Dubai, a new haven for startups

Dubai has already established itself as a thriving hub for major global firms, and now it is opening the doors to new business development, in a nod to potential disruptors.

Dubai’s rapid economic growth is rooted in real estate, with dizzying skyscrapers housing some of the city’s top financial and consulting firms. It’s an image that may be intimidating to new entrants, but officials say entrepreneurs have a role to play in economic growth.

While critics argue the full potential of economies like South Africa are stifled by stringent regulations and policy uncertainty, Dubai’s business friendly regulations, such as zero tax on repatriation of income, and no laws forcing foreign businesses to cede part of their equity to local investors, have been its strength.

“We are saying to entrepreneurs of the world, come and grow in Dubai,” said Omar Khan, Director at Dubai Chamber of Commerce, which is driving the Startup Hub.

The hub offers incubation to budding entrepreneurs who are equipped with market-related skills and access to deal makers, after making the cut from hundreds of applicants from different countries. Entrepreneurs from countries such as India and Rwanda having taken part.

“Our aim is to develop businesses of the future, who would thrive in a competitive global environment and contribute positively to modern economies,” says Khan.

It’s a platform that propels new players to realize their potential in an ever-changing economic landscape dominated by banking and technology giants, who are using Dubai as a base for the region and neighboring zones.

Dubai’s population is over 9 million, consisting of mostly expatriates who came for work in various industries. Its diversity presents an opportunity for growth and access to a diversity consumer base, including international corporate companies.

Innovative and tech-based disruptors which translate today’s challenges into future solutions are seen as new growth drivers, in a city that wants to position itself as a new hub for unicorns.

Dubai’s economy grew by just 1.94 percent last year, a far cry from the average of 4.5% seen between 2012 and 2016.

However, the emirate remains a magnet for foreign direct investment, having attracted 257 FDI projects in the first half of 2019, according to official data. A total of 61% of total projects were greenfield projects, 27% new forms of investments, 6% reinvestment, 5% mergers and acquisitions , and 1% for new joint ventures.

While the economy of the UAE largely benefits from oil revenue, about 6% of Dubai’s income is from oil.

Entrepreneurs who go through the The Dubai Chamber of Commerce development programme are linked up with relevant companies, allowing them to feed off the extensive value chain offered by Dubai’s large corporate network.

How Dubai police solved missing mail boy mystery

A boy found wandering alone outside a mall in Dubai was handed in by the woman who had been caring for him, police revealed on Thursday.

Dubai Police said the Filipina shopper who claimed to have found the boy outside Al Reef Mall in Deira on September 7 was actually his carer. Police said she had been given the boy by another woman, who had been looking after him for the past five years, after his biological mother – a friend – abandoned him two days after he was born.

Police have been trying to identify the boy for almost two weeks. His story gripped the country with many sharing his image in the hopes that his parents would claim him.

On Thursday, police revealed that an hour and a half after they posted the boy’s story to social media to ask for the public’s help, they received a call from a person who said they knew him and his mother.

“The caller said he had seen the child living with a woman in Sharjah,” said Brig Ali Ghanem, director of Al Muraqqabat Police Station, where the boy was temporarily cared for by female officers.

Police tracked down the woman and arrested her. During questioning, she said the boy was not her son but that she had been caring for him for the past five years.

She told police that the child’s mother left the country, leaving her son behind, after claiming she was going home for an urgent matter and would come back shortly but never did. The woman said she had been taking care of the boy since then and was unable to contact the mother or any of her relatives.

“When the boy turned five and needed to go to school and his needs became a financial burden, the woman asked a friend of hers for advice,” said Brig Al Ghanem.

She was advised to give the boy to another woman living in Al Butaina in Muraqqabat.

The woman in Butaina could not provide for the boy for long and, on a friend’s suggestion, fabricated a story about finding the boy lost in the mall.

Four women – the two who cared for the boy and their respective friends – have been arrested. They had their DNA tested by police to confirm that none of them were the boy’s mother.

Meanwhile, the boy underwent a medical check-up and has been taken to Dubai Foundation for Women and Children.

The identity and whereabouts of the boy’s father is unknown. When asked the name of his father, the boy answered: “Superman.”

Dubai leader and estranged wife face legal battle in the UK

A legal battle between the powerful, poetry-writing ruler of Dubai and his wealthy estranged wife is leading toward a showdown in a London courtroom later this month.

The family division court case scheduled on July 30 pits Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum against Princess Haya, daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan and an accomplished Olympic equestrian on friendly terms with horse aficionado Queen Elizabeth II.

