SME sector role in UAE’s economic growth receives top recognition at CF2SGFA

Dubai, UAE: In line with its contribution to the thriving landscape of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Century Financial, a renowned investment specialist in the region, has bestowed prestigious honors upon the finalists of the SME Golden Frame Awards.Part of the Gulf Business Awards, the special segment of Century Financial SME Golden Frame Awards, stands as a testament to the integral role played by UAE-based SMEs in bolstering the economic performance and growth of the country and the wider GCC region. The SME Golden Frame Awards represent a strategic, multi-faceted effort aimed at providing extended support to foster visionary leadership, creativity, responsibility, and ambition. The auspicious recognition was conferred on SMEs that are pioneers and leaders in innovation, business strategy, product delivery, sustainability, and customer service, among other crucial factors.Launched in November 2022, the initiative attracted an overwhelming response from homegrown SMEs, receiving over 50 expertly and creatively crafted award entries across categories. Seven outstanding winners stood out from this pool of entries after weeks of careful evaluation by a seasoned judging panel comprising regional industry leaders.The ShowstoppersRetail Company of the Year - GMGDisruptive SME of the year - Polynome EventsSocial Innovation Excellence Award - Butterfly Social TechnologiesAgriBusiness Leader of the year - Export Trading GroupInnovative SME of the year - Petrafos Energy & Downtown Reality Real Estate BrokerageSustainable SME of the year - Healthy Pop foodsPresenting the awards, Bal Krishen, Chairman and CEO of Century Financial, expressed, “The Golden Frame Awards is a timely initiative that seeks to not just motivate and inspire homegrown businesses but to encourage them to continue developing people-driven solutions that ultimately make a difference. Our overall objective is to help the regional SME sector to scale up sustainably by recognizing these creative breakthrough innovators who are making disruptive moves in their respective fields.”Sharad V K the Marketing Director of Century Financial, added, “As a pioneering investment services company in the UAE, Century Financial has always cherished the values of innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit. The SME Golden Frame Awards is a unique celebration spotlighting the promising SMEs that drive our nation's growth and prosperity. We introduced the Golden Frame Awards for SMEs in partnership with Gulf Business in 2022. It was a resounding success, setting the stage for this year's equally triumphant 2nd edition.”SME landscapeThe Golden Frame Awards comes on the back of a burgeoning SME industry as the UAE targets to increase the number of SMES from 557,000 as at the end of 2022 to one million by the end of 2030. This, according to the Ministry of Economy, is part of the UAE’s strategy to boost the contribution of SMEs to the economy.As the regional SME sector continues to demonstrate significant growth and impact over the last few years and further accounting for more than 94 percent of companies operating in the country, the Golden Frame Awards will serve as a boost to the UAE’s start-up ecosystem. This, according to Krishen, has risen in tandem with the increase in digitisation in key sectors such as retail, services, e-commerce, and government.

Anthology hosts EdTech conference in Riyadh

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia:– Anthology, a leading provider of education solutions that support the entire learner lifecycle, is hosting their annual conference for clients in the Middle East for the first time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.More than 150 instiutional leaders, industy experts and instructors from 56 institutions across the Middle East are expected to attend the the two day conference on 13 – 14 November. The event is hosted by senior executives of Anthology, including Chief Executive Officer Bruce Dahlgren; President of Global Markets Joe Belanardo; and Senior Vice President of EMEA, Oleg Figlin.Anthology Together Middle East will feature keynotes by Anthology leaders and panel discussions on the most important issues facing higher education today, including the ethical and responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI).Executives from Anthology will be joined on stage by leaders in their fields from universities across the Middle East.“Saudi Arabia is home to some of the world's leading higher education institutions,” said Anthology Chief Executive Officer Bruce Dahlgren. "We believe that these institutions, with their commitment to academic excellence, are at the forefront of shaping the future. Our choice to host this conference in Riyadh reflects our commitment to our clients in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East, and our dedication to building solutions in direct partnership with our clients and the learners they serve.”Product and Report Launches at EventAnthology will launch their latest AI-facilitated feature, Authentic Assessments, at the event. Set for release in December, the feature in Blackboard Learn Ultra utilizes learning objectives and course material to develop prompts aligned to Bloom’s Taxonomy that promote critical thinking like analysing, creating, and evaluating. The feature addresses the evolving challenges of academic integrity in the era of artificial intelligence.News at the event also includes the results of a global survey conducted by Anthology on the use and perceptions of AI in higher education. More than 5,000 higher education leaders and current students from countries around the world, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United States, Brazil, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, participated in the survey.Key findings of the report highlight the positive approval of AI in Saudi Universities:49% of students in Saudi Arabia feel that artificial intelligence (AI) will revolutionise education.Students in Saudi Arabia are among the most frequent users of generative AI tools like ChatGPT, with 32% saying they use the tools weekly. Students in Saudi Arabia reported the highest likelihood that their use of generative AI tools will increase significantly in the next six months.  Download report: AI in Higher Ed: Hype, Harm, or Help, Spotlight on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.  Anthology Together will conclude with an awards ceremony, recognizing excellence in education. The following institutions will be honoured on Tuesday, 14 November:Saudi Electronic University: Excellence in Inclusion and DiversityKing Faisal University: Excellence in InnovationAl-Qassim University: Excellence in InnovationKing Khalid University: Excellence in Community EngagementAl-Baha University: Excellence in Community Engagement "Rafed"Tabuk University: Excellence in Training and DevelopmentNajran University: Excellence in Training and DevelopmentHa'il University: Excellence in Advancement and TransitionShaqra University: Excellence in Advancement and TransitionBoard Middle East: 2023 Strategic Channel Partner

