Top Stories

Nine universities join initiative to boost online learning

Nine UAE universities have joined the University Consortium for Quality Online Learning (UCQOL), an initiative of the Ministry of Education – UAE and the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE). 

Nine universities join initiative to boost online learning
Tuesday 02 February 2021

Nine UAE universities have joined the University Consortium for Quality Online Learning (UCQOL), an initiative of the Ministry of Education – UAE and the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE). 

The universities will undertake a needs assessment, after which each university will receive a capacity building guideline report, as well as program design and delivery journey. "This partnership is of exceptional importance as the private sector is a strategic partner in this project, represented by the Abdullah Al Ghurair Foundation for Education,” said Dr Muhammad Al Mualla, undersecretary of the Ministry of Education for Academic Affairs.

Read the full article on Gulf Business here.

Al Ghurair Properties innovates to beat Covid-19 challenges

  • Company shows growth with digitalisation and unique tenant app
Al Ghurair Properties innovates to beat Covid-19 challenges
Monday 21 December 2020
  • Company shows growth with digitalisation and unique tenant app

The UAE real estate sector has long been central to the country’s economic growth, therefore the shocking arrival of Covid-19 left many of the top players wondering about the way forward.

But one real estate firm has led by example - Al Ghurair Properties, both during the height of the pandemic, and now as we ease into the new normal.

The company has been fiercely proactive in facing recent challenges and shown what innovation and a customer-centric approach can achieve. The result is growth even amid the pandemic, helped greatly by a well-designed new website and the game-changing Al Ghurair Tenant portal app.

“I think we have shown just how ripe the UAE rental market was for digital disruption and improvements,” says Haytham Nasr, Head of Marketing, Al Ghurair Properties. “The company has undergone a rapid and highly effective digital transformation, from the launch of our engaging new website, commencing 360-degree virtual tours and online booking appointments, to the introduction of the innovative Al Ghurair Tenant portal app soon after.”

It’s easy to see why the user-friendly, all-in-one app has been so well received. It allows tenants to log maintenance requests, renew their contracts, pay online, and access a host of other services anytime, from anywhere.

“Building awareness of these key features, plus the overall asset portfolio of more than 4,000 units, and the values that Al Ghurair stands for – such as the importance of community – were imperative in driving success and ultimately conversions,” adds Nasr. “The results have been very positive with significant growth shown during a period of relative instability brought about by the pandemic.”

There had been plenty of interest across the Al Ghurair portfolio even at the height of pandemic uncertainty mid-year. Centrally located developments in urban communities such as Deira, Bur Dubai and Barsha provide an appealing living proposition for new and old residents of Dubai.

All developments are in areas where the emirate has its finest infrastructure in terms of connectivity and ease of living, where metro stations, schools, hospitals and shopping malls are within a ten-minute walking distance from most of the properties. Hence the company slogan #liveinthecentre.

The company is proud of its achievements and can point to some impressive statistics. In 2020, the average occupancy rate of one-year old Al Ghurair buildings has been around 80 per cent; the year-to-year growth in terms of units was 3,062 in 2019 and 4,018 this year – with a 24 per cent increase in portfolio size. Seven new commercial developments have already been launched in 2020 and nine new projects are in the pipeline for 2021.

So, what has been the secret sauce for Al Ghurair?

“There has been a twofold marketing approach, with a focus on creating awareness and lead generation,” explains Nasr. “This developed our targeting by feeding conversion data back into our targeted audiences, which increased our pre- and post-Covid conversion rates.”

The appeal of Al Ghurair’s eye-catching properties is clearly part of the equation. Beautifully thought-out, light and spacious, they are ideal for open-plan living and boast calm sweeping spaces, elegant interiors and seamlessly simple connections.

Good examples are the chic and contemporary Manazil Al Barsha Villas 05, Manazil Al Barsha Villas 06, and Manazil Al Barsha Villas 07, which have achieved a 92 per cent occupancy rate. They tick all the boxes, from aesthetic living to comfort and convenience with easy access to Shaikh Zayed Road and Al Khail Road. “With thoughtful design and glorious finishing, Manazil Al Barsha villas raise the bar when it comes to elite living,” says Nasr.

This December, the company will launch its fourth set of extensions of Barsha Villas – new premium four-bedroom villas located in the heart of the area.

