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Why does our Most Creative People in Business list matter?

The awards and gala night thrums with energy because some of the region’s most impactful people gather

Why does our Most Creative People in Business list matter?
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

It’s the awards season, the time of nominations, shortlists, and statuettes. And if you are up for one, whether it be an employee of the month or the gong for the best game creator, you’ll be in the spotlight. 

But imagine how much more impactful it is to win the Most Creative People in Business awards. There’s a lot of media exposure – people across the Middle East take notice of the winners; they look at them differently, knowing their inspiring stories. It is a platform to acquaint with creative geniuses who have been working at exceptionally high standards for many years to impact the industry they are in.

So why is the Most Creative People in Business list such a big deal? 

It’s a celebration of great achievements in creativity and innovation. It’s an extraordinary list and represents the best of the best across industries. The past two editions honored personalities, including royalty, business leaders, artists, athletes, doctors, scientists, inventors, and social impact makers. 

The past winners included H.H. Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, H.E. Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, President of the American University of Sharjah; H.E. Huda AlHashimi, Deputy Minister of Cabinet Affairs for Strategic Affairs, Patrick Chalhoub, Huda and Mona Kattan, H.H. Sheikha Mozah Bint Marwan Al Maktoum, H.E. Khalfan Belhoul, Anas Bukhash, Becky Anderson, Sacha Jafri, and many other luminaries.

Over the last two years, the list has generated a cumulative reach of over 8 million on social media and digital platforms.

Today, the event isn’t just an awards ceremony. Apart from glitz and glamor, it is an event that drives impact, increases exposure, and brings the best of the best in the business and art together, establishing deeper connections. 

The awards and gala night thrums with energy because some of the region’s most impactful people gather.

“I look around here today, and all of you inspire me. I want to share a quote by Steve Jobs who said: ‘Those who think they can change the world, those who think they’re crazy enough to change the world, actually do.’ When I see the names and the categories here, I think we have much in common: passion, dedication, hard work, and a sprinkle of craziness,” said H.E. Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, President of the American University of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority and Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center, on being honored last year.

The messages accomplished individuals share are where the award’s ripple effect can be most easily measured. Something true, direct, heartfelt, nothing short of inspirational. 

In 2022, H.E. Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of the Dubai Future Foundation, Belhoul, in his speech said, “Collaboration and unity are a must for us to succeed. The future will have many challenges, but our next challenge is defined by how well we unite.” 

Being honored is undoubtedly a career highlight, but the Most Creative People in Business award night is a platform to share one’s inspiring journey. One quality sets the Most Creative People in Business apart – grace. Winners claim their awards in a manner that shows what it means to remain gracious in the face of acclaim.

Elie Habib, Co-Founder & CTO of Anghami, honored in 2023, said, “My story is of someone who wanted to break things apart and understand how I could make them again, and I failed 50% of the time. Ten years ago, we decided there must be a way to listen to music in the Middle East without piracy. So, we started building it from scratch. Today, we have hundreds of millions of users on the platform. We have 75 million songs.”

“When I look at the people in this room, I’m inspired because they tell many stories. I’m happy to be part of a life lived with learning. I’m thankful to all that supported me along this journey,” he added.

Many of the influential honorees raised an overarching theme: how they envisage building a better future, believing that as long as there is an abundance of human creativity, no challenge is insurmountable. 

The list also looks at quiet achievers making a big impact away from the media’s eyes. The list takes months to make and attempts what many others have failed to portray – true inclusion in every part. And the results are an eclectic mix of achievers.

In 2023, Maya Ghazal, Syrian pilot and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, who dedicated her life to advocating for refugees and promoting their welfare, said: “We have a future, we have hopes, and we deserve a second chance. I decided to study aviation engineering because I was told I couldn’t do it because I’m a woman, and I was like, I will prove you wrong, too. My message today is to be kind; your smallest act of kindness can change someone’s life. As a UNHCR ambassador, I urge you to explore what’s there in the world, and you’ll be amazed at the potential people have.”

The list highlights achievers who have stretched beyond their comfort zones, taken risks, and tried new ideas to bring new levels of transformation.  

In 2022, Amna Al Qubaisi, an accomplished F3 racer, said, “This achievement as an Emirati woman has meant a lot to me. Not just for my country, but Arab women in general.”

Biotechnologist Luisa Javier, co-founder of Wayakit, a biotechnology startup incubated by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, said: “It was 12 years ago that I came from Mexico to Saudi Arabia to the first mixed-gender university in the kingdom. I would never have envisioned all the opportunities this land would offer me. I would never have envisioned standing here today at the Most Creative People in Business, but here I am. As doctors, we bring creativity to products we use in our day-to-day business.” 

Last year’s gala saw over 200 celebrities, royals, and business leaders attend the prestigious event. The 2024 list will be announced at a gala event hosted at one of the most iconic venues in Dubai in May, where we will honor extraordinary people helping us find our way to a more just future, mitigating some of our most intractable problems. Leaders who are driving climate action, pioneering technology and science to make a significant social impact, and artists who are breaking new boundaries.    

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