience in the technology and software development domains with a passion for AI based technology, Ahmed Shabrawy rejoined CEQUENS as Chief Research & Innovation Officer. In his new role, he is in charge of conceptualizing and developing new, market-disruptive solutions. Prior to joining CEQUENS, Ahmed was the founder of EgyptNetwork, and then went on to found and lead multiple organizations in the field of technology and communication innovation including MetalSoft and Vytru.Appointed as VP Growth & Revenue Operations, Hussein Malhas, will be spearheading CEQUENS’s growth endeavors, new market penetration, and increased sales. With over 25 years of experience in the CPaaS and SaaS domains, Hussein’s role will be to manage global accounts with the goal of exceeding station revenue, prospecting, and defining new business targets for the company.Hussein’s previous leadership roles include VP Revenue, MENA for Infobip and Microsoft’s Country Manager, Levant.CEQUENS is also proud to announce the appointment of Yara Milbes as VP Global Marketing. A true marketing leader with a solid business development, brand and growth marketing background, Yara has more than 16 years of experience in B2B, B2G marketing in Telecommunications and Information Technology sectors. In her role as CEQUENS VP Global Marketing, Yara will be in charge of redefining the strategic and creative narrative at CEQUENS, in addition to elevating the brand experience for a seamless transition into global markets.Prior to joining CEQUENS, Yara held the position of Global Marketing Director at Infobip.CEQUENS is also thrilled to announce the appointment of Nermeen Sobhy as VP of Carrier Relations.Nermeen is a growth-focused leader with extensive experience of more than 22 years in telecom overseeing both technical and commercial aspects. With Carrier Relations being the core of CEUQENS’s business, Nermeen will be spearheading the expansion of the company’s network inside and outside the region.Nermeen previously was Head of Commercial Roaming Operations at Etisalat Egypt and is recognized in 2022 as the most influential women in telecom industry and ranked second in the TOP25 most influential leaders in ROCCO TOP100 research for international, roaming and messaging sector.Muhammad Nauman will be taking on the role of VP Operations. As an accomplished executive with a successful track record overseeing regional operations, HR, Marketing, IT, and procurement and logistics. In his new leadership role, Muhammad will oversee the company’s daily operations, define operations strategy, structure, and processes, and identify efficiency issues and solutions.Muhammad was previously CEQUENS Chief of Staff. Prior to joining, he acted as Chief Operating Officer for Hello Group.With a team of innovators, leaders, and changemakers now in place, CEQUENS is confident that they will be able to help companies across the board build deeper and meaningful connections with their clients through using simple solutions.These strategic hires come as CEQUENS prepares to launch its Customer Excellence Center in Dubai in Q1 of 2023.

OEM advertising: The new-age solution for smart marketers during sales

Since the sales like Thanksgiving Day, White Friday, Cyber Monday, and Year-End Sales are almost here at the corner, marketers wish to have a quality ROAS along with effective user-acquisition, retention and engagement rates. Moreover, in the Ad-tech sector, the market competition is evolving gradually and many different brand owners aim to target the same type of user base. So, if you are also a part of this ad universe then you must rely on the Power of OEM which optimizes the ad spend and enhances the campaign performance with data-driven measurable results. In fact, if I talk about the top OEM Partners in the MENA Region, they have a market share of 57.89% since 2022. Hence, If you haven’t incorporated OEM marketing practices in the campaign execution process specifically during sales; then you are still not late to unleash the significance of OEM Advertising and all technological innovations it has in store for smart marketers.  OEM establishes the brand with its effective recall value via the right medium of brand promotion in a safer environment. Moreover, it streamlines the process of acquiring and retaining the right audience, creating appropriate ads and assuring that the campaign is delivering a prominent message. This has given marketers a smart way of advertising as they can effectively plan the inventory and tap into the wider yet untapped markets. OEM devices come equipped with multiple ads placement, app discovery, app recommendations, advanced targeting and brand promotion opportunities at engaging touch points. Its inventories also have in-built app stores that are alternatives to Google Play Store and Apple App Store. This provides advertisers with exclusive deals to promote their app to achieve their business goals with incremental ROI. When users these days are mobile-first, OEM enables marketers to transform their marketing approach to acquire and engage mobile-friendly netizens with its unique and innovative branding and performance strategies. Well, there is a lot to speak about OEM but I would like to suggest marketers consider OEM as a new-age solution because of the following reasons: Campaign Effectiveness: Considering the paradigm shift from the traditional way of marketing to the digital one; OEM has proven to be the winning one. This is because it helps marketers to run a campaign in a transparent environment wherein, there is no involvement of any mediator between them and OEM. As a result, marketers can save a large chunk of their advertising budget with a better device interface and content customization which ultimately drives campaign effectiveness. Brand Awareness: OEM Advertising has now established benchmarks in the mobile app economy because it's one of the most prominent ways of creating buzz and brand awareness among users. It helps marketers to reach the audience and highlight their brands’ USPs while tapping into their pivotal moments throughout the device lifecycle without infringing their privacy. This builds a trustworthy relationship between the brand and users, gives them a value-generated experience and they effectively resonate with the showcased advert, driving app download volume results. App Fostering Opportunities: OEM lets brand owners make their mark and expand their reach while onboarding users from different geographies via its pool of app fostering opportunities. This gets done through its different ad formats like Splash Ads, Tiles, Banner Ads, Push Ads, Interstitial Ads and its placement options like Pre-Install, App Store Promotion, Hot Downloads, Icon Promotion, Recommended Apps, Browser-Based Promotion etc. Such features enable marketers to efficiently draw the audience’s attention and build an affinity with a brand. Precise Targeting: OEM enables marketers to access new markets as it determines the frequently used apps by the users on respective inventories. So, when the demand for smartphones rises, OEMs also pitch their sales into the growth of the app economy with app distribution opportunities. This is because OEMs provide marketers with users’ insights based on their past actions and behaviors onto which they can provide consumers with personalized and recommended content, tailored to their interests. In this way, brands’ offerings effectively reach the audiences and they better respond to the campaign too. OEM Advertising is massively revolutionizing the mobile app ecosystem because, alongside the above-mentioned advantages, it also showcases many licensed apps like RMG, Short Video, Social Media etc which encourages marketers to wisely invest in OEM. Its performance-driven results leave no stone unturned to generate quality ROAS which is why; MENA digital economy is projected to hit a staggering $400 billy by 2030 (source: Fast Company Middle East). Hence, OEM being a fundamental of digital advertising is a new-age technology which provides users with an elated experience and lets marketers implement digital-first sales strategies. It's setting a pace and is another way around to make the most out of their campaign. Written by: Gagan Uppal - Country Head - MENA, Xapads Media

Parrot Analytics partners with Asharq Network

Parrot Analytics, the global leader in audience demand measurement, has partnered with Asharq Network, a multiplatform service that includes Asharq News (a 24/7 Arabic-language multiplatform news service), and Asharq Business with Bloomberg (an exclusive content collaboration with Bloomberg Media) offering business and financial news, and Asharq Discovery (the latest addition to the network that will offer unparalleled real-life entertainment and documentaries in partnership with Warner Bros Discovery).Asharq Network is owned by the Saudi Research and Media Group (SRMG), and the partnership with Parrot Analytics will specifically support the company’s strategy for the launch of the new FTA channel - Asharq Discovery - in the MENA region. Parrot Analytics’ expertise in the global and MENA streaming space is set to help Asharq Discovery understand which titles, particularly documentaries, will resonate the most among audiences throughout the region. Asharq’s partnership with Parrot Analytics will build on the company’s dedication to leveraging ground-breaking technologies and global entertainment analytics to ensure its audiences have access to the region’s most in-demand content.“We are excited to partner with Parrot Analytics on this venture to revolutionize the process of content selection for our MENA viewers.” said Nabeel Al Khatib, General Manager of Asharq News. “By helping us acquire and optimize our FTA offering for the best documentaries, lifestyle, reality and infotainment shows, Parrot Analytics' audience demand data will be a key ingredient to create consumer experiences that lead to maximum viewership and growth.”Asharq-Discovery's launch planning is currently underway, with the aim for the new service to be available to end-users in 2023 via broadcast, streaming and third-party local apps, with a catch-up facility available on over-the-top (OTT) platforms.“We are delighted to work with Asharq-Discovery to help uncover content and genre trends in the MENA region as we bring our global audience expertise to the Asharq team,” said Laurine Garaude, EMEA Partnerships Director for Parrot Analytics. "As the leading global content measurement company, we are looking forward to powering Asharq-Discovery’s content strategy and giving this new service the best chance for success in this highly competitive market."In under two years, Asharq News won 33 awards, most recently by Fast Company, for “Most Innovative Company Award” in the media category. Fast Company Awards selected 42 companies making the most significant impact with their initiatives across 25 categories.

Ameera Al Abbasi appointed as Head of Retail Banking at KHCB

Khaleeji Commercial Bank (KHCB), one of the leading Islamic banks in the Kingdom of Bahrain, has announced the appointment of Ms. Ameera Al Abbasi as the Bank’s Head of Retail Banking. Ms. Ameera Al Abbasi has undertaken several leadership roles since joining KHCB in the year 2008, as she was the Head of Business Banking before being appointed to this position.Ms. Al Abbasi has extensive experience in the banking sector and the field of retail and corporate banking, which extends for more than 17 years. She holds a number of career and academic qualifications, the most important of which are a BSc in Marketing from the University of Bahrain, Associate Professional Risk Manager “APRM” from the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association “PRMIA” in the USA, and has attended the Islamic Finance Management Development Program at Coventry University in the UK.On this occasion, members of the Board of Directors and the Executive Management congratulated Ms. Al Abbasi, wishing her all the best in her new position, while also praising her prominent role throughout the positions she held over the previous years within the bank’s team. They also emphasised their confidence in her and the role she will play as Head of Retail Banking during the upcoming period towards achieving the Bank’s strategic objectives.For her part, Ms. Al Abbasi expressed her sincere gratitude and appreciation to the bank’s Board of Directors and the Executive Management for their confidence, stressing that she will work to further enhance the leading position held by KHCB by continuing to develop its retail banking services, especially in relation to the digitisation of branches and continuing to offer additional innovative products and services that will add a new dimension to the banking experience provided to clients.KHCB is a leading Islamic bank that strives to achieve clients' aspirations through an Islamic banking model that offers a comprehensive range of high quality Shari'a-complaint banking services and investment opportunities to individuals and companies.

