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Most Innovative Companies 2023: Here’s what happened at the awards night

Amid anticipation, visionary companies from the Middle East gathered for the prestigious awards night on the red carpet.

Most Innovative Companies 2023: Here’s what happened at the awards night
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Moving away from the mundane, the spotlight was on groundbreaking endeavors at the highly anticipated event in the heart of Dubai. Fast Company Middle East took center stage to applaud companies that are not just navigating but shaping the currents across diverse sectors in the region.

Visionaries, venture capitalists, and leaders adorned the event. The atmosphere was poised for Fast Company Middle East’s Most Innovative Companies 2023 – a celebratory night honoring those who push boundaries with their boundless creativity.

Hosted at the Dubai Internet City’s Amphitheatre, Fast Company Middle East’s Most Innovative Companies 2023 revealed 42 winning entries across 23 categories, influencing various regional industries.

The categories spanned AI, beauty and wellness, entertainment, retail, and small and mighty businesses and enterprises, highlighting the overall impact of innovation across every sector.

“It is more than just a list; it’s a mission to recognize outstanding organizations, honor creatives and their teams. Above all, it’s a mission to create an ecosystem of innovation and creativity,” said Ravi Raman, Publisher of Fast Company Middle East, during his opening remarks. He emphasized MIC’s role in not only celebrating success, but also in delivering a message on both the regional and global level on how companies in the region are pushing beyond the limits. 

“As we applaud all of you tonight, I also want to remind you and deliberate about the spirit of innovation that rests within us. Innovation doesn’t just happen in labs or mobiles. It’s a human spirit to drive, imagine, create, and improve. Your innovation is our inspiration,” he added.

Talking about innovation in the city of innovation is a testament to Fast Company Middle East’s initiatives and dedication to playing a role in the innovation ecosystem throughout the years, said Majed Al Suwaidi, the Senior Vice President of Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, and Dubai Production City, in his opening remarks.

“Dubai Internet City plays an important role in moving innovation, being part of innovation, and over the last 23 years, it has played an integral role in making Dubai the hub of innovation in the region,” Al Suwaidi added.

“I think the region possesses great minds, exciting innovations, and great innovative companies that we all are very proud to have.” 

The first awards for the evening were under the Architecture and Design category. Doha’s Msheireb Properties was honored for blending culture and innovation, while Abu Dhabi’s Masdar was awarded for making sustainable living accessible. 

Under the Emerging Tech category were Abu Dhabi’s Technology Innovation Institute (TII) for broadening the region’s technology landscape and Egypt’s Pearl Semiconductor for being the new chip on the block. 

“It’s very important also to recognize the over 1,000 people who are part of Technology Innovation Institute today. I encourage you to keep watching this space,” said Dr. Ray O Johnson, CEO of TII, while accepting the award.

The Healthcare category acknowledged Aster DM Healthcare for its work on providing comprehensive and sustainable healthcare. 

“Just like many of you, a couple of years ago, it started with the dream of accessible, affordable healthcare on the digital side. Now, we are grateful to the millions and millions of people whose lives have been touched as part of the efforts of a great team behind us, and we look forward to millions and millions more,” said Brandon Rowberry, CEO of Aster DM Healthcare, Digital Health. 

Under Logistics and Mobility, ENOC Link was honored for bringing fuelling solutions closer to people, while Blacklane won for sustainable luxury transportation.

“We are thrilled and honored to be here. Thank you to Fast Company Middle East for your recognition; it keeps us on our toes and we know that we’ve been recognized and witnessed. We bring convenience; hopefully, this will come to your doors someday. That’s how easy things can happen in Dubai,” noted Faisal Al Qahtani, CEO of ENOC Link.

Chalhoub Group was honored under the Retail category for enhancing and transforming retail with emerging tech, along with GMG for community growth and connectivity.

“I think innovation is extremely important. What we fight against as companies every day is not our competitors; it is against ourselves, it is against complacency. So I think that winning this award says a lot about what we do,” said Nick Vinckier, Director of Corporate Innovation at Chalhoub Group. 

L’Oréal Middle East received recognition in two categories: Augmented and Virtual Reality for leveraging technology to enhance consumer self-awareness and Social Good for integrating innovative thinking with environmental responsibility.

“Thank you very much, Fast Company Middle East, for this award. Indeed, at L’Oréal, our mission is to create the beauty that moves the world, and here to create the beauty that moves the Middle East, which means to make everyone look at its best and feel at its best while also making a positive impact for the planet and the community around us. This award encourages us to continue the effort,” said Laurent Duffier, CEO of L’Oréal Middle East. 

e& made an impact, earning recognition in two categories. The first is Sustainability and Cleantech for advancing smart and green digital solutions, and the second is Workplace, applauding efforts in empowering the workforce to grow and develop skills.

Harrison Lung, Group Chief Strategy Officer at e& said, “Thank you to Fast Company Middle East for tonight’s wonderful event, I’m also very honored to receive this award on behalf of e&. While there’s a lot more work to be done, this is a great affirmation of how incredibly important sustainability is to our business strategy, especially ahead of COP28 starting next week and 2023 being the year of sustainability here in the UAE.” 

To see the full list of winners from the night, click here.

For entertainment, the night began with the groovy sounds of Zero Funks, a jazz band that welcomed attendees on the red carpet with their harmonies and set an elegant vibe for the evening.

Amanda Maalouf took center stage at the beginning of the event with a beautiful mix of classic English and Arabic tunes. Picture “Sway” by Dean Martin, “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King, and the timeless “La Vie en Rose” by Édith Piaf, performed with her signature flair.

The night also saw Sara Tarabulsi, the half-Irish, half-Palestinian sensation who captured the attendees with her smooth fusion of jazz, funk and R&B. From Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” to Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why” and a soulful rendition of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli – the crowd witnessed an outstanding performance that was simply captivating.

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