5th EU-GCC Business Forum concludes at Expo 2020

5th EU-GCC Business Forum concludes at Expo 2020
The 5th EU-GCC Business Forum took place at Expo 2020, Dubai on Oct. 23, with panel discussions covering topics related to the EU-GCC trade relations.
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Updated 30 October 2021

5th EU-GCC Business Forum concludes at Expo 2020

5th EU-GCC Business Forum concludes at Expo 2020

Businesses and government leaders from the EU and the GCC came together at the 5th EU-GCC Business Forum that focused on how to drive the post-pandemic recovery in the two regions toward a green and digital transition. The event took place at Expo 2020, Dubai on Oct. 23, with panel discussions that covered different topics as part of the theme, “Accelerating GCC Economic Diversification after the Crisis — The Way Forward.”

“Our well-established EU-GCC cooperation provides the right framework to advance together toward a sustainable economic model. As we move on, we should learn lessons from the pandemic and use the opportunity to do things better,” said Margaritas Schinas, vice president of the EU.

The forum involved sessions that covered topics such as Enhancing EU-GCC Trade and Investment, Innovation and Economic Acceleration, and Trade and Investment Opportunities in the GCC.

“The possibilities are huge for more EU-GCC economic cooperation, trade and investment in an increasingly green and digitized global economy. We should tap on the full potential of this emerging new dimension of cooperation between our regions. I am sure that today’s impressive EU-GCC Business Forum will contribute to this objective in a significant and tangible way,” said Stefan Schleuning, head of unit, FPI.4-Industrial Countries and Foreign Policy Support.

Session 1 covered “Enhancing EU-GCC Trade and Investment Opportunities” that highlighted the importance of innovation labs for women to prepare them for highly paid roles with extraordinary skills, eliminate gender and social gaps, in addition to promoting business opportunities arising from the transition.

In Session 2, speakers covered “Innovation and Economic Acceleration,” including the EU space program, which provides full access to data collected free of charge for the benefit of the world as a whole; water scarcity, which is a big challenge for the region; and the efforts that are being made to reduce food waste and increase energy from food waste.

Session 3 included presentations from six GCC countries. Some of the interesting points that were covered by the UAE speaker included:

• The UAE had advanced nine ranks in the inflow of foreign investment in 2020, to 15th globally, with a growth rate of 11.2 percent.

• The UAE advanced six ranks globally in the outflow of foreign investment in 2020, to rank 13th globally.

• The UAE’s Golden Visa is available in the UAE for international investors and top talent from around the world, providing them with visas for up to 10 years.

• The UAE’s investment environment is marked by stability, modern infrastructure, effective economic policy, and modern economic legislations.

The EU-GCC Dialogue on Economic Diversification is a project funded by the European Commission Service for Foreign Policy Instruments. The project contributes to stronger EU-GCC relations by supporting the GCC countries in the ongoing process of economic diversification away from hydrocarbon dependent sectors.


$10.6m ladies’ beach club to open at Jeddah Walk

$10.6m ladies’ beach club  to open at Jeddah Walk
Updated 10 August 2022

$10.6m ladies’ beach club to open at Jeddah Walk

$10.6m ladies’ beach club  to open at Jeddah Walk

Saudi leisure and entertainment group Tarfeeh Fakieh has finalized a landmark partnership with Blue Limits, a Jeddah-based company, for the management and operations of OIA Downtown, which will feature a ladies’ beach club, to be constructed in the Jeddah Walk development. The agreement, worth SR40 million ($10.6 million), establishes Blue Limits as the exclusive operational partner for OIA Downtown’s beach club, which will include two pools, a state-of-the-art gym, salon and lounges, and beachfront access, together with a host of luxurious dining venues.

The partnership to manage day-to-day operations of the boutique beach club comes as part of Tarfeeh Fakieh’s commitment to providing great service and an inviting ambiance to its visitors. Seeking to provide recreational services to residents of Jeddah and visitors to the coastal city, OIA Downtown’s scenic location and world-class service are set to elevate the leisure offerings within the heart of Jeddah’s corniche.

“We’re excited that our partnership with Blue Limits will further enhance the experience OIA Downtown was designed to provide,” said Jamil Attar, CEO of Tarfeeh Fakieh. “With help from our partners and our years of expertise within the leisure industry, we are confident that the OIA Downtown beach club will offer a wonderful experience for all, combining luxury with the lushness of nature.”

Since its founding in 1998 by prominent Saudi businessman Sheikh Abdul Rahman Fakieh, Tarfeeh Fakieh has developed an extensive and diverse portfolio across a range of fields. Thanks in part to its pioneering leadership, a tireless commitment to quality, and key strategic partnerships, the organization has developed many significant properties across Jeddah, such as Nobu Restaurant, Movenpick Al-Nawras and Fakieh Aquarium. Through 24 years of determined operations, the group has flourished within the leisure and entertainment sectors, offering memorable experiences to a wide variety of demographics and age groups within the Kingdom. With an overarching focus on “making Saudi families happier,” Tarfeeh Fakieh is poised to continually provide high-quality hospitality services to citizens, residents, and visitors, in line with the goals of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

Blue Limits Hospitality is one of the leading operators in its field, driven by a team of skilled hoteliers and industry professionals to transform unique concepts into achievable results. The company prides itself on its years of expertise and aims to use its industry knowledge to help develop OIA Downtown into one of the premier beach clubs regionally.

