Some businesses at Expo 2020 Dubai plan to expand operations in the UAE


Many businesses that were established at the Expo 2020 have plans to expand their footprints in the UAE. A few of them have even planned to expand in other cities. They believe that the world fair had given them the exposure to cater to people of various nationalities under a single room.

One among them is Alkebulan, a dining hall showcasing African food and culture, where seven chefs turned their vision into reality for the cuisine from their continent.

Simon Wright, founder and chairman of hospitality consultancy company, TGP International, shed light on how it all began for them and why they planned to showcase at the world fair. “We were appointed to do a review of the food and beverage offerings at the Expo where I shared the idea with Reem Al Hashimi, Minister of State for International Cooperation and the Managing Director for Expo 2020, who told us that we must launch an Alkebulan outlet at the Expo. She has spent a lot of time in Africa through her diplomatic work and told us to make it happen,” said Wright.

Alkebulan presented a feast of colour, creativity and culture with an eclectic mix of African musicians and DJs who took guests on a journey to Africa through music, dance and culture.

The outlet was located at the Al Wasl Square. The licensed venue had 613 seating across its 10 counters. The owners have decided to work on their ambitious global expansion plans for their new food hall concept in London and New York.

“Alkebulan will stay as a part of District 2020, the human-centric city of the future and the legacy of Expo 2020 Dubai,” said a representative.

Emirati enterprise, Caliente, specialise in designing and creating fashionable, high-end trucker caps. Expo 2020 appointed Caliente as an Emirati designer licensee to create caps and apparel that target both the local and expat market.

Dr Hamdan Mohamed AlSamt, founder, said that they have received huge appreciation from the Expo 2020 Dubai team and also got a good response from visitors.

Being a trucker caps collector, AlSamt came up with the first local brand that sells trucker caps. The word Caliente came from the Spanish word ‘hot’ which resembles the hottest designs the brand provides. The brand already has stores in Dubai and are planning to set up operation in America and Europe.

Recollecting the selection for Caliente, AlSamt said that it was a long procedure. “Expo set a very high quality bar and we are glad that our products matched up to the standards. They visited our production units and tests were conducted for quality checks,” he said.

AlSamt also pointed out that Expo had given them a chance to take their brand forward. Not only businesses, but architects are also planning to establish their business studios in Dubai, considering the potential the city possess.

The architect who designed the amazing ‘Forest of Intelligence’ at the Spain Pavilion is planning to set up a design studio in Dubai believing that the opportunities are just in abundance.

Carmelo Zappulla, an Italian architect who designed the masterpiece at the mega event said: “I see a lot of opportunities Dubai has to offer, not just in architecture but in every field,” said Zappulla, the founder and Owner of External Reference, based in Barcelona and many other cities across world.

“Dubai will serve as my base for every city in the Middle-East,” he added.

Commenting on Dubai’s architecture, Zappulla said, “The city has got one of the finest architectures in the world, not only in terms of skyscrapers, but also creative installations.”

He along with his team experimented with many materials, but were successful with PureTech, a natural compound that captures and mineralises some of the main greenhouse gases and pollutants in our planet’s atmosphere, including CO2, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC).

Expo 2020 Dubai ended on March 31 following 182 days of celebrations.

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