Focusing on the UAE as a “Land of Opportunity”
Dubai is a pioneer in launching innovative models of government and private sector collaborations.
Khaleej Times celebrates its 41st anniversary today April 16, 2019. We focus on the UAE as a “Land of Opportunity” and highlight the remarkable avenues that are available for individuals and businesses in this country. We look at the innovative policies of the government, which have resulted in ensuring rapid growth.
Prominent government and business leaders, offer their views on the country as a land of enormous opportunities. We take our readers down the 41-year-old long journey undertaken by the UAE since the launch of the newspaper and also reflect on the future vision for the country from the words of prominent leaders. Read on to know more.
Dr. Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr (Director General, Smart Dubai)
Emirati women have been effective partners in the UAE’s development, thriving in every sector since our country was established. We are empowered by our leadership’s unwavering belief in women’s potential and role. The women in the UAE have come to occupy prominent positions at the core of our country’s political, economic, business, and social establishments. They are now ambassadors, ministers, members and the Chairperson and the Speaker of the Federal National Council, CEOs of major companies, leaders, and pioneers in many fields and sectors.
Hamad Buamim (President and CEO of Dubai Chamber)
Dubai Chamber promoted Dubai at 80 international events in 2018, and received more than 4,700 visiting delegations from all over the world over the last five years. The Chamber is actively supporting key objectives outlined under the Dubai Plan 2021 and other forward-looking strategies that aim to strengthen Dubai’s position as a global innovation hub which is increasingly leveraging advanced technologies that support its sustainable growth. In addition, the positive impact from government-led stimulus initiatives and business-friendly measures introduced over the last year by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is already being felt within the emirate’s business community. The Chamber recently opened a representative office in Argentina, its third in Latin America, and is planning to open offices in two new markets in Latin America and Asia later this year.
Khalfan Belhoul (CEO of Dubai Future Foundation)
Dubai is a pioneer in launching innovative models of government and private sector collaborations that work towards positing the Emirate and the rest of the UAE as a hub for innovation and a role model for future governments. The AREA 2071’s programme, “County in Residence” serves as a global strategic platform for the UAE and participating countries to strengthen the Foundation’s efforts towards building effective collaborations that ultimately accelerates the pace of innovation, enables the adoption of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and embraces knowledge-sharing through the export and import of global knowledge and innovation. The launch of the programme is a strong addition to AREA 2071 as it serves to achieve its objectives to encourage collaboration, foster talent as well as enable an innovative agile ecosystem. The programme is one-step closer to achieving the UAE Centennial Plan, which is to position the UAE as the leading nation by 2071.
Hind Alowais (Vice President – International Participants, Expo 2020 Dubai)
At Expo 2020 Dubai, we are supporting the achievement of the global development agenda to create positive change in a number of areas, including gender equality and women’s empowerment. Women account for more than half of our workforce and, under the leadership of Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, we are working to ensure that gender equality and women’s empowerment is a central feature at Expo 2020 – including our content and programming. We are designing engaging and interactive visitor experiences that will challenge millions of Expo 2020 visitors to think about their own role in human development, and how they can make a positive, collective contribution to global causes.
Sultan Ali Rashed Lootah (Founder, Relam Investments)
Our Government is playing a critical role in shaping the country’s culture and creating an entrepreneurial environment where both failures and successes are celebrated, and where people are encouraged to better oneself economically through hard work and risk taking. In order to make the start-up ecosystem run, we must concentrate on as many technology startups as possible in fun neighbourhoods. Provide rent subsidies, free Wi-Fi and make sure there are great coffee shops. What’s happening now in the UAE is the funds are driven from the government, and we would like to thank the government for the total support for the SME sector for UAE. But we believe the private sector should also contribute using their market knowledge and interest in investment growth.
Mohammad Abdullah (Managing Director of Dubai Knowledge Park)
The UAE is a leading contender in innovative HR practices and it is believed to be the next emerging HR hub. In line with the UAE’s continued efforts to become one of the happiest countries in the world, a national priority is to shape dynamic work cultures with a framework that allows businesses to flourish and employees to thrive. DKP aims to facilitate this by leveraging its partners to drive Dubai’s knowledge-based economy forward whilst creating a larger talent pool. As the local business landscape continues to change at an unprecedented pace, companies need to put their employees first and create a people-oriented strategy.
