Company: Danube Building Materials
Wealth: 230 Million
Rizwan Sajan is a great example of an Indian expat who has persevered and reaped the benefits. He started off in Kuwait shortly after university, working as a construction salesman, but was forced to flee to Dubai after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of the country. Though he was earning very little when he first arrived, over the years, the determination of this self-made businessman meant he was able to raise enough capital to set up his own trading company.
“Initially I took up a job in a hardware store earning a mere AED1,500 ($408.3) per month. Some time later I decided to start my own company with the AED88,000 ($23,959) cash I had saved,” he said in an interview with Middle East Interiors. “I founded an indenting company, which earns money on the commission from selling goods previously bought from a supplier to a buyer.”
And, of course, he struck success, entering the market just in time for the construction boom. Even during the downturn, thanks to Sajan’s dedication and strong leadership, the company still managed to make a profit.
Today, Danube Building Materials has an annual turnover of well over AED1bn and is currently in the process of expanding its Buildmart chain of retail stores for building material and interior furnishings.
The firm, which has been involved in several major projects across the GCC, including the Burj Al Arab, the Atlantis Hotel, and the Burj Khalifa, is also a partner to some of world’s leading international brands in the building materials industry, including Chemetal, Alubond, Euro Spec, Emirates Steel and Ecco. A top supplier, it has 15,000 products under one roof and is set for further expansion in the years ahead.
In December 2010, Sajan’s efforts were acknowledged to a wider audience. Named ‘Businessman of the year’ at the Ahlan! Masala Awards, he was cited for his leadership in increasing the growth despite the economic downturn, particularly with the launch of the Buildmart chain. Sajan recently inaugurated an AED50m store in Abu Dhabi, and an AED15m store in Dubai’s Ibn Battuta Mall.