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02 March 2024

Hatta’s economic transformation inspires a new generation of entrepreneurs

Published
By E247

Hatta, renowned for its enchanting landscapes, rich heritage, and idyllic lifestyle, is undergoing an economic transformation driven by a comprehensive development plan. Apart from large-scale projects, the region’s changing economic outlook is being shaped by the Dubai Government's commitment to nurturing the potential of its people, particularly the youth. With a focus on advancing sustainable development and entrepreneurship, the government is inspiring a new generation to dream big and start enterprising ventures. 

Catalysing Hatta’s entrepreneurial surge is an ambitious plan set out by the Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for Small and Medium Enterprises Development (Dubai SME) to support start-ups in the region in 2023.

Dubai SME, a part of the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), is following through on the leadership’s directives to instil confidence in Hatta’s youth about their own business ideas and entrepreneurial acumen and to empower them to implement new creative approaches, ultimately benefiting the region and its communities.

Specialised programmes

 Dubai SME has been actively organising training courses and specialised programmes to lend direction to young entrepreneurs in Hatta on setting up or expanding their own businesses and the results have been extremely encouraging. It conducted 21 workshops and specialised diplomas in entrepreneurship for the commercial and agricultural sectors. These programmes have attracted impressive participation from across the region, with the commercial diploma being highly sought-after.

The high enrolment in these programmes indicates a robust interest in food and beverages (F&B), tourism and technology courses. Courses in creative entrepreneurial thinking, entrepreneurial leadership, creativity management, and e-commerce have also generated significant interest.

 

Dubai SME has supported the issuance of 45 fee-exempt commercial licences for startups in Hatta to date. This unwavering backing has encouraged entrepreneurial activities in the region, reducing entry barriers for new businesses, and promoting economic innovation.

New business success stories are emerging in Hatta’s diverse sectors ranging from food, farms, services, tourism and leisure establishments to construction and contracting, fitness centres, blacksmithing, carpentry, aluminium fabrication, among many more. An apiary project in Hatta’s higher reaches has really taken off after initially setting up with loans from Dubai SME and later receiving further financial support for expansion. The Al Doror for Honey and Dates Trade facility boasts a production capacity of more than 20 tonnes of honey annually. This project has become a key contributor to the local agriculture sector, especially in terms of promoting trade in honey and dates.

Hatta Kayak is another company that has been making waves locally with its suite of services focused on tourism and community activities. Dubai SME backed the company in obtaining necessary operational approvals and business licensing and there has been no looking back ever since. This venture too has contributed to local economic and community development.

A restaurant project specialising in local dishes has also become very popular. Having already expanded operations, Tanoor Restaurant provides its customers a unique dining experience with a distinctive ambience that highlights the local culture. Another notable success set up with Dubai SME’s help is Hur Hatta for Salon Supplies Trade, which provides beauty supplies, tools, perfumes, and non-pharmaceutical preparations to licensed salons in Hatta.

His Excellency Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, highlighted the integrated plan to enable young entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas and build successful ventures. “Dubai SME stands steadfastly behind Emirati entrepreneurs and businesses, facilitating the financial and technical assistance they may require at every turn. Even after businesses find their feet, Dubai SME is always at hand to enable them to spread their wings, infusing additional capital or providing necessary training.

 

Dubai SME’s support for entrepreneurial talent in Hatta organically boosts the absorption of local talent into the workforce across various key sectors while also meeting objectives of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33.

“Dubai SME is ever open to new investment opportunities that foster a spirit of entrepreneurship and empower emerging business leaders. It is a natural ally of entrepreneurs whether it be in terms of strategic initiatives or mentorship or resources. Fiscal support is just one criterion when it comes to new businesses; they also need to find harmonious opportunities for knowledge sharing and networking besides a nurturing ecosystem that allows for ideas to develop into successful ventures. Such efforts also go towards strengthening the D33’s key goal of consolidating Dubai’s position among the top three urban economies globally in the next decade,” HE Al Janahi added.

Diverse showcase

 The Hatta Festival organised recently by Brand Dubai, the Government of Dubai Media Office’s creative arm, provided more than a glimpse of the growing presence of local businesses in Hatta. Held as part of the festival, the ‘Proudly from Dubai Market’ featured many products from Hatta-based companies.

The market featured 30 UAE companies affiliated with the ‘Proudly from Dubai’ network, showcasing an assortment of unique product lines and refreshing culinary concepts. The fact that more than half of the businesses at the market originated in Hatta is a testament to the entrepreneurial vigour driving the region's future.

Hatta-based firms took part in the event in partnership with the Hatta Traders Council and Dubai’s Community Development Authority. In all, 16 food and beverage establishments and 14 businesses showcasing diverse products participated, displaying everything from apparel, fabric and accessories to candles, perfumes, matcha powder and coffee beans.

Facilitating youth enterprise

 Dubai SME seeks to nurture Hatta’s entrepreneurial spirit in more ways than one. A business facilitation centre, Tasheel, set up at Hatta Community Centre has been a pillar of support for for young entrepreneurs and SME owners in the region. The facilitation centre came about with the DET, represented by Dubai SME, signing a cooperation agreement with the Community Development Authority. 

The Tasheel facility allows young entrepreneurs to tap smart services and obtain fee-exempt licences while offering additional support to startups. This includes free access to co-working spaces and meeting rooms, essential for nurturing emerging businesses and fostering community networking. Young entrepreneurs' projects can gain an early advantage by securing the Intelaq Licence via the Invest in Dubai platform. Dubai SME offers its services in the smart corner of the Tasheel facility.

Further accelerating entrepreneurial opportunities is the Hatta Master Development Plan – part of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan – that envisages a flurry of development initiatives in Hatta. Wellness, tourism, sports and activities, and sustainability are the four key strategic focuses of the plan, which also supports various projects that can help realise the immediate and future aspirations of Hatta residents. 

The formation of the Hatta Traders Council in 2022 aimed to offer support and encouragement to budding entrepreneurs and young business minds, helping them to persist with their business ideas and pursue success and growth. This move was envisioned under the Hatta Master Development Plan. The council, acting under the auspices of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, focuses on unlocking new economic opportunities and generating the greatest possible benefit from them.

Manea Al Kaabi, Chairman of the Hatta Traders Council, highlighted the growing awareness among young people in the region of the promise of entrepreneurship.

“The Council acts as a facilitator between the business community in Hatta and government agencies to boost entrepreneurship, support traders, share success stories, and foster a stimulating environment that helps them exchange ideas, expertise and experiences while finding better access to resources.

It also enables them to contribute positively to the development of economic, tourism, and commercial activities across the region and of Dubai in general.”

Aspiring entrepreneurs in Hatta now have a clear roadmap to craft their destiny by launching enterprises spanning a whole gamut of vital sectors. Government systems they can easily access across the region have been calibrated to extend comprehensive support, including financing, technical support and logistical backup. All they need is to dream big and set out on a determined journey to realise their dreams.