The Arabian Business Technology Awards recognise the very best in tech in the UAE and the region.
du CEO Osman Sultan was awarded the ‘Lifetime Achievement of the Year’ award at the Arabian Business Technology Awards on Sunday, recognising his 30 years in the industry and at the forefront of the UAE’s telecoms industry.
Since Sultan founded du as the UAE’s second telecom provider in 2006, the company has risen to gain a 47% stake in the UAE market. In 2018, the company reported a net profit of AED 1.78 billion ($484.5 million).
In an acceptance speech at the awards, Sultan – who will be stepping down from his position as the company’s chief executive soon – said he credits his success to a lifelong passion for his job, to his family and to the people he worked with over his long career.
“It [recognition] is because you have people with you across this journey,” he said. “It starts with the people who are closely around you.”
“What we are doing, the business I was in, the business I am still in, has been at the heart of the profound transformations that individuals, groups, families, businesses, corporations, governments and nations have been going through,” he added.
Among his greatest professional achievements, he added, was empowering those who worked with him to go on to high-level positions elsewhere.
“I have been blessed in that I have met a lot of people in these 36 years of executive life,” he said. “I am proud at whatever impact I’ve had on people’s lives. My greatest lifetime achievement is that 22 people that worked with me have been CEOs in various geographies, from Canada to North Korea.”
The Technology Global Achievement Award went to Sweden, which – despite its relatively small population of just over 10 million people - is considered among the most technologically advanced and innovative countries in the world.
Its capital, Stockholm, has produced more tech ‘unicorns’ valued at over $1 billion than any other city in the world. Approximately 20 percent of the city’s workforce are employed in tech-related jobs.
In March 2018, Smart Dubai signed an agreement with the Swedish trade and investment board to cooperate and share expertise in areas including blockchain and AI.
“It’s all the Swedish companies that made this possible,” said Swedish ambassador to the UAE Henrik Landerholm. “For the last 150 years, step-by-step, Sweden has come to a decision that we punch above our weight.”
“In that sense, we are similar to our host country, the UAE,” he added. “[We] are showing that even a small country can play an important role.”
The winner of the SME Technology Company of the Year was Arjama, the region’s first and only dedicated marketplace focused on translation services. The company uses AI as part of its Arabic machine translation platform.
Earlier in March, Tarjama announced that it successfully raised $5 million from a Saudi Arabia-based investor, Anova Information Technology.
Other winners included MasterCard for ‘Future of Payments Company of the Year’, Virgin mobile for ‘Innovation of the Year’, HyperPay co-founder and CEO Muhannad Ebwini for ‘Technology Entrepreneur’ and HPE as ‘Technology Company of the Year’.
Full list of winners:
SME Technology Company of the Year: Tarjama
Property Software of the Year Award: Yardi
Future of Payments Company of the Year: Mastercard
Tech Project of the Year in the Public Sector: Dubai Electricity and Water Authority
Tech Project of the Year for the Private Sector: QualityNet.
The winner of the Innovation of the Year: Virgin Mobile
Artificial Intelligence Company of the Year: SAP
Data Gathering Company of the Year: Refinitiv
Cloud Innovation of the Year Award goes: Microsoft
Intelligent Network Company of the Year: Dell
Fintech Company of the Year: Smart Crowd
Technology Entrepreneur of the Year: Muhannad Ebwini
Technology Visionary Award: Nidal Abou Ltaif, the president of Avaya International.
Technology Company of the Year: HPE
Technology Global Achievement Award: Sweden
Technology Lifetime Achievement Award: Osman Sultan