UAE-based Danube Properties enters south Indian market

UAE-based Danube Properties enters south Indian market
Rizwan Sajan, Sunny Leone and Atif Rahman during the inauguration.
Updated 09 September 2019

UAE-based Danube Properties enters south Indian market

UAE-based Danube Properties enters south Indian market

Danube Properties, a UAE-based real estate developer, has launched its operations in the south Indian state of Kerala by opening its sales and marketing office in Kochi. The inauguration ceremony was attended by Rizwan Sajan, founder and chairman of Danube Group; Atif Rahman, director and partner of Danube Properties; Bollywood actress Sunny Leone, and other senior management of the company. 

This is the developer’s third marketing and sales office in India — after it launched operations in Mumbai in 2016 and Delhi in 2017. 

India is one of the UAE’s strongest economic partners. In 2018, Indian investors had accumulated 31 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects launched in Dubai with a total of 3.71 billion dirhams ($1 billion) in capital. This makes India the second largest investor in Dubai in terms of FDI capital and the fourth largest in terms of projects during the first nine months of the year. 

“Indian nationals — including the non-resident Indians (NRIs) living in Gulf countries — are a major source of investment in Dubai’s real estate. Their growing purchasing power is helping developers to sell properties and complete projects and that is the reason of the launch of our sales and marketing office in Kochi. We want to come closer to our target audience and provide the best assured deal,” Sajan said.

He added: “The UAE is a good place for real estate investment ... We at Danube Properties offer up to 15 percent return on investment. As a developer we not only deliver good homes for end users but also provide the highest rental yield for the investors.”

Danube Properties director Rahman said: “We have a well-balanced portfolio of property buyers of 93 nationalities. A large number of our buyers come from outside the UAE — including China, India, Europe and Africa. A large number of families from Kerala live in the UAE and the Gulf countries. Their presence has over the decades strengthened the bond between the two countries.”

He added: “Our office and our people will help develop a strong network with investors from Kerala and help them own their second home in the UAE through Danube Properties.” 


Sazar Design bags award for Beef Stock interiors

Sazar Design bags award for Beef Stock interiors
Updated 05 August 2021

Sazar Design bags award for Beef Stock interiors

Sazar Design bags award for Beef Stock interiors

Interior design firm Sazar Design has won in the category of “Best Luxury Commercial Interior Design” at the global Luxury Lifestyle Awards, for its work at the Beef Stock restaurant in Saudi Arabia.

Established in 2013, Sazar Design is a creative firm that is firmly committed to the “scientific art” of interior design.

The owners of Beef Stock were looking for a restaurant design that was able to combine luxury with an exuberant, American-style atmosphere. After consulting with the restaurant owners, Sazar Design set to work and with an innovative use of color, lighting, furnishings and indoor planting, gave Beef Stock a unique, fresh and contemporary look that made it the perfect go-to place for relaxed but stylish American dining, exactly as the client wanted. 

Sazar Design “takes pride in the fact that it listens closely to what its clients are looking for with each project, working with them side-by-side from the start of the project to completion, and making sure that every detail is considered and executed to the best of the ability of its expert teams of designers and engineers,” a statement said. 

From interiors and exteriors, residential homes to commercial buildings and offices, Sazar Design is dedicated to enhancing the environment of a given area or building to create a healthier, more aesthetically pleasing space. 

Clients who contact Sazar Design are first given an extensive consultation before deciding whether to move onto the commissioning of the project, as the company believes it is crucial to have the time and space to consider the various ideas and options open to them. Taking the time to debate all the possibilities at the very start of the project is the best way to ensure that the end result is exactly what the client was hoping for — and hopefully even surpasses expectations. 

Using a whole range of the very latest in interior design techniques, including 3D design technology as well as more intimate methods such as mood boards, plans and detailed drawings, Sazar Design is able to clearly
show the myriad of possibilities to each client.


Saudi AI startup Intelmatix closes funding round

Saudi AI startup Intelmatix closes funding round
Updated 05 August 2021

Saudi AI startup Intelmatix closes funding round

Saudi AI startup Intelmatix closes funding round

Intelmatix, a deep-tech artificial intelligence (AI) company, has closed its investment round led by STV, MENA’s largest venture capital fund, and Sultan Holdings, a strategic investor in some of the MENA’s largest companies.

Intelmatix, which is headquartered in Riyadh, is a pioneer in accessible AI and advanced analytics that delivers technologies to improve operations, productivity, growth and sustainability for governments and the private sector.

