New Balance treads new ground with first store opening in Jeddah

KSA, Jeddah: New Balance, a brand synonymous with running excellence, proudly announced the opening of the first store in Jeddah on December 14th 2023, marking yet another significant step forward in New Balance's strategic growth in the Kingdom. The new store located in Red Sea Mall will solidify New Balance’s commitment to their customer base through direct-to-consumer accessibility.This new store opening is realised through New Balance’s new partnership with Alshaya, together constructing the foundations of a significant journey within Saudi Arabia. New Balance’s metro flex concept will also be implemented throughout the branch, allowing consumers to shop the full brand collection, in a brand environment. Accompanying the new branch opening will be the popular Fresh Foam X 1080, which will take the main stage alongside New Balance’s latest Running Apparel.Having observed the recent success of its franchise openings, New Balance intends to further develop its retail experience, integrating compelling narratives within their product showcases to truly elevate the consumer’s journey. The metro flex concept allows for seamless and frequent transformations of the retail space, engaging with the dynamism of seasons, events and occasions through their own shopping atmosphere to create a truly immersive brand experience.Stuart Henwood, New Balance's MENA Regional Manager, expressed enthusiasm about this significant milestone, stating: " We are delighted to announce the opening of our new store in Red Sea Mall, Jeddah. This is our first New Balance store in Jeddah which showcases our commitment to how we can best serve and engage with our consumers in the Kingdom. The store will deliver the best-in-class products cross categories in innovative retail experience coupled with great in store service. We look forward to many more store openings in the kingdom in the near future.”The store will begin welcoming consumers tomorrow December 14th starting from 10 am.

Christophe Ginisty Joins MSL as KSA Business Leader

MSL Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Christophe Ginisty as Business Lead for MSL in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This strategic move underscores MSL's commitment to bolstering its presence and expanding its portfolio in the Middle East, particularly in KSA, a key market for the Groupe. Christophe, a seasoned communication professional with extensive experience in strategic communications, will take an important role in leading MSL’s business in KSA. His role will focus on driving the agency's growth, fostering client relationships, and integrating Publicis Groupe's innovative 'Power of One' strategy across multiple channels. This approach aims to provide holistic marketing and communication solutions by leveraging the combined strengths of Publicis Groupe's diverse agencies. It is a cornerstone of Publicis Groupe's vision to deliver seamless, end-to-end solutions to clients. Christophe's expertise in strategic communications, public relations, public affairs, and digital strategy, coupled with his deep understanding of the Middle Eastern market, makes him ideally suited to this leadership role. Prior to joining MSL, Christophe held roles in Hill and Knowlton’ Strategies and Consulum, where he worked in advisory for some of Saudi’s most important projects including the Royal Commission for Riyadh City and Expo 2030."Christophe's appointment is part of a commitment to investing in top talent and expanding our footprint in the Middle East. His leadership will be instrumental in driving our 'Power of One' strategy in KSA, delivering integrated public relations solutions that meet the evolving needs of our clients," said MacLean Brodie, MSL CEO for the Middle East. Christophe Ginisty expressed his enthusiasm: "I am excited to join MSL at this pivotal time. The opportunity to contribute to the agency's growth in KSA and to implement the 'Power of One' strategy aligns perfectly with my professional expertise and personal aspirations. I look forward to leading the team in Riyadh and building on MSL's strong legacy in the region."

Technology: A Crucial Enabler for Achieving Sustainability Goals in KSA Organiza

Kyndryl (NYSE: KD), the world’s largest IT infrastructure services provider, in collaboration with Microsoft, released the findings of The Global Sustainability Barometer study. The study, conducted by Ecosystm, finds that while 83% of organizations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) place a high strategic level of importance on achieving their sustainability goals, only 3% have integrated sustainability into their strategies and data.As the world faces an increase in climate-related events and challenges, there is an urgency among businesses to act now using technology to drive sustainable solutions. While 73% of organizations surveyed in KSA see great significance in technology’s role to achieve their goals, only 22% believe they are making full use of it in their organizations.“Many companies are at different stages of sustainability maturity,” said Faith Taylor, Chief Sustainability and ESG Officer, Kyndryl. “Companies are applying technology to unlock the full potential of sustainability. They are thinking beyond regulatory compliance to pragmatically execute and advance their sustainability goals.” “Technology has emerged as a key enabler to sustainability success, and its role will only continue to grow with the advent of more sophisticated AI tools,” said Shelly Blackburn, Vice President, Cross Solutions Area, Microsoft. “We are eager to help drive meaningful change and contribute to a more sustainable future in collaboration with Kyndryl.”Key highlights of the survey include:While CEOs and boards have made sustainability and digital transformation a priority, they need help with integration and execution of their programs to meet their goals. While 72% of the organizations in KSA use AI to monitor energy use, only 18% use current data to predict future energy consumption.Among stakeholders of organizations in KSA, employees are the most vocal in advocating for sustainability policies and practices, followed by investors, customers and government regulators.Drivers to Building a More Sustainable Organization in KSABelow are sustainability best practices for driving growth and improving business outcomes: Make sustainability a CEO and Boardroom priority aligned with finance and technology. Over 65% of organizations in KSA entrust the CEO and the Board with leadership roles in their sustainability functions.Align sustainability with technology modernization. Technology can help to automate, modernize and prioritize sustainability processes and infrastructures. Of the respondents surveyed in KSA, 58% use technology to reduce the environment footprint of their organization, while 52% use automation to improve efficiencies and build sustainable operations and 48% digitize their workplaces to support a hybrid work strategy.Build an integrated data foundation. Streamline data management for informed decision-making and successful execution of strategies. A mere 15 % of organizations in KSA have the capability to provide their employees with real-time sustainability dashboards.Unleash AI for predictive sustainability. Expand the use of AI beyond reporting to include predictive analytics that assess Scope 3 risks, forecast energy consumption and anticipate potential risks such as natural disasters. Empower employees. The study found that 62% of surveyed organizations in KSA lack dedicated resources or limited internal expertise, which outlines the need for additional workforce development. “Faced with record-breaking temperatures and unparalleled climate-related events, this is a moment that calls for collective action from governments, industries, enterprises and individuals alike,” said Ullrich Loeffler, Co-Founder & CEO, Ecosystm. “Together with Kyndryl and Microsoft, we are honored to make this study available to forward-thinking organizations everywhere to outline steps they can take today to drive measurable sustainability impact.”The Global Sustainability Barometer study, conducted by Ecosystm in collaboration with Kyndryl and Microsoft, was conducted among 1,523 technology and sustainability business leaders across 16 countries in Asia, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and the Americas. The survey took place between September – October 2023. The survey was conducted across nine industries and included small to medium as well as global companies. Learn more about the study, “From Vision to Impact: The Global Sustainability Barometer.”

KSA launch marks milestone as Yabi concludes seed funding round of USD 8mln

With Al Wafra Al Thaniya (Wafra II) joining the prominent list of existing investors, Yabi closes its USD 8 million Seed round. The round focuses on product development and pushes growth into regional markets.Yabi by Souqalmal was launched in Saudi Arabia this November, boasting a localised personal finance masterclass platform. Driven by its firm belief in localisation for true value creation when it comes to personal finance, Yabi launched in both English and Arabic in the Kingdom, offering two new classes every month, all delivered by Saudi market experts. Yabi is now fully live in two markets UAE and KSA.Yabi's commitment to the KSA market goes beyond the tailored content, as the startup has a presence on the ground, allocating dedicated resources to lead the market penetration. The objective is to increase financial literacy through B2B relationships by encouraging companies to bring financial literacy as part of their employee well-being program.“Saudi Vision 2030 is inspiring, and its impact will set an unprecedented growth. Yabi and Saudi Vision 2030 share a common goal: to increase financial literacy and saving levels across the Kingdom.Financial literacy and the involvement of individuals in the economy are top priorities for the public and private sectors. ~30% of Saudis are considered financially literate today (report by SAMA) and the savings ratio was 1.6%1 of annual disposable income (2018). Those are evidence of some of the gaps we want to fill.Additionally, the Saudi Vision 2030 has within its targets to reach 70% of household ownership and to increase the national saving levels closer to the global average of 10%. Moreover, the Saudi government is working towards achieving its National Savings and Financial Literacy Strategy, which aims to help individuals make better financial decisions and increase the access and use of personal financial tools. This is a crucial moment for Yabi and the Kingdom to work towards the financial well-being of their citizens and residents.” says Ambareen Musa, Chief Executive Officer of Yabi.“Spreading financial literacy and financial awareness is key to allowing individuals to live their lives happily and to their fullest potential. While technology has improved our lives in many aspects, it also brought a negative impact on financial behaviours. Yabi is at the forefront of using tech to empower individuals by spreading essential financial knowledge. Wafra II believes that any future for fintech must include efforts to spread financial awareness. Therefore, its investment in Yabi to bring its platform to the Saudi market aligns with its core purpose to play a role in raising the level of financial education, build up investments and savings and therefore contribute to Saudi Arabia’s digital GDP.” says Salah Kashoggi, Managing Director of Al Wafrah Al Thaniya.Yabi corporate pipeline is promising and expected to add more names to the already prominent list of adopters, which includes Al-Futtaim, Careem, Chalhoub and Al Ghurair, to name a few.1 According to a report by Forbes Middle East on the analysis of household savings in Saudi Arabia.

