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24 February 2024

Maktoum bin Mohammed inaugurates Dubai Centre for Family Businesses under Dubai Chambers


 In line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to develop an integrated system to support the growth of family businesses, H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, First Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, has inaugurated the Dubai Centre for Family Businesses.

Operating under the umbrella of Dubai Chambers, the Centre will work to foster the development of the family business sector and enhance its economic contribution, which, in turn, will support the emirate’s strategic future plans.

The new entity will also launch initiatives to enhance the sustainability and growth prospects of family businesses in Dubai.

The inauguration of the Centre is part of a comprehensive plan approved by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid at the Dubai Council’s fifth meeting in May 2022 to enhance systems and processes that ensure the sustainability of family businesses over the next 100 years.

Maktoum bin Mohammed said, “Ensuring the growth and sustainability of family businesses is a strategic priority and a core part of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Family businesses represent a key pillar of the sustainable development process and a cornerstone of the future economy.”

“The inauguration of the Dubai Centre for Family Businesses aims to strengthen the economic system that the emirate provides to support family businesses, develop the business community, establish confidence in the business environment, and enhance the sector’s ability to keep pace with global developments to ensure sustainable economic growth,” he further said.

He underlined the historical role family businesses have played in shaping Dubai’s unique economic model, noting that they will play a major role in realising the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, which aims to increase private sector investment in development projects to AED1 trillion by 2033.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed added, “The family business sector reflects our vision for excellence and our commitment to pursue new opportunities to achieve success. Ensuring a smooth leadership transition, preserving the family legacy, and strengthening governance are key priorities in our plans to preserve the fabric of our family businesses and prepare them for the future.”

“Our vision is ambitious,” Maktoum bin Mohammed further noted. “Family businesses are important partners in our economic growth. Their role is vital, their contribution is essential, and their sustainability and continuity are a priority. We are committed to implementing the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to provide an empowering environment that protects family businesses and helps them develop strategies to keep pace with the rapid changes taking place in the world of business. These efforts will help consolidate Dubai’s exceptional model for supporting the growth and sustainability of family businesses.” The inauguration of the Dubai Centre for Family Businesses was announced during a meeting held at the Dubai Chambers headquarters.

Details of the programmes to be run by the Dubai Centre for Family Businesses were revealed during the meeting. These include the Dubai Family Businesses Leadership Programme, which was developed in partnership with the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Leadership Development to prepare a new generation of family business leaders and enhance their global presence; the Next Generation Training Programme, which aims to educate active and non-active family members about their future roles in family businesses; the Governance Series, a set of awareness sessions focused on topics including UAE laws and family business governance; and the Advisors’ Certification Programme, which aims to develop a pool of world-class certified and accredited advisors for family businesses.

The meeting was attended by Abdul-Aziz Abdulla Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chambers; Essa Kazim, Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre; Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President & CEO of Dubai Chambers; and Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai International Financial Centre, and members of the Board of Directors of Dubai Chambers.

Al Ghurair, said, “The inauguration of the Dubai Centre for Family Businesses is a progressive step to achieve the vision of the leadership to establish a robust support system for family businesses that unifies efforts to strengthen their development and enables them to face the challenges of the business environment. This, in turn, provides flexibility, which helps ensure the continuity of these companies and enhances their valuable contributions to the national economy.”

“With an innovative vision and operational procedures, the Centre provides best-in-class services to all categories of family businesses including large companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with support offered to the founders, the next generations, and senior executives,” Al Ghurair explained. “With that in mind, the Centre offers a knowledge platform that facilitates the development of family businesses and facilitates their smooth transition from generation to generation. This, in turn, allows these companies to adhere to the highest standards of sustainability in their performance and enhances their ability to face the future and its challenges, as well as to contribute more to promoting economic growth in the emirate.”

Al Ghurair stressed that the Centre will provide an integrated system of support and training programmes on strategic issues of interest to all family businesses, most notably regulating the transfer of knowledge and responsibilities between successive generations, as well as governance.

He reiterated Dubai Chambers’ commitment to boosting the competitiveness of family businesses, protecting their interests, raising the efficiency of their operations, and investing in their leaders to ensure a sustainable future. He also called on Dubai Chambers’ strategic partners to cooperate with the Centre to ensure the success of initiatives set to be launched by the new organisation to serve family businesses.

Established by Decree No. (45) of 2022, the Dubai Centre for Family Businesses plays a crucial role in developing an integrated strategy to support and grow family businesses in the emirate. It offers a range of services to enhance the sustainability and ownership of family businesses, including providing policy suggestions, incentives, and templates for family business-related documents.

The Centre focuses on developing managerial skills and facilitating smooth leadership transitions for partners, founders, members, and their children. It also aims to familiarize owners with government services and applicable legislation, encouraging the adoption of sound governance systems.

Through its collaboration with Dubai Chambers, the Centre coordinates with various organizational units to facilitate commercial operations for mutual benefit. Additionally, the Centre conducts research, prepares reports, and organizes events, exhibitions, and conferences related to family businesses and ownership.

The Centre's programs include the Dubai Family Businesses Leadership Programme, developed in partnership with the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Leadership Development. This program targets first and second-tier leaders, as well as strategic partners, to enhance corporate governance, sustainability systems, and global trade strategies. It also promotes a culture of social responsibility in family businesses.

Another program, the Next Generation Training Programme, focuses on educating the next generation of family members about their future roles and developing their skills and capabilities.

The Centre also offers educational sessions on UAE laws and top governance practices, highlighting the importance of establishing a strong governance system and providing knowledge about its implementation. It fosters awareness, supports the family business community, and facilitates interactions through meetings with successful family companies.

Furthermore, the Centre is committed to developing a certification and accreditation program for family business advisors in collaboration with leading global institutions. This initiative ensures that family businesses in Dubai have access to certified and accredited advisors.

According to 2021 statistics, family businesses represent around 90 percent of all private companies in the UAE. Emirati family businesses have achieved significant leadership and competitiveness regionally, accounting for 25 percent of the Forbes Middle East list of the 100 most powerful Arab family companies in 2021.