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Business Groups, Associations and Networking for Expats in the United Arab Emirates

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: January 2015

Networking is an integral part of Emirati business culture. There are numerous networking groups, clubs and professional associations dedicated to business and individual professions. You can find out more about them in Emirati business magazines and journals, including that of the local chambers of commerce. Each emirate has its own chamber of commerce and industry. More broadly, there is also the UAE branch of the International Chamber of Commerce.

Typically, you will have to sign up to the group to become a member and pay an annual membership fee. In return, you will gain access to the group's networking events, publications, online resources and consultation services. There is detailed information on how to become a member, along with various types of membership and the respective fees on the network’s website. Most of these groups also have regional and local branches.

Among the major business groups and networks are:

  • Al Badie Group – deals in many sectors including property development, utilities, mineral extraction, defence, hospitality and tourism. Based in Abu Dhabi.
  • Arab Business Club – aims to provide networking opportunities between the Middle East and the rest of the world.
  • TIE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) Dubai – promotes entrepreneurship around the world.

There are also networks specifically dedicated to women in business. These membership-based networks offer support to businesswomen in Canada and organise regular training and networking events. Some of the most prominent networks include:

In addition to this, there are numerous professional networks and associations dedicated to individual professions, such as the Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group, the Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA) and the MENA Private Equity Association. There is an extensive list of professional, governmental, and business associations in the UAE on the Index UAE website.

As elsewhere in the world, online networking sites have also become very popular among professionals in the UAE. These networks enable both companies and individuals to create online profiles and join interest groups. They can be useful tools for self-promotion, recruitment and making new contacts in your field. The most popular of these in the UAE is the global networking site LinkedIn.

Expat business professionals might also be interested in the country-specific business groups in the UAE, such as the American Business Council, British Business Group and the German Emirati Joint Council for Industry & Commerce. A good starting point is to approach the respective country's Chamber of Commerce in the UAE.

Most Chambers run membership clubs directed at both business professionals from the respective country who are doing business and Emirati business professionals who are interested in doing business with that particular country. These clubs offer consultation services and organise networking events for their members. For other expat groups in the UAE, see Expat Groups in the UAE.

 

 

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