FITOUT and Gurian unite to bring Italian luxury furniture to the UAE

Dubai: THE FITOUT, one of the leading providers of comprehensive interior solutions in the Middle East and a subsidiary of Union Properties, has collaborated with the Gurian, an Italian furniture manufacturing company, to expand its product offerings and introduce Italy's finest luxury furniture to the UAE market.With a shared vision of offering high-quality products and exceptional customer service, the collaboration aims at bringing Italian furniture craftsmanship and design to the UAE, catering to the growing demand for luxury interior solutions in the region.Under this partnership, THE FITOUT will be the exclusive distributor in the UAE for the Italian furniture manufacturer, which creates its own sofas, armchairs, and other items using 100 percent Italian leather, as well as materials such as fabric with wooden or metallic framings.Sherif Nagy, General Manager of THE FITOUT commented: “We are delighted to partner with Gurian, a company that produces authentic Italian upholstered furniture. With similar business philosophies and strategies, we were able to form a strategic alliance with Gurian, which we strongly believe will lead to long-term profits and growth. Gurian offers a collection of exceptional models of Italian furniture, crafted with the ideal balance between artisan accuracy and technological precision.”He added: “Through this partnership, we hope to provide our customers with exceptional quality products crafted by Gurian’s specialised artisan talents, which combines higher levels of comfort and elegance. Being in the industry for around 36 years, we understand the evolving customer preferences and constantly strive to keep up with the trends and innovations in the sector to provide exceptional offerings to our customers. Through this partnership, we hope to provide a wide range of customers with novel and distinctive concepts and products. We are confident that this partnership will produce fruitful outcomes and help us achieve our objectives of drawing in more customers in the region during the upcoming months.”THE FITOUT has been exploring innovative avenues to partner with various possible industry-relevant entities beyond the GCC, especially high-quality material firms, in order to penetrate new markets and expand its clientele. The strategic cooperation with Gurian provides THE FITOUT with access to additional resources as well as a competitive advantage in terms of the material since Italian upholstery is the most authentic and best of its kind in the upholstery industry.Franco Vittor, Business Development, GCC at Gurian said: “We are pleased to enter into this strategic partnership with THE FITOUT, which is known for delivering exquisite interiors crafted with meticulous attention to detail and precision. Through this strategic cooperation with THE FITOUT, we intend to introduce our curated collection of designs and furniture with exceptional Italian workmanship to the growing industry of the UAE and transform spaces with luxurious styling and comfort. Since we both share the common objective of offering services with superior quality and value, we are happy to have THE FITOUT as the exclusive distributor of Gurian in the United Arab Emirates. We look forward to a prosperous partnership that will yield a number of exceptional results.”Additionally, the demand for furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) has also witnessed a significant surge owing to a variety of factors - including the expansion of the hospitality and tourism sectors. With more hotels, resorts, and other hospitality properties being constructed, there is an enormous requirement for high-quality FF&E supplies to furnish these spaces. Furthermore, the growth of working places also contributes to the rising demand for FF&E. For the purpose of providing employees with a relaxing as well as a productive working environment, these spaces require a quality workspace design with proper office furniture, as the aesthetics of a workspace significantly influence employee productivity. THE FITOUT will contribute to meeting this growing demand by delivering exquisite products and services.