Meet Hussain Sajwani – The DAMAC Owner & Fearless Risk-Taker
When the desire for boundless growth meets cutting-edge business acumen, great ideas are born. Hussain Sajwani, a UAE serial entrepreneur with vast interests in real estate and catering industries is living proof that one can achieve their wildest dreams provided they remain steadfast in pushing for progress. Born in 1956 in Dubai, Sajwani stood out as a child by excelling both in class and extracurricular activities. This saw him win a government scholarship to the prestigious University of Washington where he went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering and Economics.
Upon graduating, he secured a job with GASCO, a natural gas company that currently operates under the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. It is during his short stint of employment at GASCO that he developed an early interest in catering. He went on set up a small catering venture and day-by-day invested a lot through sweat capital and ingenuity; leading to unprecedented growth. From a tiny facility located in downtown Dubai, Sajwani managed to pool his meager resources to set up an international venture.
Eventually, the company started attracting major customers such as Bechtel (a US construction company) and the US military.
That’s how Global Logistics Services, Hussain’s first major venture, took shape. The company is regularly contracted to supply meals to the US forces in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Further, the firm has diversified into developing small hotels with branches all over Middles East and Africa; serving over 150,000 meals daily.
But the DAMAC owner (as we know him today) did not stop there. Using the proceeds from his first business, he gradually started investing in real estate by acquiring land in undeveloped neighborhoods. This was a rather odd move since the areas did not seem attractive enough for real estate investment at that time. What made Hussain different from other entrepreneurs from the onset is his ability to see opportunities ahead of everyone else. His ability to employ skills learned in the school of economics to draw long-term projections is certainly to thank for this.
Several years down the line, the undeveloped neighborhoods gathered growth momentum attracting expatriates from as far as India and the UK following Dubai’s decision to allow foreigners to own property.
This led to the birth of DAMAC Properties – a pioneering property development and sale company which has since grown to become one of the biggest names in the UAE. The basic idea behind DAMAC was to engage in off plan selling of property and using the funds realized through down payments to set up construction projects.
As it turned out, the timing for this move was perfect since the Dubai property market was headed for a boom. The first tower the company developed, the Marina Terrace, sold out in less than 40 days. With each new tower built by DAMAC, the skyline of Dubai’s once poor neighborhoods changed for the better making the country an attractive jewel for local and global investors alike.
Arguably, what set Hussain apart from other entrepreneurs is his relentless and creative marketing strategy. Over time, and through partnerships with major brands such as Versace and Ferrari, DAMAC has successfully transformed its product range by venturing deeper into the luxury business standards market through value addition and unique branding.
Needless to say, DAMAC is currently the most sought-after development company in the Middle East. The company boasts a market capitalization in the excess of $4.5 Billion and its operations currently span the UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Qatar and the UK.
No doubt, the DAMAC owner’s open-mindedness toward business and the ability to establish wide-spanning networks have catapulted him to the very top of the competitive real estate sector. Having cemented his position at the top of Dubai’s real estate, the business magnate has developed portfolio for more than 44,000 units and successfully delivered in the excess of 20,230 units to satisfied customers. Recently, the company joined hands with Tiger Woods to design one of UAE’s most coveted golf courses known as the Trump World Golf Course.
Clearly, the entrepreneurial world proved to be a natural fit for the billionaire father of four whose ability to transfer business vision into corporate reality comes second to none. His innate desire to conquer new heights has since seen him expand his business interests into the expansive global equity and capital markets. He currently manages a number of diverse investment portfolios in different regional as well as global markets.
The newest kid on Hussain Sajwani’s block is DICO investments Co LLC – an investment company that provides access to equity markets. And that’s not all, the renowned property CEO is currently behind two building material companies namely Al Amana and Al Anwar. The former is based in Oman and mainly deals with general building materials while the latter is a pioneer manufacturer and supplier of ceramic tiles within Dubai.
Yet another feather in the renowned mogul’s cap is an investment company known as Al Jazeira Services which is listed on the Muscat Securities Market boasting a market capitalization to the tune of $110 million.
Besides business, Hussain Sajwani has a big heart and as such is continually involved in charity work. In 2017, the DAMAC owner and also chairman of the DAMAC Foundation sponsored the One Million Arab Coders Initiative. This CSR program aims to equip one million Arab youth with hands-on professional software development skills. The free online program enables young people to access a vital academic fulcrum through skills such as full-stack web development, android app development, front-end web expertise as well as data science expertise.
In addition, in September of 2015, Sajwani (also nick-named the Donald of Dubai) donated $272,000 to a charity campaign dubbed “Yemen We Care”, an intervention to channel basic healthcare and education support to more than 10 million Yemeni war victims.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy – goes an old proverb. For Hussain Sajwani, play comes in the form of spending free time with his family members. He also enjoys eating out at his favorite restaurant in Dubai’s uptown. To this end, the self-made tycoon stands tall not only as an investor who has managed to grow his fortunes from humble beginnings but also as a resilient person and CEO capable of keeping his sight firmly set on long-term vision.