Citi announces the appointment of Carmen Haddad as Vice Chair

Citi is pleased to announce the appointment of Carmen Haddad as Vice Chair, Middle East Wealth and Banking. Carmen will transition her role as Citi Country Officer (CCO) Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to Fahad Aldeweesh, CEO Citigroup Saudi Arabia by end of the year. Carmen is one of Citi’s most senior bankers in the Middle East with over 3 decades of banking experience and has played a significant role in the building of Citi’s formidable franchise in the region. Having joined the firm in 2000, Carmen held various roles in Citi Private Bank including family office head of one of Citi’s main shareholders, added CCO of Citi’s franchise in Qatar 2013-17 and CCO of KSA since 2017. Carmen played an instrumental role in paving the way for Citi’s re-entry in the Kingdom, growing the business, and elevating the profile of the Citi franchise in both Qatar and Saudi Arabia.In her new role, Carmen will focus on providing senior level dialogue and coverage of key Sovereign/Government and private banking clients; acquire and deepen business with institutional and private bank prospects and spearhead the Middle East Family Offices initiative for Banking and Wealth. This is in addition to her current involvement in key Institutional relationships in the region, including SWF and other Public sector clients. Leveraging upon the strong consistent relationships Carmen has built over the years she will, in an advisory capacity, also continue to play a key role in expanding Citi’s presence in KSA.Carmen will report to Manolo Falcó in Citi’s recently announced Client organisation.

CARMA appoints Amjad Fakhouri as the Commercial Director SA

CARMA, the leading global media intelligence company has appointed Amjad Fakhouri as the Commercial Country Director of KSA as it looks to expand its presence in the Kingdom. In his new role, Fakhouri will lead a team of diverse talents based in Saudi Arabia and continue to cement the leading intelligence provider as the key player in this market. A seasoned professional with over 22 years of experience in business management, Fakhouri joins CARMA from his previous role as Business Director at ITP Media Group in KSA. With extensive expertise in media, public relations, media sales and business strategy, along with a proven track record of successfully expanding businesses, this is a key appointment for the business. CARMA's newly established office in Saudi Arabia's capital city, Riyadh, further solidifies its presence in the region. The new office space is strategically positioned to streamline operations, extend their reach and enhance the quality of services and products offered to the local clientele. Commenting on his new role, Amjad Fakhouri said, “As the Kingdom has evolved, so has communications. We have witnessed a significant shift in our clients' approach to media intelligence, with a strong preference for genuine reputation analysis over traditional AVE measurement.” Fakhouri continued, “CARMA is already regarded as a trusted partner for media intelligence, strategic communications, integrated research and business management by numerous international, regional and local clients. In light of this reputation, it is imperative that we actively guide our clients towards our comprehensive services, which surpass those of our competitors in the region. Our expansion plans in the Kingdom include reaching several cities by 2024, supported by a dedicated team committed to serving our clients.” Mazen Nahawi, Global CEO of CARMA, expressed his enthusiasm for the appointment, saying, “Amjad Fakhouri's wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise in leadership makes him a natural fit to lead our efforts in Saudi Arabia and deliver value to the market. This strategic move aligns perfectly with our vision to provide high-level media intelligence services and to continue our growth in the Saudi market.”

BEL Group Selects Catch Communications as PR Partner for Regional Expansion

 Pioneers in the fresh produce sector, Bel Groupe Middle East have appointed Catch Communications to spearhead its PR and comms activity in 2023 leading into 2024 ahead of its regional expansion. With a mission to enhance their brand presence and market position in the GCC, particularly Saudi Arabia (KSA), Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bel Group has joined hands with Catch Communications to support on the comms front, build desired positioning & presence for their varied product segment and associated spokespeople.  Committed to providing high-quality dairy products that enhance the lives of individuals and families living in the GCC, Bel Groupe is a major player in the food industry through portions of dairy, fruit and plant-based products, and one of the world leaders in branded cheeses. Its portfolio of differentiated and internationally recognized brands includes The Laughing Cow, Kiri, Babybel, Boursin, Nurishh, Pom’Potes, and GoGo squeeZ, as well as some 30 local brands.  “We are thrilled to be on boarding Bel Groupe, our team of experts will execute strategic PR initiatives to strengthen Bel Group's market presence, run dynamic social media campaigns, leveraging Chef Heyam's expertise as a brand ambassador, as well as driving brand development and overseeing the content creation and management of select Bel Groupe’s social media platforms.” We are confident that our strategic insights and innovative approach will play a pivotal role in amplifying Bel Groupe’s presence regionally whilst ensuring it remains a household name.” added, Injeel Moti, Managing Director of Catch Communications. Catch Communications is an award winning integrated creative and content-driven communications consultancy that connects brands with consumers and businesses through high-impact, creative and value-added counsel across the MENA region in key practice groups including Consumer, Corporate, Hospitality, Social Impact & Education and Technology. announces expansion to KSA, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, one the UAE’s fastest growing digital ecosystems, announced its expansion across the MENA region with offices in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey during GITEX Global 2023. Driven by the success of its two platforms – collect and market – had already expanded its operations across the UAE with offices in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, in addition to a dedicated sales and technology office in India. By bringing both its platforms to new countries in the region, is now enhancing access to its entire ecosystem beyond the UAE, from trading recyclables through market to logistics and movement of goods through’s geographical expansion comes with its exponential growth in 2023, surpassing its performance indicators from 2022. Last year, market -’s online recyclables trading platform - recorded transactions worth over AED 100 million and over 100,000 tonnes of material bought and sold. has surpassed last year’s performance within the first six months of 2023, recording transactions worth over AED 150 million and over 130,000 tonnes of material traded, further driving the circular economy. Similarly, collect, which “uberises” moving and logistics, recorded a 150% increase in trips and a 15% increase in number of users in the first half of 2023, as more people and businesses leverage the platform’s access to simple, convenient and affordable logistics services.Commenting on the venture’s expansion, Salim Al Owais, Chief Executive Officer at, said: “We are fortunate to have demonstrated success in serving customers from the UAE as well as across borders, contributing to local economies, driving circularity and accelerating logistics services. has now established new offices in Abu Dhabi and Dammam, KSA. We are also planning our offices in Jeddah in KSA, and Egypt, Turkey and Jordan. Through this strategically planned network of offices, we are looking to add further value to the local and regional economies, while setting up mutually beneficial business relationships.”In the UAE, has offices in Sharjah, its headquarters, as well as in Abu Dhabi, supporting objectives to enhance employment and the local economy within the emirate. In Dammam, KSA, has already established a base of customers leveraging the collect platform for shipments from the UAE. With a new office in Dammam, seeks to further strengthen the logistics corridor to the UAE with cost-effective services via collect offers several moving and logistics services that can be conveniently booked from the app, including home moving, B2B logistics, renting a truck or fleet, and its most popular service, cross border shipments.As a manufacturing hub, Dammam is also an ideal location to introduce market, with factories having the opportunity to unlock new revenue streams by trading scraps and other recyclables across several categories. Similarly, recyclables traders can use the platform to trade better, faster and more market offers a variety of bidding options, including time-limited bidding, bid-free transactions, partial bidding, spot sales, and spot buys. The platform enables trade across a variety of recyclables categories, including paper, e-waste, wood, glass, plastic, ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals, aggregates, recyclable road base and rubber. market sees over 400 bids a month with over 650 enterprises registered on the platform.Similar to Dammam, sees huge potential to make positive impact in Jeddah, KSA, as well as in Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, which are centres for manufacturing, shipping and business in the region.Through market, businesses can unlock value from their waste through recyclables trading. With collect, businesses can accelerate logistics needs with cost-effective options as well as send and receive shipments from the UAE with enhanced ease. During GITEX Global, also announced the addition of a new service on collect to rent earthmoving equipment, offering businesses and project managers the opportunity to complete construction work without high upfront investment and long-term maintenance costs of a specialised fleet.“Digitalisation is the need of the hour – it is demanded by customers and becoming a necessity for business functions and processes,” added Salim Al Owais. “With this expansion, is offering businesses in more countries the opportunity to digitalise aspects of their business quickly and cost-effectively, without the need to invest in building their own platforms from the ground up. Through our new offices, we look forward to furthering the impact of market and collect while adding value to new economies.”Since its launch, has won multiple awards for the transformative impact of its platforms. Some of its awards include the “B2B platform of the Year” at the 2023 E-Business Awards by Entrepreneur Middle East, “Specialist Trading Solution of the Year” at the 2022 and 2023 Innovation and Excellence Awards by Corporate Livewire, and “Technology Innovation of the Year” at the 2022 Middle East Waste and Recycling Awards.