For example, LinkedIn’s latest Global Talent Trends report revealed that 65 per cent of talent professionals in the Middle East and North Africa region believe work flexibility is crucial to attracting and retaining talent, as well as to boosting productivity. Studies show that the UAE is one of the top destinations for potential networking opportunities in HR and is also a preferred location for professionals attending international HR events. As HR continues to rank as a top tier profession, it is important for stakeholders within this industry to come together and formulate actionable strategies to overcome common challenges and in line with DKP’s commitment to growing and supporting the local HR industry, we support global events such as the CIPD Middle East People Conference & Awards. These events are necessary for the GCC and surrounding region because they allow neighbouring countries to participate in important dialogues.
Maha A Muraish (VP/Data Monetisation & Digital Channels-Etisalat Digital)
I joined Etisalat as a young graduate trainee and have risen from the ranks based on my hard work and capability. I am fortunate that the country I live in and the company I work for gave me the perfect platform to showcase my talent and contribute towards the growth of the company and the nation. The leadership in the UAE has made the environment conducive for women empowerment, and the digital transformation in the country has brought several opportunities in future technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Space, among others.Today women hold senior leadership positions representing key roles in government, public and private sector. At Etisalat, I have the freedom to think out of the box and design and implement new strategic ideas. My current role requires working closely with enterprises and governments to help them use data analytics and insights for digital transformation to help them make informed decisions. I am proud to be part of Etisalat and to be given an opportunity to contribute to a strategic role to chart out the path for digital transformation.
Younus Al Nasser (Assistant Director General of Smart Dubai, CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment)
In January 2019, Smart Dubai launched the city’s official principles and guidelines for the ethical implementation of AI. We are the city data governor, and central to our initiative is a toolkit which allows anyone implementing AI to self-assess their performance against a set of criteria which when taken together assure an ethical approach. The process uses the data from the self-assessment toolkit to create a positive feedback loop with those using and developing AI. We believe we are the first city to set out such a voluntary approach that will help businesses and governments create fair, interpretable, explainable, accountable, and ultimately trusted AI systems that manage the tension between innovation potential, societal values and the downside risks.
Iman Salah (Standards and Emiratisation Officer at the Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies)(EIBFS)
The UAE government is proactively realising its vision of being an inclusive country where women are empowered and encouraged to reach the pinnacle of their achievements. This has brought about larger gender equality in both the public and private sectors. Banks are one of the highest employers of UAE locals, and Emirati women make up 72 per cent of the local employee mix. At EIBFS, our major focus is on training and education of women in banking services. We can proudly say that we are at the forefront of women empowerment around the world.
Hanan Darwish (Cluster President – Gulf and Pakistan, Schneider Electric)
We applaud the UAE’s public and private sector initiatives to champion women in the workplace. Self-empowerment is a key success factor. Women across the region need to seize choices and opportunities, empower themselves, and not underestimate their potential or overestimate problems. As Smart Cities accelerate across the Arabian Gulf, Schneider Electric is supporting gender parity in emerging fields such as renewable energy.
<>h3Adriana Usvat (Managing Partner, FLC GROUP)
UAE has a magic mix of an advanced economy, a world-class infrastructure, a strong banking system, the presence of credible financial institutions and a stable political system. To add to that a reasonable interest rate regime, incredible talents and extensive government support for entrepreneurs, concepts like incubators, accelerators for businesses, make the UAE undeniably strong as the best platform for businesses to grow. Being successfully established in the region for the last 10 years, starting from ground zero to handling today some of the largest activations for global brands, we are a true testament of the vast opportunities for business growth.
Anil Dhanak (Managing Director, Kanz)
Dubai is a shopper’s paradise. Popularly known as the ‘City of Gold’, Dubai is the preferred destination for gold jewellery shopping. The vast expat population, especially the presence of the large Indian community, is a boon to those who are in the jewellery trade. The availability of intricate designs, the purity of the gold sold here and the host of various benefits to the industry body, have made Dubai the first choice for many gold buyers, especially from the sub-continent. I am comfortable with the transparency, the flexibility and the ease of doing business that provides a great platform for me to conduct my business.
Ali Shabdar (Business Development Director MEA, Zoho Corp)
The genius of the UAE consistently reinventing itself in the past 47 years into a global inspiration and a regional powerhouse of innovation is to relentlessly focus on creating the culture of business and growth as an inseparable part of country’s DNA. Openness to global business, being one of the most important global hubs for trade, transit, and tourism, as well as topnotch infrastructure, unmatched stability, security, and safety, makes the UAE one of the best places to start and grow business.
