Certainly the biggest piece of news to hit entrepreneurship circles across the globe this week was the successful launch on Tuesday of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, setting the stage for the first-ever commercial flight to the International Space Station.
How does a rocket launch in Florida affect entrepreneurship in the United Arab Emirates?
The spirit of entrepreneurship is on the rise in the United Arab Emirates, and governments, banks and institutions need only look to the skies to see where the Emirates’ entrepreneurial potential may take them.
In the same week that Falcon 9 soared into space, the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development and the National Bank of Abu Dhabi announced a 500 million AED fund for Emirati entrepreneurs. A week earlier, HSBC announced a 1 billion AED fund for SMEs with international business.
The final stage in launching an age of entrepreneurship in the United Arab Emirates will require unparalleled government support, support that UAE ministers are already prepared to provide.
The December 2012 Middle East SME* conference will be a significant platform for developing strong policies towards entrepreneurship in the region, and UAE leadership has already taken an active role in planning for the event. (*Not to be confused with the 2nd Annual Middle East SME Forum taking place in Qatar next week.)
Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and chairman of the organizing committee for the conference, says that Middle East SME will “offer a platform for public and private sectors, financial corporations and experts to create business opportunities for the youth in the region, address SME challenges and find suitable solutions.”
Clarifying the licensing process, increasing investment in Emirati and expatriate SMEs and encouraging institutions to create rebate programs for entrepreneurs and small businesses are small steps the government may consider taking to further develop entrepreneurship in the region. With the increased commitment of government ministries to supporting entrepreneurship in the region, these possibilities may soon become realities.
As Elon Musk is ushering in a new age in space exploration, the UAE may be poised to usher in a new age of entrepreneurship.
- Mary Ames
Educational Programs Manager//Shelter Dubai
Image available under CC License by Zitona