Emirates success story seeks expansion around the world



The Entertainer plans an international expansion after a "multimillion-dollar" investment deal with Abraaj Capital.

The Dubai company, which sells books of discount coupons for goods and services, says it will launch in six new markets by the end of next year.

Donna Benton, the chief executive of The Entertainer, says the sale of a half stake in the business to a fund managed by Abraaj will expedite the expansion. The Entertainer publishes 13 books covering seven different countries. Potential new markets include Singapore, Lebanon, Hong Kong and Malaysia, she says. Ms Benton, who founded The Entertainer in 2000, explains how the company plans to expand.

q&a

q What will the Abraaj deal allow The Entertainer to do?

a By the end of this year, we'll have 17 books in nine countries. And by the end of 2013, we'll be in 13 countries with 22 books. So it just allows us to escalate a lot quicker - what we could do in four years, we can do in two years.

q Where is the brand expanding?

a We're launching Singapore and Lebanon this year. Asia is a big region for us. We just set up our second office in Singapore, which will launch into Hong Kong, Macau and Malaysia. We're looking to expand into South Africa and … Europe.

q The Entertainer has 50 employees. How will that change?

a We're on a recruitment drive. By the end of the year we'll probably employ another 10 people.

q Does The Entertainer have any plans for a 'group buying' service such as Groupon or LivingSocial?

a No. We're a totally different model than them. You can't plan with those deals … it's more impulse buying. [But group-buying websites have] made more people aware of vouchers. It's actually been quite good for us.

* Ben Flanagan

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Russia's Muslim Heartlands

Dominic Rubin, Oxford

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

ICC Awards for 2021+

MEN

Cricketer of the Year+– Shaheen Afridi+(Pakistan)

T20 Cricketer of the Year+– Mohammad Rizwan+(Pakistan)

ODI Cricketer of the Year+– Babar Azam+(Pakistan)

Test Cricketer of the Year+– Joe Root+(England)

WOMEN

Cricketer of the Year+– Smriti Mandhana+(India)

ODI Cricketer of the Year+– Lizelle Lee+(South Africa)

T20 Cricketer of the Year+– Tammy Beaumont+(England)

Oppenheimer

Director: Christopher Nolan

Stars: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr, Florence Pugh, Matt Damon

Rating: 5/5

Company profile

Company name: Ogram
Started: 2017
Founders: Karim Kouatly and Shafiq Khartabil
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: On-demand staffing
Number of employees: 50
Funding: More than $4 million
Funding round: Series A
Investors: Global Ventures, Aditum and Oraseya Capital

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

US households add $601bn of debt in 2019

American households borrowed another $601 billion (Dh2.2bn) in 2019, the largest yearly gain since 2007, just before the global financial crisis, according to February data from the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Fuelled by rising mortgage debt as homebuyers continued to take advantage of low interest rates, the increase last year brought total household debt to a record high, surpassing the previous peak reached in 2008 just before the market crash, according to the report.

Following the 22nd straight quarter of growth, American household debt swelled to $14.15 trillion by the end of 2019, the New York Fed said in its quarterly report.

In the final three months of the year, new home loans jumped to their highest volume since the fourth quarter of 2005, while credit cards and auto loans also added to the increase.

The bad debt load is taking its toll on some households, and the New York Fed warned that more and more credit card borrowers — particularly young people — were falling behind on their payments.

"Younger borrowers, who are disproportionately likely to have credit cards and student loans as their primary form of debt, struggle more than others with on-time repayment," New York Fed researchers said.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: ASI (formerly DigestAI)

Started: 2017

Founders: Quddus Pativada

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Artificial intelligence, education technology

Funding: $3 million-plus

Investors: GSV Ventures, Character, Mark Cuban

Company profile

Name: WonderTree
Started: April 2016
Co-founders: Muhammad Waqas and Muhammad Usman
Based: Karachi, Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, UAE, and Delaware, US
Sector: Special education, education technology, assistive technology, augmented reality
Number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Growth
Investors: Grants from the Lego Foundation, UAE's Anjal Z, Unicef, Pakistan's Ignite National Technology Fund

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Part three: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

Profile of Whizkey

Date founded: 04 November 2017

Founders: Abdulaziz AlBlooshi and Harsh Hirani

Based: Dubai, UAE

Number of employees: 10+

Sector: AI, software

Cashflow: Dh2.5 Million+ 

Funding stage: Series A

Honeymoonish

Director: Elie El Samaan

Starring: Nour Al Ghandour, Mahmoud Boushahri

Rating: 3/5

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

How to vote in the UAE

1) Download your ballot https://www.fvap.gov/

2) Take it to the US Embassy

3) Deadline is October 15

4) The embassy will ensure all ballots reach the US in time for the November 3 poll

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Electric scooters: some rules to remember
  • Riders must be 14-years-old or over
  • Wear a protective helmet
  • Park the electric scooter in designated parking lots (if any)
  • Do not leave electric scooter in locations that obstruct traffic or pedestrians
  • Solo riders only, no passengers allowed
  • Do not drive outside designated lanes
COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Mental health support in the UAE

● Estijaba helpline: 8001717
● UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention hotline: 045192519
● UAE Mental health support line: 800 4673 (Hope)
More information at hope.hw.gov.ae

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Sav
Started: 2021
Founder: Purvi Munot
Based: Dubai
Industry: FinTech
Funding: $750,000 as of March 2023
Investors: Angel investors

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

RESULTS

1.45pm: Maiden Dh75,000 1,200m
Winner: Lady Parma, Richard Mullen (jockey), Satish Seemar (trainer).
2.15pm: Maiden Dh75,000 1,200m
Winner: Tabernas, Connor Beasley, Ahmed bin Harmash.
2.45pm: Handicap Dh95,000 1,200m
Winner: Night Castle, Connor Beasley, Satish Seemar.
3.15pm: Handicap Dh120,000 1,400m
Winner: Mystique Moon, Sam Hitchcott, Doug Watson.
3.45pm: Handicap Dh80,000 1,400m
Winner: Mutawakked, Szczepan Mazur, Musabah Al Muhairi.
4.15pm: Handicap Dh90,000 1,800m
Winner: Tafaakhor, Sandro Paiva, Ali Rashid Al Raihe.
4.45pm: Handicap Dh80,000 1,950m
Winner: Cranesbill, Fabrice Veron, Erwan Charpy.

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

Director: Francis Lawrence

Stars: Rachel Zegler, Peter Dinklage, Viola Davis, Tom Blyth

Rating: 3/5

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

Brief scores:

Manchester City 2

Gundogan 27', De Bruyne 85'

Crystal Palace 3

Schlupp 33', Townsend 35', Milivojevic 51' (pen)

Man of the Match: Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace)

Combating coronavirus
Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

'Ashkal'

Director: Youssef Chebbi

Stars: Fatma Oussaifi and Mohamed Houcine Grayaa

Rating: 4/5