Tag Archives: Venture Capital

Innovation needs perspective not isolation Break free from the entrepreneurship dream bubble

I was honoured to be invited to Bahrain this week to give a talk at an event organised by Bahrain Development Bank’s Rowad Programme, a comprehensive platform providing multiple layers of support to Bahrain’s entrepreneurs and start-ups. Rowad’s breadth and depth are far greater than anything else that I have seen in the region, and…

Sharjah’s cost advantage a win for UAE startups

Entrepreneurs are facing pressure from multiple challenges with a major one continuing to be the cost structure of doing business in the UAE. Sharjah appears to provide a solution. This section of today’s column is co-written with Najla Al-Midfa, General Manager of Sheraa and one of the region’s thought leaders and active architects of entrepreneurship…

Entrepreneurs’ Dreams

Noon, the online retailer, was announced in November 2016 with a launch date of January 2017. Last week, word began to emerge that Noon, now almost five months late on its originally announced launch date, might be moving many of its staff to Saudi Arabia. Why, when a venture is already delayed five months, would…

Entrepreneurs don’t need the state to do their work

Last week I was honoured to participate in the Ministry of Economy’s seventh Annual Investment Meeting, a conference focused on foreign direct investment in growing markets, as well as the associated AIM Startup, held in Dubai. A large part of the conference – the talks and panels, as well as private conversation – revolved around…

My Zawya Story, 2nd Edition

In 2012, Zawya, a UAE-based business media company, was sold to Thomson Reuters for a 20 times cash return by Saffar, a low-profile private equity company. I am the founding chief executive of Saffar and became chairman of Zawya after we acquired it, between 2001 and 2011. This is my story of how I bought…

Venture capital as a substitute for oil in driving economic growth

Venture capital is critical to the future success of not only the UAE but also the GCC. To understand this we first need to understand the historic formula for our success – oil leads to financial capital, which leads to real estate development, which creates social and business communities that attract people. Repeat. Even if…

Venture Capital Lessons from India, Lebanon and Ireland

In a recent article I pointed out the failure points in the UAE’s venture capital ecosystem, in particular the lack of support for entrepreneurs and start-ups. In this article I’d like to review some of the initiatives other countries have launched that could be useful in upgrading our ecosystem. Given the recent visit to India of Sheikh…

Oil, Opec, Economic Reform and Venture Capital

Last week the Minister of Energy for the UAE was reported in an article as saying that it is too soon to extend the oil supply deal, and then shortly afterwards there was a report that Saudi Arabia’s minister of energy had said the deal could be extended after the first six months. I am known to be pessimistic…

Kick-start the UAE’s venture capital ecosystem to boost the economy

So why, if everyone is telling us that the oil price is going up, are rental taxes, sorry fees, being applied? Don’t get me wrong, fiscal reform is necessary, but if oil is going back up, let us give the common man a breather. Here’s an idea – let’s start with taxing everyone who has…