There is no single formula for success but luck does play a role – Mr. Rizwan Sajan, Danube Group

Rizwan Sajan
Rizwan Sajan, Founder & Chairman, Danube Group

Mr. Rizwan Sajan reflects that 25 years ago he never thought he would be the successful business owner that he is today. Starting from building materials trading Danube is today one of the most successful companies in the construction and real estate industries. His success has made him more humble and feels he should share his blessings by giving back to the society through skill development to empower less privileged and needy workers. Danube Welfare Centre that provides free training courses to anyone who approaches them is a living monument of his commitment. I welcome Mr. Rizwan Sajan in my blog and share with you our conversation. 


  • Having achieved many mile stones in business what horizons Mr. Rizwan Sajan, as a business leader, are aiming to conquer next?

I don’t dream of conquering anything new. I will continue doing the same thing which means expanding 3 main lines of my business: Building Materials, Danube Home and Danube Properties. Probably number of properties that I have launched before can be increased in the future. I may come across some new businesses which I might venture into but my main focus will remain the same.

  • According to Dubai’s 3D Printing Strategy, 25% of all buildings in Dubai will be 3D printed by 2030. When and how do you plan to incorporate 3D printing technology into Danube’s business model?

This will take long time for private developers to do. I saw a 3D printed building and it looked very good. In the future it is possible that Danube will also adapt 3D printing technology however I’m not able to answer the question when exactly we will start incorporating it. First of all, we want to see more examples of such buildings from international and local markets, evaluate their pluses and minuses to ensure full compliance with the strict building regulations we have here.

  • What are the three specific differentiators for an international investor to invest in real estate here compared to western economies?
  1. Average ROI on rental properties reaches 8-10%
  2. Real estate prices in UAE are still the lowest compare to developed cities like London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mumbai, Moscow, Tokyo, New York. Dubai real estate market is maturing and heading toward that. Today there are many tourists who want to come to Dubai. Flights which are coming to Dubai from different destinations are full. Very soon prices will go up that is why now is the right time to invest in Dubai.
  3. Stable government. Fastest growing city in the world.
  • Is there any formula of becoming a successful entrepreneur? Can anyone who applies this formula become successful?

I wish there was a formula but it doesn’t exist, otherwise everyone would become successful in business. I can only say work with the focus, direction, hard work and be born with luck. I saw a lot of people who worked very hard but they couldn’t succeed because they didn’t have that luck factor. You have to be born with the ability of being a businessman because if you don’t have that ability, it may look very simple but it is not.

  • Imagine you are in the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey, what kind of trading business would you get into in 2018 with limited capital and why?

I would not start trading as it is very difficult business. I would prefer to establish cash business, for example, in the healthcare. If there is a limited capital, let’s say of 2 million dirhams, it could be an aesthetic center.

  • How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?

First of all, I don’t like giving up fast. I pursue it as much as possible but if my idea doesn’t show significant progress over a period of time that I assigned, than I give it up. I don’t extend time that I planned initially to make an idea work as it will lead to bigger loses.

  • What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

The major difference is the ability and courage to take financial risks. Not many people have the courage to embrace the failure. However one should not start a business without knowing what he is venturing into. Risk should be always calculative.

  • Why in your opinion only few locally established companies were able to scale up and become global leaders?

UAE is very competitive market and because of that it is not easy to grow. UAE government has created an ecosystem for a sustainable entrepreneurship providing high end infrastructure and facilities and because of that everyone wants to start a business here and grow beyond UAE borders. The only companies who were able to scale up and reach global presence were the ones who found market niche. It helped them to grow fast and expand.

  • How do you overcome fears which you have in business?

Whenever I plan a new project, I calculate how much I could lose and ask myself whether I can afford that loss or not. If I can’t afford, I don’t start that project. When I started business, my thoughts were not about how much money I would make but how I could sustain the loss if I fail. In order to win one must be mentally and financially prepared to lose and to have plan B.

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