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Young Dubai businessman behind unique SDaaS for SMEs

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A Dubai-bred young serial entrepreneur is disrupting the local Software as a Service market with a unique AI-driven platform for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, launched at the start of the year.

Called Zoftware, it is “Software Democratisation as a Service, where software products of the people (companies) are recommended by our people (the team), for the people (B2B clients) for any problems they face in their businesses,” says Aayushman Dalmia, 29.

Within the first quarter of operations, Zoftware already has arrangements with a growing list of over 6,000 companies – including the Microsoft and Zoho suites, Google, Adobe and others.

“You can find a packed suite of software just with a generic search, but do you require everything in that or can you customize it? Maybe not. Zoftware is free for the customers while we work with them to understand their needs and even do the work for them in customising solutions from the software companies. Consider us as the Zomato or Tripadvisor for the software industry.

“Avoiding wastage of resources by reducing the gap between the capability knowledge of any software’s offerings and solving the problems of the end users is core to Zoftware’s mission,” says Dalmia, who came up with the idea when he could not find such a solution while searching for his needs himself.

“Zoftware is about marrying software with the best of customer experience. We make it easy for customers to navigate the ocean of software to find the right tools for their business and purpose. We offer deep insights on software and match organisations to the right product, be it for accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), project management, IT, payroll and many more,” says Dalmia, confident his idea will revolutionise the convenience of running a business.

Aayushman Dalmia set up Zoftware after getting stuck with the wrong software as a choice for his family business. Supplied

Zoftware is a unique startup offering a choice of business tools in software with a personalised touch, using Open AI’s ChatGPT, for SME owners and companies. There are plans to take this to India, a huge market for SaaS providers and consumers.

“We have raised 500,000 dollars as a convertible note. And there are plans to raise another $1.5 million in the next round,” he says. “We are aiming for a revenue of $1.5 million by end of 2023.”

The rise of ChatGPT has only become an enabler for the Zoftware team. “Our technical analysts have been nimble to stay ahead on the transformation curve. We are in the process of setting up an AI bot with whom people can converse with, we understand what the customers want from the platform and give them the relevant output data while connecting with the vendors.

“If they want, we can also onboard it for them. With ChatGPT, it can give you out the names, but it cannot do comparisons and the prices that are out there. It cannot help you come to a decision, while we can help find the best value for the clients.

“According to studies, 75 percent of businesses fail in their software implementation. We want to make it to zero, because it is a waste of capital and resources such as time, effort and money. In the SME section, that is not something one can afford. We want to reduce the wastage cycle as much as possible. And we want to build the trust of our customers.”

Zoftware is Dalmia’s latest fruit of labour, coming from his own personal experiences when he saw a gap in the market. He set up Yalla Referral, a referral and benefits platform, is co-founder of an online diamond-purchasing platform Carat Finder and Director of Growth and Innovation at Data Direct Group.

“I remember, in 2018, when I wanted to implement CRM for my sales team, I ended up putting so much effort and money only to realise a year later that I had a complex setup which wasn’t needed at all. Several dollars went in waste apart from the time and effort. Many startups and SMEs may not be able to come out of the wrong direction taken.”

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Abu Dhabi bans single-use styrofoam products from June 1

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Single-use styrofoam products will be banned in Abu Dhabi from June 1, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development announced on X.

As part of the ban, Abu Dhabi is targeting avoidable, single-use consumer products. Specifically, the banned products comprise cups, lids, plates and beverage containers (including their caps and lids) made of expanded polystyrene. In addition, food container receptacles for products that are intended for immediate consumption, either on the spot or for takeaway, or containers that have a product that is typically consumed from the receptacle and is ready to be consumed without any further preparation such as cooking, boiling or heating, will also be prohibited.

Items exempt from this ban include:

-Reusable storage boxes

-Coolers

-Items intended for medical use

The initiative to ban single-use Styrofoam is an extension of the Abu Dhabi Single-Use Plastic Policy, and supports the aims of the Year of Sustainability.

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World League of Fighters announces grand launch in Bangkok: Winners to secure golden tickets to UAE’s inaugural season

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The World League of Fighters (WLF), the first-of-its-kind franchise based league-styled Muay Thai tournament, announced the grand launch ceremony for the inaugural season on June 1st at the prestigious Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok. Sticking to the league’s ideology of sportainment, the mega launch event will offer the audiences mesmerising live musical performances from some of the renowned artists along with an action-packed fight night comprising of five intense bouts to mesmerise the local Muay Thai fans.

