Chalhoub Group Launches The Greenhouse Realizing The Transformation

A space dedicated to corporate entrepreneurship. A unique program focused on accelerating technology-driven solutions, providing startups with unparalleled access to Chalhoub Group brands to implement and test their solutions.

The Chalhoub Group, the leading partner for luxury across the Middle East, is a third of the way through its 900-day timeline set to implement the digital and cultural transformation across the Group. Since 2017, a dedicated team works towards its North Star Vision of transforming Chalhoub Group from a traditional distributor and retailer for luxury in the Middle East, to a hybrid retailer bringing luxury experiences to the fingertips of customers everywhere.

Under the leadership of Rania Masri, Chief Transformation Officer – the transformation team, “Shift,” is supporting all business units within the organization to develop initiatives focusing on new ways of working, implementing tech-enabled solutions and ensuring that systems are in place for continued growth and longevity of the business. The strategy behind the transformation plan is anchored by seven guiding principles which encourage employees to make bold moves, celebrate and learn from successes and failures, to think hybrid and global from the outset; all the while with the customer at the heart.

The core elements of the Group’s transformation are the Greenhouse accelerator program and “Ibtikar” the internal incubator. The Greenhouse is a unique retail tech-accelerator program focused on accelerating technology-driven solutions catered towards fast growing retail startups. The Greenhouse will be welcoming the first cohort of startups at the end of September. Each of the 5 selected startups (StoreDNA, SizeMe, Phygitalmind, EuroPass and Brandquad) will receive a $20,000 grant for a three-month, equity-free accelerator program – offering them market access and retail expertise through the Group’s partnerships with over 300 brands, more than 600 retail outlets and in depth regional coverage of 14 countries.

“Ibtikar”, Chalhoub Group’s internal incubator under the Greenhouse offers an opportunity to any employee to lead and develop a business idea related to the Group’s North Star Vision. “Ibtikar” is already into its second group of intrapreneurs. Through dedicated time and funding to test and prove their ideas, tailored training programs and mentorship, Chalhoub employees are encouraged to adopt more agile ways of working.

The Greenhouse is located in Dubai Design District, which forms part of the Group’s investment into the D3 community with its unique position in the heart of Dubai. Animated by the energy of its designers, entrepreneurs and creative thinkers, Dubai Design District is a meeting point for innovation and creative hub, representing the overall direction of the city, where passion meets purpose. The Greenhouse opened a dedicated workspace for startups of the accelerator program and the internal incubator “Ibtikar” by October – alongside a dynamic and rigorous events program. The events will feature founder stories, workshops, hackathons and training sessions for Chalhoub team members and selected partners across the community. Through the exposure and interaction with startups, this entrepreneurial culture will infuse beyond The Greenhouse, accelerating the Group’s digital and cultural transformation.

Core to the transformation is shifting the corporate culture towards one of radical empowerment, accountability and open innovation. The Greenhouse is a space that will cultivate an environment of being more entrepreneurial. “The Greenhouse will be a tangible element of the transformation; embodying principles of starting small, failing fast or scaling fast. It will also help us stay on top of all the latest retail-tech trends; positioning the Group as a magnet for innovative startups, as well as attracting high potential talent.” says Dina Sidani, Head of The Greenhouse.

“At Chalhoub Group, we consider startups as our allies and we want to offer them a working space, mentorship and a ground to scale-up their ideas. The Greenhouse is a unique opportunity for tech companies and startups from all over the world to implement and test their solutions with the leading retailer of luxury in the Middle East. I am a strong believer that it’s our responsibility to support the next generation of entrepreneurs, to help them succeed and contribute to the economy. The Greenhouse is an exceptional program to accelerate the right solutions in building a future proof Group.” Commented Patrick Chalhoub, co-CEO of Chalhoub Group.

The incoming cohort of startups will be working closely with brands and business units to enhance the in- store experience, optimizing backend operations and improving in-store analytics with real-time performance.