Dubai emerges popular destination for entrepreneurs, millionaires and startups
Recent visa reforms, change in weekend in line with international markets and conducive environment for business will attract high net worth individuals (HNIs) and worldwide investors in key sectors of the economy
Dubai is an established international business hub and recent visa and labour reforms will further strengthen its position as a popular destination for entrepreneurs, millionaires, startups and scale-up businesses, experts say.
Analysts, executives and industry specialists said recent visa reforms, change in weekend in line with international markets and conducive environment for business will attract high net worth individuals (HNIs) and worldwide investors in key sectors of the economy.
Referring to the new rules for the 10-year Golden Visa, five-year Green Visa and other reforms, experts said Dubai will attract global talent, skilled professionals, freelancers, investors, and entrepreneurs that will ultimately benefit the economy
Saad Maniar, senior partner at Crowe, said Dubai has always been and will continue to be the popular destination for HNIs from tourism perspective, as Dubai has very high standards of safety and security coupled with the amazing infrastructure and plenty of to-do things in Dubai.
“From the business perspective the overall infrastructure is business friendly, with airlines offering connectivity to all major cities in the world, makes it very attractive for business owners to establish their presence in Dubai,” Maniar told Khaleej Times on Sunday.
“Over the years, we have seen that a small percentage of tourist are attracted toward Dubai, so much so that they end of getting employment or start their own business, which is not normally the case for other places in the world,” he said.
Tourism a major beneficiary
Fadi Rizkallah, general manager, Freedom2Work.com , echoed the similar views and said recent reforms will have positive impact on Dubai economy in general and tourism sector in particular.
“I believe that visa reforms will in turn have an encouraging effect on personnel from all high end backgrounds. The better facilitation for individuals to find and explore the economic benefits of a country, the more inclined they are to take risks and jump on the business wagon of establishing the next successful enterprise,” he said.
“Better visa reforms are a social security indicator which provides a safe investing haven for people with the right financial mentality, opening up a place and attracting the young and innovative mind to come,” he said.
Dubai a safe destination
Pratik Rawal, managing partner, Ascent Partners, said Dubai is an established international commercial hub and it is one of the safest destinations for high net worth individual and entrepreneurs.
“All of that and more. The banks appear optimistic with the new visa reforms, which reveal Dubai to be a stable and safe place to conduct business and scale-up for a long-term investment,” Pratik told Khaleej Times on Sunday.
Ms Sakina Dickenwala, associate partner – Legal at MBG Corporate Services, said a major purpose for the new visa reforms was to make the country more attractive investors, entrepreneurs, and HNIs.
“For one, holders of golden visas are no longer restricted by the amount of the time they can spend outside the country. This allows HNIs with international commitments the freedom of movement that they require. It will also be possible for those looking to create startups to apply for a green visa. Much like the golden visa, a green visa will not require a sponsor. This visa will allow entrepreneurs the ability to move to Dubai with the exclusive purpose of establishing a business, without having to be concerned with the hassle of finding a sponsor,” Dickenwala said.
Hatem Elsafty, managing director, Business Link, said Dubai has long been home to various tourists and businesses in different industries – which to date, are flourishing increasingly.“This makes Dubai a massive business hub that continues to bring in local and foreign investors. With some of the best incentives offered and a highly flexible business environment, it’s one of the top locations for businesses of any size,” he said.
He said the reasons for the same are quite straightforward. Firstly, given the large scale at which businesses in the city operate, Dubai offers the opportunity to house your business in an economic zone best fit for your needs. Known as mainland, freezone, and offshore, these zones have their own laws and cater to your unique business requirements and needs, he said.
Secondly, he said the federal corporate tax imposed by UAE is among the lowest in the world. “Placed at nine per cent on profits up to Dh375,000, the tax regime is set to be effective after June 1, 2023. To run operations in an economy as vibrant as the one UAE has with minimal tax is nothing less of a dream for investors,” he said.
Lastly, he said with the UAE government looking to grow its economy, it is home to a plethora of startup incubators and funding initiatives.
“Partnering with investors looking to grow and start their brand not only helps the country and its economy but also provided necessary aid to investors looking for support,” Elsafty concluded.
UAE reaffirms commitment to strengthen anti-money laundering regulations to combat financial crimes
Effective measures implemented to protect financial environment
The UAE has reaffirmed its ongoing commitment and efforts to strengthen its regulatory framework in relation to anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorist financing (CFT).
The authorities are continuing to maintain and implement effective sanctions with robust screening systems and processes, to ensure the integrity, safety and security of the global financial system.
Hamid Al Zaabi, Director General of the UAE Executive Office for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing, said, “As a global commercial hub, the UAE is open to businesses and entrepreneurs from all over the world. At the Executive Office for AML/CFT, our objective is to continuously strengthen the UAE’s framework for combatting financial crime.”
To date, effective measures and proactive regulatory action for protecting the nation’s financial environment have been implemented by the authorities, including the Central Bank of the UAE; Securities and Commodities Authority; Ministry of Economy; Ministry of Justice; Abu Dhabi Global Market; and the Dubai Financial Services Authority, as well as close inter-agency cooperation.
On the regulatory front, Al Zaabi said, “We are actively advancing our approach, offering a stable and effective system of regulation and enforcement in line with international standards. We are working with the business community to ensure they can comply and thrive in an attractive and resilient environment.”
Talal Mohammed Al Teneiji, Director of the Executive Office for Control and Non-Proliferation said, “As a responsible member of the international community, the UAE is committed to securing the stability and integrity of the country’s economy through the application of targeted financial sanctions.”
