Dubai centre for associations grows in pursuit of knowledge

Dubai’s efforts to turn the emirate into a hotbed of international association headquarters are paying dividends. More than 40 licences have now been issued for associations to trade and operate from Dubai as many take advantage of the incentive offered to expand their footprint in the Middle East and beyond.

Dubai Business Events revealed the package available to associations at a presentation in London called “Achieving global growth” when UK-based organisations were invited to learn how some of their peers had already taken the step of setting up an office at the Dubai Association Centre. ‘Learning labs’ took place where association managers debated the upsides and pitfalls, discussing potential membership growth, competition, return on investment and cultural issues with members of the Dubai team as well as those who had already made the move.

Dubai Business Events’ Steen Jakobsen outlined the business case for expansion but most associations in attendance were already investigating plans for ‘going global’ and the low cost of a foothold in Dubai – just US$1000 (£761) buys a desk and an address – was viewed as attractive. He told attendees: “The oil won’t last for ever and this is part of the drive to be a knowledge hub.”

Some attendees felt it was impossible to present a solid business case for expansion without expensive market research but recognised that the UAE offered a major opportunity to launch expansion in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Panellists included Julie Lithgow from the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers and Bill Pryke from the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors.

Dubai is also staging its first conference for the not-for-profit sector, the Dubai Association Conference, December 11-12, with 125 associations already registered. For further information go to 

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