Yazle announces strategic programmatic DOOH partnership with Invenda

Yazle, a global digital media company specializing in innovative and creative digital advertising, announced a strategic partnership with Invenda, a prominent player in the automated retail and programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH) sector. This collaboration marks a significant milestone for Yazle, as it opens doors to programmatic DOOH screens across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).Commenting on the partnership, Jamie Atherton, Managing Director at Yazle, said, "We are thrilled to partner with Invenda, a leader in the programmatic DOOH space. This collaboration aligns perfectly with our mission to empower advertisers with cutting-edge tools and access to prime advertising landscape. Together with Invenda, we are poised to deliver outstanding results for our clients and elevate the DOOH advertising space in the region."Yazle has established itself as a pioneer in the dynamic DOOH advertising landscape, consistently delivering innovative solutions that engage audiences and drive results for brands. The partnership with Invenda represents a key step in furthering Yazle's commitment to providing advertisers with unprecedented reach and targeting capabilities.Francesca Meloni, DOOH advertising director at Invenda said, "Invenda is excited to embark on this partnership with Yazle. By combining our programmatic technology expertise with Yazle's creative prowess, we are confident in our ability to revolutionize the DOOH advertising experience for brands operating in the UAE and KSA.Invenda is recognized for its expertise in programmatic DOOH, offering a sophisticated platform that enables advertisers to connect with their desired audiences through data-driven campaigns. By joining forces with Invenda, Yazle gains access to an extensive network of premium programmatic DOOH screens strategically located in high-traffic areas across the UAE and KSA.The Yazle-Invenda partnership represents a game-changing development in the DOOH advertising sector, offering advertisers expanded reach, enhanced targeting capabilities, real-time insights with high-fidelity audience impressions, and creative excellence. It is set to redefine how brands connect with their audiences in the dynamic markets of the UAE and KSA.

Nitesh Agarwal chronicles Urban Company's Middle East success story

In this exclusive interview with Adgully, Nitesh Agarwal, Regional Head of Urban Company in the Middle East, sheds light on the company's journey in the region. Since their entry into the Middle East market in 2018, Urban Company has prioritized delivering premium services. Starting in Dubai, they've expanded their offerings across the UAE and KSA, offering services in approximately 20 categories. With a partner network of 32,000 professionals, Urban Company is now Asia's largest tech-enabled home services marketplace. According to him, Urban Company's success in the UAE can be attributed to a multifaceted approach. They prioritize customer-centricity, utilize technology to enhance service quality and affordability, invest in training, and consistently innovate. Excerpts:Can you share with us the journey of Urban Company in the Middle East?Urban Company entered the Middle East market in the UAE in 2018. Over the past five years, our commitment to providing a premium service experience has been our guiding principle. We started with Dubai in the UAE because of the potential that we saw in this market. We started with launching part-time cleaners, one of the popular categories here, slowly expanding our services to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the UAE and Riyadh and Jeddah in KSA. We now offer services in around 20 categories across UAE's home, beauty & wellness verticals.We are currently Asia’s largest and highest-rated tech-enabled home services marketplace with a partner network of 32,000 hand-picked service professionals.What, according to you, are the factors that have made Urban Company successful in the UAE?Urban Company's success in the UAE can be attributed to a multifaceted approach. Firstly, we prioritize customer-centricity above all. By harnessing the UAE's impressive 99% internet penetration rate, we've cultivated a deep understanding of the local consumer landscape, allowing us to fine-tune our services for maximum appeal.The UAE's service industry landscape, teeming with both organized and unorganized providers, presented a unique challenge. Traditional brick-and-mortar salons, technicians, and cleaning providers often offer services at competitive prices. However, the growth projection of the on-demand home services sector, anticipated to expand by 9.7% by 2026, indicates a promising trajectory, especially for digital platforms like ours.Our strategic utilization of technology has been a game-changer. It's allowed us to continually enhance our service quality while ensuring affordability—a key to customer retention in this market. Moreover, we place immense emphasis on training, considering the World Economic Forum suggests re-skilling half of the global workforce may be inevitable by 2025.Lastly, innovation has been a cornerstone of our strategy. Introducing tools like steam mops in our cleaning category, for instance, has empowered us to surpass customer expectations, solidifying our reputation as industry pioneers. In short, our success in the UAE stems from a blend of customer focus, affordability, rigorous training, and consistent innovation.What services do you offer, and which ones are the most popular?We offer a bouquet of high-quality services, such as salon, nails and spa at home, cleaning, plumbing, handymen, appliance repair etc., through our mobile app and websites.While cleaning was initially 85% of our offering, by 2023, services like beauty have grown in demand, with a significant portion of women preferring at-home beauty treatments, reflecting a shift from traditional salon visits.What is the procedure for joining Urban Company as a professional in any field?In the UAE, we focus on delivering hyper-localised services, and vendor onboarding is an ongoing process. Urban Company has a structured approach towards partner development and well-being centred around four key pillars: improved earnings, safety net, training and wealth creation.In the UAE, we work with vendors to improve the living standards of the workforce, upskilling, increase salaries and give incentives to them, as employee engagement is essential for great customer satisfaction.There is a thorough and objective selection process for every single service professional. Joining Urban Company involves a rigorous four-stage process. Candidates undergo screening, review of documentation such as Visa and licenses, detailed technical and soft-skill training given by on-payroll industry experts in real-life simulated set-ups, and final evaluation.This meticulous process ensures that all our professionals deliver services aligned with our high standards. We also incentivise service professionals on the basis of customers’ experiences.Urban Company believes in delivering a remarkable customer experience and we are constantly on the lookout for innovative measures to give the best to our customers. The global online on-demand home services market is estimated to reach $4.1 trillion by 2027, with more service providers and vendors introducing and enhancing sustainable, scalable and convenient services for modern customers.Are primarily women your clients for salon services, or do men also avail of your services?While women represent a major segment of our beauty services, the changing dynamics show that 30% of beauty services are consumed by men.What obstacles hindered your growth, and how did you overcome them?Our journey in the UAE, while rewarding, has not been without its set of challenges. When we entered the market, we faced a fragmented competitive environment, intensified by the presence of organized competitors, quite unlike the scenario in our home base, India. Many competitors lured customers with low prices, often compromising on quality. The pandemic further reshaped consumer behaviour, prioritizing health, hygiene, and high-quality services. Amidst this, consistently evolving consumer behaviour and rising expectations meant that we had to be agile and responsive.To navigate these obstacles, Urban Company took a multi-pronged approach:• Diversification and Quality: We expanded our service range to cater to the varied demands emerging from the pandemic, including increased demand for part-time cleaners, salon services, and wellness provisions.• Innovation and Technology: Introducing steam cleaners and scrubbing machines allowed us to redefine cleaning standards in the UAE. Furthermore, our tech-driven checks ensure our partners always utilize genuine products and adhere to our rigorous standard operating procedures. By investing in ongoing innovation, tools, and products, like our disruptive hourly cleaning service and signature pedicure, we've consistently raised the bar.• Training and Partnerships: Our emphasis on continual training ensures our partners are equipped to offer top-tier personalized services. Regular retraining, based on dynamic user feedback, keeps our services aligned with consumer expectations.• Digital Engagement: Recognizing that modern consumers are digital-driven, we've optimized our user interface, payment gateways, and overall digital experience to be hassle-free and intuitive. This has been pivotal, as even a single negative feedback in today's digital age can shift the trajectory of our business.In essence, while challenges like the pandemic, competition, and evolving consumer behaviour posed hurdles, our unwavering commitment to quality, innovation, and consumer-centricity has been the cornerstone of our resilience and growth in the UAE market.What is your vision for the company? Where do you see it in five years?Our vision is to establish ourselves as the largest on-demand home services marketplace by focusing on delivering an unparalleled experience to our users. With the UAE market projected to grow by 9.7% annually until 2026, we foresee a 10x growth in this region alone. Hence, with a focus on experience, we have invested heavily in the selection of service professionals with extensive training in real-life simulated set-ups and deep investments in bringing the most cutting-edge tools and products to our users.

