Jul. 6, 2015

Dr. Amina Al Rustamani

UAE, Dubai

Dr. Amina Al Rustamani

CEO, TECOM Investments

TBY talks to Dr. Amina Al Rustamani, Group CEO of TECOM Investments, on the company's key successes, encouraging the creative community, and strategies for further growth.


Dr. Amina Al Rustamani has a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD in Engineering from George Washington University, Washington DC, and she is widely recognized as one of the Arab world’s most influential business people. She sits on a number of boards across both the public and private sectors, including the National Media Council, an industry body established to regulate the UAE’s media sector, and Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI). She also sits on the boards of Empower, the Higher Colleges of Technology, Dubai Free Zones Council, Dubai Healthcare City Authority, and HULT International Business School. Originally, Rustamani joined TECOM in 2001 as a Project Engineer for SamaCom. In January 2013, she became Group CEO of TECOM Investments.

What have been the top two achievements by TECOM Investments over the last two years?

We have achieved a considerable amount over that period of time. Our business performance has been strong. We've launched new initiatives and concepts, partnered with a number of leading companies and authorities, supported numerous business partners and nurtured creative talents, and we've received a number of awards for our work within the creative industries. But, if I have to pick just two achievements, it would be the TECOM Investments' role in helping to deliver to Dubai's Innovation Strategy and the launch of Dubai Design District, d3, in June 2013, and its subsequent selection as the pilot greenfield development site for Dubai's Smart City initiative. TECOM Investments pioneered the development of Dubai's knowledge economy, the catalyst being the inauguration of Dubai Internet City in 1999; sixteen years later we have established 11 business communities fostering the growth of over 4,650 business partners operating across six industry sectors. By carefully leveraging and enhancing these communities we will be creating the necessary platforms and comprehensive eco-system to provide the next logical step in the city's sustainable economic development. We are already a frontrunner in the government's innovation strategy, and have announced a number of multi-million dirham initiatives to help deliver this, including a new Innovation Hub in Dubai Internet City, which will be a thriving 1.6 million sqf. business development offering companies across the technology, new media, smart education and sciences sectors world-class facilities and services and state-of-the-art infrastructure, and a Creative Community within d3, which will act as an incubator for emerging local designers and artists. We will also introduce wellness facilities across our business communities, as well as a start-up fund to stimulate innovation, and incubators similar to Dubai Internet City in five innovation centers across all sectors. When we announced we would be building a dedicated destination for design and creativity, the response from the region's creative industry was overwhelming. Not long after its public announcement, d3 was honored by being selected as the greenfield development site for Dubai's Smart City initiative. Since then, strategic partnerships with the telecoms operator du, the energy and water provider DEWA, the Road and Transport Authority, Dubai Police, and Dubai Municipality, alongside a number of leading private sector companies, have been formed to help turn this goal into reality.

How would you describe TECOM's innovation strategy going forward?

Across the Emirate our pioneering business communities are bursting with creative energy. We are proud to be providing a home to over 4,650 business partners, representing a total workforce in excess of 74,000. Our plans for the future are ambitious, and innovation is at the core of our strategy. We have new strategic targets for the next 10 years, which includes growing the number of knowledge and creative workers within our communities, as well as the total number of business partners. Our innovation strategy will help us to achieve these targets and is based on six pillars: developing sustainable smart infrastructure; making business easier; attracting the right talent and investment human capital; supporting the development and growth of start-ups; fostering dynamic industry ecosystems; and activating a vibrant community. The combined total investment allocated toward our new innovation-focused initiatives is $1.23 billion. This will fund the development of infrastructure for d3's Creative Community, Dubai Internet City's Innovation Hub, incubator, and creative spaces in all of our communities, and it will stimulate start-ups and entrepreneurs through the creation of our start-up fund and competition. We are making good progress against our strategy already.