There are some amazing deals on the table too. Al Ghurair currently has a new limited offer: a three-bedroom at the reduced rental rate of Dh80,000 at Manazil Al Barsha 01, Manazil Al Barsha 02 and Manazil Al Barsha 03. This includes one month rent-free, no commission, and a flexible payment plan up to 12 cheques.

It’s enough to give any prospective Dubai renter an excited shiver up their spine.

Read the article in its original location in Gulf News here

Al Ghurair Aluminium completes ITCC Tower in Riyadh

Al Ghurair Aluminium, part of the Al Ghurair Investment, has successfully completed the façade of the prestigious Information Technology and Communication Complex (ITCC) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Al Ghurair Aluminium completes ITCC Tower in Riyadh
Thursday 10 December 2020

Al Ghurair Aluminium, part of the Al Ghurair Investment, has successfully completed the façade of the prestigious Information Technology and Communication Complex (ITCC) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Classed as a ‘mega project’, this mixed-use development incorporates residential, commercial and hospitality units. With a complex structure consisting of a unitized curtain wall system of external screens suspended from the tower roof, the façade spans an area of 212,000m2, making it one of the largest-scale projects undertaken by the business.

Al Ghurair University (AGU) receives international accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)

  • All AGU Bachelor programs in Engineering have been ABET accredited, as the university celebrates its 20th anniversary year;
Al Ghurair University (AGU) receives international accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
Tuesday 08 December 2020
  • All AGU Bachelor programs in Engineering have been ABET accredited, as the university celebrates its 20th anniversary year;
  • AGU becomes one of only four institutions in the UAE to have all its bachelor programs accredited by ABET;
  • This key milestone strengthens the position of the UAE education sector on an international platform and supports the UAE’s Vision 2030 goal to provide world-class education opportunities and greater employability for its graduates.

November 2020, Dubai, UAE:

Al Ghurair University (AGU), one of the first private and leading academic institutions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), announced today that all bachelor degree programs provided under the College of Engineering and Computing have received accreditation from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, the global accreditor of college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. The university’s Bachelor programs in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science Engineering each received this prestigious accreditation.

ABET accreditation assures that programs meet the required standards to yield graduates with the essential skills and expertise necessary to enter critical fields in emerging technologies. During the accreditation process, the program curricula, faculty and facilities undergo rigorous review and examination, conducted by teams of highly experienced professionals from academia and industry.

As an internationally recognized and sought-after standard of excellence, the accreditation is a key selection consideration amongst students with an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and, Mathematics) disciplines, providing confidence of a high-standard education to begin their journey towards a successful career in the global workforce.

Commenting on the accreditation, Mr. Arturo Lujan, CEO – Ventures at Al Ghurair Investments and member of Al Ghurair University Board of Governors said: "We are proud to be one of only four institutions in the UAE to have all its engineering bachelor programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). This demonstrates the strength, leadership and attractiveness of the programs offered by AGU’s flagship College of Computing & Engineering.

With this international recognition of quality, AGU is contributing to raising the standard of excellence in the country’s educational sector in line with the UAE’s both the Vision 2021 and Vision 2030 plans. Today, we celebrate this new milestone as we aspire to become a leading learner-centered private university in the GCC region, building generations of graduates equipped with the advanced technical knowledge, skills and capabilities to conquer the UAE and international job markets, while increasing the employability of our students.”

 Dr. Mojtaba Moatamedi, Dean of the College of Computing and Engineering said: “Our bachelor programs are rooted in the desire to develop our students’ intellectual, critical thinking, practical skills and creative abilities, to enhance learning capabilities and ultimate the employability of our graduates. We strive to empower and enable our students to succeed.

 As one of very few academic institutions in the UAE to meet the quality standards and criteria for ABET, we are proud that this will now further equip our graduates with the competitive edge to shine in the international job market – broadening their horizons and career opportunities for the future.”

About the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)

 ABET is a nonprofit organization that accredits college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. Our approach, the standards we set and the quality we guarantee, inspires confidence in those who aim to build a better world — one that is safer, more efficient, more comfortable and more sustainable.

With ABET accreditation, students, employers and the society we serve can be confident that a program meets the quality standards that produce graduates prepared to enter a global workforce. We currently accredit 4,307 programs at 846 institutions in 41 countries worldwide. www.abet.org

About Al Ghurair University (AGU)

Al Ghurair University is one of the first private academic institutions licensed by the Ministry of Education of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Founded in 1999 by the prominent Al Ghurair family, AGU is a community-oriented university that enjoys strong links with local industry. The university is committed to creating a bolder, brighter future for all its students, offering a comprehensive set of accredited and internationally recognized programs that are tailored to serve the needs of the UAE and the wider GCC markets.

