Red announces debut SME investments
Dubai, November 9, 2010
Riyada Enterprise Development (Red), Abraaj Capital’s new $500 million small and medium enterprise (SME) investment platform, has announced its first five investments into leading regional SMEs.
Abraaj Capital said Red is targeting individual investments of between $500,000 and $15 million, with a focus on providing growth capital for influential minority and, in some cases, majority stakes in SMEs.
The debut investments include E3, a regional IT healthcare services and solutions provider based in Dubai, an Egypt-based integrated agriculture company, OMS, a leading Egypt-based regional IT consulting services firm, Teshkeel Media Group (TMG), a media and entertainment company and d1g, a top Jordan-based Arabic Internet firm.
The company made the announcement at the ongoing 'Celebration of Entrepreneurship' event in Dubai.
"In setting up the Red fund, Abraaj is demonstrating its commitment to developing human capital and entrepreneurship across the region, said Tom Speechley, Abraaj Capital partner and chief executive officer of Red.
Commenting on the investments, he said, "E3 is dedicated to helping Middle Eastern and North African healthcare organizations improve the quality of healthcare they provide through the use of transformational technologies and services."
Having established strategic partnerships with several leading Western healthcare-technology companies, such as Lawson, Stockell and Ardentia, E3 is ideally positioned to provide critical technologies and professional expertise to enable Mena healthcare organizations to transform their operations and standards of patient care.
Red has also invested in an integrated agriculture company focusing on farming and processing artichokes in Egypt that operates throughout the artichoke value-chain with products including fresh artichokes, artichoke drums, canned artichokes and frozen artichokes, explained Speechley.
"OMS is a rapidly growing IT professional services and consulting firm. Launched in 2001 as a small local services business, OMS today has become one of the region’s largest services firms, employing over 180 people and serving more than 170 clients in 24 countries."
OMS specializes in enterprise solutions for the government, financial services and telecommunication sectors. A solid track record of growth, prestigious client list, extensive list of awards and sound success stories place OMS in the upper echelons of the regional services market, he added.
Teshkeel Media Group (TMG) is the Middle East’s leading developer of children’s entertainment products for a worldwide market. Its acclaimed comic superhero series, THE 99, is based on Islamic culture and history.
After several years developing original content for THE 99 brand, TMG is now positioned to achieve transformational growth through its animated television series scheduled for worldwide launch in early 2011, Speechley said.
TMG will capitalize on strategic relationships with its production partner, UK giant Endemol, and leading broadcasters in the US and throughout the world for a successful launch of THE 99. Twenty-six episodes of the series have been completed and a second season has been commissioned," he added.
"d1g.com was launched in April 2007 to capitalize on the enormous growth in Internet penetration and digital media in the Middle East. Deriving from the Arabic ‘Deewan’, a place to meet, learn, and share, d1g.com provides an easy-to-use technology platform that enables users to create for free their own online communities and enables social networking and sharing rich content such as video, images, clips and mobile apps.
With 30 employees, former Yahoo! executives Dr. Usama Fayyad and Basel Ojjeh as shareholders, d1g.com is one of the fastest growing Arabic Internet sites and has more than doubled its user base over the past year to reach 4.5 million visitors per month.
On the objective, Speechley said, “What we are aiming to achieve through Red is transformational growth in more than 100 SMEs in the next three or four years. SMEs have been starved of capital and left to their own devices and as a result they are underperforming their counterparts in other parts of the world in terms of productivity."
"If we are successful and empower these businesses in the way their plans lay out we will address one of the most crucial issues facing the region today, employment. We need to create 50 million new jobs in the next 10 years just to stand still on unemployment."
"Only through a concerted effort by profit-driven, private sector actors can such an outcome become a reality. We need economically sustainable investment in the region’s entrepreneurs and an enabling environment that induces that investment,” Speechley added.-TradeArabia News Service