Insight Out Consultancy reveals fascinating trends on the hospitality market

Insight Out Consulting, a prominent hospitality consultancy with a reputation for leading-edge market research, has yet again partnered with Phocuswright, the world’s leading travel research authority, to conduct the research and development of its annual Middle East Travel Market Report since its inception in 2012. The report highlights key shifts within the industry, including the development of the region’s travel sector, which is expected to grow by 40% between 2022-2026, mainly led by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).With a 15-year legacy of empowering the region’s travel and hospitality industry, Insight Out Consultancy has a dedicated team of subject matter consultants who conduct primary data collection and executive interviews in the hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors, to answer pressing questions and uncover insights that drive industry evolution. Over the years, the company has assisted a multitude of private and public businesses and organisations including Amadeus, Jumeirah, Seera, and various GCC Tourism bodies in developing data-driven in-depth research in the Middle East.The latest Phocuswright report provides a comprehensive view of the Middle East travel market, including detailed market sizing and projections, distribution trends, analysis of major travel segments (air, hotel, car rental), key developments, and more. It focuses on four key travel markets within the region – the UAE, KSA, Egypt, and Qatar.Commenting on this report, Li Hawkins, Managing Director of Insight Out Consultancy said, “Our research conducted with Phocuswright continues to yield invaluable data and insights into the Middle East’s fast-paced and ever-evolving hospitality and travel market. The sector is undergoing a significant shift, including adapting to the rapid digital transformation and the rise of experiential travel. Visitors to the Middle East are no longer content with generic tourist experiences; they are increasingly seeking deeper, more meaningful interactions that reflect the richness and diversity of the region's history and traditions.”Key Takeaways from the Report:United Arab Emirates: The UAE was one of the first destinations to fully recover its travel and tourism activities and is primed and ready to capitalise on the growing demand for travel and tourism, maintaining its leading position as the largest travel market in the Middle East. Overall, the travel market in the UAE witnessed significant growth in 2022, a 101% year-on-year increase from 2021, and is forecasted to grow by a further 10% in 2023. This growth is largely supported by the national government, which has invested significant funds and launched several initiatives such as the UAE Tourism Strategy, which aims to attract investments worth AED 100 billion and host 40 million hotel guests by 2031. The UAE airline sector is also one of the most developed in the world, with Emirates, Etihad Airways and FlyDubai being among the top 50 airlines in the world. Furthermore, the UAE’s hospitality sector is also rapidly expanding and is expected to witness the number of hotel rooms reaching over 200,000 keys by 2030, driven by the increasing number of tourists visiting the UAE and the growing demand for luxury hotels.Saudi Arabia: KSA is the fastest-growing travel market in the region, with a 107% increase in 2022 gross bookings compared to 2021 figures and is forecasted to grow by a whopping 65% by 2026. The Saudi government’s alignment with the private sector to develop mega projects such as the Red Sea Project and NEOM is expected to attract millions of tourists to Saudi Arabia in the coming years. The country recently revealed its plans to invest $800 billion in its tourism sector over the next 10 years, as part of its Vision 2030. Additionally, the government has also invested in improving critical infrastructure, such as airports, roads and hotels in order to realise this vision. Saudi Arabia has also eased visa requirements, which has significantly impacted the number of leisure tourists coming into the country.Qatar: Qatar’s tourism sector witnessed a dramatic recovery in 2022, driven by the FIFA World Cup event, the continued expansion of Qatar's infrastructure, and the increasing popularity of the country as a leisure destination. The Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) is investing heavily in the country's tourism sector, with plans to develop new hotels, attractions and cultural experiences, and has forecasted to welcome six to seven million visitors annually by 2030. Qatar Airways stands as a testament to this vision and has worked to continually expand its global footprint to support the country’s tourism sector.Egypt: While Egypt's tourism levels are still below pre-pandemic levels, the country has witnessed significant improvement since 2020. This recovery is driven by a number of factors, including the depreciation of the Egyptian pound, and the government's efforts to promote the country as a safe and attractive tourist destination. Domestic tourism has been on the rise in Egypt in recent years, as Egyptians become more interested in exploring their own country. Additionally, Egypt’s wide variety of natural attractions has also made it well-suited for adventure tourism, which is another growing trend in the region.Digital Maturity and Transformation: 2022 was a remarkable year for online travel bookings in the Middle East, as the region witnessed a staggering 103% increase in online booking values compared to 2021. This growth has been largely driven by the increase in tech-savvy travellers, the increased adoption of customer-facing tech solutions such as AI chatbots, mobile apps, and loyalty programs, and the integration of more advanced online back-end systems, such as booking engines and distribution channels, by travel suppliers, particularly hotels. With digital maturity and transformation on the rise in the Middle East and online penetration continuing its ascent, the online booking market is experiencing rapid expansion. Online bookings are anticipated to account for 50% of the market's bookings in the UAE and KSA by 2026. In this fast-paced and highly competitive market, where guest experiences and operational efficiency are paramount, it is crucial for players to continually maintain, optimize and adapt their technology stack.

Drink Dry announces new partnership with TVM Collective

Drink Dry, one of the leading non-alcoholic beverage distributors in the GCC, has announced its newest partnership with the world’s leading alcohol-free bar group, The Virgin Mary (TVM) Collective. The exciting collaboration will see these two drinks powerhouses join forces to bring world-class alcohol-free cocktails to people across the Middle East. Strengthening their position in the market, Drink Dry is proud to be the leading importer and distributor of non-alcoholic drinks in both the UAE and KSA.In their quest for a regional distribution partner with the same ethos, Drink Dry was the perfect choice for TVM, with both brands being true pioneers in the sector with the same alignment when it comes to quality, alcohol-free products for the Middle Eastern market. With multiple venues in both the operating and planning phase, TVM is at the forefront of a socialising revolution that centres the social occasion for consumers around conviviality rather than alcohol. With Drink Dry at the helm of distribution operations across the Middle East, the partnership is a perfect match and will delight the growing category of non-alcoholic drinkers and sober curious consumers across the region.Erika Doyle, Founder of Drink Dry, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering exclusively with the esteemed TVM, bringing additional world-class products to the people of the GCC and further cementing the growth of the NoLo sector here in the region”. Providing consumers with even more quality choices, we are incredibly excited to showcase increased non-alcoholic drink options on menus across venues in the GCC.”Vaughan Yates, TVM Collective Founder and Co-Owner, said: “We are named after the world’s most popular alcohol-free cocktail – The Virgin Mary, and we pride ourselves in delivering an unparalleled flavour journey for our customers. That is why we are so pleased to be working with Drink Dry to bring a range of products to our venues in cities like Riyadh and Dubai, that will enhance the social experience for everyone who joins us.”“The Middle East is an incredibly diverse landscape with an increasingly discerning population, and we know people are looking for a place where they can sit down with friends and really connect in a lively yet mindful drinking environment. In partnership with Drink Dry, our TVM bar menus will feature a wide range of alcohol-free cocktails, beers, wines and more to ensure there’s always plenty to discover.”Under the moniker TVM, the group now has venues open in Diriyah Gate in Riyadh and Alserkal Avenue in Dubai, with several more operations coming on stream in the Middle East in 2024. Drink Dry is the preferred supplier of alcohol-free products for all the bars in TVM Collective’s Middle Eastern franchise operation.Are you ready to #DrinkDifferent?Find out more about Drink Dry by visiting their website and stay updated on their news and developments via their social media channel @drinkdrystore. Drink Dry delivers UAE-wide with free home delivery on purchases over AED 250. Place your order before 1:00pm and receive same-day delivery across Dubai.