The hearing is expected to focus on who will have custody of their two young children now that the princess has left Dubai. She is believed to be in Britain, where she owns a gated mansion on Kensington Palace Gardens, a private street lined with some of the world’s most expensive homes and cars.

When The Associated Press asked via intercom for an interview with Princess Haya or one of her representatives, a man emerged to say there would be no comments made on her behalf. He didn’t indicate whether she was in the residence.

The clash between Sheikh Mohammed and Princess Haya is the latest sign of trouble in his extended family. Last year, a daughter of Sheikh Mohammed tried to flee Dubai after appearing in a 40-minute video saying she had been imprisoned on and off for several years and had been abused. Her friends say she was forcibly returned after commandos stormed a boat carrying her off the coast of India when she tried to flee the Emirates.

Image shows  Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, his wife Princess Haya of Jordan and their kids

The sheikh, who is the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates in addition to being the ruler of Dubai, is among the most influential figures in the Middle East. He also composes poetry, a long tradition among Gulf Arabs, and it was his own words that sparked the initial rumors that Haya had fled Dubai.

The talk started after a verified Emirati Instagram account followed by the Dubai ruler’s son posted a poem last week attributed to Sheikh Mohammed. The poem, titled “You Lived and You Died,” is about disloyalty, leading to speculation it is about Princess Haya.

“You betrayed the most precious trust, and your game has been revealed,” the poem says. “Your time of lying is over and it doesn’t matter what we were nor what you are.” The harsh words caused reverberations and speculation throughout royal circles in the Middle East and beyond.

The princess, 45, and Sheikh Mohammed, 69, were married in 2004 and have a daughter, 11, and son, 7, together. Both were educated at elite English universities and they share a love for horses. Media reports indicate she took the children with her when she left Dubai. Under Islamic law, a woman can at least nominally retain custody of her children in a divorce. Nonetheless, decisions about schooling, travel and lifestyles of the children often remain with the father in the Middle East. Given the Dubai ruler’s power, it is unlikely Princess Haya would have had a say in her children’s ability to leave the UAE had she not reportedly fled with them.

Haya’s half-brother is Jordan’s current monarch, King Abdullah, who was pictured at her side when she wed Dubai’s ruler, reportedly becoming his sixth wife. She is a former Olympic athlete who competed in equestrian show jumping in the 2000 Sydney Games, a taboo-breaking feat for women from traditional Muslim countries. Her love of sports and horse riding began early — she was just 13 when she became the first female to represent Jordan internationally in equestrian show jumping.

Haya has long stood out from other wives of Gulf Arab rulers not only because of her Jordanian royal background and Olympic ambitions, but because she was seen and photographed in public. Most rulers’ wives in the Gulf are never photographed and their faces and names aren’t known to the public. But Princess Haya wasn’t only visible at humanitarian events, often seated front row in Dubai by her husband’s side, but was a stylish fixture in glossy magazines and at prestigious equestrian events in the U.K,, like the Royal Ascot and Epsom Derby.

In a 2009 Daily Mail interview, the princess said she deliberately postponed marriage until she could meet a man “who doesn’t feel he has to mold me.” She was quoted as saying, “You have to accept that you’re in control of yourself but not your destiny.”

The government of Dubai hasn’t commented on the media reports about Princess Haya fleeing with her children to Europe.

How you can become a fashion designer in the Middle East

Just as there are challenges for any meaningful adventure, becoming a fashion designer in the Middle East has its peculiar problems.

Aliya Tair (Алия Таир)

Aliya Tair, someone who has walked the rope from Kazakhstan to the Emirates, has some useful pieces of advice for all who would love to dare. She’s the founder of her namesake label.

Having spent over 15 years in Dubai, the 35-year-old has without doubts, discovered a variation of her profession and style that were previously unknown.

She kindly shared her personal ideas with Look.TM about what anyone would need to make it as a fashion designer in the Middle East. The designer says she was motivated by an array of menswear, minimalism and the clement weather in Dubai.

Here’s an excerpt from her interview with Look.TM:

As any teen does, I was always trying to express myself through the clothes I’m wearing. I customized (or as my mom would say “vandalized”) everything in my wardrobe.

I tried to look for something that is not worn by every second girl back then in Kazakhstan, which was a nearly impossible task as we were swamped by a sea of Turkish merchandise! When I came to Dubai, that issue seemed to be solved, but only for a couple of years…

I guess it’s human nature to get bored even with the most extensive variety and to always seek newness and uniqueness. I’d say that sensation plus my “creative itch” and a right amount of ambition made me decide that I am going to try and make my own clothes.

