Press Release

January 27, 2014

Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards 2013 winners revealed

Gulf Capital SMEInfo Awards 2013 Night Highlights

After a rigorous seven-month search,  the winners of the 2013 Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards were finally announced last night

Evaluating hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses which demonstrated outstanding business performance, innovation and growth, MEED’s esteemed panel of judges picked an elite group of dynamic, forward-looking SMEs that have provided employment opportunities to thousands of professionals.  The finalists in all the categories recorded a combined total of AED 850 million in turnover last year, representing a 150% average growth rate in the last two years.

Dr. Karim El Solh, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Capital, one of the leading alternative investment firms in the Middle East and headline sponsor of the annual Gulf Capital SMEinfo Awards, said: “I would like to congratulate all the finalists and winners this evening. They have all truly demonstrated what it takes to be successful entrepreneurs who can build excellent businesses through dedication, innovation and resourcefulness. Gulf Capital supports SME companies through its investing and financing activities and recognizes their importance and contribution to the overall economy.  SMEs are the bloodline of the regional economy and many of the region’s largest conglomerates and family businesses started originally as small businesses in the first place.  I am convinced that a number of our finalists and winners today will become the future leaders and large employers of tomorrow.”

In a glittering ceremony held at the Joharah Ballroom of the Madinat Jumeirah, nine top performing SMEs and two outstanding entrepreneurs took centre stage as the best among their peers in the UAE.

This year’s Gulf Capital Business of the Year winner is popular F&B brand Just Falafel, which since its establishment in 2007, has experienced extraordinary growth establishing presence in 7 countries and 1500 stores in 11 additional countries sold into. Their unique concept is one of the fastest growing in the world.

The evening was a smashing success for Smashing! Cleaning Services, a specialist hygiene cleaning company, which has developed into a multi faceted facility support services company offering over 32 different services. For its impressive growth and sustainable business practices, Smashing Cleaning Services won the MasterCard Small Business of the Year and the Sustainable Initiative of the Year awards. The company’s Managing Director, Leny Day, whose tireless dedication to growing her business earned for her the honour of being this year’s Regus Business Leader of the Year winner. Day is the second consecutive woman to win this award.

The RSA Start-up Business of the Year honour belonged to Platinum Heritage Tourism, which leveraged its growth on Dubai’s booming tourism sector by providing exotic adventure tours. In only its first season, the company has become the #1 activity on Tripadvisor and has become the frontrunners in tourism sustainability with the use of renewable energies, preservation of culture and heritage and sourcing services locally.

In support of the UAE’s call for entrepreneurial growth in the country, an Emirati Business of the Year category was set up to honour the most successful Emirati-owned SMEs. Founded by UAE national Tala Badri, this year’s winner is Centre for Musical Arts, Dubai’s first Emirati-owned and managed community music centre offering instrumental music education to over 1200 students of all ages and abilities.

Online real estate portal scooped the Online Business of the Year award, on the strength of its spectacular growth – from its humble beginnings in the UAE to having offices in Egypt and Qatar and becoming the property portal of choice for sellers, buyers and brokers.

Meanwhile, Micro Automation Industries won Business Innovation of the Year award for successfully developing its own brand of power protection and electronic controllers for the mass market and the industrial community. In 2009, the company even set up its own innovation and incubation centre in Belgium for knowledge development and SMT assembly.

The Customer Focus of the Year award went to E-Walls Studio, an SME that provides decorative solutions for residential interiors and commercial premises that are imaginative, economic and easy to apply. Offering the flexibility to order items online, or to create unique bespoke projects and designs, E-Walls has succeeded in focusing on addressing customer needs, and exceeding their expectations for top notch service. 

Innovative HR Solutions (IHS), the market leader within the GCC region for assessment and development, is this year’s winner of the DHL People and Culture of the Year award. It boasts the largest team of organisational psychologists and leadership development specialists within the Middle East.

Finally, the Grant Thornton Entrepreneur of the Year award was given to Prabissh Thomas, Founder and Group MD of PTL Solar, winning this award for the second consecutive year. Under Thomas’ enterprising leadership, PTL Solar has become a market leader in providing world class reliable solar energy solutions across Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

“Congratulations to all the winners. It has been a truly amazing year for the awards programme which received a record number of entrants. The Awards not only celebrate outstanding achievements among SMEs, but also become a more proactive intelligence support system for the sector,” says Becky Crayman, Head of MEED Awards, Middle East and Africa.