Deloitte hosts inaugural financial crime symposium in Riyadh, KSA

Riyadh:– Deloitte hosted its first Financial Crime Symposium in Riyadh, KSA, bringing together key stakeholders and representatives from across different sectors within the Anti-Financial Crime ecosystem.This symposium served as a platform for industry experts to actively participate in panel discussions, where they explored the most recent regulatory changes and emerging trends shaping the financial crime landscape. These discussions included topics such as the strategies and regional challenges related to Anti-Money Laundering, Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) and fraud, the adaptation of AML/CFT and fraud practices to suit the digital economy, and the advancement of innovation through technology."As highlighted during our Financial Crime Symposium in Riyadh, the pursuit of financial crime compliance is not merely a legal obligation; it is a moral and strategic imperative. We need to embrace technology, stay vigilant to the ever-changing risks in the region, and develop innovative solutions to address them, all while managing the risks of the digital economy. Together, we can ensure a prosperous, secure, and compliant financial landscape that will not only serve the interests of Saudi Arabia but also contribute positively to the global economy," said Muzzi Ebrahim, Partner and Leader of Financial Crime and Data Analytics at Deloitte Middle East.The symposium brought to the forefront the critical role of technology in addressing AML/CFT and Fraud typologies. Regulatory mandates now require the implementation of monitoring systems to detect financial crimes. Successfully deploying these systems involves a customized approach that takes into account the organization’s unique characteristics and risk factors. With SAMA actively promoting open banking initiatives throughout the Kingdom, a wealth of data points becomes accessible, allowing for the creation of robust customer risk profiles. The symposium discussions highlighted the importance of such profiles in identifying instances of financial crime.Rana Shashaa, Partner and Forensic Leader at Deloitte Middle East commented, "In a rapidly evolving regulatory and innovative environment, the Financial Crime Symposium shed light on how leveraging technology, analytics and collaboration optimize detection, prevention, and monitoring processes. This approach not only provides a transparent and efficient platform, but also contributes to supporting the Kingdom’s undeniable growth and emerging position as a global leading economy."

Edelman appoints Marie-Claire Maalouf as CCO for UAE and KSA

Edelman, a global communications firm that partners with businesses and organisations to evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. It has more than 6,000 people in over 60 offices to deliver communications strategies that give clients the confidence to lead and act with certainty, earning the trust of their stakeholders.  Marie-Claire Maalouf will provide her expertise to build creative capabilities across the region, and will also be working across EMEA as part of the wider creative team. Maalouf will be joining the EMEA creative team that develops communication strategies, for clients, consisting of content strategists, creatives, and producers who work across all teams and practices within the business.  Edelman has seen significant growth within its creative community in recent years with senior creative hires in France, Spain, Germany and the UK, with Emma De La Fosse joining as Chief Creative Officer of the UK Edelman office. Maalouf had helped winning more than 85 awards, including the only D&AD Yellow Pencil won by MENA this year; one of the two Cannes Lions Grand Prix; and the only Grand Lia in Health for MENA, last year.  Stefan Ronge, Chief Creative Officer at Edelman EMEA, said: “We are helping brands earn trust and business growth through actions. And I can think of no better creative leader than Marie- Claire to bring this mission to life with us in the Middle East.” Omar Qirem, CEO at Edelman Middle East, said: “Marie-Claire is a first-class operator who has led some of the most recent standout creative work in the region. She shares the same ambition we have about creating creative campaigns that have real impact. This hire is the first of a wider strategic play and we will be adding further creative capabilities to the team over the coming months.” Edelman Middle East operates three offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Riyadh, and has a network of affiliates across the region.

Sustainable Broadband a priority for 92% of KSA respondents: Cisco Survey

The latest Cisco Broadband Survey1 – which included 2,000 respondents from Saudi Arabia – has found that evolving consumer expectations will reshape the needs and economics of the Internet.Consumers in Saudi Arabia are rethinking what they rely on the Internet for, balancing anticipated demands for speed and reliability, with the intensifying needs of rising eco-consciousness, and the consumerization of the Internet of Things (IoT) connecting our devices, from smart cars to home appliances. This has led to 91% of respondents in KSA to regard broadband as ‘critical national infrastructure’, like access to water and electricity – surpassing EMEA results.Sustainability: A Key Driver of Consumer Choices in KSAThe carbon-cost of broadband connectivity is a top priority for consumers. Cisco’s Broadband Survey revealed that 65% of consumers in Saudi Arabia are now concerned about the carbon footprint of their broadband, with young people aged 18-24 the most concerned (73%). In addition, 92% of overall respondents in the Kingdom would be willing to pay more for sustainable broadband, with around a quarter prepared to pay a price premium of more than 20%.“Our survey has confirmed that consumers in Saudi Arabia are increasingly aware of the carbon footprints of technology. This is in line with KSA efforts towards a more flourishing and sustainable society and a novel approach to promoting sustainability in the country,” said Salman Faqeeh, Managing Director, Cisco Saudi Arabia.He added: “In today’s world, it is becoming increasingly crucial for digital transformation to work in harmony with sustainability. At Cisco, we believe that the tech industry has a unique opportunity to lead the twin transition to a digital and green future. Hence, we focus on our own practices, including the use of renewable energy sources and circular economy, and build new energy-saving solutions, while setting near- and long-term, science-based targets to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, for all scopes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.”  Connection to Increase as Consumers Expand Their Digital LivesAs the number of IoT devices online grows from billions to trillions, so does the demand for bandwidth and processing power to analyze all of the data produced. According to the Cisco Broadband Survey, there is no sign of this slowing down.In Saudi Arabia, more than half of Internet users primarily go online to use social media (58%), stream videos and/or play video games (57%), and to browse, read, or shop (53%). Of those planning to upgrade their service in the next year, 44% will do so on the promise of even faster broadband.Consumers in the Kingdom are also beginning to embrace the shift toward a ‘smarter’ digital life. From smart lights (29%) to home appliances (30%), respondents in Saudi Arabia are increasingly syncing up a range of connected devices to run via their home Internet service, including more than half (54%) currently connecting their home entertainment devices.

Customer Commitment Reinforced: New Regional Call Center and Exclusive Offers

 London-based technology company Nothing Tech, recently stepped up its customer-centric commitments with the opening of a GCC-dedicated call center and new trade-in offers with extended warranties for its entire product lineup, including its flagship smartphones, the Nothing Phone (1) & (2).The new call center joins Nothing’s global list of support centers, which will offer customer Arabic call service for general inquiries as well as product concerns and troubleshooting. The call center will also tackle all kinds of software related issues but will defer back to local distributors for physical repairs. The first call center was opened in the home grounds of the UK and as of today, Nothing has 4 call centers globally, each of them delivering support via live chat, calls and emails.In addition to the new call center, Nothing Tech is also offering its UAE and KSA customers with a new trade-in program, where they can bring in any old phone to Nothing’s retail partners to avail a voucher of up to AED 200 on top of the old phone value to purchase a new Nothing Phone (2) or AED 100 for the Nothing Phone (1). Customers in KSA can avail a voucher of SAR 400, limited to the Nothing Phone (2) only.Customers in the UAE can avail themselves of the program in Sharaf DG, Jumbo, Virgin Megastore and Eros starting from the 1st of September, while customers in KSA* can head to their nearest Jarir bookstores for the same offer.Commenting on the new commitments, Rishi Kishor Gupta, Business Lead for Middle East and Africa for Nothing said “Our customers are the center of our business and our commitments towards their user experience is the driving force our innovations. With the new call center, we aim to bring Nothing’s standard of global support to the Middle East and our new extended warranty aims to be more reassuring to the customer. With our new trade-in program, we hope that more users are encouraged to bring their old phones instead of throwing them away, a move that is beneficial from a financial standpoint for the customer as well as a more sustainable choice.”Nothing Tech has also announced an extended warranty for all of its products, which will now be valid across India and Europe for devices bought in the GCC market. The warranty extends to devices bought across both retail and online platforms. This further showcases Nothing’s commitment to its users, supported by regular software updates for undisruptive experience.

