SME Champions

CellSave Arabia celebrates 15 impactful years in the Middle East



CellSave Arabia celebrates 15 years as the first and largest stem cell laboratory in the region.

The laboratory was established in 2005 in Dubai, bringing breakthrough, novel stem cell technology to the region. During its 15 years of operation, CellSave Arabia has helped thousands of parents preserve the precious stem cells of their newborns, and also impacted the community at large by providing free stem cell storage to families in need.

CellSave has constantly innovated new technologies and services for its customers, enabling parents to safely store their children’s stem cells in the most secure and technologically advanced way possible.

“I’m humbled and extremely pleased to see CellSave Arabia celebrate 15 years of offering state-of-the-art stem cell services to people in the region. The work of our dedicated team members and partners in the field, along with the great support of Dubai Healthcare City, has helped us reach this milestone. We are very happy to have served our community on such an incredible scale,” said Dr. Mai Ibrahim, CellSave CEO, and co-founder.

CellSave Arabia primarily offers stem cell and cord blood banking services. When a woman is pregnant, her umbilical cord is what enables the baby to grow and develop. The umbilical cord also contains newborn stem cells within the umbilical cord blood. In the past, cord blood was usually disposed of after birth. However, in recent years people have realized the various benefits of newborn stem cells, and the demand for stem cell banking is now at an all-time high.

Newborn stem cells have strong healing capabilities and can work to restore tissues. For this reason, stem cells are often referred to as the body’s “master cells.” Their unique ability, which makes them so desirable, is that they can transform into any type of specialized cell – whether it’s a blood cell or a nerve cell. Primarily, they are used in medical therapies to regenerate organ tissue and blood or to heal the immune system.

Scientists have identified 80 different diseases that can be effectively treated with newborn stem cells, and new uses are being discovered every day. As more resources are directed towards stem cell research, the world learns more things. Currently, newborn stem cells are being used in treatments for cancers, blood diseases, immune disorders, metabolic, and bone marrow disorders. They are also part of regenerative treatments for cerebral palsy, diabetes, hearing loss, and even heart defects. As the research continues, this number is likely to increase.

By providing stem cell storage services in the Middle East, CellSave allows parents to cryogenically freeze the stem cells. When stem cells are frozen, they are protected from getting exposed to any kind of environmental damage or common viruses. In addition, their ‘aging process’ also stops.

In the future, if the need for medical therapy arises, families can have these cells released from storage. CellSave Arabia’s laboratory gives families the chance to store potentially life-saving treatments for their children. This service is convenient, easy to use, and an investment worth making.

The COVID-19 pandemic has irrevocably disrupted our lives and the economy, thrusting entrepreneurs, and the business community into the daunting realms of uncertainty, risk, and volatility. The quarantine related restrictions and measures have put businesses to test and entrepreneurs are still reeling from its impact and the repercussions it has brought on to them. Similar to the myriad of vitamins and immunity-boosting health checks that we have increased in our lives to combating the virus, it is imperative for entrepreneurs and start-up businesses to build upon their business’s resilience to the pandemic as well.

The most immediate concern is navigating through the current uncertainty to develop a tenacious and robust strategy to respond to the crisis. The path to creating such a strategy is paved with legal obstacles and hurdles. It is vital to understand the challenges faced by start-ups especially in these unprecedented times.

In these unprecedented times, entrepreneurs and start-up founders can start by analysing the current market situation by identifying the key risk areas for their business, assessing the probability of each risk factor, quantifying the risk over a specific period of time to develop appropriate mitigation strategies. Using this analysis, the founders can create a crisis management plan to maintain their operational resilience. The crisis management plan should be used to anticipate the business’s operational needs to get a more realistic idea of their finances and then subsequently adopt measures to reduce operational expenses. The crisis management plan should also ideally seek to identify the priorities of the business and where to focus in order to keep the business functional. For example, the business can tap into the vast talent resources available in the market to outsource certain functions as a method of reducing operational expenses.The key for all start-ups now is to focus on survival. Start-up founders should take this opportunity to review their business model, modify their business plan, and their mission statement. The significance of modifying a business plan or a mission statement is to create a “north star” that will guide founders in making any future difficult decisions. In identifying a business model best suited for your start-up, founders will need to consider multiple factors including the potential liabilities and responsibilities they wish to take upon themselves, their capital contributions, and their proposed business activities. At this time, start-ups can also look into expanding into other regions to seize any opportunity to diversify their business and tap into potential markets.

It is imperative for start-up founders, at this time, to ensure that they establish strong legal foundations and an effective corporate governance regime. Their chosen business structure and the obtained license from the regulatory authorities should align with their business plan and mission statement. Start-ups can maximise their ease of operability by adopting efficient corporate governance policies for faster decision making. Start-ups should seek legal and professional advice in ensuring that it obtains all relevant approvals from the applicable regulatory authorities and adheres to all the compliance requirements imposed. Any non-compliance can create the risk of hefty fines and even restrictions or bans to their business activities.

The boon and the bane of any start-up is the funding. In these trying times, it is likely that the funding environment slows down with most investors adopting risk-averse measures and reducing any investments to protect their existing portfolios. Entrepreneurs can use this opportunity to look into new and alternative modes of finance for raising capital such as crowdfunding or tokenisation. These funding options can be heavily regulated depending on the jurisdiction. Therefore, it is important that start-ups seek legal and professional advice to identify the most suitable form of financing applicable and to ensure that at all stages of funding and financing, their business and equity interest is protected. Founders should ensure that they avoid entering into any funding arrangement under pressure and should focus on obtaining financing from trusted sources such as angel investors or friends and family.

The other integral aspect of a start-up is its intellectual property (IP). Every business can use this time to undertake a complete intellectual property assessment to identify the key IP assets that need to be protected and obtain the relevant licenses to effectively manage their IP assets. Without a robust IP protection regime, start-ups are exposed to all risks associated with competitors claiming pre-emptive rights. Further, registered IP rights increase the commercial value of any start-up that could increase potential funding options.

Now more than ever, entrepreneurs and their start-ups have to create a resilient business plan and strategy to survive the pandemic and mitigate their risks. With the pace of the global economy slowing down to play catch up with the pandemic, this is an ideal opportunity for entrepreneurs to pause, recalibrate, identify market gaps and focus on stimulating innovation and opportunity.


The Gulf Capital SME Awards is an annual platform that is dedicated to celebrating and recognising the outstanding contributions of SMEs like CellSave Arabia in helping to build and grow the regional economy.

If you would like to share your incredible SME journey, then register for the Gulf Capital SME Awards 2021 today and submit your entry!