5. Mahendra Singh
Few men have come as far in such a short space of time as Mahendra Singh.
In 2005, he set up SPF Realty. In the nine years since, and with the help of his partners Kalpesh Sampath and Ranjeet Chavan, the property brokerage has become one of the biggest in Dubai, with a client database of more than half a million investors.
The three partners have a combined 52 years of experience in the industry in Canada, the UK and Dubai, and lead a team of 45.
As the Dubai property market keeps on growing, Singh and his team are certainly men to watch.
4. Kabir Mulchandani
Kabir Mulchandani's massive $1bn hotel and furnished residences project on The Palm Jumeirah is well under way.
The Viceroy Palm Jumeirah — which is fully sold out — is all set to open its doors in the last quarter of 2014.
The beachside property will host ten restaurants, as well as a gourmet market and bakery. In addition, the hotel will also have a spa, indoor fitness facilities and three outdoor swimming pools.
Not content with that, Mulchandani set up a second project in Jumeirah Village Circle and helped it secure AED927mn ($252.4mn) worth of sales.
3. Rizwan Sajan
In many ways, Rizwan Sajan has literally helped build Dubai.
As the billionaire founder and chairman of Danube Group, one of the Emirate’s most successful business conglomerates, he has supplied building materials to just about every development since the property boom began.
The company is now the undisputed market leader in building materials in the Emirate, created through years of astute growth under Sajan’s leadership.
Danube Group also is evidence that Dubai’s property market is back: “The business doubled in the past year,” Sajan said.
And some business it is: today the Danube Group is a sprawling empire with 38 offices spread across the Gulf, India and China, with 1,800 employees and revenues on track to touch a billion dollars by 2015.
2. PNC Menon
PNC Menon didn’t mince his words when he told Arabian Business about his involvement in Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid City project in November last year.
Almost three decades after his entrepreneurial journey began, and at the age of 65, the founder of the Sobha Group of companies said it is “the most exciting thing to have happened in my life”.
“It’s a dream project for me,” he said in the surroundings of his Dubai home in Emirates Hills.
Menon started his entrepreneurial journey from very small beginnings. He set up an interior decoration firm in Oman in 1976. Today his organisation, the Sobha Group is a multinational, multiproduct group with significant interests and investments in the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Brunei, Tanzania and India.
1. Dr Ravi Pillai
With over 80,000 employees today, Dr Ravi Pillai's company is a multi-billion-dollar operation.
Not bad for the boy from Kerala who at the age of 14 started running his first business just so he could pay for school books.
“To me it’s just been one step at a time, it’s never been about the money, just trying to work hard and do things the right way,” he said.
The Saudi-based RP Group has interests in construction, travel and tourism, healthcare, retail and education sectors. The most prominent of these is Nasser S Al Hajri Corporation, the largest industrial contractor in the Middle East.
Pillai has an MBA from Cochin University and an honorary doctorate from Excelsior State University in the United States. In 2007, Pillai was bestowed with the coveted Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the president of India for his commendable services to Non-Resident Indians and exemplary track record in entrepreneurship.
Next on Pillai’s hit list is Dubai, where his RP Global subsidiary has huge plans in the property, education and hospitality segments.