Ladies first: The business directory is the initiative of Clementina Kongslund (second from left). Image Credit: XPRESS/Francois Nel

Dubai: There's nothing unusual about communities coming together on a social front. But as some women in the Arabian Ranches show, good neighbours can also mean good business.

Setting up a ‘business directory' all their own, these women hope to mutually benefit from their online grouping. With over 4,000 homes, the gated community is believed to hold huge potential as a customer base.

The brainwave of Clementina Kongslund, a Romanian resident of the Palmera, Businesswomen of Arabian Ranches, as the directory is called, is two weeks old, but it already lists 20 businesswomen.

From cash-back companies, events and networking consultancies to toffee makers, cake specialists and party caterers, even beauty consultants and lingerie distributors, the businesses span a wide spectrum. "We are growing as a group every day," said Kongslund, adding that the cash-back company she is associated with combines loyalty programmes with business opportunities.

"The majority of us are mothers and we want to reach out and assist one another," said Dee Ford, a UK resident of Saheel who runs a networking business.

Aurelie Serre from France, who lives in Alvarado, said the forum will help greatly in selling exclusive lingerie. Suzanne McDonald, a handmade confectionary specialist, and Carolyn Duggan, who makes fancy gift boxes along with Laura Sarssam, said it was great to network with like-minded businesswomen. "It gives us greater exposure," she said.

Nausheen Samama from India, who makes greeting cards, bookmarks and stationery and conducts art and craft classes, said, "Being in the Ranches, we are a little away from the city. It is comforting for people to know through the directory that they can get many services within the area itself."