Yusuff Ali, chairman and managing director of Lulu Group International, attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) India Economic Summit in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. The summit runs until October 7. Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg
Lulu's projects are being developed in New Cairo, 6th October City and El Obour. Bloomberg

From schools to hospitals, Kerala businessmen leave imprint on UAE



From supermarket magnates to industrialists who have built education conglomerates or established hospitals, some of the UAE’s biggest business names come from India’s Kerala state.

A large portion of the one million people from Kerala who work in the UAE are employed as nurses, drivers, technicians, electricians and accountants.

But there are also those who can be found in the self-made billionaires list and philanthropists who give back to the community by building local schools and clinics.

Yusuff Ali, managing director of the UAE-based Lulu Group left a village in Kerala for a job in his uncle’s distribution business in the 1970s. Described by Forbes as the Middle East’s retail king, his group owns close to 140 hypermarkets and supermarkets across the Middle East, Africa, India and the far East.

Handed the Queen’s Award last year for his contribution to international trade and employment generation in the UK, Mr Ali has diversified into hotel development and food processing.

Dr Azad Moopen, chairman of the DM Healthcare group, spearheads a healthcare chain that operates 18 hospitals, close to 100 clinics and more than 200 pharmacies in the Middle East and India.

A general physician who taught at a government medical college in Kerala, he moved to Dubai in 1987 to help an Indian doctor in an Ajman clinic.

Mr Moopen runs a foundation to help women and the elderly.

One of the most successful education entrepreneurs, Sunny Varkey, is the son of teachers who migrated to Dubai in 1959. Gems Education, of which Mr Varkey is founder, now runs more than 70 schools in 14 countries.

Mr Varkey’s group funds the training of thousands of teachers in programmes in Africa.

_______________

Read more:

_______________

Joy Alukkas’s father Varghese opened the family’s first jewellery showroom in Kerala in 1956. The younger Alukkas grew the business globally with a UAE showroom in 1987.  Joyalukkas is a household name in gold and diamond jewellery in the Middle East and India with more than 90 outlets.

Kerala has produced the most successful industrialists, said Sripriyaa Kumaria, director general of the India Trade and Exhibition centre.

“The Gulf was the most conducive environment for start-ups and saw the rise of entrepreneurs in the early 1980s from being just immigrants in the 1960s,” she said.

“Keralites being the most educated and skilled were an added asset and fuelled the chain reaction of SME growth and facilitated the growth of larger industries. Kerala migrants are no more takers but are givers in the UAE and back home.”

Four motivational quotes from Alicia's Dubai talk

“The only thing we need is to know that we have faith. Faith and hope in our own dreams. The belief that, when we keep going we’re going to find our way. That’s all we got.”

“Sometimes we try so hard to keep things inside. We try so hard to pretend it’s not really bothering us. In some ways, that hurts us more. You don’t realise how dishonest you are with yourself sometimes, but I realised that if I spoke it, I could let it go.”

“One good thing is to know you’re not the only one going through it. You’re not the only one trying to find your way, trying to find yourself, trying to find amazing energy, trying to find a light. Show all of yourself. Show every nuance. All of your magic. All of your colours. Be true to that. You can be unafraid.”

“It’s time to stop holding back. It’s time to do it on your terms. It’s time to shine in the most unbelievable way. It’s time to let go of negativity and find your tribe, find those people that lift you up, because everybody else is just in your way.”

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Tips to keep your car cool
  • Place a sun reflector in your windshield when not driving
  • Park in shaded or covered areas
  • Add tint to windows
  • Wrap your car to change the exterior colour
  • Pick light interiors - choose colours such as beige and cream for seats and dashboard furniture
  • Avoid leather interiors as these absorb more heat
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

The studios taking part (so far)
  1. Punch
  2. Vogue Fitness 
  3. Sweat
  4. Bodytree Studio
  5. The Hot House
  6. The Room
  7. Inspire Sports (Ladies Only)
  8. Cryo
What is the FNC?

The Federal National Council is one of five federal authorities established by the UAE constitution. It held its first session on December 2, 1972, a year to the day after Federation.
It has 40 members, eight of whom are women. The members represent the UAE population through each of the emirates. Abu Dhabi and Dubai have eight members each, Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah six, and Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain have four.
They bring Emirati issues to the council for debate and put those concerns to ministers summoned for questioning. 
The FNC’s main functions include passing, amending or rejecting federal draft laws, discussing international treaties and agreements, and offering recommendations on general subjects raised during sessions.
Federal draft laws must first pass through the FNC for recommendations when members can amend the laws to suit the needs of citizens. The draft laws are then forwarded to the Cabinet for consideration and approval. 
Since 2006, half of the members have been elected by UAE citizens to serve four-year terms and the other half are appointed by the Ruler’s Courts of the seven emirates.
In the 2015 elections, 78 of the 252 candidates were women. Women also represented 48 per cent of all voters and 67 per cent of the voters were under the age of 40.
 

