James Gosling & Donna Benton

The dynamic duo who know just how to entertain you
ByJasmine BandaliWednesday , 26 February 2014
James Gosling & Donna Benton
© ITP Images
Ten years from now… We’d love to say we’d be on a boat in the Caribbean, but perhaps we’d get bored! We hope to still be working closely together, creating more businesses within the F&B industry

The Entertainer soon became a household name in Dubai following its launch in 2001, offering residents two-for-one deals at a variety of entertainment outlets and restaurants throughout the region. The company has since gone global, an immense achievement for Australian entrepreneur Donna Benton, who started the company from scratch as a one-woman show after the job she moved to Dubai for didn’t quite work out. “It seemed like bad luck at the time,” she says, “but soon after that I came up with the idea to start The Entertainer and the rest is history.” The basic idea was to incentivise customers to visit the attractions in the emirate’s ever-expanding hospitality and leisure sectors while boosting the revenue of vendors. 

By 2007, Donna’s husband, James Gosling, had come on board as the company’s business development director. Together, they expanded the initiative, launching books throughout the UAE and GCC and introducing spas and hotel accommodation to their product portfolio. After Abraaj Capital acquired a 50 per cent stake in the company in 2012, the firm set its sights farther afield. Last year – perhaps the busiest yet for the couple – saw the company launch its products in Johannesburg, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Jordan and London, while locally the debut of The Entertainer’s smartphone app made it even easier for customers to redeem their vouchers. As if there wasn’t already enough going on in the busy lives of this supercouple, James, along with his business partners, also managed to open El Sur, a modern Spanish restaurant located in the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi. Donna, meanwhile, worked on the expansion of their family with the addition of their second child, who was born in August.