New businesses in old traditions

16 Aug 2015

If you think you have the perfect business, you won’t keep trying to improve. It is better to act now and strive to find a better way, rather than wait for the perfect way to do things. In the GCC people have tended to gravitate towards government companies, however that is changing. Dubai is showing that the private sector can prosper in the GCC, and by being open to trade and cosmopolitan in nature, the Emirate is attracting entrepreneurs.

Across the MENA region, the UAE and Qatar are considered among the most favourable markets for establishing and operating a company. In its Doing Business report, the World Bank ranked them as 23rd and 48th respectively among 189 countries worldwide for ease of doing business in 2014.

The region is currently witnessing a major shift in regulations and mind-set and access to capital is being democratised and the pool of regional mentors is expanding exponentially. Availability of finance is extremely important the region that has never looked at investing in anything other than its traditional industries. Mentors are important for entrepreneurs to help them achieve goals, respond to issues and also create growth plans for their companies. Finding local mentors has been a challenging task for the new businesses because there are no existing precedents for the businesses that have sprouted around the country.

“Disruptive innovation” are the types of innovation that have significant impact on anyone’s core business – things that shake up the industry, things that reward one bank and punish another, things that drive dramatic growth. Real disruptive innovation – the kind that builds new markets, new products, or new customers – causes upheaval in the industry. Disruptive innovations shake things up, they destabilise the status quo, hopefully by offering something completely new to customers. Many businesses in the Middle East are now adopting this philosophy of growth without just relying on the regulatory bodies to assist them.

Building up an ecosystem for start-ups will of course take time. It is important for governments in the region to connect with organisations such as the MENA Private Equity Association to gather information and to exchange best practices. Associations can provide the platform for a mutually beneficial exchange.

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