As part of its efforts to increase engagement with startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) amid rising trends on the ‘gig economy’ worldwide, Dubai South, Dubai’s integrated city and flagship urban project, continues to build new initiatives that support businesses in Dubai to maintain its global attraction as a magnet for foreign investors. The emirate is strategically positioned in key sectors surrounding innovation and digital technology such as e-commerce, AI, blockchain and fintech, following 26 per cent increase of foreign direct investments (FDI) during the first half of 2018, reaching AED 17.7 billion.
Dubai South’s ongoing initiatives are further boosting the business activities of its partners which include startups, SMEs and multinational companies, and most recently, individual professionals in specialized professional sectors. Dubai Aviation City Corporation (DACC), which is the licensing and regulatory body for Dubai South free zones, have announced that freelancers can now avail the opportunity to work under a freelancer work permit, in line with global trends of a growing number of professionals are seeking for work options that have flexible working hours and work-from-home agreements.
This new development reflects Dubai South and DACC’s commitment to help position the emirate as the most innovative business hub attuned to the modern needs of both companies and the workforce in line with the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Shoaib Al Rahimi, Vice-President of the Business Park, Dubai South, said: “Dubai South’s commitment to create a viable business environment for SMEs and multinationals alike continues to be reflected in various initiatives. Considering the ever-evolving business landscape, policies and strategies from 10 years ago had to undergo huge transformation to adapt to current trends and meet the needs of businesses. We are keen to be on top of leading efforts that meet the needs of today’s SMEs, startups as well as individual professionals seeking independence through a range of customized solutions that will further hep them grow their business.”
The new scheme is expected to widen the scope of income sources for professionals in Dubai and the UAE and take advantage of the business opportunities within Dubai South. Among other initiatives, the Business Park continues to boost the role of multinational companies (MNCs) and connect them with SMEs at Dubai South Business Park through various engagement sessions, including periodic workshops. The Business Park is home to some of the leading international business organizations such as the Japan Trade Center, Chinese Business Hub, and Queensland Australia.
Business entities also enjoy a range of incentives such as rent reduction from 5 per cent up to 25 per cent for existing and new tenants in line with customer loyalty program, leading to 85 per cent tenants’ retention. It also allotted 10 per cent of its annual procurement and projects to Dubai-based SMEs, including more than 25 per cent reduction on annual rent.
The latest initiative defines a freelancer as a sole practitioner who conducts his business in his birth name as opposed to a brand name. Freelancers, who manage their own schedule, will have the flexibility to choose the company they work with and the projects they accept. When applying for a work permit in Dubai South, they must be a degree holder and they should submit a professional certificate or proof of relevant freelance experience. The guidelines also state that no lease is required to be granted the permit and benefiting from the Free Zone privileges while maintaining a sustainable business environment and 3 years visa.
Khalid Abdulla Ahmed, Vice President – Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Dubai Aviation City Corporation, noted: “we made the decision to issue this special permit to keep up with the dynamic changes that we have been seeing over the past years. This is in line with the UAE’s phenomenal rise as a leading business hub which is reflected by a clear long-term vision towards sustainable development by the country’s leaders.”