Zofeur launches B2B Driver-on-demand service

Zofeur, the world's first on-demand, pay-per-minute, chauffeur service platform, today launches its first business-to-business on-demand driver service. Zofeur’s B2B tool allows service providers in the automotive industry to seamlessly integrate its own systems with Zofeur to book on-demand drivers using a pay per use model.Zofeur is known for its consumer, on-demand drivers, available in under 20 minutes, anywhere in Dubai.Bunty Monani, CEO & Founder at Zofeur said: “Our newly launched service has attracted interest from hundreds of businesses already, going to prove our theory on the need to satisfy Dubai’s on-demand service model. Our B2B offering is set to supply businesses from gas station chains, major car rental and reseller companies through to garages and workshops. Partners who utilise our B2B platform will be able to provide free pick up and drop off services to its clients. Also, they get free marketing on Zofeur’s mobile app to reach our thousands of customers.”Ishrath Hasmin, COO & Co-founder at Zofeur said, “Providing the industry with flexible drivers on demand, will serve to save costs and scale core activity without the hassle of hiring full-time drivers and wasting resources. Our systems will provide equal opportunities to small and big players, in the automotive industry, with additional features like one-click invoicing to collect money without any hassle from their clients, a free CRM, customers’ car service history and much more.”The all-in-one platform plans to target 10,000 automotive service partners across the region over the next quarter. There is also a plan to add ancillary car-related services, starting with recovery trucks.

Dubai, Abu Dhabi face office shortage; rents set to rise further

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are facing a shortage of new office space amid widespread return of workers to offices and rising business confidence, according to a report. In its latest analysis, Knight Frank confirmed that occupancy levels in the UAE’s two largest business hubs, particularly in modern and high-quality builds, are rising and that rents will continue to experience upward pressure, as supply remains limited. There is a growing number of occupiers looking to lease space in the Grade A segment, where occupancy levels are hovering at around 90% to 95%. “The severity of the shortage of new office space, combined with rising demand, particularly for high-quality offices suggests that office rents will continue to experience upward pressure,” Knight Frank said. Dubai market Demand for office space has rebounded since COVID-19 restrictions eased and businesses asked their staff to return from remote working. According to Knight Frank, Dubai alone required an additional 265,000 square feet of office space during the third quarter of the year. The market is on track to surpass the 1.1 million square feet of requirements registered in 2021, with year-to-date demand already reaching 739,000 square feet. “The biggest challenge for the market… is a shortage of prime Grade A space,” said Faisal Durrani, Partner – Head of Middle East Research at Knight Frank. According to Andrew Love, Partner – Head of Occupier-Landlord Strategy and Solutions, and Head of Middle East Capital Markets, some tenants are also shifting to new and good quality buildings. “There is a distinct trend of a flight to quality that has bedded in, with occupiers migrating away from older buildings into more modern builds that are well managed and maintained and many international businesses are looking for space with ESG credentials,” Love said. And with “best-in-class” buildings now highly sought after, rents are bound to increase. However, stocks in the secondary or older category may not follow a similar trend. “Office lease rates for the best buildings are going to continue rising,” said Durrani. “Grade B, or older, more secondary stock will however likely continue to struggle, with the gap between rental performance in the long established two-tiered office market likely to widen further,” Durrani added. Abu Dhabi In Abu Dhabi, average office rents have already climbed by 4.9% over the last 12 months. The emirate is also facing a shortage of Grade A office space, with locations like ADGM and other best buildings seeing occupancy levels at 95%. “What we’re seeing is a widespread return of employees to offices and business confidence is rising in tandem,” said Durrani. “Businesses feel good about life right now, as this is reflected in the non-oil sector PMI readings – and demand for office space is rising across the board… Like Dubai, the Abu Dhabi office market continues to face an insufficient supply of good quality fitted space in well managed buildings.”

The region’s first-ever standalone Disney Store opens doors at The Avenues

The Walt Disney Company Middle East and Alshaya Group officially opened doors to the region’s first-ever standalone Disney Store on 18th November. The grand opening was attended by special guests and officials of Alshaya Group and attracted over 1000 visitors and onlookers.Located at the Grand Avenue - The Avenues in Kuwait, the occasion was highlighted with an array of magical festivities and giveaways for little ones, transporting guests to the wonderful world of Disney.“We couldn't be more delighted with the opening of the first standalone Disney store in the region," said John Hadden, CEO of Alshaya Group, at the opening. "This stunning new landmark is more than just a store – it’s a destination that brings memories to life and truly offers a one-of-a-kind retail experience to children and families that only Disney can deliver.”Sonal Patel, Director – Consumer Products Middle East & Disney Store Southeast Asia, India, and Middle East, added: “The region’s first-ever standalone Disney Store is officially open and we could not be more excited. It was wonderful to welcome our first guests and see them experience all that the store has to offer. With the help of The Alshaya Group, we can’t wait to continue creating memories and connecting with our fans in Kuwait.”Spanning over 800sqm, the store has something for Disney fans of all ages, with lines exclusive to the Middle East, as well as a wide range of products from your favourite Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars characters and movies. This includes costumes and accessories, toys and plushes, home décor and collectables, as well as apparel for both children and adults.Disney friends across the entire region can also visit over 30 Disney Store shop-in-shops in Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE. Located inside Alshaya-owned Debenhams and Mothercare stores, there’s a little Disney magic for everyone across the Middle East.

Abu Dhabi launches ‘Smart Manufacturing Index’

The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) has announced the launch of the ‘Abu Dhabi Smart Manufacturing Index’, that guides and facilitates private sector players’ transition to Industry 4.0 technologies, applications, and methods as part of its rolling out of the initiatives and objectives set forth by the Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy.Re-affirming the attributes of the Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy, which was launched in June, the push by the Government of Abu Dhabi to expedite adoption of Industry 4.0 across all manufacturing and industrial players is meant to transform the state of the sector as it further aligns with international benchmarks and best practices. The launch of the ‘Abu Dhabi Smart Manufacturing Index’ provides a critical, comprehensive framework for assessing capabilities of industrial facilities, identifying gaps, and recommending practical steps for reaching the targeted Industry 4.0 maturity.To drive innovation and enhance competitiveness in the industrial sector, the Index empowers manufacturers with the necessary knowledge and training to initiate an Industry 4.0 transformation journey and scale up with speed and quality. It breaks down sophisticated concepts into six building blocks to provide a clear and easy-to-follow roadmap, which starts by evaluating a production facility’s current state, followed by ways to raise readiness levels, proposed steps necessary for transforming their facilities, and identifying optimal production solutions to help reap gains of shifting to advanced manufacturing.Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of ADDED, said, “The Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy has ushered in a new era, not only for the manufacturing sector, but for the whole economic landscape in the region. To further enhance a smart, circular, and sustainable economy, we are forging ahead with taking the manufacturing sector to the next level by empowering industrial facilities to keep pace with the latest trends and solutions.”Al Shorafa further explained, “Backed by strong fundamentals and a unique business ecosystem, Abu Dhabi continues to cement its status as a leading industrial hub in the region. We believe it is of paramount importance to equip manufacturers with vital, seamless, and effective mechanisms to transition to Industry 4.0 technologies and applications to drive future growth, and pre-empt for shifts in demand and supply. The 'Abu Dhabi Smart Manufacturing Index' addresses all aspects of the transition to methods of tomorrow’s manufacturing.”Since the launch of Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy, ADDED has been rolling out initiatives and partnering with leading global institutions to deliver the strategy’s ambitious objectives, including the targeted growth of the sector to AED 172 billion, creating 13,600 new jobs, and increasing the Emirate’s non-oil exports to AED178.8 billion by 2031.ADDED recently launched the Land Incentives programme, which offers long term lease contracts for industrial land through rental rebate with rates as low as AED 5 per square meter to promote manufacturers’ growth and development by enhancing capital expenditures and cash-flow management.ADDED also expanded the Energy Tariff Incentive Programme (ETIP 2.0) by offering preferential rates for gas and electricity to industrial sector based on eligibility criteria that include economic impact, Emiratisation rate, and energy management efficiency.Furthermore, ADDED continues to collaborate with major global players to enhance the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem and build the technical capabilities of the industrial workforce to switch to Industry 4.0 technologies, including training and upskilling talents and specialists.During the first six months of 2022, ADDED’s Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) has assessed readiness of 76 facilities to transition to Industry 4.0 technologies.IDB is managing the ‘Abu Dhabi Smart Manufacturing Index’ and will be working closely with manufacturers and related entities to ensure successful execution during the next period.

GCC consumers will spend more during World Cup, but inflation will bite

Gulf football fans will spend more on going out and socialising during the 2022 FIFA World Cup than they did during the last one, but inflation will have an impact on how they spend. A new survey showed that more than half (54%) of respondents in Qatar, 45% in Saudi Arabia and 42% in the UAE will spend more money than they did in the previous World Cup tournaments. However, around a third in all the countries said the rising cost of living or inflation will impact the food and beverages they consume during matches, as well as the venues they choose to watch the games. There is also widespread excitement about the competition coming to the Middle East, with at least 91% in all three countries saying they’re happy that the World Cup is taking place in the region. The majority said they are more excited about the Qatar World Cup than the previous one in Russia that took place in 2018, with 82% in Qatar, 75% in Saudi Arabia and 69% in the UAE saying this year’s World Cup has more appeal than the last. The World Cup will see a spike in the amount of food ordered during the event, with levels or ordering expected to be 80% normal at peak on match days compared to normal days. The UAE, as well as Qatar, is also expecting a huge boost in air traffic throughout the tournament, which opens on Sunday, November 20 and runs until December 18.

KPMG Lower Gulf appoints new CEO

KPMG Lower Gulf has appointed a new chief executive officer (CEO) following the resignation of chairman and CEO Nader Haffer. Emilio Pera will become CEO effective 1st January, 2023, according to a statement on Friday. Pera is to replace CEO and chairman Nader Haffer, who resigned last month. Pera has 30 years of professional services and international business experience and is KPMG’s acting head of tax. He was previously head of audit and has been with the firm since 2016. “As head of audit, he embarked on a significant transformation of the business. He turned the audit practice around in a relatively short period, navigating some of the toughest times in the industry with added pressure of a global pandemic with related economic challenges,” the statement said. Pera said he is “deeply grateful to Nader for guiding the firm through some of the toughest economic periods including the COVID pandemic, and always putting our people first.” “I look forward to working with Nader over the next few weeks to affect a smooth transition and build on his achievements,” Pera said.