Alisha Moopen (Executive Director & CEO, Aster & Medcare Hospitals & Clinics – GCC)
The UAE Government has played a significant role in positioning the country and the region as one of the top destinations for business investments, and this is well reflected through the increasing interest of global players entering and strengthening their presence in the market. Driven by our visionary rulers’ mission to establish a world-class healthcare system in the country, the healthcare sector can be seen as one of the growth drivers for the country. The diverse population, supported by increasing number of expats entering the market to pursue their dreams and careers, encouraged by the recent changes in the residence visa rules, will continue to drive the demand for high-quality medical services that are affordable and easily accessible. This demand is also powered by the value for money approach of the middle to the lower segment of the population who previously would delay treatment till they reached their home country or did not have access or means to afford good care. With health insurance being made a mandatory requirement for all, today we have this segment of the population seeking the best quality healthcare, locally. Dubai gains its strength from creating an open market environment to allow for healthy and strong businesses to be nurtured, to prosper and to flourish. Whilst the number of medical establishments are plenty, the market will allow only the good ones to survive. The same principle can be applied to most businesses in Dubai. The market allows the survival of the fittest and promotes and develops the entrepreneurial spirit to make this happen.
Anishkaa Gehani, CEO, (Yardstick Marketing Management)
The UAE has been a source of inspiration for entrepreneurs, especially with the majority of us starting from ground zero to building our dream businesses. The visionary leadership has fostered a growth mindset and created opportunities for businesses to thrive offering a stable, safe and a cosmopolitan environment. As a local marketing agency working internationally, we have experienced the support and ease of doing business in the country. Home to many of us for generations, the UAE has been an epitome of innovation, tolerance and equal opportunity. The world-class infrastructure and facilities have truly become the yardstick of excellence.
Dr. Azad Moopen (Founder Chairman and Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare)
The UAE Government has created a conducive business environment which encourages local entrepreneurs to think, innovate and develop successful home-grown companies. We have benefitted from this incubator for three decades, where we launched the business to become a billion dollar publicly listed company with 20,000 employees and a presence in nine countries. There are many examples like Souq and Careem, which is driving international interest. At the same time, the UAE is introducing favourable reforms like 100 per cent ownership in a business, long-term visas, residency, post-retirement etc. and all aimed at plugging some of the need-gaps that enterprises are facing today. The commendable efforts of our Visionary Rulers to maintain the competitive edge of the UAE as compared to other global business destinations has helped establish the country as the preferred destination for both regional and global companies. This is reflected in the healthcare sector where we are witnessing the successful co-play of international companies, locally established brands and government institutions along with mandatory insurance for the public, making the sector vibrant.
Dr. B.R. Shetty (Founder and Chairman of NMC Healthcare, Finablr, Neopharma and BRS Ventures)
I came to the UAE with $8 in my pocket. I am grateful for the success that I have achieved over the past 41 years. I started off my journey with establishing New Medical Centre, and now, we have multiple businesses across healthcare, financial services, education, pharmaceuticals, hospitality and environment. Several factors have contributed to success. Hard work, identifying opportunities, being present at the right place at the right time, benevolent and kind leadership to look up to and emulate – the royal family of the UAE, supportive family and friends, and availability of skilled talent. The UAE has one of the smoothest, transparent, quickest business environments in the world. It is a delight to set-up shop here and conduct business. Hence, you will see, despite having businesses across the globe, we are still headquartered in Abu Dhabi. Entrepreneurship is challenging. Every day is full of opportunities.
Dhananjay Datar (Chairman and Managing Director, Al Adil Group)
Dubai is strategically located with excellent seaport and airport connectivity. This makes logistics extremely easy for a business that is engaged in international trading, import, export, as well as logistics. It thus provides a great platform for business professionals like me who are engaged in the business of trading. The ease of operations makes it convenient for me to bring high-quality products that my customer wants, primarily from India, without any hassles at any stage. I am thus able to provide the Indian diaspora with products that they are used to at home.
Barry Shaunak (Operations manager, Gifto’s)
If ever there was a city that we wanted to launch our brand internationally there was no other we could think of than Dubai. We enlisted the help of a professional management company and from then on the process had been seamless and more importantly painless. We see a huge potential in the region. Dubai is a one-stop solution catering to everyone’s needs. Our journey has just begun, but our long-term aim is to open a further six outlets.
