Build Dubai

Richard Wilson of Colab on “Why Materials Matter”

Richard Wilson, founder of the first purpose-built material library in the UAE, explained how his recent initiative is trying to throw the spotlight on better understanding of how our limited natural resources, such as sand, are used in a construction and build industry.

Colab’s founder asked us to re-think the use of such materials and what sustainable substitutes could be used now and in the near future. He also questioned a heavy extraction of sand globally needed for the production of cement for concrete, comparing its value as the new oil.

“We aim to elevate design across the region by offering a platform to showcase the latest materials and design trends from across the globe whilst highlighting excellence in regional design,” explained Richard. “Colab enables companies to make well-informed decisions in a bid to use smarter materials for the increasingly smarter world, in which we live.”

Richard’s key takeaways:

  • Concrete: The world is running out of sand – and there’s a black market for it now
  • Timber is the new concrete. We are now at the beginning of the timber age!

“No design is possible until the materials with which you design are completely understood” – Mies van der Rohe

Build Dubai member’s presentation: Beehive, the right support, in the right place, at the right time

Gavin Kwas took us through the years with Beehive and explained how the company has grown since its inception five years ago. Launched in November 2014, Beehive, is actually the first regulated peer to peer lending platform in the UAE, which provides an alternative finance solution for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Lending money to SME’s to help their businesses grow, Kwas explained how the platform applies the latest technology of crowd-funding to connect business owners with investors, eliminating the cost and complexity of conventional finance.

“Beehive now has the most competitive rates in the region, which is one of the reasons we’ve grown significantly over the years,” said Gavin who has worked in various industries throughout his career from a small start-up SME to a billion-dollar US-listed firm.

Gavin also shared a success story of the award-winning storage and moving provider, The Box Self Storage, which was funded by investors through the Beehive platform.

Interested in how Beehive works? Watch the video.