The Middle East is home to some of the world’s most impressive and trailblazing business persons making waves in various industries. As we look forward to 2023, it will be interesting to see which entrepreneurs stand out for their innovative approaches and creative problem-solving in this ever-changing region. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at ten business people who should certainly be kept on our radar as they strive to achieve great things over the next few years!
Here are some entrepreneurs and business persons impacting the Middle East.
Hassan Hariry, +971 Cyber Security
Hassan Hariry is a global security expert with core specialities in cyber security. He is the Founder – CEO of XDS Levant, a company with over 10 years of expertise in the security industry, and a Founding Partner of Plus 971 Cyber Security, a Cyber Security company headquartered in Dubai, UAE. He is also a Founding member of the “Mediterranean Association for Development of Youth” (MADY), an Arab NGO targeting community development through youth innovation and financial inclusion.
Over the years, Mr. Hariry consolidated his skills to become fully proficient in managing projects involving Risk Management & Mitigation, Performance Monitoring, Crisis Management, and Intelligence Systems for both public and private sectors. His acumen and expertise in the field of Security have led him to build alliances with key organisations in the industry worldwide, in addition to establishing a significant network.
Hassan has worked in the four corners of the world with highly qualified experts, analysts, and engineers in highly challenging and sensitive environments, deploying his innovative and entrepreneurial spirit to further enhance the culture of security.
He was able to build a professional team consisting of individuals of high technical calibre who have proven to be highly flexible and adaptable.
Hassan serves as a technical adviser and consultant to a wide range of entities and governments in his field of expertise, securing him a wide network of global connections
Hassan regularly appears on regional and global media to raise awareness of security and cyber security developments and concerns.
Rabih Fakhreddine, 7 Management
Rabih Fakhreddine is the Founder and CEO of 7Managment, a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, and a father of two who is behind some of the region’s best homegrown hospitality concepts. After graduating from the American University of Beirut in 2006 with a degree in Business Marketing, Rabih started his career in marketing before climbing the managerial ladder for the Levant region at British American Tobacco.
Rabih has always been passionate about the hospitality industry, even organising events & investing in bars whilst at university. He deviated from the corporate world to follow his deep seeded aspirations to achieve great things in the F&B and entertainment industry, equipped with an unwavering vision of growth and evolution.
In 2015, Rabih founded 7 Management with the inaugural launch of Seven Sisters in the heart of Beirut. Since then, Rabih has been firmly at the helm of the process from conceptualisation to fruition, which has led to an accelerated brand expansion from Beirut to Dubai, Doha, and KSA, with plans to move into N America, Europe, and Africa.
Rabih is well known and highly reputed in the Middle East as a hospitality visionary with a penchant for creating stellar homegrown concepts, including Antika, Black Flamingo & Sayf, and The Theater, February 30, B018.DXB, Café Beirut, and Lucia’s. He is a champion of curating a unique, experiential offering at each of his venues that ensures an engaged and loyal clientele.
He is a member of the Young Presidents Organization UAE (YPO) – UAE Chapter and the Global Smile Foundation board member. He was named Best Nightlife Entrepreneur of the Year in 2022 and included in the Middle East F&B Power 50 List. He was also featured on the Hotel & Catering News, Middle East Top 30 Hospitality Heavyweights list as one of the region’s Top CEOs.
Nizam Deen Ibrahim, Cogent Solutions Event Management
Nizam Deen Ibrahim, Founder, and CEO of “Cogent Solutions Event Management” also known as CS Events. The company made its mark in the region’s events industry in just 24 months, as the AED 13.1 Billion sector grew with Dubai Expo 2020. Under the leadership of Nizam Deen Ibrahim, CS Events has grown from “zero to 10 million+ USD empire” in valuation within this short span of time – and during the most difficult time in history.
Nizams’ CS Events has rolled out an ambitious lineup of Virtual, Hybrid, and Physical business conferences that not only solve business development challenges but also raised the industry’s contribution to Dubai’s economy from Dh13.1 billion (US$3.56 billion) to a much higher level. CS Events now has a sheer portfolio of clients that’s hard to get for any big events agency, needless to say, a young one.
