Dubai Next offers strong platform to entrepreneurs
The platform — which has already hosted 543 campaigns — is giving start-ups and ideas initiated by both Emirati and international talent, the chance to launch their venture in Dubai.
The small and medium enterprises (SME) sector of any vibrant economy is the nursery of its next generation of entrepreneurs and is usually also a substantial contributor to GDP.
According to a report issued by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, SMEs constitute about 95 per cent of all companies in Dubai, employ 42 per cent of the workforce, and generate 40 per cent of the GDP. Empowering, mentoring, and nurturing, this SME sector is not only significant for Dubai’s current economic health; it is also crucial to ensuring that the emirate thrives in the emerging new global economy.
In recent months, the Dubai administration has launched several new initiatives to foster a future-ready entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Dubai Entrepreneurship Academy (DEA) has launched a three-month ‘Certified Professional Entrepreneurship Diploma’, and a ‘Masters’ Programme in Intellectual Property Management and Innovation’.
The Ministry of Economy has launched the ‘Skill-Up Academy’, to nurture business leadership; the ‘Scale-up Platform’, to support start-ups in their growth; and the ‘Grow in UAE’, platform, which provides up to date information on investment policies and opportunities.
One such initiative, which has garnered a lot of attention, is the ‘Dubai Next’ crowdfunding programme that will decentralise venture capital, the platform has already hosted 543 campaigns, which are giving start-ups and ideas initiated by both Emirati and international talent, the chance to launch their venture in Dubai.
“Dubai has always been the proverbial city of dreams, for innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Prabhu Ramachandran, CEO, and founder of Facilio Inc., the AI-based property operations platform that found a receptive market for its breakthrough technologies in the Emirate. “Identifying the ‘next-big-thing’, or even a great idea that fits the emerging economy can be tricky. The Dubai Next platform not only showcases the next generation of entrepreneurs, it puts them in touch with investors too.”
Crowdfunding has indeed served as a kind of vetting mechanism for start-up ecosystems around the globe, and the Dubai Next platform — the very first official platform of its kind in the emirate – could help entrepreneurs put their ideas to the ultimate test: their target audience.
Ram Mohan, COO and Founder of Rent-A-Towel, a service provider enabling more sustainable linen-management in the hospitality industry, believes Dubai is a particularly receptive market for innovative start-ups. “When we launched our Dr. Linen range, we were introducing an entirely new fiber, apart from a disruptive model for linen-management. The response we got tells me that Dubai is one of the markets most open to new ideas and approaches, globally. The Dubai Next platform could be the perfect way to tap into this appetite for innovation.”
Creating a financing mechanism that is more likely to break with convention, will unlock a brand new avenue for growth, in the Dubai economy. The Dubai Next platform will not only be a shot in the arm for future-ready entrepreneurship, it will add to the volume of employment generated by the SME sector. As Dubai strides boldly into the new economy, its first official crowdfunding platform could be the enabler that unlocks the next generation of unicorn startups, to emerge from the region.
Abhay Pandey, a home-grown entrepreneur who built the techno-consultancy MAST Consulting Group from scratch within the UAE, makes the case that the Dubai Next platform will encourage entrepreneurs to pursue more unique business models. “At our inception, we were a completely self-funded and bootstrapped firm, introducing a new service model, across multiple verticals. A platform like Dubai Next would have been an ideal interface with prospective investors for us, at the time. I believe its launch will enable many more entrepreneurs to take a new and unprecedented business approach and scale better and faster.”
ADB sees Indian economy growing at 10%
The latest economic growth projection for India is lower than the 11 per cent growth forecast in the ADO in April this year.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday revised down its growth projection for the Indian economy to10 per cent during the current fiscal (2021-22) as it lowered developing Asia’s economic growth to 7.2 per cent this year, citing the resurgence of Covid-19 infections in the region.
The Manila-based ADB said in its flagship economic publication, Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2021, released on Tuesday that recovery was underway in “developing Asia”, referring to the bank’s 46 members, including China and India.
In 2022, the bloc’s combined economy is projected to expand 5.4 per cent compared with the April forecast of 5.3 per cent.
The latest economic growth projection for India is lower than the 11 per cent growth forecast in the ADO in April this year. The bank maintained its growth forecast for China at 8.1 per cent this year and 5.5 per cent in 2022.
However, for the next fiscal 2022-23, ADB has, in the latest supplement, raised the economic growth projection for India to 7.5 per cent from 7.0 per cent estimated earlier.
“Asia and the Pacific’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic continues, although the path remains precarious amid renewed outbreaks, new virus variants, and an uneven vaccine rollout,” said ADB Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada. “On top of containment and vaccination measures, phased and strategic rejuvenation of economic activities — for instance, trade, manufacturing, and tourism — will be key to ensure that the recovery is green, inclusive, and resilient.”
The Covid-19 pandemic remains the biggest risk to the outlook, as outbreaks continue in many economies. Daily confirmed cases in the region peaked at about 434,000 in mid-May. They narrowed to about 1,09,000 at the end of June, concentrated mainly in South Asia, South-East Asia, and the Pacific. Meanwhile, the vaccine roll-out in the region is gaining pace, with 41.6 doses administered per 100 people by the end of June — above the global average of 39.2, but below rates of 97.6 in the US and 81.8 in the European Union.
In Southeast Asia, the ADB revised 2021 growth forecasts to 4.1 per cent from 4.5 per cent for Indonesia; 2.0 per cent from 3.0 per cent for Thailand; 5.5 per cent from 6.0 per cent for Malaysia; and 5.8 per cent from 6.7 per cent for Vietnam.