Our courses are meticulously designed to cover the latest industry trends and equip students with the knowledge, right skillset and hands-on experience to excel in the job of their dream.

Constantly innovating, AGU has invested in the development of a superior yet affordable quality learning environment, providing internationally benchmarked programs taught by world-class faculty members. AGU boasts a state-of-the-art campus conveniently located in Dubai International Academic City.

 

  • Building the business, making a difference and progressing with purpose Tuesday 02 February 2021

    By John Iossifidis, GCEO 

    I recently passed my 150–day milestone as Group CEO of Al Ghurair Investment, joining the business at a pivotal and exciting phase of its journey, as it renews its commitment to purpose, and to making a meaningful difference in all it does.

    In the interview below, I share some insights about my key learnings and observations to date, the road ahead, and the role I believe that we, as both an organisation and as individuals, can play in becoming purpose-led.

    Congratulations on passing 150 days! How has your new adventure as the GCEO of Al Ghurair Investment been so far?  

    Adventure is an apt descriptor, as it seems like only yesterday that I marked my Day 100! Certainly, the pace is fast and no two days are the same, which I find a refreshingly invigorating environment to work within. As each day passes, I am increasingly encouraged by the advocacy for change within the business, and the collective belief in it, and support towards, the journey we are on together.

    In my Day 100 communication, I introduced the start of our journey, outlining a framework of the five key strategic pillars for us to focus on to become ‘fit for future’. Each of these pillars are crucial to our collective success as a business, with the model powered and enabled by ‘Group Think’ – a common approach to our strategy, brand, and our purpose of ‘Enhancing Life’. 

    Over the last 50 days, as a leadership team, we have made substantial progress in planning our journey, for 2021 and beyond. Our next step is to operationalise the strategic pillars, to make them meaningful and measurable in every area of every business.

    A purpose-led business requires purpose-led people, so it is only by embracing our way forward that we can succeed. 

    Can you please expand on what you mean by ‘purpose-led’; and why is it so important to you as a leader?

    I believe that every successful business needs a ‘North Star’ – a point on which to focus during a journey, so it never loses sight of “why” we are doing what we do. Having a purpose is fundamentally different to having a goal – a goal defines what you are trying to achieve (profit, growth, diversification etc.), whereas a purpose defines why, and speaks to the heart of a business’ reason for being.

    At a personal level, purpose is the reason one gets up in the morning – it gives meaning to our lives. Having a solid sense of purpose is critical to our business’ future success. With this ‘North Star’ and a genuine belief in why we are doing what we do, any challenges that hinder progress along the way become more manageable – because the path ahead is still clear.

    My own belief system is centered around making a positive difference to:

    1. Self – investing time in my wellness and wellbeing, to ensure I can be the best version of myself for those around me.
    2. Family and friends – taking time for those who need me, and never taking it for granted that they will always be there.
    3. Professional growth – with a desire to make a positive difference to the organisations I work in, and the people I work with.
    4. Community – with a core belief in the importance of education.

    Coupled with a passion for wellness, I have been an active member of school and hospital boards. Also, am an advocate for mental and physical health, and mind/body balance, a passion which I share with my wife.

    That’s why Al Ghurair’s purpose of ‘Enhancing Life’ – of our people, our customers, our communities and of society as a whole - resonates with me on a personal level. It mirrors my outlook on life. We all leave a legacy to leave behind, so why not make it positive and meaningful?

    How are you asking your people at Al Ghurair, as employees, to drive this purpose and try to ‘enhance life’ their own roles?

    As a first step, I think it requires a mindset shift from being wholly task or role focused, to thinking more broadly about wider impact – on our colleagues, our clients, the community, and so on. I encourage our employees to ask themselves: if I did something differently, or better, or introduced a new approach, could I have a greater, more positive impact? Often, we become so focused on the task at hand that we forget to stop, think, and consider: “how can I make a difference for the better?”

    In addition to this, my main ‘asks’ from everybody at Al Ghurair is firstly that they believe in what we are striving to achieve. To use a metaphorical example of an orchestra: when all instruments are working in harmony, playing a symphony together, the sound is exquisite; but it only takes a few to be off-key, and the whole performance is ruined. We need the dedicated musicians playing in harmony, not the individuals doing their own thing, in their own time!

