Year: 2021
Region: GCC
Type: Pearl Initiative Publication
Family Business Ecosystem in the United Arab Emirates
Family Business Ecosystem in the United Arab Emirates
Author: Dr Rodrigo Basco, Yasmine Omari, Layan Abouchkaier

The past, present, and future of the United Arab Emirates is intrinsically linked to, if not dependent on, the regional family businesses and their entrepreneurial business families. The future economic and social development of the UAE is reliant on the private sector, which is mainly composed of family firms, to adapt their business models and family models in order to accommodate the national, regional, and international challenges. Family firms have been the main vehicle for the UAE state to participate in the shift from a natural resource based economy, anchored to the oil and gas extraction, to the current diversified economic structure dominated by logistic/transport, tourism, real estate, and financial service sectors. Although the economy of the UAE is prospering, its future depends on the behavior of the youth and their ability to embrace a new diversified model of economic development and to draw upon the entrepreneurial dynamism of local family firms in order to adapt their business models to the future knowledge-based economy. In this sense, the next generations of the family business members are the key economic and social actors to lead sustainable family firms across generations.


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