Billions of F1 and football fans look to the Middle East

 World-class sporting events tend to not overlap every year on the same weekend in the same part of the world. So for sports fans all over, especially local F1 and football enthusiasts, this weekend in the Middle East was particularly remarkable, commented a local newspaper.“Just as here in the UAE, fans eagerly awaited race day of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, excitement was also building an hour’s flight time from the UAE, in Qatar, as all participating teams of the football World Cup arrived in Doha,” The National said in an editorial on Monday.In the words of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Qatar hosting the Fifa World Cup is a “historic milestone for all Arabs”.“Indeed, the significance of this cultural moment is one for the record books; if sports fans weren’t watching the race, they were clued into the football fever. It is a matter of great prestige for the Arab world – which is home to millions of fans, and nations with no small number of football clubs – that the opportunity to showcase their best should arise. One tremendous positive outcome of these events is the accompanying travel,” the paper continued.A fan who visits one sports venue in one Gulf country is likely to hop over to a neighbouring one, the proximity serving as a good reason to see the sights, experience the uniform hospitality and yet diverse culture and cuisine for which the entire region is famous.In doing so, a crucial and rare opportunity also presents itself: for the travelling fan to be pleasantly surprised when oft-quoted negative regional and cultural stereotypes are proved false. A benefit of tourism is that when preconceived assumptions don’t hold up to reality, it is often the truer experience that is carried back to home countries, enabling a virtuous cycle of more tourists, more business and fewer prejudiced impressions.The daily added, “With tourists likely to fly into the UAE, Oman and Bahrain, this is a chance for the Gulf to showcase itself.”That these world-class events are taking place “at home” is an important chapter in sporting and cultural history and a matter of undeniable pride for millions across the Middle East and North Africa. What is sometimes under-appreciated is the depth of footballing tradition that exists in the MENA region.Whether it is Arab ownership and funding to develop young talents at the grassroots level around the globe, or to rejuvenate world-renowned clubs in need of financial resources and leadership, the examples are numerous.The national teams’ achievements on the pitch also deserve to be acknowledged, whether it is Egypt’s seven African Cup of Nations wins, or memorable performances from Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the Asian Cup, the Olympics and the World Cup. These success stories have their origins in the robust club structures that are in place in several of these countries. Abu Dhabi emirate alone, for example, is home to five major clubs.“Finally, the Middle East has been home to some of the biggest football tournaments in recent years. The UAE, it is worth recalling, hosted the previous Asian Cup, in 2019. That the World Cup should take place now, in this neighbourhood, is the icing on the cake – indeed for Qatar, and for the broader Arab world,” concluded the Abu Dhabi-based daily.

Qatari CEOs see a ‘mild and short’ recession

Ahmed Abu-Sharkh, Country Senior Partner, KPMG in Qatar, said: “Qatar’s CEOs have confronted many disruptions to their growth ambitions over a short period in recent times – COVID-19, geopolitical tensions, supply chain disruptions, cyber threats, the war on talent, and a looming recession. Nevertheless, resilience and optimism in long-term growth prospects prevail. CEOs ranked emerging/disruptive technology, operational and supply chain issues, and regulatory concerns as the top risks that could potentially delay their growth agenda. Overall, CEOs can leverage experience gained from managing their growth disruptions by strengthening foundations of resilience and forging new or enhancing current opportunities in technology, talent and ESG.”One out of 10 (12 percent) CEOs believe a recession will happen over the next 12 months, but 2 out of 5 (16 percent) feel it will be mild and short72% believe a recession will upend anticipated growth over the next 3 yearsCEOs are better prepared to weather short-term challenges with resiliency measures in place, while still anticipating long-term growth.The KPMG 2022 CEO Outlook, which asked Qataris CEOs at the world’s largest businesses about their strategies and outlook, reveals that 16 percent of leaders expect a recession to be mild and short. While CEOs may be resilient, they’re also realistic about the challenges ahead. Seventy- two percent of CEOs believe a recession will upend anticipated growth over the next 3 years, and three-quarters (80 percent) also believe a recession will make post pandemic recovery.Over the next year, One out of 10 (12 percent) Qatari CEOs anticipate a recession to hit, with 52 percent predicting it will impact company earnings by up to 10 percent.ADDITIONAL FINDINGS:Hiring freezes and headcount reductions under heavy consideration for CEOsWith continued economic turmoil, there are signs the Great Resignation could be cooling down, with 32 percent of CEOs having already implemented a hiring freeze, and 32 percent considering downsizing their workforce over the next 6 months.Uncertainty fueling long-term digital transformationWhile current uncertainty is driving CEOs to continue to prioritize digital transformation, 40 percent of businesses have paused their digital transformation strategies.In the longer-term, more than a quarter believe that advancing digitalization and business connectivity is also vital to achieving growth objectives over the next 3 years. Eighty-eight percent also agree that their organization’s digital and ESG strategic investments are inextricably linked.Evolving focus toward reputational and technological risksEmerging and disruptive technology has landed as the top risk to business growth over the next 3 years. In addition, CEOs have identified several other areas as top risks to growth: pandemic fatigue, economic factors and the threat of rising interest rates and inflation.Strategic alliances (28 percent), organic growth (24 percent) and managing geopolitical risks (24 percent) top the list of the most important strategies for achieving organizational growth objectives over the next 3 years. CEOs indicate that geopolitical uncertainties will continue to impact their strategies and supply chains over the next 3 years. In fact, 96 percent of CEOs have adjusted or plan to adjust their risk management procedures considering geopolitical risk, and 44 percent of CEOs will be increasing measures to adapt to geopolitical issues to achieve their growth objectives.Cyber security no longer corporations’ biggest threat, with more companies prepared for attacksCyber security has dropped from the top 5 risks to growth over the past year. However, the cyber environment is evolving with 88 percent saying their organization views information security as a strategic function and as a potential source of competitive advantage. Geopolitical uncertainty is also raising concerns of corporate cyber-attacks for many CEOs (84 percent). In fact, four out of five CEOs (80 percent) say that protecting their partner ecosystem and supply chain is just as important as building their own organization’s cyber defenses.Stakeholder pressure increasing accountability in ESGQatar businesses are seeing major focus on the social aspect of ESG: 44 percent of CEOs believe progress on inclusion, diversity, and equity (IDE) has moved too slowly in the business world, and 84 percent believe scrutiny of IDE performance will continue to increase over the next 3 years.On talent, CEOs find it difficult to pick just one key driver when it comes to accelerating their companies’ ESG strategies: proactivity on social issues (40 percent), more transparency (20 percent), IDE strategy (20 percent) and net-zero strategy (20 percent). This shows there’s a growing consensus that they all matter.Economic pressure slowing ESG ambitionsCEOs see the importance of ESG initiatives on their businesses, especially when questioned about ESG’s impact on improving financial performance, driving growth and meeting stakeholder expectations. And this year’s survey shows a marked jump in demand from stakeholders, such as customers and investors, for increased transparency.CEOs believe that social and environmental priorities are key, they’re less convinced about making the connection between ESG programs and hard results. As only 16 percent of the CEOs believe that their ESG programs will improve financial performance as opposed to 68 percent of CEOs who believe that ESG programs may reduce the financial performance of their companies.

Meta hosts Khalid Al Ameri for its first Reels Masters workshop in UAE

To celebrate Instagram’s Creator Week, Meta organized the region's first-ever Reels Masters Workshop led by Emirati content creator Khalid Al Ameri (@khalidalameri). The masterclass, which was Instagram in-person masterclass following the pandemic, took place at the region’s first and only content creation facility Thinksmart Hub and was attended by over 70 creators.The participants were guided by Khalid on elevating their content on Meta’s platforms using the latest tools, including AR effects, remixing, and stop motion techniques. The masterclass also focused on technical aspects like aligning tools, teleportation, and Greenscreen to help influencers devise a seamless production process.Talking about the relevance of the event Khalid said: “My brand of storytelling brings together humour and heart, and over the years, the Meta tools have been of great help! This masterclass was all about sharing that evolution and showing you can stay true to your core narrative while being adventurous with your style and approach.”Speaking of the event, Moon Baz, Creator Partnerships Lead, Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Meta said: “Today, with businesses back in action after the pandemic, we have noticed that every brand has embraced novel ways of consumer engagement and the change started with social media.. We are very proud to see Khalid Al Ameri discoursing the tricks of social media engagement to help creators stay relevant and memorable on our platforms. His content is best known to be culturally-relevant and is made for an international community.”Commenting on the event, Lina Husri, Founder, Thinksmart Hub said: “It is such an enriching experience for us to be the location host for the first Reels masterclass post-pandemic. Thinksmart Hub was conceptualized bearing in mind the burgeoning creators base in the region and we wanted them to have a creative space to unleash their ideas. Today, as Meta hosts this masterclass in the esteemed presence of Khalid Al Ameri, we feel that we’re a step closer to our vision of being the preferred location partner for creators in UAE. This event has been an inspiring session not just for our participants but for us as well since it further helped us understand the technical needs of content creators.”With the momentum set in with Meta’s The Reels Masters workshop, Thinksmart Hub plans to host many more brand partnership sessions to redefine content creation for the Metaverse.

First Saudi Philanthropy launches its digital center on the metaverse

Alwaleed Philanthropies (AP), chaired by HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud, launched their latest innovative initiative on the metaverse, a center that combines multiple virtual spaces to provide users with an unparalleled digital and cultural experience. AP launched the center during the International Day for Tolerance, which is an annual observance day declared by UNESCO in 1995 to generate public awareness on the dangers of intolerance. The initiative is in line with AP's mission to bridge the gap between cultures and forge the way for global communities to become more open and tolerant, utilizing the latest disruptive 3D technology to spread their message throughout the world to connect with the younger generation.The experience will be live on the Decentraland platform where attendees can explore the multi-story building showcasing elements of historical stories while linking diversified cultures together. The development of the digital experience was inspired by AP's mandate since their founding over 4 decades ago to build, and nurture tolerance across humanity."Alwaleed Philanthropies is committed to deploy collective efforts towards exposing minds and dismantling borders, as we believe in an open world and operate on the concept of creating an impact on people's lives globally. Our commitment to mankind, is to permanently be on the lookout for innovative approaches as we build connections for better cultural understanding as well as boundless tolerance. At Alwaleed Philanthropies, we initiate and collaborate, to come together for good deeds, through cooperating with a range of philanthropic, governmental and educational organizations to combat poverty, empower women and youth, develop communities, provide disaster relief and create cultural understanding", said HRH Princess Lamia bint Majed Al Saud, Secretary General of Alwaleed Philanthropies.Alwaleed Philanthropies is one of the first Saudi philanthropies to meaningfully activate the metaverse with a social purpose and mission to spread the message of tolerance, cultural exchange and inclusivity extending from the physical world to the digital world. Alwaleed Philanthropies is committed to continuously explore new channels and technologies that empower humans and highlight important causes. It is worth noting this center will be reflecting all Alwaleed Philanthropies focus areas and is only the start for Alwaleed Philanthropies plans on the metaverse.