L’azurde asserts its leadership in the gold and jewelry sector

Riyadh: L’azurde Company for Jewelry (“L’azurde”, “the Company”, “the Group”), the leading gold and jewelry designer, manufacturer, distributor, and retailer in the Middle East, has asserted its leadership in this vital sector with positive financial results for the first quarter of 2023.The Company achieved a net profit of SAR 11.6 million following the increase in its operating revenues to SAR 126.1 million. The Company generated an operating profit of SAR 25.1 million asserting its steady growth, and its strong performance that reflects the effectiveness of its transformative initiatives that have contributed to an increase in revenues and profits on the one hand, and a decrease in financial costs on the other hand, putting the Company on the road to remarkable growth and financial stability.In addition to that, the Company’s e-commerce business has generated revenues of SAR 7.9 million. This underscores the success of the Company's endeavors to expand its e-commerce business through further investments in technology, infrastructure, and systems.In KSA, wholesale operating revenues increased by 20.4% year-on-year, the noticeable increase being mainly attributed to the successful sales of L’azurde gold in gold souks. In Egypt, wholesale operating revenues increased by 4.0%, and Retail operating revenues grew by 47% compared to the same period last year.Commenting on that results, Mr. Sélim Chidiac, CEO of L’azurde said: “L’azurde has succeeded in achieving constantly positive results, due to generating new and various revenue streams, whether through digital channels that bring accelerated growth, or through opening of new outlets, launching modern products that offer great value to consumers and provide us with strong profit margins”.He added: “In 2022, the Company provided its clientele with a variety of brands including L’azurde, Tous, and Miss L’ and we work on promoting and innovating our products to adapt and win in times of changing consumer shopping behaviors”. Mr. Chidiac explained that the plans of the Company include expanding its Miss L’ brand of modern jewelry, through new retail selling points and promoting the role of agents, and through e-commerce. In addition, the Company will be developing the international Tous brand in KSA through e-commerce and an innovative product assortment, meeting the requirements of the modern woman.

PivotRoots secures the media contract for Urban Company

Dubai : Leading marketing and data-focused digital agency, PivotRoots, has recently announced its successful bid to secure the media contract for Urban Company in the UAE. As part of their role, PivotRoots will develop and execute data-driven strategies to strengthen Urban Company’s digital marketing efforts in the region.This achievement comes as PivotRoots continues to expand its marketing services and scale data offerings through PivotConsult. As the media agency for Urban Company, PivotRoots will oversee integrated media, branding, and performance marketing initiatives with the primary objective of boosting consumer acquisition and engagement. Additionally, through PivotConsult, the agency will help empower the media activation for the brand by providing deeper and automated insights to increase efficiencies and effectiveness consistently.  Nitesh Agarwal, Regional Head of Middle-East, Urban Company said, “We believe that our partnership with PivotRoots will help us achieve our goal of delivering exceptional experiences to our customers by enabling us to engage with our customers more effectively and efficiently. PivotRoots' data-driven approach and expertise in digital marketing aligns with our values, and we are confident that their innovative strategies will help us stay ahead of the curve. With their support, we aim to further strengthen our brand presence in the UAE market and provide our customers with a seamless experience.”Urban Company is a leading global provider of at-home services, with a presence in multiple countries including India, UAE, Singapore, KSA, and USA. The company initiated its international expansion in 2018 by launching in the UAE, starting with Dubai, and later expanding to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. While initially offering cleaning services, Urban Company has now expanded its portfolio to include Beauty and Wellness, and Homes and Maintenance verticals, with cleaning, salon, and spa services being the most prominent and rapidly growing verticals.Yogesh Khanchandani, Co-Founder of PivotRoots stated: “Our goal since integrating PivotConsult into our planning approach has been to introduce innovative and transformative data-driven digital marketing strategies. With digital-first brands like Urban Company, we have the chance to demonstrate the powerful impact of data-driven campaigns”.PivotRoots will develop and execute a comprehensive digital marketing strategy to expand Urban Company UAE's presence within the target market, with a focus on reaching key audience segments such as Arabic, Western, and Asian expats at effective frequencies. The agency's strategy aims to improve the brand's recall value and capitalize on readily available digital opportunities to enhance its overall performance. PivotRoots will utilize a combination of data analytics and digital media efforts to drive the planning and thought process, which will serve as a critical driver in achieving the agency’s goals.

FalconViz announces its first metaverse lab in KSA

Before digital twins and even drone-based photogrammetry were known by the public, FalconViz has been developing the tools of the future. To that extent, at the BIM and Digital Twins Exhibition 2023 in Riyadh, the company announced the launch of the FalconViz Metaverse which aims to launch the company into the new age of digitization.The Metaverse is largely considered the next era of the internet. Whilst it is difficult to single out one standard definition for the Metaverse, it is considered an immersive, interoperable, and synchronous virtual world. This new age of the internet will most certainly disrupt and transform the current social and economic structures and bring about a whole new wave of opportunity across many different sectors. The company defines the Metaverse as a 3D real-time social medium where people can create and engage in shared experiences across many modalities of converged digital and real worlds.Commenting on this huge announcement Dr. Neil Smith, FalconViz's Chief Information Officer, and Co-founder said: “At the heart of this is digital twins which we have been creating using drones and high definition laser scanning for years. Digital twinning is an industry which is projected to reach over $125 billion by 2030. Now, however, within the Metaverse, we can finally allow stakeholders to view their critical assets as they are in real life enabling an embodied immersive experience. It also allows stakeholders to simulate spaces, objects, and processes.”.The Metaverse opens new possibilities in how FalconViz interacts with the data in the future, which allows them to go from viewing data as placeable AR models to jumping into our data at 1:1 scale, with full immersion. The company can connect critical information captured in structural reports such as cracks and damage to a building and immediately jump to those locations to examine the area and gain a spatial awareness of the surroundings, and the procedures that would need to be taken to make immediate repairs. There is no limit to how they can explore the data to gain insight that is not possible from 2D plans.FalconViz is excited to announce the FalconViz Metaverse Lab in Saudi Arabia, these tools can be applied to any BIM project, and allow it to handle giga projects and deliver mixed-reality experiences. The company sees this as just the beginning, looking forward to the FalconViz Metaverse Lab contributing to achieving the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision.

