His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed said: “Family businesses represent one of the key pillars of the UAE’s economic vision and strategy, and are among the highest priorities on the country’s development agenda. Family businesses constitute a key engine of growth and are a vital element of our plans to promote development driven by knowledge, innovation and creativity.”
“The ‘Thabat’ programme seeks to support and enable family businesses to diversify into new business sectors, in line with the UAE’s vision for the next fifty years,” His Highness added.
HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed’s remarks came during a ceremony held to launch the ‘Thabat’ programme organised by the Ministry of Economy at the Museum of the Future. The event was attended by His Excellency Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy; His Excellency Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chambers and Chairman of Family Business Council - Gulf; His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, and a number of dignitaries, senior business leaders, investors and owners of family businesses in the UAE.
His Excellency Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, said the UAE is committed to introduce initiatives that promote growth and innovation, as part of its strategic drive to enhance the sustainability of its economy, and make the nation a hub for entrepreneurship and creativity. He stressed that family businesses, which include some of the biggest conglomerates in the country, play an important role in the UAE economy.
The first initiative of its kind aimed at building the capabilities of family businesses, ‘Thabat’ will assist companies in transforming their entrepreneurial ideas into viable business projects with the support of advanced technologies. The programme will also help them enter sectors outside their traditional fields, and encourage them to embrace advanced knowledge-driven industries such as artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology, agricultural technology, space sciences and renewable energy.
Bin Touq further said the programme seeks to reinforce the UAE’s status as a leading destination for family businesses. The Ministry of Economy is working on creating an integrated system that brings together family businesses, startups, business accelerators and investors, he added.
His Excellency Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chambers and Chairman of Family Business Council - Gulf, said the ‘Thabat’ programme promotes a sustainable and strategic partnership between the public and private sectors as part of the leadership’s efforts to enhance the business environment and create new value for the national economy.
His Excellency noted that the partnership between Dubai Chambers and the Ministry of Economy through Thabat reflects the commitment of both parties to support the growth of family businesses and prepare them for the opportunities and challenges of the future. He called on family businesses to embrace change, adopt the latest technologies, diversify their investment portfolios and accelerate digital transformation in order to boost their competitiveness and business continuity.
Dubai Chambers will soon launch the Dubai Centre for Family Business, to provide a supportive environment and incubator for raising the growth and sustainability of family businesses, he added.
The ‘Thabat’ programme aims to transform 200 family business projects into major companies by 2030 with a market value exceeding AED150 billion and annual revenues of AED18 billion.
‘Thabat’, which also seeks to promote smooth succession planning among family businesses, is supported by Investopia, Abu Dhabi-based technology ecosystem Hub71, Dubai Chambers, Family Business Council - Gulf, CSR UAE, Dubai Internet City’s in5 incubator and Bridgemaker.
The programme is open to all family businesses based in the UAE. The first cohort of companies joining the programme include Al Yousuf Group, Al Serkal Group, Al Zarooni Emirates Investments, Gracia Group and Lootah Holding. The Ministry said another set of companies will join the programme over the next two weeks. The Ministry invited interested companies to apply to join the programme on: https://www.fbvb.ae/.
Family businesses accounted for 90% of private companies operating in the UAE in 2021, covering various key sectors including real estate and construction (22%), retail (19%), hospitality, tourism and travel (14%), industry and manufacturing (10%), technology and electronics (8%), and shipping and logistics (7%).