Football fans won’t miss a moment of the action with Emirates ice

Emirates multi award-winning inflight entertainment system ice won’t be letting football fans down this winter, as all FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™matches will be aired live on Sport 24 onboard the aircraft, as well as in the A380 onboard lounges, and across dedicated Emirates airport lounges – ensuring fans don’t miss a moment of the action.      More than 200 Emirates aircraft are equipped with live TV, featuring dedicated sports channels - Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra. Kicking off on 20 November, Emirates passengers will be able to watch all FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ on Sport 24 via ice, including the highly anticipated final on the 18 December.Prior to boarding a flight, Emirates passengers can also watch live match action in dedicated lounges. Emirates Lounges are ideal places to relax and refresh before a flight and are accessible on a complimentary basis to First and Business Class passengers, as well as Emirates Skywards Platinum and Gold members. Silver members can also avail complimentary access to the Emirates Business Class lounge, in Dubai. Premium Economy and Economy Class passengers can also pay to access the lounge and enjoy the matches with a cold beverage and unlimited snacks. Emirates lounges offer a range of luxuries for travellers from generous buffet dining with regionally inspired cuisine and healthy options, to self-serve alcohol stations, showers, free Wi-Fi, and a private business centre.On Sports 24, fans can also watch live matches from the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, and the Asian Football Championship. Sport 24 also airs top international sporting events including the upcoming Women’s Rugby World Cup, International Cricket Council Men's T20 World Cup, the Olympic Games, National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), major golf championships, tennis grand slams plus sailing, horse-racing, and motorsports. Passengers can view full match schedules in advance and plan their viewing on as the best inflight entertainment system in the world by multiple travel and aviation entities, ice was recently awarded ‘Passenger Choice Award for Best Global Entertainment’ at APEX 2023 and for the 17th consecutive time, ‘World's Best Inflight Entertainment’ at Skytrax 2022. Emirates passengers in all classes can browse the world class entertainment library with over 5,000 channels of on demand entertainment, over 1,700 movies and 1,500 hours of TV, live news, as well as music, podcasts and audiobooks across 45 languages.

Al Bayader International need to strengthen sustainability to drive retail

Al Bayader International, the global manufacturer, distributor and retailer of creative solutions in sustainable food packaging, healthy food and personal and home care products, highlighted the need to bring innovation to the market in order to strengthen sustainable packaging solutions to drive the retail sector of the new era, as the UAE focuses on achieving its Net Zero goals by 2050.Addressing the 11th Middle East Retail Forum held in Dubai, Jamil Haddad, Head of Business Development & Sustainability at Al Bayader International, said that Sustainability, Innovation and People are key to transforming the retail sector which in itself has transformed significantly with the onset of omnichannel retailing, calling for new approaches to doing business.He said: “The UAE has announced its National Pathways to Net Zero by 2050 with a commitment to reduce absolute emissions by 18% compared to the UAE’s updated second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement by 2030, and then 60% by 2040, and 100% by 2050, compared to 2019. This is an opportunity and a call for the retail sector to step up its sustainability commitments.“At Al Bayader, we have been pioneering sustainable packaging solutions for the food and beverage industry, and we are committed to driving further innovations in this sector to meet the growing demand from the customers for eco-friendly packaging solutions. These are strong indicators of the support that consumers lend towards achieving sustainability goals. The industry must work together to focus on cutting emissions through creative and innovative approaches.”The 11th Middle East Retail Forum was held under the theme, ‘Unfolding Retail Stories.’ Jamil Haddad presented the Al Bayader story at a Presidential Debate-style session, titled ‘Trailer/Teaser 2030: Future of Retail’, where he shared the Plan of Action for further strengthening the sustainability commitments of Al Bayader International. He presented the strategic approach of the company and the disruptive innovations that have been implemented, including the embracing of the circular economy model.Haddad also mentioned that transparency is key to clients when one addresses the sustainability vs cost ratio so they know they are paying for that added value which eventually helps the planet.Further strengthening its sustainability and ESG framework, Al Bayader International is implementing its 4-R Pathway to Circularity, which focuses on ‘Redesigning, Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling.’ This approach prevents plastic packaging ending up in nature by improving reuse and recycling methods, as well as reduces the carbon footprint of packaging through eco-design to ensure circularity in every step. It also optimises resource use to promote energy efficiency.Al Bayader International has a wide range of sustainable packaging solutions, including the Sukkur range made from sugarcane pulp. The production process emits fewer CO2 emissions, is industrially compostable and reduces carbon-footprint. Al Bayader International’s Bio’d material is another sustainable packaging solution that features a new technology that allows plastic to biodegrade in landfills. Highlighting its commitment to sustainability, last year, the company installed a 980 kWp solar rooftop plant at its plant in Jebel Ali, which spans an area of 4,000 square metres and will generate over 1.5 GWh of clean electricity annually.

Deepak Chopra, Patrice Evra and Metta World Peace to expand business ventures

 Three global celebrities today signed Letters of Commitment to establish their respective businesses in Abu Dhabi, including Meditation guru Deepak Chopra, Manchester United icon Patrice Evra and NBA Los Angeles Lakers legend Metta World Peace. The three are in the UAE capital as part of Maven Global Access’ business expansion programme, Access Abu Dhabi, supported by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO).The signings took place at Abu Dhabi Finance Week’s Celebrity Entrepreneur World Cup, an event headlined by the three celebrities and co-hosted by Shark Tank star, Kevin O’Leary and Maven Global Access’ Sarah Omolewu. Hosted by the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), an international financial centre in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi Finance Week brings together a global audience of decision makers and industry leaders to accelerate the transformation of finance in the emirate.Maven Global Access’ Access Abu Dhabi programme is supporting the three celebrities to fast-track their expansion to Abu Dhabi. Deepak Chopra will establish a strong foothold in Abu Dhabi’s Web3 ecosystem with his ChopraVerse, a first-of-its-kind platform that empowers a culture of wellbeing in the metaverse. Patrice Evra is taking the creativity he is known for on the football pitch to the business landscape through a new content company. While Metta World Peace’s Artest Management Group’s XvsX Sports will bring competitive basketball experiences to cities globally for men and women.Sarah Omolewu is the founder and driving force behind the programme and has leveraged her close relationships in US celebrity and investor circles to secure relevant entrepreneurs and ambassadors for the programme.Eng. Abdulla Abdul Aziz AlShamsi, Acting Director General, ADIO, said: “ADIO supports innovation-focused businesses and entrepreneurs looking to explore the full potential of Abu Dhabi’s ecosystem. We look forward, through our support of Access Abu Dhabi, to working with Deepak Chopra, Patrice Evra and Metta World Peace as they take the next steps to grow their global ventures from Abu Dhabi.”Deepak Chopra said: “As realities merge and technology advances, opportunities for new immersive experiences focused on wellness and meditation arise. Abu Dhabi’s leadership in Web3 innovation and commitment to enriching happiness offer the perfect base for the expansion of the ChopraVerse. We are excited to see how the ChopraVerse can continue coming to life in partnership with the Access Abu Dhabi programme.”Metta World Peace said: “I was fortunate enough to visit Abu Dhabi just over a year ago with Maven Global Access’ and the Access Abu Dhabi programme. It became clear to me that now is the perfect time to bring competitive basketball experiences to the UAE for both men and women, and with Abu Dhabi being one of the few places worldwide to get a feel of real NBA action, this feels like the natural choice. We are excited for Abu Dhabi residents to showcase their talent on the court and are delighted to be expanding our operations.”Patrice Evra said: “After the privilege of a long career in professional football, I am now playing a different game in the corporate world. The opportunity to tap into Abu Dhabi’s world-class talent will bring about exciting prospects for our new company. I look forward to assembling a team that will explore the emirate’s creativity and capitalise on the support provided by Maven Global Access and the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, amongst other people that I have had the pleasure of connect with across this innovative ecosystem.”Dhaher bin Dhaher Al Mheiri, CEO of the Registration Authority at ADGM said, “Several entrepreneurs, innovators and startups call Abu Dhabi and ADGM their “home” to thrive in, for sustainable growth and business development. We at ADGM are committed to enhancing and developing our ecosystem and regulatory frameworks to make sure that the IFC remains to be a destination of choice for success, flourishing investments, growth prospects and ambitious entrepreneurial talent. ADGM welcomes Kevin O’Leary and the high-profile delegation of internationally renowned cultural leaders to Abu Dhabi and ADGM. We look forward to supporting the expansion plans in their global growth strategy.”Maven Global Access’ programme, Access Abu Dhabi, is open to all US businesses and includes various support to accelerate expansion and growth in Abu Dhabi, including mentorship from programme ambassador, Kevin O’Leary. Interested companies can apply for the programme here:

James Deluca appointed as Ceer CEO

 Ceer’s Board of Directors has appointed James DeLuca as the company’s CEO. DeLuca has over four decades of experience in the automotive sector, including senior leadership roles at both General Motors and VinFast. DeLuca will oversee the development, manufacturing, and sales of Ceer’s portfolio of consumer vehicles with the aim of producing iconically-styled electric cars replete with advanced technologies and features.DeLuca led Vietnam-based car manufacturer VinFast as its first CEO, creating South East Asia’s first electric vehicle brand. Prior to VinFast, DeLuca led General Motors’ manufacturing function across the globe, overseeing the company’s production processes while managing over 200,000 employees at 171 plants in 31 countries.“Saudi Arabia recognizes the importance of the automotive sector when it comes to economic growth and job creation, and I am looking forward to shaping Ceer into a car brand that is admired by both Saudi consumers as well as the wider industry,” said DeLuca. “Ceer will help ignite Saudi Arabia’s automotive sector and create synergies of scale that the automotive industry will benefit from as more automotive manufacturing moves to the Middle East to make electric vehicles mainstream in the country and the wider region.”Ceer is a joint venture between the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Foxconn. Ceer will manufacture vehicles in Saudi Arabia. Each vehicle will be designed and manufactured in Saudi Arabia and tested to the highest global automotive quality control and safety standards. Ceer vehicles are scheduled to be available in 2025.Saudi Arabia has laid out a number of targets for its own automotive sector, with a focus on creating a sustainable industrial base that will contribute to the country’s GDP growth, promote the transfer of knowledge to the Kingdom and spur job creation. Today, Ceer has more than 400 employees who have already started designing and engineering Ceer’s vehicles.