It raised Singapore’s growth projection for this year to 6.3 per cent from 6.0 per cent, but kept the growth outlook for the Philippines at 4.5 per cent.
For 2022, the ADB maintained its growth forecasts for most Southeast Asian economies: 5.0 per cent for Indonesia, 5.7 per cent for Malaysia, 5.5 per cent for the Philippines, 4.1 per cent for Singapore, and 7.0 per cent for Vietnam.
But it raised the growth projection for Thailand to 4.9 per cent for next year from 4.5 per cent.
“On top of containment and vaccination measures, phased and strategic rejuvenation of economic activities – for instance, trade, manufacturing, and tourism – will be key to ensure that the recovery is green, inclusive, and resilient,” Sawada said.
UAE a preferred destination for investors: Director of Pakistan Business Council
Over the past years, the UAE has succeeded in becoming one of the world’s most successful countries in attracting foreign investment due to a range of factors and incentives that earned it its status as a preferred destination for investors.
The UAE boasts a vibrant and prosperous business environment that excels at attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), as it is supported by a legal and legislative infrastructure that protects foreign capital.
In his statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Mustafa Hemani, CEO of the Hemani Group and director of the Pakistan Business Council, stressed that the UAE is the land of promising investment opportunities, as it is powered by the vision of its wise leadership, which helped position it among the world’s fastest growing economies.
Hemani also pointed out that he has lived in Dubai for 36 years and his business in the herbs and spices trade continues to see year-on-year growth, adding that his company trades over 1,000 products and imports herbs from over 83 countries.
Since coming to Dubai in 1995, the Hemani Group now has grown to incorporate five companies in Pakistan, in addition to its headquarters and retail offices in the emirate and a sales office in the United States, he added, noting that the company has over 1,500 employees.
Hemani commended the UAE leadership’s support of investors, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, affirming that the country has successfully dealt with the pandemic and held major conferences, exhibitions and events, while maintaining precautionary measures.
Expo 2020 Dubai, which will be held this year, will undoubtedly be a success thanks to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, he stressed.
The Pakistan Business Council always strives to strengthen the bilateral trade between the UAE and Pakistan, Hemani said, noting that there are many alluring investment opportunities in the UAE, especially as it is one of the safest countries in the world.
He lauded the UAE’s new residency laws, as well as the laws allowing foreigners to fully own businesses in the country, a step that will surely impact the business community positively and boost investor confidence.
Imposition of fines on UBO violators to start on July 8
The MoE, in cooperation with the concerned licensing authorities in the country, announced that it has already begun implementing the first phase of administrative penalties.
Imposition of fines up to Dh100,000 and other penalties for non-compliance with the “ultimate beneficiary owner (UBO) procedures” will begin from July 8, the Ministry of Economy (MoE), warned on Monday.
The MoE, in cooperation with the concerned licensing authorities in the country, announced that it has already begun implementing the first phase of administrative penalties, including written warnings to non-compliant establishments from July 1, 2021.
The ministry said the implementation of the second phase of administrative penalties on establishments that fail to adopt the necessary measures to correct their status during this period will start on Thursday. In this phase, fines stipulated by Cabinet Resolution No.53 of 2021 will be imposed on non-compliant establishments.
In a statement, the MoE confirmed that the submission of ultimate beneficial owner data by licensed and registered establishments in the country to the licensing authorities is an obligatory legal requirement and that non-compliance in this regard will lead to the imposition of administrative penalties stipulated in Cabinet Resolution No. (53) of 2021.
“The penalties begin with the issuance of a written warning and if the non-compliance by an establishment continues, including but not limited to, a fine of Dh100,000, as well as additional administrative penalties such as the suspension of the license for a year or restrictions on the powers of the board of directors. Establishments can appeal against the punitive measures within the specified legal period of 30 days from the date of notification of the violation, in accordance with the decision,” said the statement.
The ministry explained that the detection of violations will be carried out through a desk inspection, which is the examination of an establishment’s records with the licensing authority to ascertain the extent of its commitment to providing the required ultimate beneficial owner data.
“If a violation is found during this examination, administrative penalties will be imposed, starting with the issuance of a written warning in the first stage. Apart from that, field inspections will also be conducted to detect violations, during which, visits will be conducted to offices of the establishments within the framework of the inspection campaigns of the relevant authorities,” the MoE said.
All establishments that have not yet adopted the required ultimate beneficial owner procedures should immediately prepare ultimate beneficial owner data and maintain it within their records in order to avoid violations, the MOE said.
The statement urged establishments’ cooperation with the relevant government entities in supporting the strengthening of the anti-money laundering systems, combating the financing of terrorism and the financing of illegal organisations, and strengthening the overall systems of governance, disclosure and transparency in the business environment.
“These measures enhance confidence in the national economy and support the country’s efforts in providing a safe and stable environment for businesses and investments,” it said.
The ultimate beneficial owner procedures include the creation of a record of the ultimate beneficial owner data and maintaining it within the establishment; verification of the accuracy and validity of the data and updating it on an ongoing basis; and submission of the real beneficiary owner data to the licensing authorities through the designated channels.
In the event of any changes to the ultimate beneficial owner data of an establishment, the establishment is required to notify the relevant licensing authority within 15 days about the changes in order to avoid the administrative penalties resulting from that. “The establishments shall also appoint a person residing in the country with whom the licensing authority can communicate with, in relation to the establishment’s basic information, ultimate beneficial owner data and other information,” the MOE said.