Danube founder finds his dream in Dubai

Rizwan Sajan.
Updated 03 May 2018
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Danube founder finds his dream in Dubai

  • Rizwan Sajan started his business with only a few hundred dirhams.
  • Danube now has operations across the world.

DUBAI: An Indian who started his business with only a few hundred dirhams in his pocket has said he feels elated that his company’s imprint can be found in almost every home in Dubai.
Rizwan Sajan, founder and chairman of Danube Group, is an example of how Dubai has changed the lives of thousands of expatriates searching for a better future.
“I lost my father at the age of 12. At a time when most boys plan for their dream careers and sports, I had to start selling books and fireworks to support my family,” said Sajan, who comes from a middle-class family in Mumbai.
At age 18, Sajan found a job in Kuwait. “My Kuwait job changed lots of things back home. I was able to provide a good living to my family, but the Kuwait war changed everything. I had to return to Mumbai in 1991. That marked the beginning of a new struggle all over again,” said Sajan, whose company is now worth more than 4 billion dirhams.
In 1993, Sajan arrived in Dubai and since then there has been no looking back. His small trading firm, Danube, has grown into one of the largest building materials companies in the region with interests in property, construction and improvements.
Danube now has operations across the world, including the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and India, in addition to procurement offices in China. The company has more than 3,000 employees in strategic locations in the GCC, China and India.
“It took me about two decades, but today I say with confidence and pride that almost every home in Dubai has me or my company Danube in different ways. Be it your beautiful lights, furniture or even a tap in your bathroom, we are there with you in your home in some shape and form. That is a privilege that few companies could cherish,” he said.
“The foundation and direction of this country is so solid that it provides an excellent opportunity to anyone who wants to pursue their dreams,” Sajan said. “I have faith in this country and its leadership, and I know me, my family, my business and my workers and colleagues all are protected and blessed here. What other country can give this kind of assurance?”
According to Sajan, even during 2008, when the financial market was struggling around the world, there was no shortage of opportunity.
“We spread our wings and entered the real estate construction business. This is the kind of positivity and faith Dubai gives to each one of us. We never lost hope. On the contrary, we strive for better despite challenges,” he said.


‘Joy’ snags top prize at Marrakesh Film Festival

Sudabeh Mortezai (center) poses with her trophy. (AFP)
Updated 09 December 2018
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‘Joy’ snags top prize at Marrakesh Film Festival

  • Marrakesh’s 17th annual festival was attended by top cinema stars like US director Martin Scorsese and actor Robert de Niro

MARRAKESH: Austrian filmmaker Sudabeh Mortezai’s “Joy,” an unflinching look at migrant sex workers in Europe, won the top prize Saturday at the Marrakesh Film Festival in Morocco.

Italian actress Monica Bellucci presented the trophy for the film, which tells the story of a young Nigerian forced into prostitution in Vienna.

Marrakesh’s 17th annual festival was attended by top cinema stars like US director Martin Scorsese and actor Robert de Niro.

Tunisian Nidhal Saadi won Best Actor for his role in the film “Regarde moi” (Look at me), directed by Nejib Belkhadi.

And German Aenne Schwarz won Best Actress for her role in “Alles is gut” (All is good), directed by Eva Trobish. Tribute evenings honored the careers of visionary French filmmaker Agnes Varda and her co-director, French street artist JR, who teamed up to produce the road documentary “Faces Places.”

The festival also hailed the career of Moroccan filmmaker Jilali Ferhati, whose films were shown in a new “panorama of Moroccan cinema” sidebar.