The event highlights the biggest achievers and self-starters within the UAE’s growing start-up and SME sector.
Some of the UAE’s most successful and innovative start-ups, entrepreneurs, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and their most active support institutions have been commended at the second Arabian Business StartUp Awards on Wednesday.
Taking part in the gala dinner held at the Westin Mina Seyahi Resort & Marina, twelve stars of the UAE’s entrepreneur community were presented with awards, with Abdulla Al Mannaei from Emirates Auction picking up the coveted Special Recognition Award.
Each of the twelve categories featured five nominees and the editorial judging panel had to extend the list of hopefuls in certain categories due to a record 682 nominations received this year.
The event featured two guest speakers who both, each in his own way, help educate, encourage, and engage creative and innovative entrepreneurial minds in the UAE – Essa Al Zaabi, general coordinator of Tejar Dubai, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Fadi Malas, former CEO of Just Falafel and a mentor of numerous Dubai-based start-ups.
The most-sought after award – Start-up of the Year – was presented to Telr, a Dubai and Singapore-based payment gateway, whose revolutionary multi-lingual and multi-currency payment has proved to be a vital component of the broader start-up landscape. Having merged with Innovative Payments, received Series A funding from Hatcher and iMENA, and partnered with Aramex, the company has gone from strength to strength throughout the year.
The winner of the SME of the Year was Big On Children which was praised by the judges for its rapid growth and geographical expansion since the launch of its first flagship store in Dubai two years ago. Bringing previously unavailable educational and children-oriented products to the MENA region, it has expanded not only across the MENA region but has also secured a kiosk at the legendary New York toy store, FAO Schwarz.
Awarded with the Entrepreneur of the Year award, Hisham Al Gurg, group CEO of SEED Group, is also one of the UAE’s leading lights when it comes to entrepreneurship and investment. With almost two decades of experience in setting up and running new businesses across MENA in a variety of sectors.
Among many other appointments, Al Gurg was recruited by the Private Office of HH Sheikh Saeed Bin Ahmed Al Maktoum to be an investment advisor, as well as being the CEO of Al Fajer Investments and Development – the investment division of Al Fajer Enterprises, a holding group of companies owned by HH Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum.
Founder of Sail E-Magazine, Iman Ben Chaibah won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, while founder of the Hissah Enrichment Centre Lama Younis was presented the award for Women in Business.
The Start-up Programme of the Year award was collected by Raja Al Gurg, president of The Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC), for their female entrepreneurship programme Ro’Ya, while the SME Leader of the Year trophy went to Marcel Khairallah of Traffik360.
Mentor of the Year winner was announced as Liam Mooney of Fit For Business, SME Bank of the Year was named as Mashreq, and Innovation of the Year went to Gaurav Sinha for Travel Marketing Council.
SellAnyCar.com was named as the winner of the Digital Business of the Year category, while Majed Al Suwaidi, managing director of DIC and DOZ, collected the Incubator/Accelerator of the Year award for in5, an innovation hub hosted by DIC to assists entrepreneurs with establishing their business within the TECOM Free Trade Zone.
The Arabian Business StartUp Awards was presented by platinum sponsor du, alongside associate sponsor Dubai Chamber, silver sponsor Elance O-Desk, and category sponsor University of Wollongong, as well as Manchester Business School.
Full list of winners:
Start-up of the Year: Telr
SME of the Year: Big On Children
Entrepreneur of the Year: Hisham Al Gurg, SEED Group
Special Recognition Award: Abdulla Al Mannaei, Emirates Auction
Women in Business: Lama Younis, the Hissah Enrichment Centre
SME Leader of the Year: Marcel Khairallah, Traffik360
Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Iman Ben Chaibah, Sail E-Magazine
Mentor of the Year: Liam Mooney, Fit For Business
Start-up Programme of the year: Ro’Ya programme, The Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC)
Innovation of the Year: Travel Marketing Council
SME Bank of the Year: Mashreq
Incubator / Accelerator of the Year: In5
Digital Business of the Year: SellAnyCar.com