By the time I decided that I have traveled extensively, worked as a buyer and a creative manager for a fashion apparel company. All these experiences were very important to begin a brand of my own.

Aliya Tair (Алия Таир)

I use fabrics that are traditionally used to make kandoora – traditional Gulf menswear.I use a lot of menswear fabrics in general. They have more ability to hold tailoring and structure. I also love natural fabric – organic cottons, linen, etc. I enjoy discovering new material – Premiere Vision in Paris is like a candy shop (or rather “museum”) for me. Japanese and Korean innovations in fabrics are mind boggling. I hope one day I will be able to work with those.

Aliya Tair (Алия Таир)

My style went through a total transformation…I was trying (too hard sometimes) to make statements with my look, I was experimenting a lot and I was inspired by Patricia Field’s work and Harajuku cult: I came up with bizarre combinations of crazy colors and clashing prints. I had fun with my appearances.

With the time I became subtler and learned to enjoy and appreciate simplicity. Thus my style toned down and eventually Minimalism became a strong feature in my wardrobe. My obsession with Japanese culture has shifted from insanity of J-POP to restrictions and subtlety of Japanese heritage – its art, traditions and culture. But you know what. Never say never. I used to wear pink, I don’t think I will ever again, but who knows?

Aliya Tair (Алия Таир)

Moving from Kazakhstan to Emirates was an accidental thing that was meant to happen. I came to Dubai right after university to visit my uncle’s family that used to work and live here 15 years ago. It was a love at the first sight.

What struck me was a big contrast to where I came from at that time: warm and sunny, plus positive people everywhere… The things I love about Dubai the most are weather and endless opportunities inherent to a young successful developing country.

Here in the Middle East, instead of a Fashion Week we have an event called Fashion Forward“Fashion Forward Dubai (FFWD) provides a platform and a progressive direction for fashion in the region”.

It’s a slightly different concept thаn let’s say NYFW. Fashion Industry in Middle East is still in an evolutional stage. So the approach should be academic – more nurturing of all the aspects of the industry – buying, retail, design etc.

Brag is a live marketing experiential agency – FFWD is one of our clients, it just happens so that the founders and creators of the project are also business partners that own Brag. I am Brag’s creative manager and myself and the team work on creative concepts for most of the projects.

Aliya Tair (Алия Таир)

Aliya Tair (Алия Таир)

My favorite fashion brand is Margiela, because it’s not clothes – it’s a character and a weird beautiful personality that you wear.

Also, ACNE Studios and The Row – because it’s an ultimate fashion fantasy. Always and forever (I hope).

Ellery – because it’s gorgeous.

Band Of Outsiders – casual clothes that make you think – it’s so freaking simple! Why didn’t I think of it before?

COS for the affordable impeccable quality and a perfect simplicity.


Chinese Travelers To Be Issued Visas On Arrival At UAE.

In a move to boost tourism and trade, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) cabinet in Abu Dhabi has adopted a decision to grant visas for Chinese visitors upon arrival.

Image: Dubai

UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum made the decision known on Sunday, according to local media.

As a global tourism hub, Dubai is not left out on the effects of global economic crisis.

Recent economic slides in Russia and some Brexit nations has been a hard hit on UAE’s earnings from tourism, and the emirates is looking forward to enlarging its number of visitors from other countries

Last year Dubai welcomed 450,000 Chinese tourists, an increase of 29% from the previous year.

Will Smith Reveals Why He Loves Dubai.

Will Smith, popularly known for his role in the television series “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, has revealed that Dubai is his favorite city. The 47-year-old has special reasons for this choice.

Image: Will Smith

Willard CarrollWillSmith, Jr. was in the emirates for a press conference held at Vox cinemas. The location for this star-studded event is simply referred to as “Mall Of The Emirates” situated at THEATER by Rhodes.


The famous actor, producer and rapper couldn’t shy away from being the talented comedian we all know. He cracked a joke about the cast of Suicide Squad –a 2016 movie in which he featured as an assassin.

“Just in general 40-year-old people should not be hanging around with people in their twenties,” he joked, adding that the cast became more like a family since the production kicked off.

“We spent time talking to each about our deepest darkest secrets,” he added when discussing the film that has already grossed US$64.6 million during it’s opening weekend in the box office.

“It’s already my biggest opening weekend and on course of being the biggest opening film of my career.”

This is an excerpt from Emirates Woman on Will Smith’s interview during his most recent visit in Dubai:

Image: Will Smith

On loving Dubai:

I came for the first time about 15 years ago when they said there was 40 per cent of the world’s cranes were in Dubai. The entire skyline was cranes.