Global technology foresight firms report that the revenues from AI in the Middle East will exceed SR1 trillion ($267 billion) during the next 10 years, half of which are expected to be in the Saudi market, where AI will contribute at least SR500 billion to the Saudi economy by 2030.

Chairman of Sultan Holdings Prince Naif bin Sultan Bin Muhammad bin Saud Al-Kabeer said: “We recognize the revolution occurring today in the business world due to AI and advanced analytics. For us, Intelmatix is more than an investment; it is a key strategic step to advance the prospects of AI adoption and enablement in the business sector.” 

Abdulrahman Tarabzouni, STV’s founder and chief executive, said: “We are excited to partner with Intelmatix on its journey toward harnessing deep-tech for advancing the horizons of AI and reaching new frontiers of its application. The Intelmatix team is made of the brightest minds in the region, and they have the ability and vision to make the company a major global AI player.”

Intelmatix was founded by a group of MIT graduates with a proven track record and extensive experience in delivering advanced technologies and solutions. The startup seeks to become the leading deep-tech AI and data analytics company in the MENA, with a global presence through its operations in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, the UK capital London, and the American city of Boston.

In its current phase, Intelmatix focuses on location intelligence which maps the relationships between spatial, social, economic and demographic data and makes predictions using AI and advanced analysis to solve problems of “where, what, when?” 

Anas Alfaris, co-founder and chief executive of Intelmatix, said: “Artificial intelligence offers opportunities worth billions. In the Saudi Arabian market alone, location intelligence opportunities exceed SR2 billion annually, and globally, the value is more than SR100 billion each year.” 

He added: “The idea of Intelmatix was not born overnight. Our strategy crystallized through years of collaboration between the R and D sector and the business sector. Then Saudi Vision 2030 provided the regulatory and technical enablers to support the launch of Intelmatix by providing the ideal innovation environment.”

Ahmad Alabdulkareem, co-founder and chief technology officer at Intelmatix, said “Through our world‑class, diverse team of technology leaders, engineers, analysts, developers, and business experts, we develop smart and effective solutions and products to address the problems facing our customers in various sectors within the region.”


200 F&B outlets to serve visitors at Expo 2020

200 F&B outlets to serve visitors at Expo 2020
Updated 03 August 2021

200 F&B outlets to serve visitors at Expo 2020

200 F&B outlets to serve visitors at Expo 2020

Visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai are invited to enjoy a world of cuisine where taste knows no borders — a foodie’s paradise featuring internationally acclaimed restaurants and local favorites, superstar chefs and Expo-exclusive eateries.

In keeping with its promise to be the most inclusive World Expo ever, Expo 2020 Dubai is bringing cuisines to suit every palate and budget, from old classics to new innovations, street bites and gourmet delights, presenting flavors and experiences that will be remembered for a lifetime from more than 200 food and beverage outlets.

Marjan Faraidooni, chief visitor experience officer, Expo 2020, said: “It’s universally agreed that one of the best ways to discover a country is by sampling its cuisine, and at Expo 2020, visitors are able to eat their way around the world without leaving the UAE.

“Many of the 191 participating countries will also be serving authentic dishes and drinks at their pavilions.” The lineup, revealed two months before Expo’s doors open, features more than 20 award-winning chefs representing restaurants that have earned Michelin stars — the global hallmark of fine dining and culinary excellence. These include American “Gypsy Chef” David Myers, who will combine classic American fast food with an international influence at Adrift Burger Bar, and celebrated Armenian-American chef, Geoffrey Zakarian, who is set to debut The National Bar and Dining Rooms — his vision of a grand café, offering modern bistro cuisine from breakfast to dinner. Both restaurants are new concepts making their debut at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Lifestyle guru Matthew Kenney will wow diners with renditions of American, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors as he brings three plant-based restaurant concepts from the US, while Mory Sacko will employ his skilled French techniques to create his signature African-Japanese fusion cuisine.

Expo 2020 Dubai will celebrate its homegrown hotspots while also introducing internationally-acclaimed restaurants, including famed Italian restaurant Scarpetta, which launches its first-ever Burrata Bar at Expo, and David Thompson’s Thai street food chain Long Chim, which means “come and taste” in Thai.

Local favorites span cuisines from India to Ireland, and include classic UAE brands such as Arabian Tea House, Al-Farwania, Dampa Seafood Grill, Lebanese stalwart Al-Reef Bakery, and Hanon Feras Sweets, renowned for its traditional Middle Eastern dessert, kunafa. The six-month spectacle will also feature Pakistani street food go-to Ravi Restaurant, Maraheb Yemeni Restaurant, Chicken Tikka Inn, and Sarouja Restaurant and Café, a popular Syrian and Mediterranean spot.