Bharat Bhatia (CEO, Conares)
The UAE wears the crown of the leading business-friendly market in the Middle East. The UAE is committed to facilitate businesses, create an attractive and encouraging environment for growth. The country is positioned as a preferred investment destination for businesses of all scales from around the globe. This is because the UAE has a reliable, secure and transparent legislative environment that encourages investment in all sectors. Moreover, the UAE has implemented a number of reforms to facilitate reducing the pressures of the cost of operations for businesses, benefitting the overall economic growth of the country. Strong policies, innovation-friendly legislative structure and various financial incentives encourage businesses to set up their entities in the country.
Claire McPeak (Director of Communications, SAP MENA, and Member of SAP Business Women’s Network, UAE Chapter)
The UAE and the Middle East are increasingly promoting women in the workplace, with a mix of gender perspectives driving innovation and enabling organisations to serve customers better. Still, more can be done regionally and globally to address gender parity.
Javed Farooqui (CEO, Direct Information Technology and Dubai-based angel investor)
The UAE has a good education system with some of the world’s best universities and colleges producing tens of thousands of quality graduates across all fields every year. It is a place where there is a huge drive for startups and innovation. The government of the UAE has come up with many initiatives, and most of the government departments have a place for startups and innovation. While the government is doing enough, the UAE needs an ecosystem for entrepreneurship that includes funding, mentoring, helping, training and nurturing the Startups. No ecosystems can be built without strong participation of the private sector and the universities. The large and medium corporates should partner with various universities to encourage students in their research and help build a startup culture under the CSR programme. More entrepreneurship should be encouraged to bring disruptive and innovative technology in the way the businesses are run in segments like transportation, farming, tourism, healthcare, financial, real estate etc. Prominent businesses and individuals should encourage and create a small fund for startup capital. The private sector must help incubate young entrepreneurs. Given the right environment, the UAE being a young country with highly advanced infrastructure has the potential to become the strong startup hub in the region attracting talent pool from the subcontinent and other countries. This country has given me a lot, and it’s time for me to give back to the community that has provided me so much. I personally plan to create a Private Equity fund in the future to help startups fund their growth and contribute to the local economy. With my vast overseas experience, the fund can help build companies, mentoring entrepreneurs, attract and retain talented people and allow teams to take chances and innovate by creating the space of an entrepreneurial-corporate environment.
Hitesh Thawani (Co-founder and Managing Partner, Precious Paws Pet Spa)
The UAE is a sketchpad for any ambitious entrepreneur. Imagination becomes a reality here. The leadership dares to explore unchartered territory in various fields to provide its citizens and residents with everything they would ever want to experience. This is why dream projects like my own, a Spa for Pets, can be born here and survive. The UAE stands tall in welcoming worldwide talent to make this country their home.
Mowaffaq Balish (Commercial Manager, Caparol Middle East)
The UAE is a global hub for businesses, and is considered the best when it comes to business efficiency, due to multiple reasons and mainly its accessibility, advanced infrastructure and its politically stable environment. Also, the UAE is one of the safest countries in the world. In addition to that, the UAE has the capability to become the cornerstone of economic development in the Middle East and North Africa. Its advanced logistical infrastructure makes it easy for businesses to export their products to other regional countries. The UAE is witnessing unprecedented developmental achievements, which is offering enormous opportunities for businesses across all sectors to grow and acquire bigger market shares through increasing their client bases. Also, the government business incentives, which have been approved and adopted recently, provide reasons for optimism among businesses for more expansion. And the fact that we are approaching Expo 2020 drives the need for completing the ongoing projects which in turn provide many opportunities for growth.
Jean-Philippe Courtois (Executive Vice President and President, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing and Operations)
It is a privilege to work with the UAE Government on its plans for digital transformation. The country has long led the region on artificial intelligence adoption and development to integrate smart technologies into a vast array of digital touchpoints across the nation – empowering everyone to achieve more. Microsoft shares this vision, as our goal is to make Artificial Intelligence (AI) accessible and valuable to everyone by amplifying human ingenuity. We look forward to working together and support the efforts of the government to ensure that AI is developed and used in a trusted and inclusive way, benefitting our society with a human-centred approach.
