Celebrating a Decade of Growth: 10 Years of Interact

This year marks a significant milestone for Interact as we celebrate our 10th anniversary.

Since launching in 2014, we’ve been continuing to grow our small but passionate team, working with brands and government to embed healthy activity into communities.

Below, we look back at our journey and hear first-hand from our founder, Sally Corander, about why she launched Interact, her highlights over the years, and ambitions for the future.

How it all started

I moved to the UAE from the UK in 2009 and worked on large global sport conferences. I fell in love with the sport industry and the passion of the people in it. After seeing a gap in the UAE, I launched Interact in 2014.

Back then, conferences that came to the UAE were often focused on international markets and didn’t understand how the region works, so I saw the opportunity to launch Sport Industry Forum with the support of Dubai Sports Council and Abu Dhabi Sports Council. Our aim was, and still is, to advance the sports sector in the UAE. We’ve witnessed such incredible growth in sport in the last 10 years and it’s now growing at a rapid pace.

Sport Industry Forum
The Sport Industry Forum was launched in 2014 to advance the sports sector across the UAE

Getting local communities engaged in sport

I saw that more could be done to make sport and physical activity more accessible to local communities and not just for the ‘sporty people’! In 2015, we launched The Dash series which were fun, short distance, team relay races for corporates, ladies only and children.

It was the first time many of the participants had taken part in a sporting event and we had some fantastic feedback where some of the participants went on to regularly take part in physical activity (from joining a gym, going for a run or joining a local sports club) as a result of joining the Dash which was so good to hear.

People running in The Dash
The Dash was a series of events to bring communities together to get active

We then went on to launch more community projects, focusing on activities for young people. We secured partnerships with the UAE Ministry of Education and private school groups. We’ve built strong partnerships through working with different brands on projects which have a positive impact including: Spinneys Farm to Table, Dyson: Engineering a Sustainable Future, The Daily Mile UAE, and Daman Heroes in partnership with Daman Insurance, to name a few.

School children cooking
We work with brands like Spinneys on our free Farm to Table initiative to educate children and young people on health, nutrition and sustainability.
Highlights over the years

There have been so many highlights over the years, it’s difficult to choose one. From hosting some of the most high profile sports leaders in the world at our annual Sport Industry Forum, to our community initiatives; seeing students having fun learning about healthy food at Spinneys stores and farms, to seeing the impact on the children who have run The Daily Mile every day at school – it’s all been hard work, but very rewarding!

I am particularly passionate about getting more girls and women active and undoubtedly, a standout moment for me was the launch of the Ladies Dash series back in 2017 – a groundbreaking event held exclusively for women. We closed off the iconic Abu Dhabi F1 track so the venue was completely private. It was a sold out event and over 600 ladies raced the circuit in relay teams while also trying out different sports in the activity village.

It had never been done before and I’m very grateful to the Department of Health Abu Dhabi for partnering with us, and specifically to H.E. Dr Omniyat Al Hajeri for her support at the start of our journey. We still get asked about the Ladies Dash today!

Women exercising during the Ladies Dash
Over 600 ladies women took part in The Ladies Dash series in Abu Dhabi

After all the hard work, there is nothing better than seeing the projects come to life and the impact on the communities. We are so lucky at Interact to have the most amazing, hard working team who really make the programmes the success they are.

Watch this space

We are an ambitious company and I’m excited for the future of Interact. We are continuing to grow our portfolio in the region with new and exciting social impact projects and have expanded our UAE team as a result.

Interact UK was set up last year and we have recently launched the global women’s sport conference, RAISE to continue to grow our global sport business network.

Read more about the work that we do at Interact here.