“Dubai’s world-class physical infrastructure has already established it as a major player in terms of trade, tourism, and as the leading conference and exhibition venue in this part of the world.” – Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair – Emirati Billionaire Businessman
The above quote is a testament to the fact that Dubai is, without a doubt, one of the leading financial centers of the world. And with World Expo being held in Dubai next year, it will further cement its status as a place having enormous opportunities for businesses and individuals. But things were not like that a few decades ago.
At the start of the 1950s, the whole Arabian Peninsula was considered a sleepy region, including UAE, with not much there to do for an aspiring businessman or company in this country. With the discovery of oil in 1958, the fate of the entire region changed dramatically within a few years. The United Arab Emirates and the Emirate of Dubai, in particular, started attracting investors and labor in hordes, and quickly it became the hub of economic activities along with other cities in the Middle East region.
In March 2019, Dubai’s government announced plans to bolster SMEs operating in the emirate by expediting payments to them. This move has started to bolster the economy as it has considerably improved cash flow to SMEs. As per the plans, many further developments in this concern are in the pipeline, including quick payment within a month, reduction of insurance costs, and joint ventures between public and private sectors.
World Expo 2020: A Great Opportunity for Businesses
World Expo is a series of large exhibitions held around the world to showcase different products, services, and achievements of participating countries. If you think that Expo 2020 will boost the chances for companies, you are right. There are a host of opportunities for any company to make it big. During the expo, more than 200 countries will participate and can showcase their products and services along with their culture.
Potential for small businesses to make it big in the coming year is huge. The scope of the World Expo will allow any business entity to use the developments during and after the Expo 2020 to their advantage. There are several sectors that can benefit from the world Expo as investment opportunities in Dubai are aplenty.
I will try to define 5 of those sectors, which I think will benefit the most and in which SMEs can do well in 2020 and beyond.
The population of expatriates in Dubai is around 88-90 percent. So, naturally, there is a huge demand for private educational institutes. It is estimated that there are over 500 international schools in the UAE and most of them are in Dubai International Academic City. It is the world’s largest free zone dedicated to higher education. The scope for the private sector to invest in this fast-growing sector is immense.
SMEs and startups and contribute to this sector in numerous ways. Educational institutes need a constant supply of stationery, IT-related equipment and software, and food/beverage. Let me describe the last aspect in detail now.
- Food and Beverage
According to KPMG estimates, the number of food and beverage (F&B) outlets are going to top the figure of 1600 by the end of 2019. And it’s just not about Expo 2020. Of course, when there are over 25 million visitors expected during the entire 6-month duration of the event, the sales will be huge. But since Dubai is the go-to tourist attraction in the Middle East, any business related to F&B can thrive.
To set up an F&B business in Dubai is not that difficult. When compared to other businesses, the requirements related to the amount of capital invested and licenses are few. Setting up a road-side eatery or a small café is not a big deal and with the influx of tourists expected in Dubai, especially in the next year
- Hospitality Industry
The hospitality industry in a tourist hub like Dubai obviously thrives all year round. The number of hotels, restaurants, and resorts has increased steadily over the past few years, and the trend will see a massive jump in time to come. The umbrella of the hospitality industry now includes event planning, cruise line traveling some other aspects too that fall within the tourism industry.
The hospitality industry depends upon the availability of leisure time and disposable income. The disposable income of people living in Dubai and those who come here for tourism is very high. That’s why starting a business in the hospitality industry in Dubai, even initially on a small scale, can be fruitful for the owners.
Being a trading hub, logistics is one business domain that is an integral part of all the development and infrastructure we see in Dubai. Logistics allow seamless movement of goods and services. Global trade between Asia and Africa rely heavily on Dubai as it is one of the major markets and port that handles millions of tons of goods daily.
Building a world-class economic structure is the goal of the Dubai government, and over the years, they have mostly achieved it. Individuals and companies thinking about business ideas in Dubai will find logistics business very profitable with the business environment and prospects looking great.
- Real Estate
The real estate sector in the UAE and particularly in Dubai has been walloped by the recession. The prices are dropped around 22 25% on average, and this is an alarming figure. But this is going to change soon as the world Expo will once again make the real estate sector a profitable one in the eyes of the investors.
Contrary to popular belief, there are several factors for which real estate can benefit from this mega event. The pace of the developments will pick up after the Expo, and any company can have its share of the pie in the form of a project that can get the attention of people who think of real estate as the best investment in UAE.
Dubai is home to one of the most extensive recreational facilities, like shopping malls, artificial islands, sports city, etc. Furthermore, there are a host of office buildings and residential projects too. So, it is of no surprise that opportunities that will be created after World Expo can be used for While the big companies like Emaar and Damac Properties will hold the key, small businesses will also have their share as there is ample scope for them in the real estate sector which is huge.
Over to you
SMEs and startups can have a great future in Dubai as the opportunities are unlimited, and the future looks promising. If you think you can add something valuable to this blog or have a query in mind, you can use the comments section below to speak your heart out.