Seemar’s top six for the Dubai World Cup Carnival:

1. Reynaldothewizard
2. North America
3. Raven’s Corner
4. Hawkesbury
5. New Maharajah
6. Secret Ambition

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

PREMIER LEAGUE STATS

Romelu Lukaku's goalscoring statistics in the Premier League
Season/club/appearances (substitute)/goals

2011/12 Chelsea: 8(7) - 0
2012/13 West Brom (loan): 35(15) - 17
2013/14 Chelsea: 2(2) - 0
2013/14 Everton (loan): 31(2) - 15
2014/15 Everton: 36(4) - 10
2015/16 Everton: 37(1) - 18
2016/17 Everton: 37(1) - 25

Five expert hiking tips
  • Always check the weather forecast before setting off
  • Make sure you have plenty of water
  • Set off early to avoid sudden weather changes in the afternoon
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear
  • Take your litter home with you
COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

THE SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Transmission: Constant Variable (CVT)

Power: 141bhp 

Torque: 250Nm 

Price: Dh64,500

On sale: Now

More from Armen Sarkissian
The specs

Engine: 1.8-litre 4-cyl turbo
Power: 190hp at 5,200rpm
Torque: 320Nm from 1,800-5,000rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 6.7L/100km
Price: From Dh111,195
On sale: Now

WE NO LONGER PREFER MOUNTAINS

Director: Inas Halabi

Starring: Nijmeh Hamdan, Kamal Kayouf, Sheikh Najib Alou

Rating: 4/5

Your Guide to the Home
  • Level 1 has a valet service if you choose not to park in the basement level. This level houses all the kitchenware, including covetable brand French Bull, along with a wide array of outdoor furnishings, lamps and lighting solutions, textiles like curtains, towels, cushions and bedding, and plenty of other home accessories.
  • Level 2 features curated inspiration zones and solutions for bedrooms, living rooms and dining spaces. This is also where you’d go to customise your sofas and beds, and pick and choose from more than a dozen mattress options.
  • Level 3 features The Home’s “man cave” set-up and a display of industrial and rustic furnishings. This level also has a mother’s room, a play area for children with staff to watch over the kids, furniture for nurseries and children’s rooms, and the store’s design studio.
     
COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded

England's all-time record goalscorers:
Wayne Rooney 53
Bobby Charlton 49
Gary Lineker 48
Jimmy Greaves 44
Michael Owen 40
Tom Finney 30
Nat Lofthouse 30
Alan Shearer 30
Viv Woodward 29
Frank Lampard 29

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Date started: 2020
Founders: Khaldoon Bushnaq and Tariq Seksek
Based: Abu Dhabi Global Market
Sector: HealthTech
Number of staff: 100
Funding to date: $15 million

SPEC SHEET: NOTHING PHONE (2a)

Display: 6.7” flexible Amoled, 2412 x 1080, 394ppi, 120Hz, Corning Gorilla Glass 5

Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro, 4nm, octa-core

Memory: 8/12GB

Capacity: 128/256GB

Platform: Android 14, Nothing OS 2.5

Main camera: Dual 50MP main, f/1.88 + 50MP ultra-wide, f/2.2; OIS, EIS, auto-focus, ultra XDR, night mode

Main camera video: 4K @ 30fps, full-HD @ 60fps; slo-mo full-HD at 120fps

Front camera: 32MP wide, f/2.2

Battery: 5000mAh; 50% in 30 mins w/ 45w charger

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Google Pay)

Biometrics: Fingerprint, face unlock

I/O: USB-C

Durability: IP54, limited protection from water/dust

Cards: Dual-nano SIM

Colours: Black, milk, white

In the box: Nothing Phone (2a), USB-C-to-USB-C cable, pre-applied screen protector, SIM tray ejector tool

Price (UAE): Dh1,199 (8GB/128GB) / Dh1,399 (12GB/256GB)


Latest
Most Read
Top Videos

The UAE Today

The latest news and analysis from the Emirates

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      The UAE Today