A bigger milestone of Nizam is that “The Global Authority on Workplace Culture” recognised his leadership and carried out an employee survey at his company to measure the work satisfaction of CS Events’ employees. Results were overwhelming, and every employee scored that they are 100% happy and satisfied with their workplace, leadership, and work culture, which is now recognized as a “Great Place to Work®”.
Thought to be the youngest graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (Degree with Honours) in Business Administration at the age of 18 from the University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom. Nizam Deen is also the youngest graduate to complete a Master of Science in Business Management from the same University at the age of 21. He is currently on the journey, to making CS Events a “Unicorn” in the events industry while aiming to pursue his Ph.D. in Business & Leadership.
At 30 years old, Nizam Deen is the “Founder and CEO of a ten million+ USD empire” in valuation and certainly an Inspiring Business Persons To Watch in The Middle East.
Majed M. Sherbiny, Sherbiny
Majed M. Sherbiny is a business leader with over 17 years of experience in the Oil and Gas, Engineering, Luxury, and Real Estate Investment sectors. He aims to expand the horizon of what is possible in the MENA region and fulfill Saudi Vision 2030 by investing in the best talent and technologies to diversify the local economy.
Majed grew up in Saudi Arabia within his family’s business. After completing a degree in Chemistry in the USA, he returned to Saudi Arabia and took a leadership role in the company, rising to CEO. He has transformed Sherbiny from a traditional trading business into a local industrial manufacturer with international ambitions, including opening multiple international offices across three different continents.
Sherbiny is investing in local manufacturing and partnering with other leading international companies, is building the only sustainable industrial complex in Saudi Arabia, and plans to IPO in the next couple of years. Under Majed’s leadership, Sherbiny Group has expanded to include investments in luxury yachts, lifestyle brands, entertainment, real estate, and talent management. Majed believes in technology and its applications and sees the next boom in business in the shift toward automation and artificial intelligence.
Maya Zakhour, NetApp
Maya Zakhour is Channel Sales Director – Eastern Europe, META, Iberia, and Latin America. Maya is an accomplished, result-driven sales professional with more than 20 years of channel and sales experience at leading international companies, including B2B high-tech enterprises.
In her current role, Maya manages NetApp’s regional Channel, Distribution, and Alliances landscape and focuses on growing channel coverage across Eastern Europe, META, Iberia, and Latin America. She works on building a strong partner ecosystem in the region and leads the teams’ efforts in applying partner and pathways strategies. Additionally, Maya focuses on developing the company’s services business through partners and overseeing the commercial and velocity business.
Maya has served in several senior positions and supervised major organisational operations with some of the region’s top companies. Before joining NetApp, she was Channel Director for the Middle East at Fortinet, Strategic Alliance Manager at Dimension Data, and Channel Development Manager and Partner Account Manager for UAE at Microsoft.
Marius Ciavola, Tradeling
Marius Ciavola is the CEO of Tradeling, the leading B2B marketplace in the Middle East, connecting global suppliers with the region’s markets. With Ciavola at the helm of Tradeling’s operations, the company has witnessed significant growth since its inception in February 2020.
As a seasoned leader, Ciavola has demonstrated a knack for guiding, motivating, and directing individuals and groups to work synergistically towards a common goal; his leadership style has proved to positively impact the behaviour of those around him in a positive manner, and his vast expertise in the Middle East’s e-commerce space which came to be shaped by his role in Souq and Amazon helped him, others. The company as a whole to surpass ambitious business goals and deliver revolutionary technological innovations.
By instilling tenacity, resilience, care, self-belief, and teamwork and fostering a strong company culture that is built on diversity and inclusion, Ciavola has provided his team with purpose, clarity, and inspiration that has accordingly resulted in Tradeling’s rapid expansion across the region in just under a three-year span.
Ciavola’s presence and character have facilitated a number of collaborations with like-minded companies and industry leaders, as well as drove the growth of Tradeling’s product selection which has grown to more than one million SKUs across 14 categories. His consistent track record of positioning organisations for success, spurring significant growth, opening new revenue streams, and building high-performing teams that demonstrate profound dedication to excellence has placed him at the forefront of e-commerce development in the UAE and across the region.