Danni Rose, founder and CEO of Blue Limits, said: “This is truly an exciting time for tourism in Jeddah and across the Kingdom. We are equally excited to continue working alongside Tarfeeh Fakieh on making OIA Downtown one of the best-run beach clubs in the region.”

Catering to evolving consumer needs within the Kingdom, OIA Downtown will offer one of the region’s most prestigious seafront ladies-only clubs during the day. At night, the sweeping beachfront club will host a member’s lounge, restaurants, and outdoor cafes — all nestled on Jeddah’s corniche. OIA Downtown is scheduled to open in Q3 of 2022.


Autohub marks four years with eye on expansion

Autohub marks four years with eye on expansion
Updated 10 August 2022

Autohub marks four years with eye on expansion

Autohub marks four years with eye on expansion

Autohub celebrated four years of its success as one of the leading multi-brand auto care providers in Saudi Arabia — a one-stop shop for automotive repair solutions. Autohub, owned and operated by Abdul Latif Jameel Enterprises, is specialized in body and paint repairs, paint protection film, detailing, service maintenance, and much more.

The company operates in the Kingdom’s major cities through eight service centers in Jeddah, Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah, Taif and Dammam. Since establishment in August 2018, Autohub has been offering comprehensive automotive services to customers, and plans to further expand with more centers to open in the near future.

With customer satisfaction as the main goal of all its services, Autohub has been awarded several excellence awards and quality certifications, including:

•Best work environment 2022: Awarded by a specialized global authority for implementing best practices and providing superior work conditions for its employees for four consecutive years.

•Kodawari 2021: A Toyota-Japan certificate awarded to the best customer service workshop management.

•Moa’ama 2022: A certificate issued by the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources to businesses that equip their centers for customers with disabilities.

•ISO 14,001: Granted for repair, services of cars and storage/ sales of spare parts.

All of the above achievements can be attributed to Autohub’s team of professional advisers, engineers and workers. Autohub continues to align with major insurance providers and vehicle dealerships to enhance its repair services and make the customer experience smoother and more satisfactory. Moreover, the company continues to grow in providing automotive repair services to government and corporate sectors in various industries, such as modifying emergency vehicles to maintaining driving school vehicles.

“Autohub aims to continue to be the leader in the automotive repair and care industry through quality, expertise and on-time delivery and always exceed its customers’ expectations,” the company said in a statement.


Tamam Used Cars launches interactive website

Tamam Used Cars launches interactive website
Updated 10 August 2022

Tamam Used Cars launches interactive website

Tamam Used Cars launches interactive website

Tamam Used Cars, part of National Auto under the Al-Ghandi Auto Group, a leading automotive distributor in the UAE, has announced the launch of their new interactive website, making the car-purchasing journey more interactive and bridging the gap between online and offline. The platform will allow car shoppers to browse through an extensive range of exclusive, luxurious and in-demand automobiles available in the UAE today with highly competitive prices to complement the relatively low mileage.

Mark Jenkins, CEO of Al-Ghandi Auto Group, said: “In recent years, the automotive industry has seen a significant shift, with buyer behavior and the physical purchase of vehicles in showrooms shifting to a more virtual one.”

Our new website is purposefully designed with the customer-of-tomorrow in mind. Our objective is to create a highly immersive experience where customers can view cars digitally, learn about specific features and adjust options to budget more accurately. The future is digital, and we want to provide our customers with a unique and convenient online and offline experience.”

The website comes equipped with a range of comprehensive and innovative features, one of which is SpinCar. This technology enables car shoppers to seamlessly rotate the car and be alerted to “Hot Spots,” where one click allows them to learn more about that specific feature.


Female-led gelato brand ‘Nakhati’ launches in Kingdom

Female-led gelato brand ‘Nakhati’ launches in Kingdom
Updated 09 August 2022

Female-led gelato brand ‘Nakhati’ launches in Kingdom

Female-led gelato brand ‘Nakhati’ launches in Kingdom

Kerten Hospitality is launching in Saudi Arabia their first female-led global gelato brand — Nakhati — as part of the company’s focus on ESG-based business practices.

With a flagship store launching in Riyadh this week, Nakhati is a purpose-led gelato brand, which in Saudi Arabia will be driven by Saudi female foodpreneur Eman Fallatah. The franchise-able brand is planned to expand globally led by a local female foodpreneur in each location.