New Salesforce research finds UAE marketers determined despite headwinds

Salesforce, the global leader in CRM, has released its eighth annual State of Marketing report. In the report, UAE marketers say their work provides increasing value despite macroeconomic and labor headwinds. The report also reveals how marketers in the countries surveyed are adapting to changes in privacy regulations — all while managing more data sources than ever before.86 percent of UAE marketers say their work provides greater value than it did a year ago. However, they face an uphill battle in an uncertain economy: 19% of UAE marketers cited budgetary constraints and 59% agreed that customer expectations are more difficult to meet than they were a year ago.To help meet the moment, marketers are focusing on:Experimenting with new marketing strategies / tacticsBalancing personalization with customer comfort levels “Organisations in the UAE are increasingly looking to their CMO and their marketing teams to meet the challenge presented by customers’ digital-first expectations. There are also growing concerns about budgetary restraints and the ability to do more with less in the face of global economic headwinds, and the need to accommodate evolving data privacy requirements to prepare for a cookieless future,” said Robbie Kearns, Senior Regional Vice President, Salesforce.The trends revealed in the State of Marketing report were collected from a survey of 6,000 marketing leaders across 35 countries and six continents, including 100 from the UAE. Insights include the following:The march toward digitally-led engagement treads new and familiar paths. Marketers are investing in a combination of channels and technologies to reach audiences in new places and build lasting relationships. Audio, Events and sponsorships, and website/app have seen the largest increase in usage in the last year by UAE marketers. However, email marketing remains dominant, accounting for over 80% of all outbound marketing messages, according to trillions of message sends from Salesforce Marketing Cloud.Marketers navigate a complex technology and regulatory landscape. Marketers are adapting to changes in privacy regulations and calls for data transparency. Although 72% of UAE marketers still invest in third-party data, 80% say they have a fully defined strategy to shift from third-party data.KPIs shift as marketers pursue real-time intelligence. Across every stage of the funnel, marketers are tracking more metrics year over year than ever before. Speed to insight remains a competitive advantage. Seventy-eight percent of UAE marketing organizations engage customers in real time across one or more marketing channels.Distributed teams unite with collaboration technology. Recognizing that remote and distributed work is here to stay, leaders are making investments into new collaboration tools. 58% of UAE marketers say it’s harder to collaborate now than pre-pandemic and are turning to an average of 3.38 collaboration tools to help.

Women entrepreneurs key to inclusive economic growth

 Women across the GCC are finding new and creative ways to overcome barriers to entering the workforce or beginning their own ventures, says a report.The study – GCC Women Entrepreneurship – highlights women efforts to set up their businesses in the region despite several challenges such as the gender gap and structural disadvantages in fundraising and investment activities.“Today, women entrepreneurs are key to inclusive economic growth, led by the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The region has been witnessing a change in recent years as countries are pushing ahead with gender neutrality measures as part of their national strategy to achieve sustainable growth for society,” according to the report launched by Dash Venture Labs.Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain have also incorporated women-focused initiatives in their future development plans and vision. The common goal is to move in tandem with Goal 5 of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals -- aimed at achieving gender equality and empowering all women.Shailesh Dash, Founder of Dash Venture Labs, said entrepreneur and startups are an important engine for growth for the region, especially with the changing landscape coupled with the rise in technological advancement across industries.“Governments have also realised the importance and have introduced a number of initiatives to provide access to funding avenues to support entrepreneurship and whole ecosystem. Hence, supporting women entrepreneurs -- financially or non-financially -- in sustaining and growing their business is as important as starting their business,” he said.Diversification strategyThe report pointed out that GCC governments have been focusing on creating a stronger ecosystem around women entrepreneurs that can result in economic empowerment, a key to the region’s long-term diversification strategy. The rate of female entrepreneurship is positioning businesses spearheaded by females as an important source for jobs. Referring to the Council on Foreign Relations, the report said GCC could add as much as $812 billion to their GDP in next three years by achieving a holistic gender parity in the region.“Women-led startups are increasingly gaining recognition by alternative financial institutions such as PE/VC firms, angel investors, as well as HNIs and SWFs. Following the widespread interest by such entities, banks have started partnering with associations and PE/VC firms to lend their support,” according to the report.Women empowermentIt further indicated that tech-based startups are the most represented sectors by women entrepreneurs. Several accelerators and investors, both domestic and global, have been actively supporting women entrepreneurs with funding and mentoring to bring innovative ideas into businesses.The study also mentioned that women entrepreneurs still continue to face a series of barriers including access to finance and full participation in public life and the business ecosystem. These barriers appear at different stages of the entrepreneurial lifecycle.The report suggested that it is imperative for the public and private sector to increase participation and reduce the gap to empower more women towards entrepreneurship. Although, there are a number of success stories around the world with women-led unicorns, it is essential to further enhance the ecosystem in order to build a stable, prosperous and equitable society.“Women entrepreneurs are key to tackling global challenges, including catalysing the post-Covid-19 recovery. Unlocking the potential of women’s entrepreneurship requires micro-level interventions alongside a dismantling of macro-level constraints. It also requires concerted actions across the law, public policy and the private sector,” Dash concluded.

Jetcraft appoints new EMEA Sales Director

Jetcraft, the global leader in business aircraft sales and acquisitions, has named Idriss Abdelaziz as Sales Director. The appointment strengthens Jetcraft’s established footprint in EMEA, with Abdelaziz bringing extensive regional knowledge and market intelligence.Before joining Jetcraft, Abdelaziz was Managing Partner at Swiss-based jet broker, AeroProp, following an eight-year career in investment banking. As Sales Director, Abdelaziz will manage Jetcraft’s sales, acquisitions and trades across 19 territories, including France, Benelux, Southern Europe and Northern Africa.Pascal Bachmann, SVP Sales, EMEA at Jetcraft, says: “EMEA is an important market poised for continued growth. According to our latest forecast, the share of Jetcraft buyers under 45 has risen by 20% in the last five years, largely driven by activity in this region, and the UHNWI population in Europe, the Middle East and Africa is expected to grow 24% and 21% respectively by the year 2026. We look forward to working with Abdelaziz and drawing upon his experience to support growing demand from EMEA clients in Southern Europe and Northern Africa.”Idriss Abdelaziz says: “Jetcraft’s data science led approach sets the company apart, providing customers with expert analysis to facilitate even the most complex aircraft transactions. There is a lot of opportunity in the market and I am excited to leverage Jetcraft’s unmatched in-house resources to generate more success stories and build strong, long-lasting customer relationships.”

Spare partners with Eazy Financial Services

Spare, an open banking platform licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, has announced its partnership with Eazy Financial Services “EazyPay”, a leading Bahraini Payment Services Provider specializing in POS and online payment gateway acquiring solutions to embrace opportunities in Open Banking.The partnership was officially signed by Abdulaziz AlOthman, General Manager of Spare in Bahrain, and Nayef Tawfiq Al Alawi, Founder & CEO of Eazy Financial Services, with the goal of contributing to the shared objective of accelerating the adoption of open banking services in the Kingdom, in line with Bahrain’s 2030 economic vision, which seeks to further strengthen the financial sector.Through this partnership, EazyPay will enable its merchants to accept open banking payments powered by Spare, which will add to the current options available to merchants. Businesses of all sizes will be able to capitalize on a more secure and convenient form of collection through the enhanced level of service powered by open banking. Customers will benefit from seamless payment solutions whereby they can pay directly from their bank account. This collaboration will also allow EazyPay to utilize Spare’s open banking connections to provide new products and services to its customers.Eazy Financial Services “EazyPay”, is a leading Bahraini financial institute specialized in Point-of-Sale (POS) & Online Payment Gateway Acquiring services licensed & regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain.Abdulaziz Alothman, General Manager at Spare, commented, “We are thrilled to have EazyPay on board with us for open banking services. Adopting Spare’s innovative transaction solution will undoubtedly bring great benefits to consumers with a seamless and hassle-free experience while allowing them to enjoy new, personalized financial services.”Eazy Financial Services Founder & CEO, Nayef Tawfiq Al Alawi, commented, “We are excited to partner with Spare, in line with our ongoing commitment to deliver beyond conventional payment practices and innovative solutions with the ease and speed that customers want. We believe that establishing these partnerships, especially with key ecosystem players, will allow various players to acquire the necessary capabilities and deliver innovative and unique propositions to a wide range of customers in the Kingdom and the region. We look forward to fostering a productive relationship with Spare for many years to come.”Spare is a licensed open banking enabler that offers a wide range of account information and payment initiation services to both merchants and consumers. With “Pay by Spare”, merchants can capitalize on a faster, cheaper, and more secure way to receive payments from their customers via a bank-to-bank transfer. Spare aims to grow and expand the presence of open banking and to introduce solutions that will enhance the way we transact. Spare is connected to the largest retail banks in Bahrain reaching more than 90% of the customers across the Kingdom.

Nozomi Networks names Jared Waterman as Chief Financial Officer

Nozomi Networks, the leader in OT & IoT cybersecurity, today announced that Jared Waterman has been appointed Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the company. In addition to leading Nozomi Networks’ global finance organization, Mr. Waterman will be responsible for support functions including overseeing the finance, legal and IT teams.“I’m excited to welcome Jared to Nozomi Networks,” said CEO Edgard Capdevielle. “He has a proven track record in guiding private companies through major growth phases as well as entering public markets or strategic acquisitions. He will play an integral role as we accelerate our business.”Mr. Waterman brings a number of years of experience in successfully executing strategic financial growth plans, fundraising and IPOs to his role at Nozomi Networks. As Vice President of Finance for Pandora he scaled Finance from the ground up, taking the company through an IPO and growing revenue to $1.5 billion. As Senior Vice President of Finance at Yext, he helped guide global expansion efforts that grew the company to more than $350 million in annual revenue. Before joining Nozomi Networks, he was Chief Financial Officer at HR tech company Inflection. At Inflection Jared helped guide the company’s go to market expansion, as well as helped drive a successful exit in Q2 2022.“Nozomi Networks is at a critical phase in its evolution. Our team, technology, and global presence uniquely positions us to capitalize on our market leadership,” Waterman said. “I’m excited to join this team as we take the company to the next level in providing enterprises and critical infrastructure providers with cybersecurity and analytics for all their connected devices. We have a significant opportunity ahead of us and I look forward to being part of the leadership team as we take the next step in our journey.”

Bain & Company launches the inaugural edition of the MEWLF in Riyadh

Bain & Company, the leading global management consulting firm is inaugurating the Middle East Women Leadership Forum, titled ‘Go Boldly: Bring Your Future Forward’, in Riyadh on November 23 and 24, 2022. It is the first high-caliber platform of leadership and connectedness bringing together regional female leaders across the GCC, to support them in achieving their full potential, learning from one another, and celebrating different models of success.The forum is a new program launched by Bain & Company where an annual cohort of exceptional female leaders in the Middle East can connect, share experiences, and learn. During the event and throughout the year, members will have access to capability-building and leadership modules, as well as connectedness, mentorship and coaching opportunities, and experience sharing.Anne-Laure Malauzat, Partner and Chief Diversity Officer of Bain & Company Middle East, added: “It is no secret that diverse and inclusive workplaces, at all levels of leadership, deliver the best results. Bain & Company’s research shows that men and women have consistent motivations when it comes to work, across factors like financial orientation and connectedness. However, the reality on-the-ground is that women still remain scarce in top leadership roles today: they held fewer than 5% of CEO roles globally in 2020 and this is also reflected in the GCC region with less than ~2% of women sitting on boards.As part of the program, participants will have access to a range of offerings to support them in their leadership journey. Such as:Mentorship and Coaching – Access to mentors and leadership coaches to work on both personal and professional developmentCapability-building Sessions – to support the participants on their path to leadershipQuarterly Speakers and Connectedness Series – organized by Bain & Company, to reinforce allyship and inspiration“Diversity, equity, and inclusion are a top priority for Bain as part of our internal culture, in our work with our clients, and across all countries and communities we operate in. We hire a highly-diverse set of people with exceptional talents, abilities, and potential and create a collaborative environment where people can become the best version of themselves,” said Tom De Waele, Bain & Company’s Middle East Managing Partner.Lise Abi Jaoude, Senior Manager and lead of the Middle East Women Leadership Forum added: “This year, we are honoured to be inaugurating the Middle East Women Leadership Forum. We have selected an exceptional group of leaders to join us in this first edition to foster connectedness and learning. Our aspiration is to create a supportive and collaborative community that can empower leaders of the current and next generation.”

