Home » Sheraa fosters synergy between family businesses and entrepreneurship

Sheraa fosters synergy between family businesses and entrepreneurship

by Dubaiforum

SHARJAH, 26th October, 2023 (WAM) — An expert panel brought together by the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) during their participation at the 6th International Family Business Forum (IFBF) 2023, has presented unique insights into how family businesses can mitigate risks and maximise profits as they identify startups to invest in.

Some key insights included the UAE’s commitment to supporting family businesses, the importance of nurturing innovation in the younger generation, and the need to dispel the misconception of family businesses being slow to innovate.

An enabler of entrepreneurship and innovation in the UAE and beyond, Sheraa designed the panel session titled “De-Risking Investments in Startups for Family Offices” to bring the two vital sectors of family businesses and entrepreneurship together to explore exciting new prospects for both.

Led by a group of luminaries including Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy; Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sheraa; and Easa Al Gurg, Group CEO of The Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, and moderated by Farida Elagamy, General Manager, Tharawat, the discussion offered unique insights into the key roles multigenerational businesses can play in driving the UAE’s economic growth strategy by forging deeper and lasting connections with the nation’s burgeoning start-up ecosystem.

Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, said, “Under the guidance of our wise leadership, the UAE has embraced a forward-looking vision to create a comprehensive and competitive legal framework for family businesses following international best practices. The issuance of the Federal Decree Law No. 37 of 2022 on family businesses plays a crucial role in bolstering the national economy’s growth and ensuring its long-term sustainability. The UAE has also been proactive in launching supportive initiatives and programs to promote the continuity and growth of family businesses and enable them to keep pace with future business trends, all in alignment with the objectives of the ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision.”

“The Ministry of Economy launched the ‘Thabat’ family business programme in collaboration with government and private sector partners. It is the first of its kind in the Middle East, designed to bring about a transformation in the family business sector. It encourages them to invest and expand within new economic sectors, including startups. The first two batches of the programme gave rise to two projects by the Al Yousef and Alserkal families, with a focus on healthcare and food sectors, aided by the latest digital technology,” he added.

The Minister of Economy continued, “We have crafted a new vision for the ‘Thabat’ programme for the next three years. It broadens the programme’s reach to attract more family businesses in the UAE and will accommodate two batches annually, each comprising 7 to 10 businesses. Additionally, we’re creating financing opportunities for family businesses that have successfully completed the programme. Support is essential to foster the growth of these businesses and their projects in line with the country’s transition to the new economic model, paving the way for a knowledge-based economy centred around innovation and competitiveness.”

Bin Touq pointed out that this session offers an important opportunity to motivate family businesses to invest in startups. Such investments lead to the development of pioneering projects based on creativity and advanced digital solutions, reinforcing the UAE’s status as a preferred destination for family businesses’ investments and projects at regional and global levels.

For her part, Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sheraa, delivered engaging feedback and insight during the panel discussion, emphasising the significance of the intersection between youth and the entrepreneurial landscape. She extended a special welcome to family businesses, highlighting the need for increased engagement in this area. Al Midfa recognised the unique mindset of today’s youth, tech-savvy and eager to make a positive impact on the world. She stated that the new generation is driven by both technology and purpose, seeking to merge profit with a broader social mission.

Easa Al Gurg, Group CEO of The Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, spoke of the economic contributions of family businesses, shedding light on how multigenerational family enterprises adapt to the evolving entrepreneurial knowledge-based economy. He challenged misconceptions about their pace of innovation, highlighting their ability to adapt and leverage tradition for progress. Al Gurg emphasised the importance of balance, avoiding complacency, and embracing innovation for sustainability, shifting from traditional economies to foster bottom-line-focused investments that align with shared goals.

The panel discussion was also preceded by a presentation by American University of Sharjah Associate Professor, Dr. Rodrigo Basco Rodriguez, co-organiser of IFBF, who highlighted the vital role of family businesses in Sharjah’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. He also stressed the need for collaboration between government and family businesses to address various challenges.

Discussing historical shifts in family business dynamics and the importance of wealth creation through institutional arrangements, resource endowment, and social connections, the Professor’s presentation underscored the significance of strategic engagement, empowerment, and continuous evolution in shaping the future of family businesses in the region.

The discussion attracted a distinguished and diverse audience of prominent individuals, including renowned business leaders, academic experts, as well as government officials. Leading companies and family businesses were also well represented, with industry leaders eager to explore strategies for investment in the dynamic startup ecosystem.

The 6th International Family Business Forum 2023, organised by The Stichting STEP Project Global Consortium (SPGC) for family enterprising, is an initiative dedicated to exploring entrepreneurship practices within family businesses. This year’s forum focused on reconciling the interplay of negative and positive views within and between the family and the business system, emphasising the role of multi-generational family enterprises in the global economy.

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