Not only does Nakhati make tasty, premium handcrafted gelato, it also empowers entrepreneurship. By offering a comprehensive suite of high-quality tools developed to encourage growth and empowerment, Nakhati supports the increasing number of women in the region keen to own their franchise and to launch their own careers in business. The plan is to establish 200 outlets by 2024.

The main force behind Nakhati’s Riyadh store, Fallatah has supported the launch and growth of multiple F&B businesses and projects in Saudi Arabia, including those led by the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Higher Education, Almarai, and the Diriyah Gate Biennale. She also mentors young cooks and chefs, and has worked as a food stylist supporting local and international brands entering the Saudi market.

“Sweets and desserts have always been popular with consumers in the region, but typically they were lower quality, imported products,” said Fallatah. “Regional demand is increasing for higher quality, premium products versus low-quality commoditized items, and this is where Nakhati comes in.”

Flavors will include traditional popular gelato varieties given a Nakhati twist, such as organic roast pistachio, mascarpone with local honey and walnuts, and hazelnut with chocolate rocks, as well as those inspired by Saudi traditions and regions, such as the popular karak tea drink, traditional desserts from the Najd region, and roses from Taif. All combined with traditional Italian techniques, true Italian gelato bases, and only produced with the most state-of-the-art Italian equipment, to produce the best of both worlds.

Commenting on some of the signature serves, Fallatah said: “We have been working hard with our key equipment partners to bring some fantastic innovations and firsts for the region. Imagine if you could keep your hands warm while eating gelato ... hot gelato buns is all we will give away at this stage.” She also highlighted a beverage program using Nakhati’s exclusive recipes with all products made on site, such as the Vegan Iced Mocha, crafted and packaged in-house using signature vegan dark chocolate gelato.

With consumers these days being savvier about the quality of products, there is also more focus on a healthier lifestyle, and Nakhati’s 50 percent lower fat content than similar products will appeal to health-conscious consumers.

“As a female Saudi foodpreneur, I’m excited to be launching Nakhati, a brand that builds collaborations and offers opportunities to help women embark on their own entrepreneurship journeys,” added Fallatah.

With more than 40 projects in development across 12 lifestyle-driven concepts on three continents, Kerten Hospitality’s latest launch is another example of the brand’s strong commitment to environmental, social and governance values and responsible community-based business practices.


Bupa Arabia tops global and regional rankings

Bupa Arabia tops global and regional rankings
Updated 09 August 2022

Bupa Arabia tops global and regional rankings

Bupa Arabia tops global and regional rankings

As businesses worldwide struggled to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis last year, Bupa Arabia continued to shine, as it dominated a number of regional and international awards as well as global rankings in the health insurance, digital innovation and sustainability categories, among others.

The health insurer topped Brand Finance’s list of the most valuable insurance companies in the Middle East in 2021, a testament to Bupa Arabia’s efforts in providing innovative healthcare services to millions of people, within the framework of the Council of Cooperative Health Insurance.

Bupa Arabia was the top insurance company in Forbes Middle East’s annual ranking of the 100 most powerful companies in the region for 2021, which includes the largest, most profitable, and most valuable companies in the Middle East.

Tal Nazer, CEO of Bupa Arabia, said the company’s presence in the Forbes Middle East and Brand Finance rankings, acknowledges the success of its strategy of adapting to the needs of the evolving industry, making a difference in healthcare, and most importantly, improving its members’ health.

Bupa Arabia also placed 13th on Brand Finance’s most valuable brands in Saudi Arabia rankings, six places ahead of its position in the previous year’s rankings. This success is driven by a growth in its brand value by 22.7 percent, increasing it to $618 million.

In other achievements, International Business magazine named Tal Nazer as the “Best CEO of Insurance Company in 2021,” and Bupa Arabia as the “Best Health Insurance Company of 2021.”

The health insurer also won the “Best Innovation for a Health Insurance Product” recognition for its Bupa Parents service, and was named the “Best Leading Investor Relations in Insurance” for applying the highest quality standards in customer service and products in 2020, by the US Journal of World Economic Magazine.

Bupa Arabia was also named the “Middle East Health Insurance Company” at the Middle East Insurance Industry Awards — supervised by Ernst and Young. It won the “Best Health Insurance Company of 2021” and “Digital Innovation in the Health Insurance Sector” awards at the Golden Shield Awards for Excellence, held on the sidelines of the InsureTek Regional Conference. Meanwhile, at the 2021 Global Business Outlook Awards, it won the “Best Health Insurance Provider Award” and “Digital Innovation Award in the Insurance Sector” for its Tebtom program.

Nazer said the multiple award wins reflect Bupa Arabia’s leadership in digital transformation in the insurance sector. The company recently launched the revolutionary Bupa Click service, aiming to provide “integrated healthcare with one touch.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has not affected our performance, thanks to the continuous efforts of the team that deserves gratitude and appreciation. We look forward to continue developing our services, so that we always remain at the forefront,” Nazer said.