It's difficult to prod a CEO into telling their story. It's even more difficult to get an entire bunch of them candidly remembering their early days and throwing out tips for success. But that's exactly what we've done. As part of a series for Thomson Reuters Zawya's Business Pulse, Dubai copywriter and experienced journo Hisham Wyne goes behind the scenes to interview the CEOs and entrepreneurs behind the UAE’s better-known brands. What makes them succeed? Is it grit? Ambition? Luck? Let's find out.


Ravi's dash of flavor accentuates Dubai food scene

It has been serving delicious curries in Satwa for 36 years. It gets through half a ton of wheat a day and serves 2,500 to 3,000 patrons every 24 hours. Snoop Dog referred to it during his stay in Dubai. The BBC has covered it, and Emirates Airlines has included it in a shoot on Dubai’s attractions. Click here to read the article

Barakat’s business model bears fruit

Subramanian, or J.R. as the market calls him, now presides over a business that generates over AED 1 billion (USD 272 million) in revenue annually. It sees 70 tons of fruit and vegetables come to port every single day, alongside an additional 25 tons of airfreight. Click here to read the article

The One takes over the world, one room at a time

The One’s proposition is stunningly simple – furniture personally designed by a small team and positioned for a middle-tier market. “There’s no special talent in making things expensive. But making beautiful things at a reasonable price is tricky. 75% of all the items at The One are designed by me and another two people,” said Thomas Lundgren, founder and personality behind The One furniture chain. Click here to read the article

Man'oushe Street bakes its way to success

When Jihad El Eit ventured into a hotly contested F&B sector with his Man’oushe Street Lebanese bakery, he couldn’t tell one end of a loaf from the other. But the Lebanese-Argentinian did have two things going for him. Click here to read the article

El Nezami: Making a Dubai stopover on way to success

The chairman of Victoria Group, Amin El Nezami, is a dapper, affable man. He is the scion of a business family that started operating in Cairo circa 1919. With a paternal grandfather dealing in metals and the maternal one operating a textiles plant, business runs in his veins. Yet his journey in the UAE was less about old privilege and more about an insistent providence conspiring to keep him in the country, as he tells it. Click here to read the article

Al Madani threads its way through UAE history

Shaikh Abdul Rahman Al Madani is called the royal tailor for good reason. He has been making kanduras for royalty since the time of the late Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum – Sheikh Mohammad’s grandfather. Click here to read the article

CeeCode designs a success story

Creative director of CeeCode Handbags Cynthia Pennikian appreciates new designers. After all, she is one of them. But according to her, one of the biggest dangers facing the local fashion industry is the dilution by hobby designers, who don't have a game plan past the first few successful months and their acceptance to the first department store. Click here to read the article drives through online success

After 19 people showed up to kick the tires of Saygin Yalcin’s car over a period of six weeks and still refused to buy it, the serial entrepreneur decided something must be done. His answer: promises his new startup will buy absolutely any car, in any condition, guaranteed. Within thirty minutes. Click here to read the article

Idea Spice brings flavor to UAE marketing scene

Not many businesses have been founded on the back of a certain budget furniture store’s return policy. But without it, Sajith Ansar wouldn’t have had the funds to open up design agency Idea Spice. Click here to read the article

Heavy lifting starts to pay off for Gold’s Gym

When Ali Al Samahi took charge of Al Ahli Group’s Gold’s Gym venture in 2012, the chain had already opened five gyms. Two years later, he’s more than doubled that number to hit 12. But his most challenging goal, he says, is to open a further 10 gyms within 2014’s remaining months. Click here to read the article

Jebel Ali club counts years of unbridled success

“Warm bloods make the best show jumpers,” says Farhang Sadeghi, patting the shiny flank of a handsome equine nuzzling up to him. He’s referring to the middleweight breed occupying the space between shire powerhouses and light Arabians. He would know. Click here to read the article

Rainbow: Capturing UAE taste buds is ticket to success

The Rainbow Steakhouse has been a part of the UAE's collective palate since 1978. Started by Johnson Manjooran, it has since served countless customers- a majority of them UAE nationals- over two and a half decades of operation. Click here to read the article