    Secondly, I ask that our people give their best every day, and in all that they do, and to work collaboratively as ‘one team’. In a choice of building a ‘team of champions’ or a ‘champion team’, we must always strive for the latter. With a shared belief in, and commitment to, our purpose we can drive and enable change together. The road ahead may not be easy, but effort and hard work breed success… and a lot of personal satisfaction for everyone involved!

    As a leader, what or who inspires you to strive for success every day?

    As a child of Greek immigrants, who migrated to Melbourne, Australia in the mid–1950s, I grew up in a family with a tremendous work ethic and a firm belief in the importance of hard work. My father was both an engineer and an entrepreneur, and my mother was both a homemaker and a retail worker: from them, I learned the value and benefits of working hard. By 15 years old, I already had my first job, working in Myer department store in Melbourne in a sales role, dealing with everything from ladies’ fashion to kitchenware!

    I think that, with a strong work ethic instilled from an early age, came a lifelong passion for learning, and a desire to continuously progress, or self-improve. For me, sitting still and stagnating is not an option! Even with advancing technologies – which some may argue are beyond my generation! – I strive to be both a digital adaptor and an early adopter; I would rather continue to embrace what’s new than get left behind.

    I credit this drive for progress for my diverse and exciting career path to date – which has taken me from Australia, to Sri Lanka, to Singapore and finally to the UAE, a country I have been proud to call home for the last 18 years.

    As for who inspires me, three people stand out:

    1. My parents (Ok, that’s two people!), for all the reasons above;
    2. Nelson Mandela, for his resilient ability to stick to his beliefs and personal sense of purpose, despite hardship and resistance;
    3. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, for his vision, innovation and commitment to progress. Without his inspiration, so many of us would not be able to call the UAE home.

    What motivated you to make Al Ghurair Investment the next chapter of your career path, after Noor Bank?

    From 2003, I have had a strong relationship with the Al Ghurair family. In the beginning, they were major clients; in 2009 I joined Mashreq so the link was more direct. Even in my previous role at Noor Bank they were major clients. The relationship is built on a foundation of mutual trust and respect.

    In a business capacity, I have long admired the family’s commitment to progress and innovation, and the legacy they have built. However, it’s the family’s personal philosophy and belief system that inspires me the most, as community is such an integral part of their purpose. The family has donated one-third of the company's assets in perpetuity towards regional education initiatives – such is their belief in the importance and power of learning. Additionally, when you consider the areas of industry they have chosen to invest in – food, energy, transportation, construction, properties, and so on – these sectors all form part of the infrastructure of life, each serving a role in the advancement of society.

    With great respect for the family’s value system, and the opportunity presented to play an integral role in the future transformation of this heritage company, there was no question in my mind that this was where I belonged. I have previously mentioned, that it is like coming home, albeit to a different house.

    If you overheard somebody talking about Al Ghurair Investment in five years’ time, what would you want to hear them say?

    In one sentence...

    I’d like us to be recognised by our purpose ‘Enhancing Life’ and be admired for both our commercial leadership and social contribution.

    If you’d like a more comprehensive answer, commercially speaking, I’d like to hear that Al Ghurair is a household name – recognised for the full breadth of its businesses, products and services. Currently, I feel the market recognises component parts of the business when they hear the name ‘Al Ghurair’ but many parts of the business are relatively unknown externally, so I would like to see that change.

    I’d like to hear that the name Al Ghurair has become synonymous with innovation: having embraced tech and digital to become a high-performing, efficient, data-driven and ‘smarter’ business.

    I’d also like to hear that Al Ghurair is an employer of choice, even if that is such an overused phrase, a sought-after place to work – either to start or advance one’s career – where opportunities to progress and develop are not only supported, but actively encouraged, and where our people are our greatest advocates.

    Socially speaking, I would like to hear that Al Ghurair has continued to build on its purpose of ‘Enhancing life’ in the community and is recognised for its social contribution - to education, sustainability, food security and clean energy - throughout the region, and far beyond.  

    Lastly, as we approach year-end, and move forward from 2020, is there anything you would like to add to close the year?

    I would just like to say thank you to all our people at Al Ghurair for the resilience demonstrated during the year.  

