Successful homegrown Emirati businesses in Dubai

On December 2, the entire country will turn red, white, black and green to celebrate the 44th UAE National Day. Benita Adesuyan highlights where you can join in, and takes a look at some of the up-and-coming, must-know Emirati brands

10 Emirati businesses to watch in 2016 (and check out now!)

This brand puts a new spin on the distinctly Arab sandal. The label was co-founded by four entrepreneurs: Ali Al Youha, Mohammed Kazim, Amine Mamlouk, and Muneera Al Tamimi, of whom the first two are Emirati. Tamashee means walking and compatibility in Arabic, and the brand supports UAE artists by inviting them to create limited-edition shoes, and part of its proceeds go towards the UAE Down Syndrome Association. The brightly coloured leather sandals for men and women are sold at Level Shoe District in The Dubai Mall, and also available to order online.

Madiyah Al Sharqi

Daughter of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Ruler of Fujairah, fashion designer Sheikha Madiyah Al Sharqi launched her eponymous label in 2012, after graduating from renowned French fashion university Esmod, and completing an internship with Lebanese designer Abed Mahfouz. To date, the creative entrepreneur has had collections shown at Dubai’s annual Fashion Forward, and already racked up celebrity fans, including the likes of Kim Kardashian.
Various locations, including Boutique 1,,


Contrived though Dubai’s “food truck revolution” may be, there’s no denying the flurry of interest in meals on wheels. Serving burgers out of a stylish Airstream, Salt was one of the early pioneers of food trucking in Dubai, when it launched late last year. Owned by Emirati businesswoman Amal Al Marri and Saudi food entrepreneur Deem AlBassam, who were inspired by trips to America, the Kite Beach favourite launched itself through social media, starting a treasure hunt – this time, X marked the Salt – and calling on foodies to find it and get their fix. Its concise menu features tasty wagyu beef sliders, a chicken option and fries, and on weekends you’ll often find a queue of hungry sunbathers sweating in line. Just a year after launching, Salt can now also be found in Abu Dhabi’s Mushrif Park and at Ajman’s Marina Promenade.
Kite Beach, Umm Suqeim, @findsalt.

Entrepreneurial brothers Peyman and Mohammed Parham Al Awadhi have brought travel with a twist to viewers of Dubai One, and in the process made something of an export of themselves and Emirati culture, too. Their TV show, Peeta Planet, is a pioneering social travel series, with destinations chosen, sights visited and dishes tasted all based on the brothers’ interactions with fans through social media. Dressed in their kanduras, the duo travel the world, challenging stereotypes and meeting locals who show them the real side of the towns and cities they live in, while exchanging their own stories of UAE culture, traditions and day-to-day life in a thriving Middle Eastern city. Since the series started, the shows have racked up more than 50 million viewers., @peetaplanet.

Gossip Café and Desserts

Founded by Shayma Fawwaz in Sharjah three years ago, Gossip Café and Desserts is on a mission to take over the UAE’s sweet scene. A stylish café primarily selling beautiful cakes and desserts, as well as a more waistline-friendly menu of salads, sandwiches and mains, the sugar-centric concept has proved so popular there are now branches in Abu Dhabi’s The Galleria and Dubai’s BoxPark on Al Wasl Road. The cafés use organic ingredients wherever possible and everything is hand-made, right down to the jam with your afternoon tea, and the colourful macarons on this week's cover. Head to Instagram to salivate over the team’s daily uploads.
BoxPark, Al Wasl Road,, @gossip desserts (04 343 0181).

Sisters Beauty Lounge

With branches in Mall of the Emirates, The Dubai Mall, The Village Mall Jumeirah and Mirdif City Centre, Sisters has come a long way since it was founded in 2003 by Shirin Abulrazak, with a mission to provide high standard, multi-functional beauty services for busy UAE women. Abulrazak named the business after her three daughters, who later headed up the business development. Although no longer involved in the business, Shirin and her daughters continue to act as ambassadors for the brand, which moves from strength to strength. Watch out for the new luxury “pamper pods” in The Dubai Mall branch – the booths alone cost Dhs65,000 each.
Various locations including The Dubai Mall, (04 339 8500)

Alserkal Avenue
It may have only launched in 2007, but since then Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz has grown to become the beating heart of the city’s arts scene. Its founder, Dubai-born Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, has many times described himself as coming from a family that has always appreciated the arts, so the next natural step for him was to provide a platform for the city’s home-grown creatives. Today, the network of galleries in Dubai’s industrial zone is currently undergoing an enormous expansion – one that will double its size with the addition of another 76,200 sq m – adding room for more galleries, coffee shops and creative spaces.
Al Quoz,

Mama Tani Café
Owned by brother and sister Omar and Maitha Alshamsia (the latter gave up her career in law to pursue her restaurant dreams), Mama Tani, meaning “second mother”, specialises in khameer – a traditional Emirati bread made with date syrup, and flavoured with cardamom and saffron. Inspired by their childhood memories of happy family meals, the duo launched their first café in 2013 in Town Centre Jumeirah, where it has gained huge popularity. Emirati fans flock for a taste of their grandmother’s cooking, while expats come in droves to taste authentic flavours.
Town Centre Jumeirah, Jumeirah Beach Road, (04 385 4437).

Dinz Boutique
Founded by sisters Rima and Dina Zahran, Dinz’s ladieswear lines are a riot of colour and eye-popping prints that will ensure you stand out. Not convinced? A quick glance at the label’s Instagram page will see you right. There isn’t much for men, except white or yellow gold-plated dirham coin-inspired cufflinks – but those alone would make a great National Day gift. Rumours of a home accessories line abound. Watch this space., @dinzclothing.


Bringing Khaleeji cuisine to the masses, Logma is the brainchild of Emirati Ahmad Rashid and Lebanese business partner Samer Zayat. The café was three years in development and launched in February this year at BoxPark, Al Wasl Road. The café dishes out fresh khameers, date puddings, lugaimat, as well as savoury rice dishes, sandwiches and salads, and counts His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, among its fans. The owners hope to expand Logma across the GCC.
BoxPark, Al Wasl Road, (800 56462).

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