Fourteen entrepreneurs and business leaders from the U.A.E. were honoured as winners of the prestigious Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards 2016 (APEA) at a star-studded awards ceremony in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Over 200 attendees were present at the by-invitation only event, comprising of industry leaders, leading entrepreneurs, dignitaries and the who’s who of the business world, including, Tan Sri Dr Fong Chan Onn, Chairman of Enterprise Asia, H.E. Umej Bhatia, Ambassador of the Republic of Singapore to the UAE, H.E. Hani Al Hamli, Secretary General of the Dubai Economic Council, Dr. Bassam Dahman, Managing Partner of RSM UAE, Lt. General Sudhir Sharma, Advisor to Enterprise Asia, Mr. Talmiz Ahmad, Former Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and Dato’ William Ng, President of Enterprise Asia.

The Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards (APEA) is a regional recognition programme organised by Enterprise Asia, the region’s leading association for entrepreneurship. The Awards are presented to a handful of entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific each year, with annual award ceremonies held in over fourteen countries.

The APEA is often compared to the Olympics for its stringent entry criteria and highly-competitive judging parameters. Nominations to the APEA itself is by invitation, either through past or current awardees, a supporting trade association or the executive committee of Enterprise Asia. Nominees are then subjected to a series of rigorous tests, which include financial verification by an appointed audit firm and a compulsory physical site audit and interview, culminating with a confidential balloting process by an independent judging panel.

Awardees are expected to be torchbearers of entrepreneurship and business leaders in their respective countries, while adhering to strict standards of personal and business ethics.

“We can say with certainty that the recipients of the APEA are like no other. Not only do they have to prove their entrepreneurial skills and experience in one of the toughest contests in the world, they also subject themselves to a pledge to uphold the highest standards of entrepreneurship, which includes allegiance to the two founding pillars of Enterprise Asia,
namely Investment in People and Responsible Entrepreneurship”, says William Ng, president of Enterprise Asia.

Among the recipients were Dr. Shaikha Al Maskari of Al Maskari Holding, who received the ‘Woman Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award, Mr. Firoz Merchant of Pure Gold Jewellers LLC, who received the ‘Special Achievement Award’, and Mr. Talal Al-Gaddah of MAG Property Development who received the APEA in the ‘Outstanding’ category.

“I am thrilled to have won this coveted award. The role of a leader is to always display a winning attitude, and having my hardwork recognized by an award of this caliber is inspiring and encouraging”, said Mr. Talal Al-Gaddah, CEO of MAG Property Development.

The recipients in U.A.E. were selected from among 100 shortlisted candidates, ranging from talented young entrepreneurs to experienced industrialists.

Ng explained, “The APEA is aimed at promoting entrepreneurship. Beyond recognizing the efforts of these entrepreneurs, we hope to encourage them to continue taking their businesses to the next level, and in the process, provide more job opportunities to the people in the region and help to drive the economy forward.”


Dr. Shaikha Al Maskari, Chairperson, Al Maskari Holding

Firoz Merchant, Founder and Chairman, Pure Gold Jewellers LLC

Khaled Bassatne, Managing Director, BB Energy (Gulf) DMCC
Mohammed Abdullah Al Jarman, General Director, Emirates Transport
Deepak Dhawan, Chairman, Food Specialities Limited
Lalu Samuel, Chairman & Managing Director, Kingston Holdings FZC
Talal Al-Gaddah, CEO, MAG Property Development
Premchand Kurup, CEO, Paramount Computer Systems FZ LLC
Saleh Al-Akrabi, Chairman, Emirates Consulting Group LLC
Dr. Sassan Dieter Khatib-Shahidi, CEO, German Imaging Technologies (GIT) Dubai LLC Nawaz Khan, Managing Director, MODEC Group
Gopu Nair, CEO, Tablix Technology LLC
Sirish Kumar, CEO & Co-Founder, Telr
Ayman Al Awadhi, Group Managing Director, The Corporate Group

Launched in 2007, the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards are the region’s most prestigious awards for outstanding entrepreneurship, continuous innovation and sustainable leadership. The Awards provide a platform for companies and governments to recognise entrepreneurial excellence, hence spurring greater innovation, fair business practices and growth in entrepreneurship. As a regional award, it groups together leading entrepreneurs as a powerful voice for entrepreneurship and serves as a by-invitation only networking powerhouse. The program has grown to encompass twelve markets all over Asia.
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