Following the final of Flying Colours, a Gulf News competition in association with Emirates Airline, UAE start-up EZ Shade was awarded the first prize of flights worth Dh100,000.
The founder, Brian Wholehan, said that he now intends to use the Emirates tickets to expand his business overseas. “We are hoping to expand into the whole GCC region and the Middle East. We already have orders from Africa and we’ve sold orders to Mexico as well. If we can get the product into the Philippines and India that will provide us with a huge export market.”
One market Wholehan’s particularly interested in is the Saudi market. “Our first trip is to Saudi Arabia and we’re going to go to The Big 5 Saudi construction show in Jeddah. We are hoping to get the product in front of some contractors, developers, investors and architects. We did a show back in September in Dubai called Light Middle East and we had quite a lot of interest from Saudis, so this is going to help us.”
Following the competition, EZ Shade also signed an agreement with LuLu Hypermarket and the products will now be available in stores in Dubai, Al Ain and Abu Dhabi. EZ Shade also plans to attend AIM Startup in Dubai from April 8-10 and the SME Expo Abu Dhabi from April 29-30.
Our first trip is to Saudi Arabia and we’re going to go to The Big 5 Saudi construction show in Jeddah.
EZ Shade produces affordable ceiling light covers, allowing people to decorate their homes on a budget. The products, which are available on Souq.ae, can be installed on a wide number of fixtures and require no tools to fit.
The patented light covers are manufactured in the UAE, made from recycled materials and are World Fair Trade Organisation certified.
The inspiration for the shades came to Wholehan four years ago. “In June 2015, I was with my friend, Derek and we were talking about random ideas for businesses. We were sitting at the British Club Abu Dhabi and I took a napkin and a pen and started drawing,” he says.
Despite Wholehan’s plans for expansion, the American remains committed to the environment and sustainability – one of the key themes of Dubai Expo 2020 and a reason his concept was successful in the Flying Colours competition.
“One of the big ideas was that we didn’t want something that was going to end up in a landfill site somewhere. We wanted to produce a product that came from recycled material and that could be re-recycled,” he says.
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