    The COVID19- pandemic has tested us all – both professionally and personally – and I know it has not been easy to get up every day with ‘doing your best’ in mind during some of the lowest points. However, I am proud that we have weathered the storm, together, and that we are ending the year a more cohesive and stronger business as a result. I am optimistic, and excited, for the year ahead, and looking forward to continuing our journey together.

    Read the article is its original location here.

  • AG Facilities partners with CAFU to fight against climate change Tuesday 02 February 2021

    AG Facilities partners with CAFU to fight against climate change

    • The Ghaf seed project aims to plant more than one million Ghaf trees to reduce COlevels in the atmosphere 
    • AG Facilities provided critical manpower required to prepare the seed pods prior to planting
    • The partnership aligns to the Al Ghurair purpose of ‘Enhancing Life’ and making a meaningful impact on community and the environment

    17 January 2021, Dubai, UAE: AG Facilities, one of the leading facility management companies in the UAE, and MBM, its subsidiary ‘soft services’ company, have partnered with CAFU, a tech startup from the prestigious Al Ghurair family, in an innovative project to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

    The Ghaf seed project was launched in 2020 by CAFU, with the aim of planting more than one million Ghaf trees across the country in order to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere. Under the new partnership with CAFU, AG Facilities and MBM provided critical manpower to gather and prepare Ghaf seed pods prior to planting.

    Travelling across the country, the team collected more than one million pods from numerous sources and transported them back to a central location in Dubai. Once collected, the pods were cleaned and treated, before the seeds were extracted and prepared for planting.  The planting utilised cutting-edge, AI-driven CAFU drone technology, overcoming the challenges of the UAE’s desert climate and terrain in order to access to more remote areas.  

    Speaking about the initiative, Rashid Al Ghurair, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CAFU, commented: “By bringing together leading minds from across sectors, we are proud to launch this initiative, to reduce levels of carbon dioxide from our direct environment. Our mission to plant one million trees is reflective of Dubai’s philosophy of building innovative solutions for future generations.”

    This partnership aims to support the UAE’s National Climate Change Plan 2017-2050, which aims to significantly reduce country’s overall emissions. Presently, in the UAE, the average person produces 22.9 tonnes of CO2 each year[i], making this mission critical.  

    John Iossifidis, Group CEO at Al Ghurair Investment, said: “Climate change is one of the defining issues of our times, and the responsibility for action does not just sit at a policy or government level – it is the social responsibility of business, and us as individuals. At Al Ghurair Investment, we are committed to our purpose of ‘Enhancing Life’. I am delighted that Al Ghurair has partnered with CAFU on this important initiative to reduce carbon emission levels – driving sustainable change and enhancing life to all.”   

    Mohamed Adil Haneef, COO at AG Facilities commented: “At AG Facilities and MBM, we believe that the environment is a loan we take from our future generations, and it is our sacred duty to return it in pristine condition. To that effect we are always eager to initiate or support activities which help reduce our carbon footprint and support in making the world a better place to live.”

    The Ghaf tree was selected for this initiative as it is drought-tolerant, requiring very little water or maintenance, and is able to absorb more than 34kg of CO2 per year, equating to more than 4.1 million metric tonnes during the course of is 120-year lifespan. The species of tree is of particular significance as not only is it indigenous to the region but it was also the symbol of the UAE Government’s 2019 ‘Year of Tolerance’ campaign, recognised as a historic emblem of stability and peace in the country’s desert environment. 

    About AG Facilities Solutions LLC

    AG Facilities, under the umbrella of Al Ghurair Investment, is one of the leading facility management companies with exceptional experience in managing diverse clients throughout the region. Having a unique delivery capability, it provides the entire spectrum of facility management solutions, civil projects and fit-out services to its clients.

    AG Facilities offers both individual services, as well as, fully Integrated Facility Management services to match all needs and requirements. AG Facilities offers improved solutions through cost and resource optimization, global benchmarking, superior management, economies of scale and purchasing power.

    About CAFU 

    CAFU is the region’s first fuel delivery application bringing value to cities and communities by making refuelling cars more convenient, reliable and accessible. CAFU is an “on-demand” fuel delivery service that will come and fill up your vehicle with petrol while you’re at home, work, or play. We make the whole process simple, safe, and convenient while saving you time.

    For media enquiries, please contact:

    Sara O’Hara

    Group Senior Manager – Communications, Al Ghurair Investment

    Email: sara.ohara@al-ghurair.com

    Phone: +(971) 50 9299 540 

     _________________________

    Source: Environment Data Atlas