ABU DHABI, 1st November 2023 (WAM) — The UAE is placing significant emphasis on promoting innovative economic models and providing the necessary funds to drive their growth and expansion across sectors, focusing on the emerging sectors of the new economy. The family business sector is one of the models that the UAE government is committed to supporting to ensure its sustainability for generations to come. This can be attributed to the potential of the sector to create promising opportunities – not only to support the sustainable growth of the national economy, but also to create thousands of jobs.
In 2022, the Ministry of Economy launched the Thabat Family Business Program to create an integrated business ecosystem to promote the growth of family businesses in the UAE. The initiative seeks to support the continuity of these businesses across generations in line with the UAE’s economic vision for the next 50 years. Furthermore, it seeks to better regulate them according to globally recognized best practices, in collaboration with local and global partners. These efforts will help strengthen the UAE’s status as a leading destination for family businesses from around the world, thereby stimulating more investment inflows into this key sector. Such undertakings will undoubtedly increase the flexibility and competitiveness of the national economy.
The inaugural batch of this ambitious program spawned two innovative projects – ‘Apterra’ from the Alserkal family and ‘Nutralis’, a digital platform developed by the Al Yusuf family. This is particularly important given that the program offers flexible mechanisms for family businesses to improve their operations through two different models. The first model seeks to stimulate the company’s existing business areas by using new technologies and tools, increasing the competitiveness of its products and services. Meanwhile, the second model supports their entry into new sectors, contributing to the expansion and diversification of the scope of family business operations and providing them with additional opportunities for sustainable growth.
Apterra is a digital platform that seeks to revolutionize the property management industry by setting new standards for excellence and sustainability. First, it addresses the long-standing pain point of property maintenance. This challenge has always been time-consuming and financially draining for property managers. Apterra offers a comprehensive tool for efficient asset management and property maintenance requirements, thereby increasing service efficiency, saving time and reducing costs for real estate businesses. This ultimately contributes to the long-term sustainability of the sector.
Alserkal credits the Thabat program with giving him a new perspective on business development and the wider use of technology tools to achieve sustainable advantages. In addition, the program provided the company with a hands-on economic impact simulation model in exchange for participating in this flagship program and expanding its business. This was the catalyst for the development of the Apterra platform.
Eiza Alserkal, Head of Real Estate, said: “The program is a game-changer – I learned a new way of thinking about business ideas. It also enabled us to create Apterra – which will lead us to digital business models as a Business family.”
Sheikha Alserkal, founder of Alserkal Jewellery, said: “Working in the program taught me to be more in touch with our customers and gave me the opportunity to apply the innovation methodology to my own business.”
Each member of the participating teams devoted approximately 550 man hours, which equates to almost 120 days, to the program. During this time, they gained knowledge about choosing the right idea through market analyses, identifying distinctive product attributes, understanding the customer journey and methods of establishing and developing a brand.
Through the Thabat programme, the Ministry of Economy aims to transform 200 family businesses into high-growth start-ups by 2030, in line with the objectives of the ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision. The ministry called on family businesses that want to improve their operations and enter new sectors to participate in the second group of the program.