Dubai: The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development and the Mohammad Bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders are organisations assisting young Emiratis with the financing of their entrepreneurial dreams.
However, expatriate youths in the UAE seeking similar support for their business ideas seem to be less successful.
Loai Bassam, 18, is a Jordanian national and started an online digital design company aged 15. Over the years his international client base has grown significantly and he now generates an approximate quarterly income of Dh10,000 from his design work. A desktop computer in Bassam's bedroom doubles as his office.
Bassam has big dreams of expanding his portfolio and is therefore now in search of genuine investors to support his next venture. "To materialise my next idea, Market City, which has received international interest, I'd need around Dh500,000," he said. "But it's been tough to find the relevant support I need."
Bassam's current business, the Loai design studio at www.loai.tk, was an offshoot of an original idea to create a social networking site called Market City. The idea was to essentially create an online portal through a social networking site to incorporate elements from popular sites Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. His aim is to turn Market City into the go-to website for creative networking.
"So far all the investors I've come across have all tried to rip me off," he said. "So now I'm broadening my options and looking outside the region."
Bassam's love for interior design is what initially sent him down the entrepreneurial path. When he stumbled upon free website builder www.wix.com he managed to turn his passion into a money earner.
While his friends spent time playing video games, socialising and shopping, Bassam spent his high school years focused on his studies and growing his business. Yet, he does not believe he is alone when it comes to his motivation to succeed. "There are lots of hard-working Arab youths. Some of them are very motivated but just need the right opportunities and the relevant support," he said.