Lal Chand (Founder, LC Well DMCC)
Dubai provides one of the best infrastructures with an excellent public transport system. Moreover, there are various free trade zones where expats can invest in a business without any hassles. This gives the investors total freedom to run their businesses in complete peace of mind. On account of the tax-free nature, individuals who invest in diverse business activities do not have to pay anything to the government in the form of tax, other than the recently introduced VAT, which also is at a very low 5 per cent. In addition, tourists enjoy VAT refund in many categories.
Jason (Managing Director, Hisense Middle East)
The UAE is ranked 33 out of 183 economies globally for the Ease of Doing Business. For Hisense, it has been a great success story since setting up a presence here in 2012. Today, we have the UAE as the Regional Headquarters for our operations in the Middle East and North Africa. Our dynamic growth year-on-year can be attributed to the wonderful infrastructure the UAE offers in terms of ports, transport facilities and communications and not to forget the wide human resource talents across all fields. Fueled with the dynamic vision of the leaders to be the best – it provides a great atmosphere for any business to grow and flourish. At Hisense, we are happy to have made this decision, and we look forward to taking our television, home appliance and air conditioning business to new heights in the region.
Matteo Ippoliti (Founder, Langpros – The Language Professionals)
The need for professional translation and interpreting services together with transparent and business-friendly regulations and practices in the UAE have contributed to making Langpros, a Dubai-based translation company, one of the leading translation companies in the region. This has been possible thanks to the unique opportunities offered by the multicultural and multilingual environment of the country, combined with the values, the ambition and the vision of the UAE leaders which played a crucial role in inspiring the entrepreneurial spirit of Langpros’ founder Matteo Ippoliti and in shaping the mission and vision of the company.
Neha Gaggar (Managing Partner, Rush-A-Way)
The UAE’s diverse population and open-mindedness towards innovation and new concepts is probably the main reason why unique concepts like Rush-A-Way take off and even thrive. The UAE’s infrastructure and progressive government processes further help businesses grow. I also cannot think of a better place to work than the UAE, which promotes a number of initiatives that help to bring happiness, tolerance, and wellness among the residents; this helps in increasing productivity and attracting more talent to the country.
Nisha Jagtiani (Group Director, Landmark Group)
The retail industry has come a long way with women making their presence felt, right from the front line to the boardroom. The UAE government has been extremely supportive in encouraging women participating in the workforce and ensuring equal opportunities for all. Women form a large part of the workforce at Landmark Group with close to 50% of our store staff being women. We foster a passionate work culture by nurturing and empowering our people irrespective of gender. It is essential to build an ecosystem where diversity and inclusive work cultures are valued.
Yusuff Ali MA (Chairman of Lulu Group International & Director Board , Member of Abu Dhabi Chamber)
The wise leadership of this great nation has once again proved that they are really concerned about bringing and retaining top professionals to further boost the all-round development of the UAE. Elimination of bank guarantee will surely ease the recruitment process whereby helping various organisations to bring human resources from diverse nationalities. Not to forget the mandatory insurance at a nominal fee of Dh60 will definitely add value to staff welfare. I am sure various recent initiatives such as 100% investment, long term visa for professionals, economic stimulus packages and the current new visa regulations are surely going to make the UAE the investment and economic hub of the region. And this has come at the right time to boost investors’ sentiment not only in this country but also in nearby region.
Paras Shahdadpuri (Chairman of Nikai Group of Companies)
Earlier in my capacity as Chairman of the Indian Business and Professional Council and also as Chairman of Overseas Indian Economic Forum, I extensively interacted with various authorities of the UAE to increase the residence visa to a long-term visa. Imagine if an investor invests Dh100 million but he is given only 3 years visa at a time, subconsciously he is uncomfortable and insecure. Long term visa will help induce confidence in investors that they are here for long innings. It would go a long way to promote business and investment and also retain the talent of senior professionals and specialists. Giving long term visa to topper students is a smart move to retain the brilliant talent which can generate wealth and employment in the country. I am sure 100% de jure ownership by investors will also be allowed outside the free zones of the UAE which will be a masterstroke to invite 2 to 3 times of the current FDI. Dubai and the UAE are amazing destinations for business and investments, given extraordinary business-oriented approach of the government, ease of doing business, world-class infrastructure and most importantly safe and secure living, making it one of the happiest countries of the world.
