Tell-tale signs—Is there a SMEs expat/Emirati Bias?
Do expat entrepreneurs get as much support from the UAE government as Emiratis?
August 21, 2011 3:11 by p.deleon
Recently, the UAE has really been pushing its image as a haven for SMEs start ups. And as the Celebration of Entrepreneurship late last year proved, the country is filled with enterprising young businessmen and businesswomen trying to make it big. But, when it comes down to it, expatriates still struggle to find financial boosters compared to their Emirati counterparts.
When Kipp with the help of our good friends at YouGov asked the people of Saudi and the UAE, what they thought of the support expat entrepreneurs get from the government the response was rather telling. The majority of expat respondents in KSA and the UAE agreed with the statement “There is enough government support for locals but not for expatriates.”
Just how many agreed with that statement? Well here in the UAE, 73 percent of Westerners, 59 percent of Arab expats and 51 percent of Asians all felt that there was inadequate support for expat entrepreneurs.
Keep these stats in mind, when you consider the words of Akram Khan, the senior vice president and group head of corporate banking for Ajman Bank, who told The National: “Bank financing will only come in after there is a track record… “[If] you have an Emirati [partner] who can provide collateral, then we can look at start-ups. But without collateral for expats, it’s a high risk.”
With financing remaining a worry for the UAE expat, Kipp maintains our position on the need for greater cooperation between the entrepreneur (Emirati or expat) and the government and investor. We think the time is ripe for action, as the public sentiment concerning the lack of support should be a cause for concern for the UAE.