Tawdheef shows strong entrepreneurial capabilities among Emiratis

Khalifa Fund engages Emirati entrepreneurial spirit at Tawdheef recruitment show

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Despite the strong entrepreneurial capabilities among Emiratis displayed at the Tawdheef exhibition, a fear of failure holds them back from taking the next step to launch their own businesses, an expert from the UAE’s leading organisation supporting entrepreneurism said.

“Starting a business can be a huge and scary task for young Emiratis and is likely to impact the direction of one’s life in a major way,” said Dr Halah Al Sokari, advisor to the CEO of the Khalifa Fund for enterprise development.

With four different funding programmes, the organisation has approved the financial support of about 380 individual projects, valued at Dh600 million, and receives between 5-8 applications daily from Emiratis seeking training, funding or advice on how to launch their own businesses.

The Khalifa Fund for enterprise development took part in Tawdheef to add to the current 157 employees within the organisation, while bestowing upon thousands of Emirati would-be entrepreneurs the ins and outs of starting up their own business in the UAE.

The three-day Tawdheef recruitment show, which ended on Thursday, has succeeded in bringing thousands of Emirati job seekers and more than a hundred government and private organisations, which were looking forward to recruit UAE nationals for a quick start towards their goals of achieving Emiratisation targets for 2013.

“Tawdheef is a key link bringing together Emiratis and employers under one roof,” said Hayete Jemai, exhibition director for Tawdheef.

“The UAE government has played an active role in the past few years to tackle Emirati unemployment by increasing participation of UAE nationals in the workforce, especially in the private sector and we are happy that specialised shows like Tawdheef play a pivotal role in supporting the government’s Emiratisation initiatives,” he added.

Speaking during the Emiratisation Summit, which took place alongside the Tawdheef Show, Al Sokari said: “The typical entrepreneurial mind-set in the UAE is that most Emiratis believe entrepreneurship is a good career choice and there is a belief that they have the perceived capabilities to start a new business.

“However not enough take the necessary steps to actually venture into an entrepreneurial path, which may be due to fear of failure which is highly prevalent amongst some UAE nationals,” she added.

Al Sokari also pointed out that most of the entrepreneurial activities among UAE nationals take place between the 25-34 age range, reflecting the maturity and analysing process it takes before they decide on whether starting a new business is right for them.

“Starting a business is a huge step to take and it is significant to take the time to think about the reality and the consequences of such a decision,” said Al Sokari, who added that those assessing the possibility of venturing into entrepreneurship need to assess and define exactly what they hope to achieve on a number of levels whether personal, professional, and financial.

“I have participated at Tawdheef since the first day, I have applied in many private and public sector career opportunities and I am waiting for their feedback. I believe working at any field within the UAE would help me to enrich my experience and improve my theoretical skills, which I have learnt at my university, in the real world and market,” said Mai Al Mansouri, a 22-year-old graduate in the capital.

“I believe [the] Tawdheef show was indeed a helpful experience. I was also guided by some clinics, which was presented at the exhibition and they helped me in editing my CV as well as giving essential guidelines and tips on how to act on a first job interview,” she added.

“Had a great day at Tawdheef. It is a wonderful arrangement and response from all participated companies.

Tawdheef has fairly succeeded in organising timings for nationals and non-nationals,” said Thess Toca, one of visitors at the three-day event held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company (Adnec).