UAE University organises panel discussions

 The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) has organised several panel discussions on the role of artificial intelligence and future technology in media and the role of media in achieving the goals of sustainable development.International scientists, experts, researchers and researchers from the UAE University participated in the discussion during the second day of the Global Media Congress (GMC), which is being held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) until 17th November.Prof. Ahmed Murad, Associate Provost for Research at UAEU, said that the university's participation in this international event hosted by Abu Dhabi is an exceptional opportunity for the UAEU to enhance its global leadership and promote its remarkable presence in major international events.With wide participation of visitors, the UAEU platform students presented the outcomes and results of their media-related research projects and innovations, including a robot news anchor project that acts as a newscaster and a robot project that converts ideas into images using artificial intelligence, the "deepfake" project, among others.The UAEU also held a meeting for its media graduates, during which the participants discussed how the university graduates contribute to enhancing its international reputation, in addition to the role of field training for media students in enhancing their confidence, refining their skills and preparing them for the media labor market.

GMC has provided a platform to discuss critical issues in media industry

The Global Media Congress (GMC) has provided a platform enabling discussions on critical issues in the media sector, Jonathan Clayton, Editor/Reporter for The Times, told WAM.In a statement he made during Day 2 of the GMC, Clayton, a journalism veteran who serves as Africa correspondent for the London-based Times newspaper, described his participation in the congress as an "enormous privilege", as the event is being held at a critical time for the industry, with the growth of digital media.Commenting on the media's transition into the digital format, he said, "Traditional media has had to adapt, every major newspaper in the world today has an online presence.“There are all sorts of non-traditional news outlets coming up and this has had implications for democracy, for issues like false information, fake news, what is true, and how to assure balance in reporting. It's given opportunities for citizens to go out and record their own news, but then that also raises questions as to how do we ensure that the news that they are putting out is accurate and balanced,” said Clayton, who served as a moderator and panellist on the GMC's Media Future Labs, a future-focused series of invite-only roundtables made up of experienced industry professionals featuring no-holds barred and honest discussions on the various challenges confronting the media sector.“All of these issues are being raised at the conference today along with other issues like who finances digital media, who finances the news world of tomorrow and how do we assure that the developing world gets as loud a voice as the developed world. All of these issues have been discussed here in this wonderful setting this state-of-the-art conference centre. It’s a real pleasure to be here,” he said, in conclusion.

Football season to boost online retail in MENA to USD 8.4bln

 A report created by Redseer in partnership with TikTok found that the upcoming football tournament in the region will provide a boost to the festive retail season, with a predicted peak gross merchandise value of USD 8.4 billion for online retail, compared to USD 6.5 billion in 2021. When including offline sales, the overlap of the football season with Black Friday will present a massive USD 70 billion opportunity for the retail sector in MENA.The report found that digital media will take the lead in enabling the opportunity with e-commerce, as product discovery is dominated by digital channels. Online searches (69%) were found to be the top channel that respondents plan to use to search for new products during the football season, followed by social media (64%), online customer reviews (63%), and brand/retailer apps (55%).Joanne Chehab, Head of Business Partnerships for Managed Services, Global Business Solutions, MENA – TikTok said: “The upcoming football season is an unparalleled opportunity for brands to tap into a huge, passionate, and highly engaged audience. TikTok will be one of the major channels through which this audience will engage with content; in 2021, there were 129 billion views for the #football hashtag globally on the platform. Prioritizing creativity to build brand-event adjacency, TikTok is the place to be for brands who want to seize the football moment and meet/engage their audience with authentic and impactful stories.”Seventy-two percent of respondents said they use social media to discover content related to their favorite sport, with 70% saying they expect to consume more short form video content during the football season.Akshay Jayaprakasan, Associate Partner, Redseer Middle East said: “The current digital era promises to make this football tournament the most inclusive one, helping it reach people from all walks of life. 93% viewers will watch the world cup with their friends and family, highlighting the theme of togetherness that will run through this period of celebration. Digital media has democratized advertising, ensuring that even smaller brands can find a suitable offering to meet specific needs at a reasonable price. With 83% of football fans, using their smartphone while watching matches, innovative storytelling, leveraging the right formats, will help brands create everlasting brand recall.The report also found that digital ad spend has overtaken traditional ad spend, indicating that brands and retailers should double their focus on digital media during this period to maximize value creation for themselves and their target consumers.Additionally, Creators will have a substantial role to play in driving home meaningful stories for brands. In fact, 80% of respondents said they are influenced by digital media Content Creators to follow football season updates.Aside from retail, the report found that the football tournament will bring a USD 4 billion opportunity through tourist spend, with 51% being attributed to accommodation. Furthermore, the tourist mix will see a higher representation from women and people under 45 than previous tournaments.

Visitors explore Ras Al Khaimah’s unique value proposition

 Ras Al Khaimah welcomed crowds of visitors to its purpose-built stand, which highlights the unique proposition the northernmost Emirate offers during the first day of the inaugural Global Media Congress (GMC) at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court.  Represented by Ras Al Khaimah Government Media Office (RAKGMO), Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) and Marjan, the UAE’s northernmost Emirate showcased why it is the go-to destination in the region to live, work and explore to numerous media stakeholders who visited its contemporary stand situated centrally at GMC’s exhibition space. Meetings with these stakeholders detailed the considerable developments taking place across Ras Al Khaimah’s media landscape and cemented relationships between the Emirate’s representatives and their partners in the national, regional and international media.  Her Excellency Ms. Heba Fatani, Director General of RAKGMO, took part in a one-on-one discussion at the event today, while Mr. Ramy Jallad, CEO of RAKEZ, will participate in a discussion on ‘The role of integrated media hubs in the future of the media industry’ tomorrow at the Congress, which runs until November 17.   During a session titled ‘The changing interface of government communications’, Ms. Fatani stated: “In today’s world, the bulk of our audience are youth. Governments need to be able to speak their language while maintaining our credibility as a government entity. This means that governments need to find ways to remain relevant, relatable and reassuring in the digital age and key to that approach is being humane and transparent, as well as reliable. “RAKGMO utilizes digital communications to communicate efficiently and in real-time with the people. We have a digital-first and community-focused communications strategy that aims to inspire, engage and make a positive difference to the lives of people.“We endeavor to ensure our communications are honest, clear and transparent and we aim to create content that carries a positive message that can empower people to act in a manner that benefits not only themselves but the wider community too.” Ras Al Khaimah is currently witnessing exponential growth across multiple sectors – particularly in tourism, manufacturing and entrepreneurship – driven by a strategic and sustainable development plan that encompasses all facets of life in the Emirate. Ras Al Khaimah Statistics Center has embarked on a first-of-its-kind census in the Emirate, the results of which will be published online and will help inform future government decision-making across all developmental sectors.

Galactic Entertainment set to become largest regional player in the metaverse

 Galactic Entertainment, an entertainment studio headquartered in the UAE, is transforming the entertainment industry by using blockchain technology to create innovative, immersive, and disruptive experiences. Backed by global investors including Kingsway Capital and Immutable X, Galactic Entertainment is set to become the largest player in the Middle East’s gaming space with its highly anticipated debut project, PlanetQuest.Founder and Chairman, Loren Roosendaal, is a serial entrepreneur who started developing games at the age of 11 and saw them played by millions of people before he graduated high school. Prior to founding Galactic Entertainment, he also founded Bright Star Studios where he currently shares the CEO role with fellow founder Mark Laursen. Loren has become a pioneer in conducting community-friendly sales, witnessing over $260 million in pledges through two successful application-based sales. These notable achievements, among others, have garnered him recognition as one of the founding fathers of the blockchain gaming movement, alongside figures such as Aleksander Leonard Larsen (Co-Founder of Sky Mavis, the studio behind Axie Infinity) and Sebastien Borget (Co-Founder of The Sandbox).The vision behind Galactic Entertainment’s PlanetQuest is clear: to build the first cinematic multiverse alongside a vibrant community that participates in its conception from the start. Community members and fans are treated to the stunning works of renowned writers, video game developers, and artists who have previously worked on IPs from Marvel and Star Wars to Game of Thrones and are now laying the foundation for PlanetQuest. With hundreds of thousands of fans joining the PlanetQuest community in just a matter of months, this approach has already proven to be successful.As part of the community, fans participate in votes that could decide the fate of the universe in the episodic storyline which is already being novelized, and perhaps just as exciting, are given the chance to own entire planets and in-game items that will play a key role in the upcoming PlanetQuest video game. The response to this proved overwhelming as the first planet sale saw fans submit over 10,000-plus applications pledging to spend over $60 million on planets in total in just a few weeks. This left just over 1,000 planets available for purchase in the sale oversubscribed by roughly 60 to 1, providing audiences and commentators with a glimpse of the long-term potential of PlanetQuest. Loren Roosendaal, Founder and Chairman of Galactic Entertainment, commented: “With the games and esports sector growing in the Middle East, we are thrilled to establish our headquarters here in the UAE. The country is becoming increasingly interested in developing homegrown games with over four million users expected by 2027[1]. Saudi Arabia is also a major market, with 70% of KSA's population under 30 years of age, and approximately 20 million gamers in the country[2]. Both markets are key contributors to the region’s growth in the gaming space.As gamers ourselves, we’re excited to be building a whole new generation of entertainment experiences for both regional and global audiences. Galactic Entertainment is pioneering games and stories that not only let fans participate in key decisions but also give them the opportunity to own a piece of this multiverse. After all, what Star Wars fans wouldn’t love to be able to say their votes helped determine the plot of the Star Wars movies? This is the exact opportunity that we’re offering the early fans of PlanetQuest today.”On the heels of its current progress, Galactic Entertainment plans to expand its product offerings by developing further multiverses, hinting that, next to continuing to expand its own IPs, it is also in talks with some massive external IP holders looking to work with Galactic Entertainment to bring various worlds from books and cinema to the metaverse. Whatever the future may hold, with PlanetQuest books, comics, and video games already on the way, and series and movies being a likely future prospect, fans of Galactic Entertainment’s first multiverse certainly have a lot to look forward to.