Sachin Bharti (Founder & CEO, Knowledge Planet Group)
The cost, ease and speed of setting up a new business in the UAE are simply the best in the world. Besides, we have efficient government bodies, which are eager to learn and adapt to the needs of businesses. Of course, zero corporate taxes make it far easier for businesses to break even. Moreover, the UAE has high per-capita income levels, which means deeper spending potential of its residents – an incredibly attractive proposition for any business. Besides, it is a great place to live and work, which acts as a magnet for attracting the best, thereby making it easier for companies to hire qualified teams to operate their businesses.
Shaista Asif (Executive Director, Pure Health)
The UAE is built on solid foundations which are conducive to businesses and investors far beyond any other economy in the region. Not only is the UAE the first choice for all international companies to set their regional hubs, but it also has a transparent and booming market allowing for innovation and healthy competition. It is home to the most diverse talent pool within the region, and attracts the best talent because of the attractive and safe living environment. For every business to grow it requires a strong infrastructure and one of the key pillars is the banking and finance industry. The UAE has the lead in the region with regards to the financial industry and its services are at par with the global power cities like New York, London and Hong Kong. International banks have invested in their operations here, and the local and regional banks have created a competitive environment, allowing businesses to get the best deals and innovative structure to fuel their growth. Innovation is working along with tradition in this unique country, where we have the highest smart services integrated into our daily personal and commercial lives, with the wisdom of a visionary leadership which promotes growth, tolerance and provides a platform for business sustainability.
Nimish Makvana (President – Indian Business & Professional Council)
The strategic geographic location, ease of doing business, and vision of the rulers of the UAE attracts business houses across the globe to have their business set up in the country. The infrastructure in the UAE and in particular Dubai is among the best in the world and this enabled Dubai to emerge as the foremost trade hub in the region. The multicultural environment and social security that the UAE offers, give a distinct edge in comparison to the rest of the world and a preferred location for business. The UAE is the only country in the world celebrating Year of Tolerance, conveying a strong message to the rest of the world about the UAE’s commitment to acceptance and its open-mindedness.
Sawsan Ghanem (Joint Managing Director, Active DMC)
The UAE market and society have always been attractive to both foreign investment, entrepreneurs and professionals looking for a thriving and competitive environment to live, set up a business in and/or work in. It’s a market that is unique in its mix, a truly cosmopolitan, safe, welcoming, diverse, modern and tolerant society. The business and work environments are advanced, with best-in-breed facilities, infrastructure and services with innovative technology at the heart of everything. The future forecast for the UAE’s economy, the Arab world’s second-largest, is positive, with growth predicted at 4.2 per cent in 2019 (by the Central Bank of the UAE) thanks to several new government measures designed to accelerate the non-oil sector. The government approved a foreign direct investment law that is expected to boost FDI flows by an estimated 21 per cent in 2019, from an average growth rate of 8%. Foreign investment is forecast to rise to $11.5 billion (Dh42.4 billion) in 2019 from $10.8 billion last year. The UAE government has always been forward thinking in its pursuit of creating and maintaining a buoyant economy that attracts and supports successful start-ups, businesses, multi-national corporations as well as foreign investment. Recently, the UAE government announced its plans to grant long-term visas, up to 10 years and also approved new low-cost employee insurance policies, to retain talent and attract more investors.
Sudhir Kumar (Partner & Head-Corporate Communications, Kreston Menon)
Dubai has not only the best of physical infrastructure but also the best of smart and virtual infrastructure in the world. With Fintech and Digital economy becoming the key areas of focus, Dubai has reached a stage where global companies are eying for companies for their acquisitions. Dubai is the best performer in all top reports as a Global City of the Future, Digital Economies of the Future, Aerospace locations of the future as well as the top global free zones of the year. An investor gets the world’s best experience in Dubai while he or she is planning to set up businesses since smart governance is in full swing. The innovative regulations and policies focus on startups, incubation, innovation, SME’s and students to create an innovative and knowledge-based economy. Dubai Government’s constant engagement and dialogue with the investors and citizens help in introducing new regulations to develop its investment ecosystem, offering new strategic advantages and incentives for the business community and the investors.
Sidh NC (Director, QNA International)
Under the great leadership of visionary leaders, the UAE has emerged as a global knowledge hub with a strong reputation for innovation, which has resulted in numerous successful business ventures, especially in the event industry. The UAE now holds a prominent position as a leader in the global events and conference industry. This is represented by the number of global events that are hosted by the country, the multitude of venues available and world-class infrastructure. One of the country’s biggest achievements is that in spite of being home to a global pool of talent with over 200 nationalities, it has secured its position as one of the safest countries in the world. Business in the UAE is conducive to growth and innovation owing to strengthened access, its strategic location, transparent government policies, smart city infrastructure complemented with state-of-the-art technology; this definitely enables businesses to tap the world for opportunities and eventually succeed.