I feel like Dubai dreams the way I dream. When I landed I was like that’s how I would build the city if I were building a city. The emirate really flows with who I am. My two favourite cities in the world are Miami and Dubai.

I love the energy of progress here. It’s the way the people and the royal family, how they have the design and the ideas. Everything wants to be the best and I love that energy.

On making in a movie in Dubai:

I’ve actually had a couple of ideas and film concepts and I have met with he film commissioners. I love it here and it’s just an untapped commodity.

A lot of the impressions of America during the 1940s, that was sent out to the world, was of Hollywood. Hollywood was the picture of America.

When I come to the Middle East I’m so inspired by the beauty and the culture, but it is not represented in world cinema. So I’ve spoken to many members of the community to getting the film makers of the region into the global stream. It’s a wonderful opportunity.

On Dubai’s image:

The Middle East can not allow Fox News to be the arbiter of the imagery. Cinema is a huge way to deliver the truth and getting the soul of the place to the global audience.

On Islamophobia in America:

It terms of Islamophobia in America, for me that’s why it’s important to show up here [and show people what it’s really like]. I think that the imagery of it is hugely important to me and as the election goes on I do believe I will be called out to more specifically speak out about the insanity.

On Donald Trump:

I feel very confident about what we are seeing in America right now is a cleansing. Things are coming to the surface. It’s like marriage counselling, I’ve done a lot.

What happens in counselling is that you get out a lot of truths and you look at each other and you can imagine ever loving each other gain. It creates a dark moment but for me its the dark before the dawn – when the truth comes out and people have to stand up and say who they are are and you get to know who they are. It’s the cleansing before we get to the other side of understanding, and moving forward in that relationship.

As painful and embarrassing as it is to hear Donald Trump talk, it’s good to hear him talk as we get hear it and then we get to cleanse it out of our country.

Image: Will Smith


On his favorite things in Dubai: 

I have to shout out SkyDive Dubai. I bought my kids here and we jumped out together. I’ve jumped probably five times at Skydive Dubai.

Will smith's son Jayden sky diving with SkyDubai

On getting into character:

One film my family vetoed [because we discuss the films and the process we go through to get in character]. That one film was Django. I had a screen play and the whole family looked at it. Willow read about 20 pages and was like: ‘You’re just going to be crazy for too long.’ Your mind goes so far into these characters that you have to be careful what you take on.

On discrimination:

Nelson Mandela said to me: ‘Never forget to let people touch you. When you go into crowds, let people touch. They have to know your black skin won’t hurt them.’

On choosing roles:

At this point of my career, my mind is beyond critics and even box office success. As an artist I can’t allow myself to be consumed by that. If you’re trying to have a box office success where you are trying to win awards it taints your artistic delivery.

I want to give my self more freedom as an artist to work on things that are good for me. A friend said recently that I’m at the time in  my career where I have earned the right to fail. Some of my film choices will make money, some of them will be widely acclaimed and some of them will be Wild Wild West. 

will smith dubai vox cinema dubai

On his work attitude: 

My work environment begins with me so I have to show up with the right attitude. I want to show up with the right energy. Our time is all that we have, so it’s important to give our positive energy because it is viral.

On taking on a comic book film: 

These comic book movies are taking the world by storm. There’s something about these worlds that the global audience is truly reacting to it in a magnificent way. Bad guys aren’t the bad guys in their story, the good guys are the bad guys and that mental construction was really powerful for me.

On the potential franchise and sequel to Suicide Squad:

I love that you get this real fantastic world but you really get to sneak in ideas of humanity. Kids and adults are able to feel the sub context. In Suicide Squad – its not a movie about good versus evil, it’s a movie of bad versus evil.  The question of what is good, bad or evil is posed in this film. When is the point when you go from bad to evil. We decided that love would be the one super power that would teether people back to their humanity.

Image: Will Smith

Though Smith was raised in a Baptist household, he attended a Catholic school. With his vast experience in religion, the actor thinks he has no need to be polarized. He no longer identifies himself as religious.

Rumors are rife that he’s a member of the Church of Scientology, an allegation he has denied. However, he has spoken favorably about his love for the sect.

In his words: “I just think a lot of the ideas in Scientology are brilliant and revolutionary and non-religious.”

Image: Will Smith

In April 2007, Newsweek called him “the most powerful actor in Hollywood”. 

Smith has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, two Academy Awards, and has won four Grammy Awards.