Emirates Robotics Competition launched for UAE university students

Dubai Future Labs, Dubai Future Foundation’s applied research and development lab specialising in robotics and artificial intelligence, has teamed up with the Rochester Institute of Technology and Khalifa University of Science and Technology to launch the Emirates Robotics Competition.The competition aims to demonstrate the technological skills of young talents specialised in robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced technologies, while encouraging them boost their capacities and be part of the UAE’s efforts to be a global hub for robotics and AI technologies.Teams are required to develop intelligent robotic perception systems that endow the robot with the ability to perceive, comprehend, and reason about the surrounding environment.The competition will include two challenges; the first one includes using the intelligent robots to autonomously perform pick-and-place of objects of varied sizes, shapes, and weights; while in the second challenge, competitors will use their intelligent robot to autonomously move over a track while observing rules and avoiding obstacles.The Emirates Robotics Competition aims to bridge the gap between the current real robotic capabilities and the requirements of potential applications. It tests the skills of the university students, raises awareness of robotics, and promotes the development of the country’s youth.Dr. Yousef Al Assaf, President of RIT Dubai, said, "We are excited to host the first Emirates Robotics Competition in February 2023. Through this competition, we aim to establish long-term engagements with academia and strategic partners in order to promote purposeful robotics solutions, machine learning, and automation."Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University, noted, “We are glad to partner with Dubai Future Foundation and the RIT to launch the Emirates Robotics Competition that challenges university students to design advanced robots. We remain committed to similar partnerships that not only inspire creativity but also help build local skill sets for a fast-expanding robotics and AI sector that impacts all economic areas in the UAE and across the world.”Khalifa Al Qama, Director of Dubai Future Labs, commented, “Though this partnership, we aim to encourage students to sharpen their skills and boost their creativity and innovation capabilities while ensuring that the next generation of talent is equipped with the skills required to succeed in the robotics and technology domains. This also establishes the position of the UAE as a global test bed for emerging technologies."Teams of between 3-6 students are allowed to enter the competition, with each group supervised by a member of the university’s faculty.Entry for the competition is now open till 30th November, 2022. The competition will be hosted at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Dubai campus in Dubai Silicon Oasis on 23rd February 2023.Participating teams will undergo an evaluation process, after which scores will be announced during a special event and cash prizes will be rewarded to the first three winners.

NEOM meets potential investors in Berlin and Paris

NEOM has organized a series of "Discover NEOM" meetings with investors and business partners in Berlin and Paris as part of its ongoing efforts to attract investors and highlight the rapid progress it has made over the past year.Entrepreneurs, industry pioneers and potential business partners from the two European countries had the chance to engage with NEOM's CEO and several of the project’s leaders to explore future opportunities and support NEOM's mission to redefine business, urban livability, and nature conservation. The Discover NEOM European events were attended by around 400 key business, financial and sustainability leaders and included a series of sector-focused presentations, panels and exhibitions.Speaking at the events, Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO of NEOM, said: "We were delighted to be in Germany and France. We have significant German and French partners in water, energy and advanced manufacturing, and these events allowed potential investors across a wide variety of industries to explore the significant market opportunities that NEOM presents. We were especially focused on how we can best support the collaborative global effort to redefine the way we conduct business in a sustainable and future-oriented way. I look forward to the meaningful partnerships that we will forge in the coming months following these visits and the investment opportunities it will bring to NEOM and Saudi Arabia."Discover NEOM is part of a globetrotting initiative that aims to seek opportunities and attract foreign direct investment into NEOM, a region being built from the ground up with the world’s most advanced technologies to redefine how humanity lives, works and plays. Similar events have been held in the UK and the US over the last twelve months.

Global Media Congress opens

 The launch edition of the Global Media Congress (GMC) opened today in Abu Dhabi under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court.The conference-cum-exhibition Congress is organised by ADNEC Group in partnership with Emirates News Agency (WAM).The three-day event, taking place under the theme “Shaping the Future of the Media Industry”, sees participation from more than 1,200 media sector pioneers, specialists, and influencers from six continents in the globe, with more than 30 debates and workshops featuring more than 162 globally renowned speakers.The conference and workshops for young media persons will offer a platform for journalists, tech firms, content creators, digital marketing professionals, streaming giants, entertainment executives, regulators and key media stakeholders to share ideas and exchange experiences.Speakers in the first-of-its-kind event include decision-makers, thought leaders, and senior officials such as Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs; Ramzan bin Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Minister of Information Affairs of Bahrain; Monica Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting of Zimbabwe; Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Director-General of the Government of Dubai Media Office; Apurva Chandra, Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of India; and Michael Peters, Chairman of the Euronews Network from France.The line-up also includes Wayne Berg, CEO for Digital Media, Culture and Fashion of Saudi Arabia’s Neom city; Adrian Monk, Director-General and Head of Public and Social Engagement at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland; Dr. Paolo Ruffini, Dean of the Vatican's Department of Communications; Masoud Sherif Mahmoud, CEO of the Emirates Etisalat Group; and Caroline Farag, Vice President of CNN and Editor-in-Chief of CNN Arabic from the UAE.In addition, the exhibition hosts more than 170 prominent media establishments and companies from 29 countries from all over the world, showcasing the latest international technologies specialised in these vital sectors.

SALAMA reports 9-month net profit of AED 25.1mln

Islamic Arab Insurance Company, listed as "SALAMA" on DFM, today announced its audited financial results for the period ended September 30, 2022. The Company reported net profit of AED 25.1 million for the 9-month period. SALAMA's quarterly profit doubled year-on-year, rising 102% to AED 5.9 million.SALAMA's gross written contributions for the period ended September 30, 2022, reached AED 886 million amid a price-sensitive and competitive market environment. In the third quarter, GWC recorded significant year-on-year growth of 48% to AED 312 million.In the UAE, SALAMA remained profitable, while subsidiaries in Algeria and Egypt outperformed year-on-year, reporting profitability growth of 54%. General, administrative, and other expenses in the third quarter of 2022 declined by 5.6% compared to the same period last year, driven by improved cost control measures.SALAMA's solid digital transformation strategy, coupled with prudent underwriting, client portfolio diversification, new partnerships, and improved distribution channels, contributed to the year-to-date progress across its various product lines.In the coming quarters, SALAMA will prepare for the planned consolidation and acquisition of Takaful Emarat and the insurance portfolios of AMAN. The proposed transaction will expand SALAMA's capabilities, realize business synergies and improve business performance. The portfolio consolidation, which is expected to be completed in the second half of next year, will significantly strengthen SALAMA's position, giving the Takaful company a larger market share and making it one of the five largest Islamic insurers in the world.One of the main highlights of the third quarter was the restoration of SALAMA's solvency status. This was the result of the insurer working closely with the UAE Central Bank and taking the necessary measures to be able to maintain a good solvency ratio - demonstrating the insurer's financial stability and high ability to pay claims.Commenting on the SALAMA’s quarterly performance, Jassim Alseddiqi, SALAMA's Chairman said: "The Board is very pleased with SALAMA's strong financial performance to date. The restoration of our solvency status was critical this quarter and we are grateful to the Central Bank of the UAE for its support and guidance over the past 12 months – which has been instrumental in bringing SALAMA to where we are today in terms of capital strength. We also look forward to scaling up as we prepare for the proposed acquisition of insurance portfolios. In addition, SALAMA's ongoing commitment to digital transformation initiatives, combined with the Company's penchant for innovation, has continued to contribute positively to revenue growth. All of these steps have collectively yielded great results overall in terms of improving SALAMA's financial strength, unlocking growth opportunities and creating value in line with shareholder and policyholder expectations."Fahim Al Shehhi, CEO of SALAMA, said: "SALAMA's performance in the third quarter is a true testament to how our direct-to-customer approach and aggressive customer acquisition strategy continues to pay off. Our efforts in the strategic pillars of digitalization, innovation and collaboration will accelerate and lead to enhanced customer experiences and omnichannel services, as well as our ongoing digital marketing efforts and campaigns for our large customer base. Our progress to date and our future aspirations reinforce our commitment to making Takaful and its benefits as seamless as possible for everyone."The Takaful insurer's partnerships with banks, broker aggregators and e-commerce platforms have seen tremendous growth this year, establishing SALAMA as the preferred provider of digital Takaful solutions for underwriting and issuing policies online. The latest partnership is an agreement with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) to offer SALAMA's services on ADDED's 'Investor Journey' portal, which allows entrepreneurs and investors to apply for a wide range of services, including business insurance. Other recent key partnerships include one with policybazaar to offer online insurance to owners of non-GCC-specification cars who have not had access to comprehensive auto insurance in the past, and another with insuretech provider Wellx to offer hyper-personalised takaful solutions to its customers via wearables technology that helps them cultivate wellness and safety behaviours. SALAMA continues to build new strategic partnerships with leading banks in the UAE to provide omnichannel takaful solutions to the banks' customers.SALAMA is also one of the first takaful providers to allow its customers to access its services and products via WhatsApp. With initiatives like these, SALAMA is expanding its direct-to-customer portfolio to include product lines such as enhanced medical, motor, home, and pet insurance, as well as the recently added Essential Benefit Plan, which enables instant policy issuance and generates a health card online.SALAMA recently ran a 22-day social media campaign titled 'Kind Beings of Dubai' to share stories of extraordinary acts of kindness shown or experienced by UAE residents. Complementing the Dubai-wide initiative, SALAMA recently launched the Essential Benefit Plan - an offering licenced from DHA that is tailored to meet the needs of workers with dependents who earn less than AED 4000 per month.SALAMA stands as UAE's largest sharia'h compliant Takaful operator with AAA-rated capital adequacy rating from S&P and is one of the few insurers to meet the solvency requirements of the regulator.