To further capture the imagination of the audiences all around the world, the launch ceremony will be held at the highly popular the New Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, in Bangkok, Thailand. Currently owned and run by the Royal Thai Army, the Stadium is regarded as the symbol of modern Muay Thai, and is frequented by the fans who pack the stadium in large numbers each week to witness thrilling fights.

The grand event will be attended by Mr. Rajesh Banga, Chairman World League of Fighters, Mr. Rahul Saxena, President World League of Fighters, Mr. Sunil Mathew, Co-Founder World League of Fighters, Mr. Nilesh Pundir, Co-Founder of World League of Fighters, along with President WBC Muay Thai, Colonel Thanapol Bhakdibhumi. Mr. Samer Al Suojhayer, Co-Founder and Head of Operations WLF Asia, Mr. Kevin P. Noone, Secretary General WBC Muay Thai, and Mr. Fouad Darwish Ceo & Managing Director of Palms Sports will also be present to witness the spectacle.

To kick start the exciting Muay Thai action, USA’s Matt baker will face off against Azerbaijan’s Rauf Gerayzade in the Cruiserweight bout, while Thailand’s own Satanfah Sitsongpeenong will take on Iran’s Mohammad Sirasani in the Middleweight fight. India’s Surya Sagar will vie for a win when he takes on Lithuania’s Deividas Danyla in Welterweight match, and Russia’s Dana Begzhanova will also be in action against Spain’s Alba Morral in the Women’s Featherweight bout. The winners of the four bouts will get a Golden Ticket to the inaugural season of the World League of Fighters which will take place in Abu Dhabi later this year. The Muay Thai action will close with the Headline Contest between Kazakhstan’s Ali Kabdulla and Armenia’s Martun Mezhlumyan in a 170 Pound Catchweight contest.

To further add to the spectacle, the fans will get a chance to groove along with the biggest Thai pop sensation Kratae Rsiam, who recently opened Bruno Mars’ concert in Bangkok, and will be performing live at the launch ceremony. The renowned local musical artist Tong Twopee, who has garnered a cult-like following on social media, will also be performing live for the audience in attendance.

Speaking on the upcoming Launch event, Mr. Rajesh Banga, Chairman World League of Fighters said, “The Launch event in Bangkok is a tiny teaser of the extravaganza that we will be presenting to the world with the inaugural season of World League of Fighters. We are bringing a revolution to the world of combat sports, and we are confident our vision will resonate with the global masses. The Launch event will not only give the fans a chance to enjoy live Muay Thai fights, but also allow them to engage with live musical performances. We are grateful to WBC Muay Thai for their constant support and for the Thailand and Bangkok government authorities for allowing us to showcase our vision at the Mecca of Muay Thai – the New Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.”

WLF partnered with World Boxing Council Muay Thai last year to revolutionise the sport of Muay Thai and spread its reach across the globe. This is the first time in the Combat Sport World, a franchise-based league-style tournament is being organised featuring 20 of the world’s best male and female Muay Thai fighters. The renowned international combat sports stars will be divided into 4 franchises that will compete against each other in a round-robin format, to claim the Coveted WLF * WBC Title Belt.

President WBC Muay Thai, Colonel Thanapol Bhakdibhumi, added: “It is about time the adrenaline-pumping sport of Muay Thai gets a revamp. A league-styled competition of such magnitude is a celebration will boost the popularity of the sport and expand its reach beyond horizon. The upcoming Launch event is a moment of celebration for all Muay Thai fans, aficionados, trainers, and fighters not only in Thailand, but all around the globe, and we want to give them a show that they will never ever forget. The mingling of Muay Thai with entertainment is an unprecedented chapter in the history of combat sports and we cannot wait to present a glimpse of what is in store for the fans.”

The event is slated to take place in UAE in September.

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UAE announces 10 year Blue Residency Visa

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The UAE has announced a long-term residency for environment advocates. Called ‘Blue Residency’, the 10-year visa will be granted to individuals who have made “exceptional contributions and efforts in the field of protecting the environment”.

Applicable fields include boosting the air quality and green technology. “The sustainability of our economy has become linked to the sustainability of our environment,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, as he chaired a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.


Blue Residency: Who is eligible

The Blue Residency will specifically be granted to supporters of environmental action. This includes members of international organizations, international companies, members of associations and non-governmental organizations and global award winners. It also includes distinguished activists and researchers in environmental work. Those are interested in the residency are invited to submit their applications through the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security, or through nominations by competent authorities.

The UAE already grants 10-year residency visas, called golden visas, to eligible investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers and frontline heroes.

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