“I consider every moment, success and failure a part of who I have become today.”
Hussain Sajwani, the founder and chairman of DAMAC properties, has seen the booms and busts, and the return to boom times for the Dubai property market. Now sitting on an empire of exclusive, world-renowned real estate, he is facing opportunities in large European cities.
Before setting out to found DAMAC Properties, Hussain Sajwani graduated from the University of Washington, with degrees in Economics and Industrial Engineering. His fist business, back in 1982, was catering, a company which he still owns today. That first project grew, turning into a trans-regional leader: managing more than 200 projects and serving over 150,000 meals daily in markets including the Middle East, Africa and the CIS.
Hussain Sajwani was among the first investors in the Dubai property market, when interest in construction was first ignited in 2002. He understood the opportunity, and founded DAMAC Properties, again over the years turning it into one of the leading regional construction companies. Just at a glance, DAMAC Properties is enormous, with presence in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Amman, Beirut, Jeddah, Riyadh and London. To date, the firm has delivered 17,900 homes, and has a development portfolio of 44,000 units in various stages of planning and progress.
The rapid growth and the sense for opportunities can be attributed to Hussain Sajwani. As a businessman, he has been listed in the top 100 of the most influential Arabs. With decades of experience, he is skilled in turning his vision into corporate reality, achieving continuity and growth.
But DAMAC Owner Hussain Sajwani did not stop at real estate- he has had several forays into financial markets, where he re-forged his wealth, to inject back into real estate projects.
Hussain Sajwani explains where he got the idea to launch DAMAC Properties: “Growing up, I would often spend time after school helping in the family business. This started from a very young age and the experience was instrumental in nurturing my entrepreneurial spirit. As a risk taker, and while studying in university in the US, I sold time-share apartments. This would later serve as capital to start my own business. After two years in my job after graduation, I realised how I could make more money working for myself. ”
He continues: “My interest in real estate continued to grow, and at first, I developed small hotels, and this then funded my bigger plans to develop towers in the most prime areas of Dubai.”
Hussain Sajwani meets every day with members of his management team, to get fresh information of all his projects’ direction. He is also dedicated to meeting new business partners, and always expanding his network to fuel new projects.
With DAMAC Properties, Hussain Sajwani has embodied his vision for the future of Dubai. He said: “My inspiration is to look at Dubai for example and imagine how it will be in 10 or 20 years from now. I would like to say I take calculated risks and if I believe something has potential I will put a great amount of effort into making it happen. The fear of failure must be put aside and this has helped me to realise a lot of successes over the years.”
But Hussain Sajwani is not stuck in past business models. Although he is a real estate mogul, he has shown interest in the sector of digital marketing and social media, as a dynamic social landscape connecting the public with businesses, governments, and employers.
Recently, Hussain Sajwani said his best-spent $100 was on a book of photography showing what Dubai looked 50 years ago – a personal inspiration for him, showing how far the city has grown. He believes real estate in well-established global cities is always worth the investment. Despite temporary ups and downs, real estate will always keep its valuation, said Hussain Sajwani.
Asked about his favorite business quote, Hussain Sajwani, founder of Damac Properties, shared it: “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” This was articulated by Jack Welch, ex-Chairman and CEO of GE.