120 companies accepted the invitation to attend the Access Middle East Opportunities for British Business event held at the Institute of Directors (IoD) in London on 26th February.
A packed room, graced with the presence of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, heard a number of presentations that highlighted Dubai’s position not only as the pre-eminent business location in the Middle East, but also as the fulcrum from which companies seek to regionalise their business into North Africa, Central and South Asia.
The Links Group’s London-based Non-Executive Chairman, Michael Williams, brought order to proceedings and introduced James Sproule, Chief Economist at the IoD who outlined some of the main opportunities for British Business in the region against the background of the UK’s economic imperative to boost exports.
Mr Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI) then set the context by charting Dubai’s history and development. Mr Gergawi highlighted some priority sectors for the Dubai Government including a continuing focus on hospitality and logistics. He noted the results of a recent survey in which respondents cited Lifestyle and a Pro-Business Government as the reasons why
Individuals and corporations were additionally attracted to Dubai.
Ms Fayha Sultan, Marketing Manager Commerce Government of Dubai from the Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing office built on the Lifestyle theme in her presentation. Dubai is home to a range of expatriate communities including 120,000 British Nationals. A further 800,000 British tourists visited Dubai in 2013. A rather slick video served to emphasise the diverse range of activities that Dubai has to offer.
Mark Beer, OBE, Chief Executive and Registrar of the DIFC Courts, then informed the audience about the benefits of utilising the DIFC’s world class judicial framework in order to manage the risks of doing business in the region. Entertaining as ever, Mark succeeded in getting the audience to really think about the scale of the opportunities available to companies in and through Dubai. Mark also aired the four minute video that Dubai submitted as part of its final submission in its bid to host Expo 2020. Like many of the voting members, our audience was similarly impressed with the themes that were highlighted in the video, including the empowerment of women. A powerful, thought provoking and ultimately successful pitch.
Dave Wells ended the formal presentations on behalf of The Links Group. He highlighted some of the legal structures that companies can use when setting up in the region along with some of the benefits of using The Links Group model of corporate nominee sponsorship. It was not possible to trump the Dubai Expo video! But Dave did introduce a number of client video testimonials to highlight The Links Group’s expertise in company formation and the reasons why over 300 companies trust us to act as their local partner in the UAE and Qatar.
There was time for a short Q and A session where the panel was joined by Jonathon Davidson, chair of the Dubai British Business Group. Jonathan was able to highlight the role of the Group in helping British businesses through networking events and the BBG’s Sector Focus Groups. There was also a reference to the British Business Centre initiative, an incubator service for British SMEs to be created in the UK’s top 20 export markets, of which Dubai is one. This will certainly be of interest to British companies looking at the market.
Consultant, The Links Group