KSA leads groundbreaking autonomous vehicle innovation, says Arthur D. Little

Autonomous mobility led the new transport hype in the last decade, but it appears to have suffered from both internal limitations and external issues in recent years. The lasting global semiconductor chip shortage and greater supply crisis have also shifted automaker attention towards the installation of more critical functions in their vehicles. While the technology exists and has proven to be functional both in testing grounds and in real life conditions, the lack of suitable infrastructure and unoptimized cost structures, seem to have deterred innovation-driven use cases. Arthur D. Little (ADL), the leading management consultancy firm with the longest-standing presence in the Middle East region, elaborates on this and many other findings in their new Autonomous Mobility Journal, the series’ fourth edition. The journal comprises exclusive coverage of the latest autonomous mobility developments in the world, including KSA, shedding light on industry dynamics, prominent use cases, and the importance for smart mobility solution providers and governments to meet sustainability goals by 2030.“Following a lot of anticipation over the potential of autonomous vehicles over the last decade, promising silver linings are starting to appear. While autonomous mobility is still not accessible or even available to most users on the roads globally, companies operating in this space have continued their work in the background to advance the technology. Additionally, the growth of other mobility-related technologies and use cases are expected to pave the way and facilitate the uptake of autonomous mobility,” said Antonio Semeraro, Senior Principal at Arthur D. Little Middle East.According to the International Energy Agency, electric vehicle sales reached two million units in the first quarter of 2022, representing a 75% increase compared to the same period in 2021. Compared to traditional internal combustion engines , electric vehicle hardware and software are significantly more suited to accommodate for autonomous driving features, and autonomous driving technology is more prevalent across electric vehicles than internal combustion vehicles.Developed in line with research conducted regionally and internationally, the publication details the latest innovation-led projects across the urban landscape. Examining the situation from KSA's stance, the Transport General Authority (TGA) plays a leading role in ensuring that KSA's transport sector adheres to stringent safety and quality levels, while also promoting investment and sustainable development through the strategic use of data and technology. By aligning with the Kingdom's Vision 2030 socio-economic goals, TGA is at the core of a modern and efficient transportation ecosystem that is poised for long-term success. The latter was underlined in the ‘Interview of the semester’ segment by Prof. Omaimah Bamasag, Deputy of Transport Enablement at the Transport General Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).Prof. Omaimah Bamasag said: “Over a decade after its inception, the regulatory position of TGA in the Kingdom makes its role essential to the Kingdom’s vision. Saudi Arabia’s goals for autonomous vehicle transport are very ambitious and can be seen from the giant projects based on autonomy, such as NEOM and the Red Sea projects. These smart cities are designed to be sustainable across new transport systems for passengers and goods based entirely on autonomous mobility, such as autonomous aerial vehicles, autonomous pods and robo-taxis.”TGA is working on two tracks. The first entails promoting and adopting new transportation modes through testing and piloting, R&D, and partnering with governmental and private entities, universities, and research bodies to formulate an enabling regulatory framework for these technologies. In the second track, TGA prepares economic, social, and environmental feasibility studies through which it determines the stages of imposing certain regulations on operators and providers of public transport services and goods transport.In a nutshell, while TGA has the ability to swiftly implement regulations, it is crucial to conduct a thorough analysis of any possible effects that may arise from their implementation. This proactive approach ensures that any regulations align with the Kingdom's Vision, and ensures positive outcomes for the transport industry and society as a whole. TGA is also collaborating with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence to elevate the underlying communication infrastructure’s readiness, including 5G, data privacy and security. In parallel, TGA’s Investment and Competitiveness unit looks to create investment opportunities for the private sector and to pave the way for new horizons in the local market for autonomous vehicles.Autonomous Mobility Journal details the strategic elements critical to the project, providing recommendations on how transport authorities can streamline their operational launch efforts.

DGDA named one of KSA’s top 10 best workplaces in 2023

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: The Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) has been recognized as one of KSA’s top 10 Best Workplaces for 2023 in the Large Enterprise category according to the Global Authority on Workplace Culture, which rigorously monitors and evaluates each nominated workplace’s culture, placing DGDA on its prestigious list for the second year in a row.This classification highlights the authority’s interest in building a positive work environment for employees across all its departments.The announcement also follows DGDA’s recognition as one of KSA and Asia’s Best Workplaces in 2022, further solidifying its reputation as a premier employer.

Elevatus ranks highest amongst the biggest software companies & startups in KSA

 Elevatus, the globally renowned and first recruitment and video interviewing software of its kind, today announced its recent listing in the report "101 Top Riyadh Software Companies and Startups" from BestStartup.Asia. The listed companies and startups have all picked up their pace in the KSA market and are taking a variety of approaches and steps to innovate the software industry.Elevatus has exemplified continuous efforts to disrupt the way companies across the globe find and hire the best candidates by offering an agile technology that helps them streamline the full hiring cycle in only a couple of clicks. Elevatus' rapid growth is fueled by the high adaptability and agility of its technology – which is built on years of scientific research and market best practices."Our partnership with Elevatus has played a monumental role in strengthening our innovative capabilities in preparation for Vision 2030. Elevatus' AI technology has been a major driver in evolving our work processes and helping us operate at a much faster rate. We now feel well prepared for the future that lies ahead, especially in realizing and achieving our Kingdom's vision with ease." said Ali Alzahrani, Director of Human Resources at the Middle East Propulsion Company.Elevatus' vast collection of success stories highlights the agile transformation companies are experiencing across the Kingdom. This has led the tech provider to be recognized as one of the top software companies in Riyadh based on four key categories: innovation, growth, management and societal impact. Elevatus covers a wide spectrum of innovative recruitment modules that support companies in creating job requisitions, shortlisting talent, interviewing candidates, assessing top performers, managing visas,accessing advanced analytics, inviting recruitment agencies, and onboarding new hires. This year alone, Elevatus powered over 120,000 job posts and 3 million video assessments to date – fully automated by its award-winning recruiting solutions."Elevatus is a phenomenal software that simplifies and automates the entire recruiting process. You can find all that you need to recruit top talent in one single place. It's easy, smart and user-friendly. If your company is growing, then Elevatus will definitely make the process more seamless and easier." adds Mohammed AlRasheed, Head Of Human Resources at AlRaedah Finance.This recognition marks the third consecutive year that Elevatus has been named a top software company in the recruitment industry – and carved its spot in top positions globally. This ranking further validates its commitment to building and designing the most innovative recruiting solutions the world has ever seen. Today, Elevatus is empowering enterprises and companies worldwide to recruit at scale and thrive in an increasingly challenging recruitment landscape.

