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Donna Benton

Serial Entrepreneur, Founder for The Entertainer

Donna is a serial entrepreneur whose first business, The Entertainer, disrupted the Middle East market by creating a new, two-for-one coupon culture.

Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Benton was 26 when she launched The Entertainer as a “buy one get one free” voucher books provider launched in Dubai in 2001. She identified a market gap in both providing consumers with dining incentives and enabling restaurants to reach new customers. She aimed to educate consumers on the array of restaurant options in Dubai, by providing them with buy-one-get-one-free vouchers to the city’s best restaurants, cafes, nightspots and attractions. The scheme also allowed restaurants to reach a new market and attract more customers. The business launched with one book, Entertainer Family, which contained vouchers for 180 outlets. Word-of-mouth recommendations among expats saw book sales surge, enabling Donna to grow the model into new countries and expand the product line.

Starting with just $3,000 Donna built the business alone from the ground up to 300 staff across 15 global offices, over 10,000 merchant partners, and recently selling a 85% stake in her company to GFH Financial Group. The Entertainer is present in every GCC country, Cyprus, Lebanon and Singapore, publishes 17 books and has more than 4,000 merchants.

Prior to launching the Entertainer, Ms. Benton worked in sales, marketing and events, both owning her own company and working with an international hotel chain.

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