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Could Abu Dhabi be ‘the Switzerland of the Middle East’?


Access Abu Dhabi might just have the answer.

Hot on the heels of a multitude of government led-initiatives to make Abu Dhabi and the UAE a leading global business destination, Kevin O’Leary, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and star of the award-winning US television show, Shark Tank, was in Abu Dhabi this week in his role as brand ambassador of Access Abu Dhabi.

The new programme created by Sarah Omolewu, managing partner of Maven Global Access and powered by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), aims to help US entrepreneurs, particularly women and minorities, expand their businesses into the Middle East.

Women play a key role in the economic landscape of the UAE and with more than 200 nationalities calling the UAE and Abu Dhabi home, diversity is part of the emirate’s DNA and this exciting new programme will provide further initiatives, support and nurture.

Mr. O’Leary led a diverse group of stars from the world of business, sport and entertainment at an inaugural Access Abu Dhabi evening event at Jumeriah at Saadiyat Island which Team Yalla had great pleasure in attending.

The group included football legend, Patrice Evra, NBA champion, Metta World Peace, actress, singer and songwriter, Christina Milian and writer and philanthropist, Wanda Durrant, mother of NBA superstar, Kevin Durant, Kate Goodall, founder of Halcyon, Hill Harper star of The Good Doctor and founder of The Black Wall Street App, and more.

Mr. O’Leary who spoke on a variety of topics and commenting on Abu Dhabi’s stability and innovation, said; “I see potential for Abu Dhabi to become the Switzerland of the Middle East, and for investors that’s very attractive.”

This week at Fintech Abu Dhabi, MENA’s leading fintech festival, the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Investment Office, H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi, highlighted some of the emirates’ new initiatives for assisting start-ups and investors.

H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi stated that the government of Abu Dhabi has slashed its licensing fees by 90 per cent, reduced business opening requirements by 70 per cent and changed some of the laws to make it eligible for foreign owners to own 100 per cent percent of businesses onshore and offshore.

These are exciting times for the UAE. Abu Dhabi is well and truly open for business providing a unique ecosystem for entrepreneurs and investors to come together.


For all the latest goings on in Abu Dhabi, visit Yalla – Abu Dhabi Life


Image source provided


Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi

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