Industry: Culture and society
Company: Crescent Enterprises
Designation: CEO and entrepreneur
One of the UAE’s best known businessmen, 35-year-old Jafar is chief executive of Sharjah-based Crescent Enterprises and much more besides. He explained in an interview with Arabian Business’ sister title CEO Middle East last October: “My career so far has been a journey of interlinked paths — one with the family business [Crescent Group] and others being my own initiatives and start-ups — and both continue to benefit the other.”
Among his ventures are the Pearl Initiative, a not-for-profit he founded with the United Nations Office for Partnerships in 2010 to improve corporate transparency across the Gulf. He is a staunch advocate of entrepreneurship and a member of numerous bodies to support SMEs, including the Global Board of Education for Employment and Synergos Arab World Social Innovators. He also chairs the Alumni Advisory Council of the Cambridge University Judge Business School in the UK, where he gained his MST after studying at Eton College and then Cambridge University. Jafar is as comfortable in the recording studio as in the boardroom — in 2011 he and legendary producer Quincy Jones released an Arabic charity single entitled ‘Tomorrow/Bokra’, presented by pop star Shakira and featuring 26 Arab artists to raise money for educational arts projects for disadvantaged youth across the MENA region. The same year, Jafar and Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey launched a not-for-profit theatre academy in the Middle East.