One of the things we love about Kuwait is its entrepreneurial spirit. Since its inception, the tiny desert nation blossomed with businesses and unique concepts created by locals and loved by many. These previously local companies not only spurred on the nation’s economy, they have also emerged as international entities that have truly put Kuwait on the world map.
Born in Kuwait in 1964, Americana Group has grown into one of the largest, most successful corporations operated in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. Even when we aren’t fully aware, a high percentage of the food on our plates in this region comes from Americana, and since its inception in the 60s, the Americana Group has been providing us with delicious goodies stocked on the shelves of grocery stores and franchises of over 50 countries, and over 1,550 stores from the Atlantic Ocean to the Caspian Sea. Their impressive resume boasts quality and freshness, and 52 years later, we – along with the rest of the Arab World – are still enjoying what they have to offer.
Our local telecom company has made it big as well! Born in Kuwait in 1983 as the region’s first mobile operator, the company previously known as MTC has come a long way. By 2007, MTC had rebranded to Zain to reflect their rapid growth, which inevitably led to operations in 15 African countries and 7 Middle Eastern countries, and in 2008, they earned the title as the 4th largest mobile operator in the world in terms of geographical presence. They currently operate in Bahrain, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, South Sudan, Lebanon, and of course, their hometown Kuwait. So just remember when you’re signing a contract with ZAIN, renewing your phone line, or even paying your bill, you’re contributing to a part of Kuwait’s entrepreneurial status and history.
THE SULTAN CENTER COMPANY
This go-to haven for all (imported) foodie needs has been a longtime favorite in Kuwait by Kuwaitis and expats alike! How often do we hear ourselves saying “Thank God for Sultan Center!” when looking for that one cereal we’ve grown accustomed to during our time abroad? Or if you were a 90s child, you might remember that they were the only grocery store franchise that stocked Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers and Fruit Gushers! When Sultan Center expanded in the Middle East, labeling itself as TSC in places like Lebanon, we locals couldn’t help but beam with pride over the fact that Kuwait’s favorite grocery empire was sharing its awesomeness abroad! What else does Sultan Center have to offer? All the food! From gourmet stores to delicious eateries, catering services, plants and farming goods, stationary sent from heaven, and lifestyle electronics and toys – just to name a few.
All hail the Foodstradamus Basil Al-Salem, who, with his culinary genius, has graced Kuwait with comfort food joints that make our tummies sing with happiness. The founder of favorites such as Burger Boutique, Slider Station, Open Flame Kitchen and Cocoa Room, has expanded his talents to other nations of the GCC by opening Gastronomica, a concept that houses his taste-bud tantalizing eateries throughout the region. There are more plans to come for Gastronomica, as it currently operates in KSA, Oman and the UAE with plans for Bahrain and Qatar to join, and Dubai has just opened his very own Slider Station and Cocoa Room! The GCC has Basil, and Kuwait, to thank for these upscale dining concepts that make cheat days more exciting.
What was initially a dorm business started by four local guys with little in their pockets, Talabat was launched in April 2004 and has come an extremely long way since then. Creators noticed the service’s potential as restaurant sales would skyrocket upon registering with Talabat as a food delivery platform, and when Mohammad Jaffar registered his restaurant, The Kitchen, he found that the outcome was no different. This compelled him to buy a share in Talabat, which eventually led the e-commerce start-up to blossom into a delivery empire with countless restaurants operating in the GCC. Today, Talabat is something we as locals can be proud of, knowing that it was created right on our sandy soil, and it 80% of it was recently sold for KD 50 million to Rocket Internet. The company started out small, but it had a lot of heart, and still does today.