This Mauritian is putting Dubai and Abu Dhabi on the world map

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Tim Balgobin. — Supplied photo
Tim Balgobin. — Supplied photo

Balgobin’s clients include royals, elite businessmen, and tech entrepreneurs who saw Mauritius as the next family holiday hotspot.


Sandhya D'Mello

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Published: Sun 28 Nov 2021, 10:51 AM

Last updated: Tue 30 Nov 2021, 3:20 PM

Tim Balgobin is a popular face in most high-profile Royal office events in Dubai.

It’s intriguing how the 36-year-old Mauritian made the UAE his extended home while connecting the world to this young nation through various verticals.

Balgobin has come across several business trends and is a personal investor in real estate, movies, start-ups. And he is bullish about the UAE’s growth prospects. “The UAE economy has been designed to win at the very early stage with the vision of its patriotic, self-sacrificing, and humble leaders. From camels roaming in the desert to private jets landing into a megalopolis, from empowering women backed by great security, to launching the Hope Probe to Mars, the UAE has done it all. It also has a Minister of State for Happiness whose task is to harmonise all government plans, programmes and policies to achieve a happier society, and to create social good and satisfaction. This defines leadership,” he said.

Balgobin started helping at the traditional family supermarket situated in the heart of the Mauritian capital city of Port-Louis when he was eight during school holidays where he would meet foreigners from Russia, Taiwan, and other countries.

He was curious to learn the nuances of business and networking from a tender age.

Balgobin pursued a bachelor’s degree in international business at Regents University London, followed by a scholarship to study at Suffolk University in Boston. He returned to Mauritius to become the political advisor to the former Mauritius’ Prime Minister who happened to also be the former President of the Republic. At 29, he was close to the late Prime Minister, Sir Anerood Jugnauth (SAJ).

Frequent visits to the UAE to attend the Gulfood event as a commodity trader — representing leading Indian conglomerates such as the UB Group, Shakti Bhog, Chaman Lal Setia — compelled him to stop over in Dubai for business trips.

During one such trip Balgobin partnered with Damac to sell their properties and prospered in the booming realty sector by penetrating the African markets. “My company is promoting properties in Dubai during the peak of Expo 2020 Dubai. I always have serious leads, especially from Africa and European family offices coming to explore the Dubai real estate market whereby I guide them in profitable company setups in the emirates. After having made my way in the Arab and the family office world, I’m the man to go to for Mauritius properties,” he said proudly.

Like Dubai is for Indian buyers, a similar trend is unravelling with Arab investors in Mauritius.

The Middle Eastern families want to have a second home only a few hours away with the best sandy beaches in the world, blended with a turquoise lagoon.

Balgobin’s clients include royals, elite businessmen, and tech entrepreneurs who saw Mauritius as the next family holiday hotspot. Mauritius has emerged as a friendly and welcoming destination post-Covid, and with the introduction of a residence permit at $375,000 (Dh1,377,375), it remains cost-effective when compared to the Caribbean options which caught the attention of many prospective buyers, including from the US and Canada.

“I’d like to welcome high networth individuals (HNIs) around the world to the emirates and help them set up their corporate structures, brand the Royal Offices, build on a real estate portfolio for them, and design an impactful wealth investment strategy. My job also consisted of raising and packaging funds in debt/equity financing to a number of entrepreneurs and multinationals,” he added.

Balgobin helps to engage the decision-makers by granting royal patronages to international trade shows in Dubai like the Africa-Dubai summit, World Blockchain summit, Women Entrepreneurs Forum, Dubai crypto launch and Forbes’ business events.

“I’m an African who believes in the ‘Mother Continent’ brains, talents and this is the reason why I designed and spearheaded the UAE’s first Royal ‘Africa-Dubai’ summit with the support ofForbes at Habtoor Palace where I felt happy to be welcomed personally by Rashid Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, a top entrepreneur based in the UAE,” he said.

Hollywood-Bollywood connect

Tim Balgobin has been appointed as the senior advisor to elite Hollywood producers and studios, including Base Fx to help in their strategy and fundraising for major blockbusters such as Transporter Reloaded, Wish Dragon 2 and The Meg, which will be filmed in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Umm Al Quwain, and a few African territories, including Madagascar and Mauritius.

“We want to really give a chance for new territories to be discovered within the Hollywood industry and for a new impactful generation of investors to join in with constructive actions,” he said.

“The UAE is emerging as the back-office of Hollywood financing. There is a lot of support from my friends back in Los Angeles who are top financiers in the industry. I’m constantly working on the Dubai and Abu Dhabi brand to make it a global tour de force. The UAE will become a main destination for major ‘movie disruptors’, because Hollywood is starting to bank with Dubai,” he said.

Balgobin is working with Bollywood executive producer Gaurang Doshi — Aankhen and Deewaar — for his next web series called 7th Sense.


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