Transforming finance: NAFA 2022 to highlight business resilience in uncertain times
Taking place on May 17 in Dubai, the third edition of the event will take a deep dive into how organisations can prepare for any future uncertainty, where growth opportunities lie, and how CFOs can play a critical role in influencing business resilience and change
As economies across the Middle East look towards overcoming the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic over the past two years, finance and accounting leaders say that there has never been a better time for the region’s finance and accounting community to come together and learn how to survive and thrive.
Towards this mission, Khaleej Times has organised the third edition of the New Age Finance and Accounting Summit (NAFA 2022) which brings together several industry-leading experts to debate and discuss on strategies that designed to promote responsible financial trends. Taking place on May 17 in Dubai, the third edition of the event will take a deep dive into how organisations can prepare for any future uncertainty, where growth opportunities lie, and how CFOs can play a critical role in influencing business resilience and change.
The event is presented with the support of Vuram as the event’s Hyper Automation Partner; Gold Sponsors Jedox and Qashio; Silver Sponsor Crowe; Associate Sponsor Zoho; and Automation Anywhere as the events RPA Partner.
The cross industry forum is designed as an in-person format that will bring together finance leaders and professionals from across the GCC countries to discuss on the existing professional landscape, deliberate on the role of technology within their domain, and develop strategies for upcoming opportunities and challenges. With deep rooted research and observations of the industry, the summit will focus on finance transformation through advanced technologies, cultural transformation after the pandemic, the impact of AI, Machine Learning, RPA, Predictive Analytics, Blockchain, Cloud infrastructure and more.
The event features an in-person conference that presents an unprecedented opportunity for the finance and accounting experts of the region to gear up for the future with technology and innovation. Attendees will also gain insights on areas like financial planning, risk management, digital innovation, and emerging technologies. They will also be a part of interactive masterclasses focusing on specific upcoming technologies and offering practical solutions to challenges and issues faced by the modern finance and accounting professional.
Lastly, the event will also feature the NAFA CFO POWERLIST which will shine a spotlight on and celebrate exemplary achievements of finance leadership, innovation, and raised benchmarks by top CFOs from the field of accounting and finance in the Middle East.
NAFA 2022: Prepare for the next gen of finance leaders
The role of finance, and in particular that of the CFO, has rapidly evolved in the era of unprecedented levels of change and uncertainty
Business leaders in the finance and accounting industry need to dedicate their time to ensuring that they are preparing the next generation of finance professionals.
Speaking at the New Age Finance and Accounting Summit 2022, Adnan Patel, Principal Consulting, Crowe, stressed that knowledge is key, especially in an industry that has seen countless disruptions. Towards this end, he noted that there has been an increasing focus on acquiring the right type of talent across the finance industry.
“We have to change the people that we are recruiting,” he said. “We have to go to the financial institutions that we graduated from and challenge them to better educate and better prepare the next generation of financial leaders. Only then can we start expecting people to execute our strategies. Execution is key, but so is having proper systems in place. The question is where do you want to go, and the answer is that we want to go where there is opportunity.”
Similarly, Andreas Simon, regional director MEA at Jedox, shared how important it is to have not only the right technology in place, but also the proper processes to improve business efficiency and drive digital transformation. Citing Gartner, he noted that 70 per cent of new financial planning and analysis will become extended planning and analysis, or xP&A, projects by 2024.
“The role of finance, and in particular that of the CFO, has rapidly evolved in the era of unprecedented levels of change and uncertainty,” he said. “Finance teams need to provide the business with insight and direction for informed decision-making. Now is the time for CFOs to leverage the latest technologies and transform the finance function to the critical role of business partner, champion of change, and profit driver within their organisations.”
Technology plays key role
Gururajan Krishnamurthy, head accountant channel Middle East, ZOHO, said that there are several technologies that have resulted in major disruptions in the finance industry. Chief among them, he said, has been the monumental shift towards the Cloud. A new business model has to be adapted to the needs of the hour, he advised.
“From an operational perspective, there are three key areas where you need to direct your focus,” he said. “These include cost, control, and compliance. Cloud based solutions represent a potential cost savings of 30 per cent over their on-premise equivalents. Cloud lets you add new business jurisdiction and auto update local rules, minimizing the maintenance cost.”
Narendran Thillaisthanam, chief technology officer at Vuram, also highlighted Hyperautomation as a new trend in the industry. Hyperautomation, he explained, is a business-driven and disciplined approach that organisations use to rapidly identify, vet, and automate as many business and IT processes as possible. According to Gartner, by 2024, more than 70 per cent of large enterprises will have over 70 concurrent Hyperautomation initiatives.
“Hyperautomation is the solution to many disruptions in the industry,” he said. “Five per cent of occupations today consist of activities that are 100 per cent automatable. In addition, about 60 per cent of occupations have at least 30 per cent of their activities that are automatable.”
Dinesh Chandra, regional vice president of Automation Anywhere, also shared his insights on workforce transformation and the technologies that will be critical for it. “Our world is changing faster than ever, and companies are facing a workforce transformation. They are racing to transform into a digital workforce with automation and AI.”
According to research by Gartner, over 80 per cent of organisations are investing more in automation. Towards this end, businesses are increasingly looking towards digital workers – software bots designed to execute activities, tasks, and operations across digital systems 24/7. These digital workers will help people and teams create value and accelerate the pace of work. They will also leave employees with more time to solve problems, build relationships, and innovate.
“So, why do companies use a digital workforce in finance? There are several reasons: You can streamline manual processes to increase cash flow and reduce costs; accelerate the financial close to provide timely information for sound business decision making; tighten controls to improve accuracy and compliance with regulatory requirements; expand digital and cognitive intelligence capabilities; and make the human workforce more productive and focused on value-added activities.”