Rizwan Sajan

Soaring Above Adversities, on the Wings of Resilience – An Inspiring Journey : Rizwan Sajan

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Rizwan Sajan Danube Group

Founder & Chairman | Danube Group

The Danube Group, a multibillion-dollar multinational company with a global footprint of 50 locations across 10 countries, is one of the UAE’s pioneering businesses, felicitated with the regions’ most prestigious recognitions year on year.

Led by Rizwan Sajan, an inventive leader whose bold moves and business acumen have paved the illuminating journey for the Group, Danube has grown in giant strides from a small trading firm to a mammoth global enterprise uncontested in the building materials marketplace in the GCC today.

With the region’s most illustrious and iconic developments standing testament to its vision and steady shoulders, the Danube Group is the building force behind the Burj Khalifa, Vas Island Development, and Dubai International Airport.

Rizwan Sajan Success Story

The Road to Rizwan Sajan

Rizwan’s rigour and persistence were evident in his growing years in Mumbai. A childhood mired with hardships catapulted Rizwan at the tender age of 12 to make ends meet for his loved ones. Be it walking to school to save on bus fare or doing part-time jobs – selling rakhis, milk, crackers and books before and after school, Rizwan’s resolute spirit never let setbacks dampen his enterprising spirit.

Even when Rizwan lost his father at the age of 16, his grit and fortitude led him to replace his father’s position both at the workplace and at home. Supporting his family’s needs by working tirelessly through night and day, Rizwan channeled every adversity into a learning opportunity, honing his craft, fuelling his passion, and learning relentlessly from those around him.

Charting His Own Destiny

It is perhaps his steadfast efforts that led destiny to smile upon him when, on turning 18 in 1981 he was extended a job offer in Kuwait by his uncle, a top salesman at a company there. Learning under his uncle’s able tutelage, Rizwan embraced the ways of the company at startling speeds, imbibing his uncle’s exceptional sales skills and business acumen.

His dynamism led him to grow from earning 150 KWD in 1981 to 1,500 KWD by 1989. This progress helped him support his sisters’ marriage and build a family home in Bandra, in Mumbai, India.

Rizwan’s steady progress, however, met an untimed hardship when he was forced to flee Kuwait amidst the 1990 Iraqi invasion, putting him back on the streets of Mumbai. A short stint in Mumbai followed swiftly by a favour from a friend who hosted Rizwan in Dubai led to the humble beginnings of Danube, now one of the UAE’s most respected conglomerates.

Rising From The Ashes

Established in 1993, the Danube Group began as a small trading enterprise spearheaded by the husband-wife team of Rizwan and Sameera Sajan. Working strategically to build relationships and create a foundation of credibility, this dynamic duo catapulted the company’s reach impact in just 3 decades to employ over 4,000 people across Bahrain, Qatar, Africa, India, and the UAE.

Today, Danube’s business spans over 5.5 million square feet of land in Jafza alone, and its warehouses cater to an illustrious portfolio of more than 50,000 products across the UAE. The force behind the UAE’s most renowned real estate projects like Burj Khalifa, Meydan Race Course, Dubai International Airport, Terminal 3 and 4, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Metro, Emaar Projects and Yas Island Development, Danube’s influence remains unchallenged.

Pinnacle of Performance

With a covetable clientele that includes FTSE companies and global organisations, the largest supplier in the GCC, Danube has expanded the UAE’s economic horizon far beyond borders. Credited with introducing the reg ion’s largest industrial complex at Technopark, Jebel Ali, Danube has conclusively helped remove the UAE’s dependence on imported finished products by custom manufacturing them in the complex instead. Heavily invested in the UAE’s growth and one of the strongest advocates of the UAE economy, Rizwan has soared higher with every flight, lifting thousands of small businesses and sectors with him.

With a trifecta of offerings, Danube presents businesses across the globe a holistic and sustainable business solution for their development needs. At the forefront is the building materials company, Danube Build ing Material s, flanked by the respected home solutions service Danube Home, and its UAE-based affordable housing arm, Danube properties. Mercurial growth in the home interiors, building materials and residential properties has led the Group to expand its footprint in sectors such as healthcare, hospitality, architectural cladding and media.

On the Anvil – Looking Ahead

A year of returns, 2021 has set the stage for an exciting decade ahead for Danube. Rizwan’s vision for the coming year includes strategic diversification and expansion, building on the Group’s strong track record across businesses. Developing new markets, strengthening existing ones and growing businesses horizontally are among the significant strategies for the months ahead, starting with taking the UAE’s beloved Danube into every country Emirates Airlines flies to.

Invested in Workforce Transformation

As a leader who has risen on the merit of integrity, hard work and respect for customers and service, Rizwan evangelises the importance of employee welfare and satisfaction. As part of the Group’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) drive, the Danube Welfare Centre was set up in November 2015 to contribute substantially and constructively toward a positive transformation in the lives of many workers in Dubai.

A non-profit social organization licensed by the UAE’s Community Development Authority, Danube Welfare Centre offers free training courses to upskill workers, improve language skills and prepare them for the opportunities available. This noble initiative entails many incredible programmes and a well-designed curriculum.

An Unshakable Force of Resilience

Over the last three decades, Rizwan’s company has stood strong against crisis, adapting and evolving despite the turbulence caused by regional conflicts, the Gulf War, the global financial crisis of 2008, and global health crises including SARS HlNl Bird flu, and the Covid-19 pandemic. Rizwan’s resilience has been the life force for his group, as each consecutive crisis has been overcome by the leader and the Group, making Danube the unflinching leader in theGCC.

Known for his keen eye for talent and his deep involvement in his people’s growth, Rizwan has empowered his workforce and his staff with the finest tools and latest training, creating a self-sustaining ecosystem of success that uplifts the business at every turn. It is also a style of leadership that presents a rich case study for management students the world over.


Ranked 8th among the Top 100 Indian leaders in the UAE list by Forbes Middle East in 2021, Rizwan Sajan has enjoyed an enviable spot on the Forbes Top Indian Business Leaders list over 6 times and was crowned thrice with the Top Real Estate Company in the Arab World award by Forbes Middle East.

As of March 2020, Rizwan’s real estate development business has delivered 2,155 units with a combined sales value of $571.7 million. It’s no wonder then that Rizwan was among the first foreigners to receive the UAE’s new 10-year residence visa in recognition of his contributions to the country’s economy in 2019. With multiple awards to the company’s credit, including the prestigious Dubai Quality Awards and MRM Business Awards, Rizwan’s Danube is a beacon leading UAE industry to newer Heights.

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