ABU DHABI, 20 September – The UAE’s Ministry of Economy on Monday launched a new programme – Thabat – to empower family businesses to promote entrepreneurship and double family-owned companies’ contribution to $320 billion (Dh1.17 trillion) by 2032.
This was announced at an event which was attended by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE and Deputy Ruler of Dubai — along with Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, and Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, chairman of Dubai Chambers and other senior officials are also present.
“Under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai), we launched the Thabat programme to support family businesses in the UAE to expand in the fields of the future economy based on knowledge and innovation. Our goal is to transform 200 family projects into major companies by 2030, and to be one of the engines of the UAE economy for the next fifty years,” Sheikh Maktoum said in a tweet.
The programme — developed in partnership with Investopia Summit, Abu Dhabi tech ecosystem Hub71, Dubai Chamber, Family Businesses Council Gulf, CSR UAE and Dubai Internet City incubator in5 — will help the new generation of Emirati entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses to venture into new economic sectors such as artificial intelligence, renewable energy, agritech, aerospace, computing, biomedicine, edtech and others.
The family-owned firms represent 70 per cent of the UAE GDP and account for 60 per cent of jobs in the country. They also represent 40 per cent of the national GDP and 70 per cent of manpower in the private sector.
Under the Thabat programme, 10 to 20 family companies will be accommodated in each batch and each family firm will nominate three members to form its team. They will create viable commercial projects within five months which will present before investors at the end of the programme. The first batch includes Al Yousuf, Gracia Group, Al Serkal and Lootah Holding and others.
“There are two challenges for family businesses – how to develop and expand them and make them adopt advanced technologies and be a part and parcel of economic growth,” said Al Marri during a speech at the launch of the programme.
The minister said the UAE is about to enter into unprecedented growth for the next 50 years and family-owned businesses are invited to be the pillar of this great economy and growth.
Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair said family businesses – both large and small – have served as the backbone of the economy and are among the top contributors to the national GDP, jobs and Emiratization, representing 80 per cent of the private sector.
“Their sustainability is crucial to our local economy and national vision… The Thabat programme helps family businesses to transform and play a bigger role in shaping the UAE’s economy over the next fifty years. Thabat gives family businesses the guidance, knowledge and tools they need to launch new ventures, direct investments towards future economic sectors and a way to involve the next generation of entrepreneurs in their business,” said Al Ghurair.
He said Thabat programme will also encourage more participation from women and increase their role in the family businesses.
He stated that the government is working on regulations to help family-owned businesses to expand and grow, including taking the initial public offering route. — Khaleej Times