Saudi Arabia among top 7 entrepreneurial nations

Saudi Arabia among top 7 entrepreneurial nations
Updated 03 August 2021

Saudi Arabia among top 7 entrepreneurial nations

Saudi Arabia among top 7 entrepreneurial nations

The Prince Mohammed Bin Salman College of Business and Entrepreneurship (MBSC) along with the Babson Global Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership recently released the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Kingdom of Saudi Arabia National Report 2020-21. The GEM report, which charts levels of entrepreneurial motivation and activity across the globe, ranked Saudi Arabia among the top 7 countries out of 44 nations, positioning the Kingdom among the world’s most elite entrepreneurial nations.

The report charts the Kingdom’s progress in setting the stage for entrepreneurial opportunities and culture. Ninety percent of Saudis surveyed in the GEM report agree or strongly agree that it is easy to start a business, placing the Kingdom in top position among GEM economies. Further, experts surveyed rated both the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the response of entrepreneurs first among GEM economies. And in another first, Saudi Arabia is now the only nation among 23 high-income GEM economies with higher startup rates for women than men.

Across the globe, entrepreneurs reported a worsening income due to the pandemic, and this was also true in Saudi Arabia. Yet, despite the turbulent context, Saudi Arabia’s total rate of startup activity increased from 14 percent of the population in 2019, to 17 percent in 2020. Coupled with this, Saudi Arabia reported the highest rate of market confidence, with 80 percent seeing opportunities to start a business as a result of the changes brought about by the pandemic.

The report reveals that total entrepreneurial activity in Saudi Arabia has increased by 24 percent compared to 2019, regardless of the pandemic’s profound impact on entrepreneurship. The Kingdom recorded a 65 percent increase in business ownership over the past three years. The report also shows that more than 90 percent of adults see entrepreneurship as a favorable career choice, and a third of Saudis are keen on launching a business within the next three years.

Fahd Al-Rasheed, vice chairman of MBSC’s board of trustees, and president of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, said: “Our ambition stated in Vision 2030 is for Saudi Arabia to be a world-leading entrepreneurial nation, and with our shared efforts and confidence, we now proudly stand as seventh in the world in entrepreneurial competitiveness. From government, to nonprofits, universities, companies and youth, our country is being energized by an entrepreneurial spirit and mindset. I particularly want to recognize and celebrate the entrepreneurs propelling our country’s tremendous performance, and I invite all Saudis to take pride in this collective excellence and recognition.”

Saleh Ibrahim Alrasheed, governor of the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha’at), said: “Saudi Arabia’s steady improvement on the NECI over the past five years is testimony to the success of the Kingdom’s efforts to nurture a thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem in line with the goals of Vision 2030. At Monsha’at, we are proud of our contributions to this achievement through our endeavors aimed at providing support for SMEs and developing the sector in accordance with the best standards.”

Professor Zeger Degraeve, executive dean, MBSC, said: “As testified by the successive GEM Saudi Arabia reports, Saudi Arabia has been building a solid foundation for a robust entrepreneurship ecosystem over the past few years.” 

This strong footing enabled the Kingdom to remain resilient even in the face of extreme challenges stemming from the pandemic and provide required support for SMEs and startups.”


‘Polish Table’ highlight of pavilion at Expo 2020

‘Polish Table’ highlight of pavilion at Expo 2020
Updated 03 August 2021

‘Polish Table’ highlight of pavilion at Expo 2020

‘Polish Table’ highlight of pavilion at Expo 2020
  • Visitors to the Poland Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai will be welcomed by a spectacular installation

Visitors to the Poland Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai will be welcomed by a spectacular installation titled the “Polish Table.” The installation will be a unique work of art, created from the raw materials characteristic of the country, such as copper, glass, wood, ceramics and carbon fibers, with the joint effort of Polish craftsmen, artists and engineers.

Moreover, a total of 150 students from top Polish universities (speaking 50 languages altogether) will be showing visitors over 2,000 square meters of the pavilion through its five zones, inviting guests to their cuisines, businesses, achievements and tourist attractions. Outside the pavilion, a kinetic sculpture representing hundreds of migrating birds from Poland all the way to the Arab countries, emphasizes the pavilion’s theme of “Creativity Inspired by Nature.”

“The architecture of the pavilion clearly refers to mobility: It is an open, modular structure expanding upwards, which invites visitors to rest in the shade of a wide roof and to contemplate the installations,” a statement said.

The pavilion, designed by the Warsaw studio WXCA, will be inaugurated on Oct. 1 by Polish government officials.