Smith is ranked as the most bankable star worldwide by Forbes.

Dubai Set To Launch Driverless Taxis As Its Second Technological Breakthroughs.

With the launch of its first driverless vehicles late last week, Dubai is set to take the world by storm with huge investments in the transportation sector.

Mattar al-Tayer, the director general of emirate’s Road Transport Authority said: “The country aims to have a quarter of all Dubai transport automated by 2030.”

Image shows Careems electric taxi to be launched by 2030 in Dubai.

Following the most recent breakthrough achieved jointly by French group Easy Mile and Dubai-based Omnix, another company named NEXT Future Transportation has paired up with an app-based booking service Careem for yet another technological success.

NEXT Future Transportation and Careem are working on projects that’ll bring the taxis of the future not only to the Middle East but in most north African countries.

The company reveals that their battery-powered electric pods are safer than manned vehicles.

According to reports, the automated pods are also environmentally friendly. They’re hoped to fall in line with the laid out vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

“We have invented the world’s finest autonomous mass transit solution, and as we look to operationalize, we need a partner that will provide operational depth and scale,” said Emmanuele Spera, Founder and CEO of NEXT Future Transportation.

“Careem is a perfect partner from our perspective given their vision, credibility and success in transforming transportation across the MENA region.

“We look forward to continuing our journey to bring advanced transportation technologies and practices to the region.”

Image show electric pods made by Careem which are expected to hit Dubai roads in 2030.

The future taxis are expected to travel individually, and can also merge to form a bus-like structure that’ll allow customers to walk between them.

Would You Take A Ride In Dubai’s Driverless Bus?

Dubai has launched a driverless ten-seater minibus service on a trial basis for a month

Image shows Dubai’s driverless vehicle.

We’ve all heard about Google’s driverless cars and others in that category but Dubai’s driverless bus services is the trendiest of all daily transportation systems. The futuristic Gulf-state launched this service for a month-long trial.

After the first phase, Dubai hopes to expand the electric vehicles across its states.

According to AFP, the 10-seat vehicle made its first trip on Thursday along a 700-metre (2,300-foot) stretch of road in downtown Dubai, near to the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower.

Developed jointly by French group Easy Mile and Dubai-based Omnix, the minibus is powered by an electric motor and can hit speeds of 40 kilometres per hour (25 miles per hour).

But, thanks to cutting-edge guidance technology, its developers say the bus can adapt its speed to the surrounding environment and even come to a complete halt if a pedestrian were to cross its path.

Image shows Dubai’s driverless vehicle.

“It can be programmed to navigate between Dubai’s main tourist attractions, including the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall, Dubai Opera and the Souk al-Bahar shopping centre,” the emirate’s Road Transport Authority (RTA) said in a statement.

“Thursday’s test run was the first and very important stage in our efforts to introduce this type of vehicle into Dubai’s transport network,” RTA official Ahmed Bahrozyan told media.

Mattar al-Tayer, the RTA’s director general, said it aimed to have a quarter of all Dubai transport automated by 2030. Dubai is a leading tourist destination in the Gulf, attracting 14.2 million visitors in 2015.

Agbonlahor May Get Ban For Smoking Shisha Pipe In Dubai.

Sad news that the talented Gabriel Agbonlahor, 29, may be banned for pictures of him smoking shisha pipe in Dubai that surfaced online. He traveled to the Middle East recently for vacation.

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Nicki Minaj Angered By A Guard.

Nicki Minaj

Over the weekend, the Anaconda rapper Nicki Minaj had a top-class performance in Dubai and requested every attention from her crew.

However, she was uncontrollably angry when she looked up and found a security guard disobeying her orders. The guard was talking on the phone while on duty.

Continue reading “Nicki Minaj Angered By A Guard.”

FlyDubai Crash Update.

The Management of Flydubai is making great efforts to ensure that investigations on the recent plane crash is carried out without delay.  A more competent Flydubai team has already left Dubai to join crash investigations after travel visas were issued.

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BREAKING NEWS: FlyDubia’s Boeing 737 Crashes Killing 62 Passengers.

The aircraft involved is believed to be FlyDubai Flight FZ981 using this Boeing 737-800 aircraft

Sad news! Reports from Dailymail confirms a FlyDubai Boeing 737-800 has crashed as it attempted to land at a Russian airport. 55 passengers and 7 crew members from Dubai were on-board though earlier reports said that 61 people were aboard the flight.

Continue reading “BREAKING NEWS: FlyDubia’s Boeing 737 Crashes Killing 62 Passengers.”