Interview: Farid Samji, CEO of Ewings, the managing operator of Mahzooz
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Interview: Farid Samji, CEO of Ewings, the managing operator of Mahzooz

Interview: Farid Samji, CEO of Ewings, the managing operator of Mahzooz

Mahzooz is the GCC’s first weekly digital draw. It has attempted to have a sizeable impact on disadvantaged sections of the community through its many philanthropic outreach programmes


Gulf Business
Farid Samji, CEO of Ewings

Emirates Loto rebranded as Mahzooz, operated by Ewings. What prompted the decision?
Mahzooz’s journey started when a group of GCC investors joined hands to realise a clear vision: to change people’s lives for the better and give back to the community. Mahzooz was first introduced to the market as Emirates Loto (the region’s first-ever weekly digital draw) in March 2020. We ran Emirates Loto for three months and received an overwhelming response. However, the sheer growth levels and interest we received would not be sustainable if we did not upgrade our systems and platform. For instance, we asked ourselves, ‘How could we improve the customer journey? What could we do better?’. After a thoughtful pause, we promised to come back bigger and better, and we did exactly that. Our efforts culminated in the complete transition from Emirates Loto to Mahzooz.

There’s a strong CSR component to Mahzooz. What are some of the activities undertaken to date?
At Mahzooz, CSR is embedded in our DNA. We have been involved in several social and humanitarian projects since the launch of Mahzooz and have collaborated with numerous community partners. In addition to donating substantial amounts to NGOs and charities, the bottles of water purchased by the participants are donated through our community partners to hydrate those in need. Recently, we collaborated with Dubai Centre for Special Needs to upgrade their computer lab with new computers to help the students enhance their digital abilities. We also collaborated with Al Jalila Foundation to support their A’awen programme; with Friends of Cancer Patients to assist with the funding of treatments for cancer patients and to boost cancer awareness in the UAE; with Rashid Centre For People of Determination to build a sensory garden for their students to promote physical fitness and overall health; with Smart Life to distribute thousands of backpacks full of health and hygiene essentials to workers in the construction industry in the UAE during Ramadan. We also celebrated the graduation of a group of blue-collar workers from SmartLife’s SmartReading English language programme, which aims to enhance English communication skills and instil confidence among them. To date, our substantial monetary contributions, initiatives and projects, have reached out to nearly 300,000 people.

Ramadan CSR Initiative 1

How much money in total has been disbursed by Mahzooz since the start of the draw? What are some of the most inspiring stories you’ve heard from the winners?
As of February 2022, Mahzooz has created 21 millionaires and 148,077 winners who have collectively taken home Dhs166,254,043. During our journey, we came across many inspiring stories. For instance, Thinakar, a 25-year-old Indian expat in Fujairah won Dhs10m in the 57th weekly live Mahzooz Grand Draw in his first participation. From earning Dhs900 a month to being a multi-millionaire Thinakar is now able to reunite with his family and rescue them from a deluge of debts. Meanwhile, Pakistani expat, Junaid, a 36-year-old company driver in Dubai won Dhs50m in the 48th weekly live draw as Mahzooz’s first-ever grand prize winner, which was the biggest cash prize ever to be won in the UAE and the GCC in a live draw.

With rival draws coming up in the UAE, how will Mahzooz ensure that it remains relevant?
Our affordable participation fee and the fact that we use it to give back to the community by facilitating water bottle donations are all factors that give us an edge. Mahzooz was the GCC’s first weekly live draw when it was launched in 2020. What makes it unique in the market is the concept of entering the draw by donating water to the needy. Mahzooz is a medium for us to make people’s dreams come true, not just through our draw but also through our charitable and philanthropic efforts.

To find out more about Mahzooz, click here 

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