Zoran Radovanovic, Breinrock
Zoran Radovanovic, CEO and Founder of Breinrock, is leading the way forward within the Neo banking Arena by opening new offices in Dubai to give Breinrock a solid physical footprint to enter new markets within the MENA region. Breinrock offers multi-currency IBAN’s (USD-EUR-GBP-CAD), alongside cross-border and local payment routes. Recently they established their own cryptocurrency, BRNC, used only for payments benched against the EURO.
With a global team of experts and offices in Toronto, London, and Cyprus, Breinrock looks forward to building new Partnerships and business opportunities for Corporate and Private Individuals to facilitate fast and secure payments both locally and internationally.
Radovanovic went further and stated, “We only had one location in mind for our office, which was within the DIFC. Breinrock is soon to become a world-leading provider of payments, banking, and transaction solutions, so it is only fitting that we are with other leading global financial institutions. Our goal has always been to improve the customer experience when they use Breinrock and not to have it as another empty marketing slogan. Moreover, we aim to improve clients’ knowledge and understanding of the complexities of how a transaction works. Imparting our knowledge to our clients also helps their brands, enabling a more effective banking solution”.
Breinrock’s rise to prominence has been based upon offering a consultative approach to their clients and welcomes both existing and prospective clients visiting any of their global offices.
Habib Ahmed, Esad Services Group
Habib has been in the services industry for over 25 years and has led various growth and transformation of the businesses such as Facilities Management, People Solutions, Outsourcing, Specialized, Shared, Corporate Services, and more.
As CEO of ESAD SERVICES GROUP, the strategic objective is to transform the traditional operating model into a state-of-the-art multiservice organisation where customers receive desired output from each assigned expert and management. Our integrated one-stop services are known for their high quality, adherence to professional standards, and ethical codes guided by our client satisfaction ethos.
Having 15,000+ highly skilled employees, people leading the successful business has always been the pride and priority to engage them at each level to identify their aptitude for certain roles and responsibilities.
Spearheading “The Way Forward” and immense growth in KSA, Habib closely works with the Board of Directors to ensure organisational enhancement in parallel with business expansion.
Rajat Kaura, Radix Media MENA
As the Head of Creative Strategy at Radix Media MENA, Rajat Kaura has spent the last five years building an agency and a culture of respect from the ground up. Today, the agency prides itself on being a strategic communication partner to over 30 brands, some of which are the biggest names across Banking & Finance, FMCG, & Retail in the Middle East.
As a Creative Business Leader, having spent years across global agencies, he believes that the onus lies with the agencies to ask the right questions and that creativity’s integral role is to grow the client’s business. He believes that the overall market impetus in the Middle East is headed in the right direction. The challenge lies in navigating the need gap with positive outcome strategies while ensuring faster turnarounds. He is a creative leader who understands that information has replaced human attention. To that end, he is best known for working closely with clients in the trenches to deliver ideas that drive traction and impact. On a personal front, he strongly believes that both passion and purpose should drive ambition. However, as per him, his greatest assets are not his awards but rather the business wins at the agency level, which has resulted in a robust network of industry peers & friends.
As a firm advocate of empathy, he believes that true leadership is about putting people first. Yet, at the same time, it’s about identifying and channelizing team strength towards shared strategic goals. He has currently engaged in better understanding the evolving principles of the new social age, breaking down the attention economy and strategies for a hyper-socialised world.
Rami J. Saheb, Alhadaf Intl. Co
Rami J. Saheb is the Founder and CEO of Alhadaf Intl. Co and Chairman of the Board for Bustami & Saheb Group, born in Amman, Jordan. Together with his incredible wife of 25 years, he has grown his family with four wonderful kids.
After graduating with a degree in Accounting in 1996, he joined Bustami & Saheb Group as the CFO. Driven and ambitious, he started a new business concept in 1998 – with 60 SQM and one employee. His company is now a leading food packaging & disposables 26,000 SQM company with 280 employees. With 16 in-house production lines and over 2000 SKUs, they have a presence in 23 countries globally. A true believer in women’s empowerment, Rami encourages the involvement of women in all sectors of business and currently has a workforce that consists of more than 30% of women.
Rami is a proud member of Endeavor’s global network of entrepreneurs and was chosen as a representative of the Jordanian industrial in the royal committee to build the economic vision of Jordan for the coming ten years.