Stc Bahrain is the Cyber Innovation Partner of the region’s event

stc Bahrain, a world-class digital enabler, is the Cyber Innovation partner at the largest gathering of cybersecurity professionals in Bahrain – connecting global leaders in the cyber and infosec community from around the globe. The Arab International Cybersecurity Summit will be held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Bahrain, at the Exhibition World Bahrain from 6-8 December Bahrain was the first telecom operator in Bahrain to secure its network through a cloud-based cybersecurity solution, “Web Protect”. The service is offered to business customers to protect their digital assets and ensure customer safety by using an advanced threat intelligence platform. stc Bahrain also partnered with Sirar by stc to enhance its cybersecurity offerings for businesses in Bahrain, enabling businesses to manage digital risks effectively. The services are in line with the growing demand for cybersecurity solutions aligning with the Kingdom’s national ICT framework.Commenting on the partnership, Eng. Nezar Banabeela, CEO of stc Bahrain, said: “Cybersecurity remains a priority for us at stc Bahrain as we are implementing advanced technologies to keep businesses and customers in Bahrain digitally secure. We are proud to be named as the Cyber Innovation partner at the largest gathering of cybersecurity professionals in Bahrain and we are looking forward to taking part in insightful discussions about securing Bahrain’s digital infrastructure and the latest technological developments that will protect businesses in the Kingdom.”Co-hosting the event will be the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), as they are building a National Cyber Security Strategy to protect the Kingdom’s networks and infrastructures against cyber threats, cybercrime and espionage. The framework will address the new developments in the ICT sector that have integrated advanced technologies, providing a resilient infrastructure to combat rising cyber threats and attacks, and protecting the Kingdom’s digital infrastructure. The Managing Director of Faalyat, Amal Almurbati commented, “We are extremely delighted to be introducing the first ever ICS event in the country. In this event, we will be witnessing the outcome of two years of strategic planning and hard work to make this happen.”She added: “We are confident that the partnership with stc Bahrain will not only reinforce the importance of keeping the Kingdom safe and secure from cybercrime but will ultimately provide the perfect platform to engage, educate, inspire and build vital new business contacts for both the private and public sectors in the country.”The event will create the optimum environment for exhibitors to conduct business supported by a 3-day conference for global and regional industry leaders, experts and innovators to discuss critical aspects of the industry in a dynamic, knowledge exchange platform.General information on the event, schedule and participation can be gathered on

Radisson Blu Dubai Media City appoints Laeeq Ahmed as HR Director

Radisson Blu, Dubai Media City has announced the appointment of Laeeq Ahmed as the hotel’s new Human Resources Director. Mr. Ahmed brings almost two decades of experience to this vital role and is sure to be a great asset to the established team providing industry-leading hospitality in Dubai.Laeeq has spent 18 years in human resource roles, making him an ideal candidate to help develop and lead the talent and culture strategy of Radisson’s Media City hotel.From his first human resources role as an Executive at the TATA group in 2004, Laeeq’s drive for innovation in talent recruitment, retention, and development in a progressive business culture was quickly recognized as he implemented new initiatives and helped improve practices within the firm.In 2007, Laeeq became a Senior Human Resource Executive at the Aditya Birla Group before relocating to Dubai in 2009 when he accepted his first role in hospitality as the Assistant Human Resources Manager for Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach. By 2012, Laeeq was working as Personnel Manager at Accor MAF Central services to manage and streamline HR operations throughout the brand’s entire UAE portfolio. Over the following six years, Laeeq grew to become first Human Resources Manager and then Director of Talent & Culture in various UAE hotels.Laeeq’s last assignment was as Director of Talent & Culture at Sofitel Hotel Jumeirah Beach and, today, we are pleased to announce his place as the HR Director for Radisson Blu, Dubai Media City hotel.“I am delighted to welcome Laeeq to the Radisson Blu Dubai Media City team. He brings not only vast knowledge and experience but a proven record as a driver of innovation, providing inspirational leadership, and managing teams with real dedication and emotional intelligence. He has been both constantly successful and incredibly popular in every team lucky enough to have him and we are excited to see the incredible impact he will undoubtedly make with our already excellent team at Media City,” said James Berry, Cluster General Manager at Radisson Blu Dubai Media City and Park Inn by Radisson Dubai Motor City.“Radisson is one of the most respected names in global hospitality and I am honoured to accept the role of an HR Director at the fantastic Radisson Blu, Dubai Media City. I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to work with the amazing team they have across the hotel and to help lead a culture of real excellence and true teamwork across all areas of the business,” responded Laeeq Ahmed, HR Director, Radisson Blu, Dubai Media City.As Human Resources Director at Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City, Laeeq will be responsible for leading the organization's HR departments, including talent acquisition, learning and development, employee engagement, compensation and benefits, talent management HR information systems (HRIS) and for making strategic decisions regarding all aspects of human resource policies and processes.

UAE startup Silkhaus raises USD7.75mln seed round to digitise short-term rentals

Homegrown UAE startup Silkhaus ( is betting big on technology and the surging demand for short-term rentals (STR) to disrupt and transform the region’s real estate sector. The disruptive prop-tech startup has secured USD 7.75 million in seed funding, backed by top global venture capitalists and entrepreneurs – one of the largest seed rounds in the history of the MENA region.Aahan Bhojani, Founder and CEO of Silkhaus, said: “We are witnessing a significant increase in alternative accommodation and short-term rentals. However, the management of short-term rentals is highly fragmented and largely offline. Property owners lack the technology and know-how to deliver a world-class and standardised experience. We are building the operating system for property owners - large or small - to operate high quality short-term rentals and deliver memorable guest experiences. With the backing of our global investors, we are excited to build Silkhaus into a global category-leader.”Demand for high-quality STRs has far outstripped supply as more professionals relocate to the UAE, on the back of progressive regulations and visa reforms that are attracting top global talent and companies to its shores. The rising trend of ‘global nomads’, professionals who are able work from anywhere and require transparent, yet flexible, tenancy contracts has also fuelled demand.Founded in 2021 by Aahan Bhojani and Ashmin Varma, Silkhaus has grown over 10x over the past 12 months, operating in stealth mode. A graduate of Harvard Business School and Yale College, Aahan previously worked across management consulting, investment banking, and product management, in roles that required extensive travel. Taking note of changing leisure and business travel preferences, Aahan founded Silkhaus to reimagine accommodation experiences for medium and long-stay travel across high-growth emerging markets.Silkhaus has identified a $13 billion TAM across MENA, South Asia and Southeast Asia to unlock opportunities for asset owners. For property investors, STRs offer flexibility in maximising returns on their investments in a red-hot market, without being locked into long-term tenancy contracts. While demand for STRs has been aggregated by online platforms, the supply of STRs still remains hyper-fragmented and largely offline in nature.Bringing trust, consistency and transparency to the UAE’s real estate sector, Silkhaus provides a technology-powered best-in-class platform for anyone to operate high-quality short-term rentals – be it individual apartment owners, institutional investors, or established operators. As part of its mission to make short-term rentals more accessible to diverse audiences, Silkhaus optimises revenue and streamlines operations for property owners, allowing them to list multiple or single units on the platform with an average revenue yield increase between 20 - 40%. Guests can easily access high quality, well-maintained properties, elevating their experience, whether they are travelling for business or leisure. Silkhaus’ investors include leading global venture capital funds, technology funds, real estate funds, and the strongest entrepreneurs across the emerging markets. Global and regional investors joining this round include Nuwa Capital, Nordstar, Global Founders Capital, Yuj Ventures, Whiteboard Capital, and VentureSouq. International family offices, business leaders, and several global prop-tech entrepreneurs have also joined this round. Nitin Reen, Partner at Nuwa Capital said: “Our investment in Silkhaus, alongside global technology and strategic investors, reflects our belief in the future of accommodation solutions and Silkhaus’ ability to operationalise and scale the affinity that customers will expect of the Silkhaus brand. Aahan and Ashmin have differentiated themselves in the right ways with an early emphasis on solid unit economics, market leading NPS, and a value add for all of their stakeholders, including guests and property owners.”Ole Ruch, Managing Partner at Nordstar said: "We are excited to see Silkhaus emerge as the leading platform for short-term rentals across Asia, and particularly excited to partner with Aahan and his team who in short time have proven their ability to disrupt two large and fragmented industries: real estate and hospitality. In Silkhaus we found a product that is loved and recognized by property owners, travellers and enterprises alike, and are tapping into the rapid growth of short-term rentals in emerging markets.”Silkhaus lists high-grade accommodation options, located in proximity to central business districts and leisure destinations. Multinational enterprises also choose Silkhaus for qualified long-stays for their employees. Connecting supply and demand seamlessly, Silkhaus has focused on assembling the best talent from the global start-up ecosystem, attracting leaders from Microsoft, Airbnb, Deliveroo, Careem, Talabat and other global tech-enabled businesses. Home to employees from 12 nationalities, women comprise nearly 40% of the Silkhaus team. As it focuses on growing global supply on its platform to keep up with demand, Silkhaus anticipates its market opportunity to grow from $13 billion (current) to $18 billion by 2026, across MENA, South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Geidea promotes fintech investment and support for entrepreneurs

Geidea, a leading fintech company in the region, has announced its participation in the 2022 ‘Techne Summit’ in Alexandria as part of its commitment to unleashing SME success and participation in the digital economy by widening access to digital payment solutions.The Techne Summit is one of the world’s biggest multi-industry-focused investment and entrepreneurship events, bringing together technology startups, fintech companies, investors, and some of the world’s most influential fintech innovators.As a market leader in the Saudi market with a 75% market share, and as considered the fastest growing payment services provider in Egypt. Geidea attended the summit to discuss the latest fintech solutions and to encourage investment and support for entrepreneurs and emerging companies in Egypt.Geidea’s presence in Egypt has gathered pace since it entered the market in 2021. In a little over a year, the company has served a growing network of more than 40,000 merchants.Ahmed Nader, Country General Manager at Geidea Egypt, said: “Our attendance at Techne Summit 2022 aligns not only with our mission to unleash the potential of the digital economy in Egypt but also with the Government of Egypt’s ICT 2030 strategy to transform the nation into a digital society. As one of the MENA region’s largest and most recognizable fintech innovators, Geidea is working closely with players across the Egyptian economy to widen access to enabling technologies and unleash success for entrepreneurs in every industry sector.”As part of its work at Techne Summit 2022, Geidea presented its full range of payment solutions and products to entrepreneurs and emerging companies, as well as discussed, the latest solutions and technologies in the world of financial technology.Ahmed Magdy, Commercial Director at Geidea Egypt, said: “We fully endorse the strategies of the Egyptian state in its bid for digital transformation and look forward to partnering with all government, private institutions & banks in the pursuit of an inclusive digital economy and greater financial inclusion. Geidea’s payment solutions and technologies are perfectly placed to enable Egyptian customers to conduct any financial transaction in just seconds and help merchants across the country to conduct more business in less time.”Magdy continued: “We aim to reach a community of the 3.4 million micro-enterprises, in addition to thousands of medium-sized enterprises. Our goal is to help them grow their businesses, achieve their aspirations and integrate them into the digital transformation process.”Magdy also welcomed cooperation with the Egyptian government in the digital transformation process and stressed that the environment for investments in Egypt is very encouraging, adding that the steps the Egyptian government has been taking make the electronic payments market ‘a very promising one’. He described the fintech technology market in Egypt as ‘very attractive for investments and one that is open to all companies.’