Stc, from KSA to Bahrain & Kuwait, numerous achievements throughout its journey

The growth and expansion plan launched by stc Group at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century was not just dead letters, but rather a realistic strategy sought by the group as a result of the technical development witnessed in the region. Over the past few years, stc group has transformed from a mere company that provides communication and internet services to a digital enabler that is considered the most prominent in the Middle East region. The comprehensive strategy launched by the group had the superlative role in endorsing digital transformation in the gulf region, as it sought to diversify investment opportunities. And during the past two years it launched many subsidiaries in the fields of cybersecurity, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, cloud computing, infrastructure and 5G technologies that serve different gulf communities and support the digital transformation in the region. Today, the market value of the stc group has reached more than 187 billion riyals and the value of the stc brand reached $10.6 billion, according to the Forbes magazine classification. Furthermore, the group obtained the most valuable brand certificate in the Middle East region in the telecommunications sector, according to the classification of Brand Finance International. The success story of this development, growth and accomplishments achieved by the group extended to become the main driving force of the communications and information technology sector for both Kuwait and the Kingdom of Bahrain. How did the group contribute to transforming the status of communications and information technology in the Gulf region?The beginning of the group’s success story in the expansion and growth process was from Kuwait, where in 2008 it witnessed the birth of a new star that shone its light in the sky of communications, and its features emerged in its first steps to draw the shapes of a giant who will transfer the communications and information technology sector to a promising future. During its first year, it attracted half a million customers in Kuwait, and within only 4 years it began to achieve profitable returns for investors, and the company’s official listing on the Kuwait Stock Exchange was one of the shapes of success and growth, as the volume of retained profits increased with the development of the company’s profits. It also acquired the second place in terms of revenues and market share from the subscribers, afterwards the achievements continued until it acquired a market share of about 36% of the sector’s revenues in 2021.In the Kingdom of Bahrain, stc entered the telecom market in 2010 as the third telecom operator in the Kingdom. The group quickly became a major driving force towards achieving the digital transformation vision, as it captured 41% of the market revenues, and proved its strength in the competition to become the first operator in the mobile phone markets, carrier sector customers and operators in the Kingdom of Bahrain, as well as the fastest performing company throughout the region and the first in developing local, regional and global networks, through continuous investments in infrastructure development. It was approved as the first commercial operator of the 5G network in Bahrain, in the field of cybersecurity, and cloud computing. The company also provided services outside the scope of communications, including financial services and insurance services at the highest levels, in order to keep up with the requirements of customers' daily lives.Contributing to Kuwait’s and Bahrain’s national visions2019 witnessed the launch of the unified brand in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The company also launched an updated and developed a strategy that fits the company's basic objectives during the subsequent years in 2019 to enhance the process of enabling the company's digital transformation in line with the national visions in each country.In Kuwait, the Kuwait strategic Vision 2035 seeks digital transformation among the many goals set by the state, to keep pace with the internet services at all levels. stc had a fundamental and vital role in accelerating the transformation process, as the company’s acquisition of Quality-net and its transformation into “solutions by stc” had a prominent role to be the active technical arm in enabling the business sector and supporting local projects. It announced the establishment of the 5G Innovation Center in 2019, with the aim of exploring, developing and launching the uses of advanced 5G technologies. Moreover, it provided a range of digital solutions for companies that include data centers, infrastructure support and applications for companies. In addition, stc introduced an IoT strategy that allowed companies to manage their resources more efficiently and make the most of their business models.In Bahrain, stc contributed to supporting Bahrain's economic vision 2030. In terms of the business sector, the company developed a comprehensive range of information and communication technology products, including cybersecurity, asset tracking, data hosting, and cloud services to serve this sector. In terms of carriers and operators, the company has succeeded In consolidating its position as an empowered company in this field. It provided services to more than 400 national and international companies. The company also enhanced the customer service experience across all points of contact, as it always aimed to continue advancing the digital transformation in the Kingdom of Bahrain to become a digitally enabled society.Future and growth and developing performanceBased on the company's strategy and the promising projections of the institutional sector in Kuwait, the company undertook a major transformation process to meet the needs of customers and enrich their experiences in the information and communication technology field, which was highlighted in the company's strategy "AHEAD". The company was keen to improve its efficiency and internal capabilities in this sector through its acquisition on the entire capital of the Electronic Gate Holding Company in April 2022, to keep pace with the latest rapid global developments in the field of communications and information technology, and to provide the best integrated technical solutions to its individual and institutional clients. stc successfully completed its capital increase during 2022 to reach KD 99.9 million by distributing 100% bonus shares to its shareholders. During the third quarter of 2022, stc's market share reached 39.8% of the telecom sector's revenues in Kuwait, for the first time since the company's establishment, to be at the forefront of the telecom sector in terms of revenue.In Bahrain, stc has invested more than $2 billion in developing digital infrastructure. The company has remained at the forefront of launching innovative services in Bahrain, even becoming the first operator to launch 5G technology across the Kingdom. stc Bahrain has also worked to develop its innovation center and its platform for developing modern technologies for various sectors, and has also launched many digital services, including self-service machines (SSM), smart queue management service, and many other services, which contributed to providing an improved experience for customers by providing them with the opportunity to complete their transactions in a few seconds and in any time and place. The company launched a cyber security training academy, with the aim of raising awareness about potential cyber threats through its leading solutions in this field.Investing in sustainability and social developmentSince its establishment in Kuwait, stc has been able to achieve many contributions and achievements to support the local community and its social responsibility agenda. It succeeded in participating across various initiatives in cooperation with various government agencies and private sector institutions to small and medium-sized companies that aimed at supporting and empowering the Kuwaiti society to achieve sustainability in line with Kuwait Vision 2035. The company focused its efforts in key areas such as health, sports, education, entrepreneurship, and the environment. It launched several initiatives, such as the "Safe Education" campaign in cooperation with the Ministries of Education, Health, Interior, and Information, and the "Weyak" initiative to support local SMEs in enabling their digital transformation strategies.The company is keen to invest in the continuous development of its human resources, as they form the cornerstone of its outstanding performance. It is endlessly focused on providing education and development programs, as it has effectively launched its e-learning programs through many recognized international organizations, such as LinkedIn Learning and Gartner, to continue providing training and development opportunities for employees. The company also launched its training academy "Creativity Academy", which seeks to empower employees with high potentials.Under the social responsibility umbrella, stc Bahrain worked to spread the culture of innovation to a level beyond the borders of its customers, as it launched the “Jussoor” program with the aim of empowering its community service. Moreover, it launched the “Trees for Life” initiative that aimed at supporting the Kingdom’s national plans in reforestation, with the purpose of doubling the percentage of trees in the Kingdom by 2035, and launched the "Kafu" program, which was shown during the holy month of Ramadan. It is a major initiative to highlight individuals and people who have been a source of inspiration in the Kingdom over the years. It also launched the “Fereej” initiative which means (the neighborhood), with the aim of investing for families who live in difficult conditions. The company worked to educate and develop Bahraini youth and provide unique opportunities for fresh graduates looking to enrich their careers inside and outside the company through its “ICT Generation” program, which was launched recently.

Top KSA and UAE trends emerging in 2023

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Poly shares the upcoming smart KSA and UAE trends for 2023.Trend 1: The advent of the smart city will boost smart workingSmart working, aka hybrid working, is equally popular among employees and employers because it boosts productivity. Almost 70% of the UAE firms believe that failing to address their hybrid work procedures and strategies will result in employee turnover and an inability to recruit new talent.We are moving a step further as a world and seeing the conversations around smart cities start at the same time. The linear city "The Line" in Saudi Arabia has been proposed with the objective of facilitating a perfect work-life balance for its residents.The same trend is getting quite prevailing in the UAE. Arising from the Emirati government's vision for 2021, one of the most important priorities is to establish a sustainable environment and infrastructure that achieves the goals of the future.The first smart city to be launched in the UAE goes back a decade ago. Masdar City is the first smart and sustainable city in the region. This progressive city benefits from a blend of advanced technologies and methods from the architecture of the city to the utilization of solar energy to depend on sustainable and renewable resources.We are entering an era of smart living where smart working will become non-negotiable. This requires smart working methods and tools to empower this change.Bob Aoun, Sales Director at Poly, says, “The entire KSA is a progressive region. We no longer have an excuse to not believe in hybrid working or smart working. For example, 33% of companies are seeing productivity gains from hybrid working in excess of 50% within the UAE itself.” Trend 2: Work smart, not hardSmart working has put the power in the employees’ hands, and autonomous decision-making is on the rise as more people are adopting hybrid working patterns. However, the lack of sufficient resources for hybrid work enablement, such as technology, policies, and manager training, ultimately disempowers employees. Only 51% of organizations globally have taken steps to prevent people from feeling like they need to be always on. Weakened organizational culture leaves the workforce demotivated and unwilling to go the extra mile – ‘quiet quitting’.Companies should provide employees not only with flexibility in working conditions but also armor them with the technology and communicate how to utilize the technology to their advantage. Technology should equalize hybrid working experience no matter where the job is done from, rather than causing overwork and burnout.Bob Aoun, Sales Director at Poly, says, “Don’t just give employees the technology and let them figure it out. It is extremely important to communicate to employees regarding the company culture, rules of engagement, and especially training managers who are responsible for people management. 10% of UAE organizations have seen employee burnout, and 13% have seen a reduction in employee engagement because everyone worked from a different location.” Trend 3: Factories’ automationAs the KSA works to establish several smart cities, there is a tendency within the kingdom toward factory automation. The main objective is to benefit from AI technologies and smart innovations, reduce costs, and raise efficiency.In the near future, around 4000 factories all over the KSA will be largely dependent on automated machines and smart technologies. This is part of the recently launched ‘The Future Factories Program, initiated by the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources.The Saudi government aims to utilize the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) to achieve considerable progress in its production sector, through the blend of various innovative technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, robots, 3D printing, and the internet of things to establish a strong economy based on the latest technologies and innovations.In the UAE, the government announced in October 2021 the plan to harness the technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The purpose of this plan, The Projects of the 50, is to raise productivity and deliver more innovative products using automated systems during the coming fifty years in an initiative that is unprecedented in the region.   These automated systems that will be managing functions in several factories would enable employees to have more flexibility in their working hours and pattern. According to the new Poly study, Recruit, Retain and Grow, 88% of UAE companies believe that employees should be allowed to request flexible working hours from day one. Furthermore, Over half (56%) of all organizations, and 69% of UAE-based organizations, believe that if they don’t address their hybrid work processes and plans, they’ll start to lose staff and be unable to attract new talent.Bob Aoun, Sales Director at Poly, says, “The operation of factories and various production facilities which relies on AI- technologies became a vital element in the success of the production in any given sector. This move is crucial to increase profit and maintain growth and sustainability.” The three new trends in KSA and the UAE reflect the future vision of the country to have a progressive lifestyle from all aspects. The transformation towards relying on cutting-edge technologies has become crucial for the advancement of any country. However, the provision of the required tools and devices plays a significant role in this regard.