Vartika Goel (Country Head, UAE, OYO, Hotels & Homes)
From a hospitality industry point of view, there is a healthy balance between genders in the UAE across various levels of the organisation. Both can be seen shouldering equal responsibilities right from the hotel’s front office to the inner circles of the top management. Women in the UAE’s hospitality industry have also climbed the corporate ladder at a consistent pace and are doing a fabulous job at that. The decision makers in the organisation are witnessing the value that women bring to the table, and that helps in the overall growth of the organisation. Through our collective actions and encouragement from the industry, we are sure to strike a ‘perfect balance’ within the gender roles on a global scale.
Zanubia Shams (Co-Chairperson, Zulekha Healthcare Group)
Over the years, the UAE has been very supportive in nurturing new businesses. Any individual can approach the government of the UAE and expect a positive response in terms of starting up a small, medium or large business. Moreover, authorities like the DMCC and SHUROOQ have initiatives that support new ideas with the required financial aid during a well-planned incubation period. There is great scope for innovation and creativity here due to the abundance of diverse audience and resources to meet diverse demands.
Vijay Tirathrai (Managing Director, Techstars Dubai Accelerator)
Techstars sees its role as enabling successful startups to come to Dubai, as a global hub, to explore the region, engage the ready talent pool, penetrate the regional market place, and to build a network of investors. We’ve seen significant changes in the past 12 months, where there is ever increasing change in the number of people willing to give back to the startup ecosystem. Techstars Dubai Accelerator has partnered with Ginco Investments, which is a full service general contracting firm covering the full lifecycle of the construction process. Ginco Investments backs founders, 40 per cent of which are led by women and invests alongside the world’s most notable investors. Ginco is led by Mohammed Gheyath, Executive Director of the UAE Telecommunication Regulatory Authority.
Taher Shams (Managing Director, Zulekha Healthcare Group)
The UAE is a preferred destination for the global audience. The cultural and political stability of the region enables one to explore, invest, establish and expand any business. Be it young entrepreneurs, women, differently-abled or seasoned business owners, the country provides innovative platforms for all. The digital ease of connectivity of this region with the rest of the world also makes it a super hub for businesses to thrive. The seeding support is excellent as there are governing bodies which enable smooth and transparent documentation to ensure long term success of the business.
Bhargav Busa (Director of Finance & Operations, FCCA, UKCBC)
The UAE has proven to be an ideal location for business growth. With several government incentives, the upcoming Dubai Expo 2020 and exciting opportunities being created for entrepreneurs of different ages, genders and backgrounds UAE stands out as a growing business hub. The UAE economy is predicted to continue growing and with several employee perks like tax-free salaries and a cosmopolitan lifestyle; the country attracts top talent from nearby regions as well as investors from around the world. This current trend points towards a stronger, diversified economy and a good chance at becoming one of the world’s leading start-up hotspots.
Satyen Babla (Founder & CEO, DANS)
The UAE is one of the easiest places in which to open a business, in my view, especially considering almost 88% of the population are not citizens. I think it is very likely that most people living here have seriously considered it at some point in their lives and the business supportive atmosphere of the UAE is the reason. Laws are made simple and straightforward and a wide range of options are provided for anything from a solopreneur venture to an established firm. Unlike in most countries, I think the UAE also protects employees and the business itself by making it a legal obligation to run your business profitably rather than just a moral or ethical one.
Evarist Rego (Head of Marketing & Special Projects, Ajmal Perfumes)
UAE, a land of approx. 9.6M population and a country with over 200 Nationalities living in harmony with each other is one of the most diverse and multi-cultural countries of the world. The country’s central location makes it the most important trade and commerce route, thereby giving easy access to neighboring markets like Asia, Africa, South & East Europe and Middle-East. Added to this, the UAE Government allocating USD 13.4 billion to the economic development and expansion of non-oil related industries makes it the most ideal destination for new businesses to operate and grow in this region. The country’s average GDP growth of 3%; a healthy per capita income and approx. 26 million tourists coming annually to the country are some of the other key reasons for businesses to prosper in the region. However, it’s important for businesses to know how to capitalize this favorable eco-system.