The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has attracted a series of Indian entrepreneurs to its shores who today stand out as the perfect ambassadors for India-UAE ties.
Yusuffali MA Organisation: Lulu Group Industry: Retail Place of origin: Kerala Background: Left India in 1973 for Abu Dhabi to join EMKE Group, founded by his uncle. There he developed the business further and launched the Lulu Hypermarket in 1990 at a time when the retail sector in the UAE was undergoing a change. The group today employs the largest number of Indians outside India. He is one of the wealthiest Indian with stakes in Catholic Syrian Bank, Federal Bank and Cochin International Airport. He has also purchased the Scotland Yard Building in London. Factoid: He was conferred the title of Padma Shri in 2008 and Pravasi Bharatiya Samman in 2005, which is the highest Indian government award bestowed upon NRIs.
Micky (Mukesh) Jagtiani Organisation: Landmark Group Industry: Retail Place of origin: Mumbai Background: First emigrated to London where he drove a taxi and later moved to Bahrain taking over his deceased relative's baby products shop. He later built it into the Dubai-based Landmark Group, which has more than 2,200 stores spread across the Middle East, Africa and India. The group also has interests in hospitality & leisure, healthcare and mall management In 2008, he bought stake in UK high-street retailer Debenhams and established LIFE to support under-privileged children in India. Factoid: He suspended sales of all Trump-branded products last December after the US presidential candidate made anti-Muslim remarks.
Dr B.R. Shetty Organisation: UAE Exchange & NMC Healthcare Industry: Financial Services & Healthcare Place of origin: Udupi, Karnataka Background: Moved to the UAE in 1973 and started working as perhaps the country's first medical representative. He later started NMC Health to fill the gap for personalised, cost-effective healthcare accessible to all and is the first healthcare company from the GCC to be listed on the LSE and FTSE250 Index. He went on to establish UAE Exchange in 1980 which today has expanded to more than 31 countries. He is also the founder of NMC Neo Pharma and acquired leading foreign exchange company Travelex in 2014. He owns two floors of world's tallest building Burj Khalifa and received the Padma Shri in 2009 and the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman in 2007. Factoid: He had only one shirt when he arrived in the UAE, which he used to wash every night to wear the next day.
Sunny Varkey Organisation: GEMS Education Industry: Education Place of origin: Kerala Background: Moved with his family to Dubai in 1959, where both his parents taught English to local Arabs, including members of the royal family. They later founded Our Own English High School in Dubai in 1968 to teach English to children of expats. After creating a network of schools, he established GEMS, an advisory and educational management firm, in advance of his worldwide overseas expansion. He also founded the Varkey GEMS Foundation in 2010, which hosts the $1-million annual Global Teacher Prize. Factoid: The education entrepreneur and philanthropist has studied only till high school himself.
Dr Ram Buxani Organisation: ITL Cosmos Group Industry: Consumer Electronics Place of origin: Hyderabad Bakground: Selected for a job in Dubai in a company that sold textiles and moved there in 1959. The company later moved into consumer electronics and is today into manufacturing, banking and an exchange company managed by Canara Bank. He is known for his contribution to the Indian community in the UAE and was the founder-chairman of Overseas Indians Economic Forum - UAE and is currently the chairman of India Club in Dubai. He has also been involved closely in the education sector. Factoid: He arrived in Dubai at the end of a five-day boat journey at a time when there was no electricity, airports or telephones and his starting salary was just Rs 125 per month.