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Business women are main focus of European company delegation to United Arab Emirates

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Business women are main focus of European company delegation to United Arab Emirates

More than 50 companies from six countries have taken part in a European mission to the UAE led by London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on their largest ever delegation.

With 27 of the companies headed up by female entrepreneurs and business chiefs, the aim of the mission was to introduce them to potential partners in the Gulf and develop new business outside the EU and to encourage SMEs to grow internationally.

With Expo Dubai 2020 just four years away and though centred on the commercial capital of UAE is an event for the whole region and there are great opportunities in the delivery supply chain.

During the mission the delegates heard from HE Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimi, a UAE government minister who is an example of the great strides the Emirates have taken in championing equality in the workplace.

Although historically the UAE has been perceived as a difficult place for women to do business, the current government has placed much effort on enhancing the UAE's ranking in global reports on gender equality. Most recently the UAE Gender Balance Council was formed to drive women's participation in national development. It aims to reduce the gender gap across all government sectors in the country and promote gender balance in decision-making positions.

The Council is one of several initiatives under the UAE's Vision 2021, the strategic roadmap for diversifying the UAE's economy away from oil. In line with this vision, the government plans to increase the contribution of the non-oil sector to 80 per cent of the UAE's gross domestic product (GDP) from the present figure of 70 per cent in the next 10 to 15 years. This is creating foreign investment opportunities across a host of sectors.

Business-people on the five-day mission were given a valuable introduction to one of the Middle East's high growth markets, met with local agents and distributors, trade associations and potential customers to look at possible business opportunities.

The trip included visits to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah where delegates met representatives from the Dubai Business Women Council, the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce.

The prospect of travelling to a foreign market that businesses have little knowledge and experience of can be daunting and costly for many, and trade missions can facilitate this process. They provide direct access to markets that offer business opportunities for EU companies but are seen as hard to gain access to.

Peter Bishop, Deputy Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry said:
"The quality of the businesses on this European mission was first class and I expect that many of the introductions made will develop into long and fruitful business arrangements."

Industries represented on the visit included engineering, architecture, solar energy, education, fashion and design, IT, and food and drink, tourism and transport and logistics.

ENDS

Media contact
Katharine McGee
T: +44 (0)20 7203 1897
M: +44 (0)7827 241528
E: kmcgee@londonchamber.co.uk

NOTES TO EDITOR:
1. London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the capital's largest and most representative business organisation, with members ranging in size from multi-national companies to SMEs and sole traders.
2. Peter Bishop, deputy chief executive of LCCI, is available for further comment and interview.
3. The mission was supported by Links Group which partners, protects and enables foreign companies to operate in the UAE and Qatar markets while safeguarding their status as business owners.
4. The mission is part of the European, EAGLE project, which aims to enhance co-operation between European trade promotion organisations with the result that there will be an improved trade promotion service available to SMEs.
5. The other five countries involved in the mission were Italy (Sicindustria), Belgium (Brussels Chamber of Commerce and Industry) Hungary (Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hadjdu-Bidar County), Greece (Federation of Northern Greece) and Lithunia (Public Institution Lithuanian Innovation Centre).