Business goals

Expo City meets business objectives

Building on the legacy of Expo 2020 Dubai, the city’s latest hub is poised to compete with other business districts already established in the region

Scheduled to launch in phases from September 2022, Expo City Dubai is set to become the mega-event’s torchbearer of sustainability and innovation principles.

“Dubai is already home to the vast majority of Fortune 500 companies, and as occupiers intensify their focus on the best Class A office space, the city is rapidly running out of options for growing companies looking for prime office space. plan,” says Faisal Durrani, partner – head of Middle East research at Frankish Knight.

Durrani sees Expo City’s green factor as an important point of differentiation in the market, as well as the site’s reputation as the host of Expo 2020.

“One of the lasting legacies of World Expo Dubai is next-generation architecture and the constant thread of sustainable construction,” he said. “The type of buildings being delivered to the Expo site are groundbreaking and inspiring, and stand in stark contrast to the skyscraper-studded landscape of the emirate, most of which have yet to significantly embrace the green agenda. .”

Expo City should serve as a “must-have pressure relief valve” for Dubai, according to Durrani, not only because of the office space it will provide, but also because of the quality, environmental, social and governance (ESG) centered offices planned.

“The emirate has cemented its place on the world stage as a leading global financial center and to maintain this position and grow further, new high quality developments such as ECD are badly needed,” he said. -he declares.

Attract tenants

Expo City Dubai is positioning itself as a hub for all kinds of businesses, from startups to Fortune 500. Expo partners including Siemens and DP World have already confirmed plans to set up a headquarters, while national pavilions remaining intact should transform their buildings into commercial, educational or cultural spaces.

The city is particularly keen to attract companies in the fields of innovation, technology, health and education. However, specific tenant selection criteria have not been released and spokespersons say they remain open to onboarding any partners aligned with Expo’s vision of a smart future.

“As a technology company in the construction and real estate industry, we value high technical standards in our offices and a work environment that provides opportunities for networking with business partners and other companies, as well as ‘a pleasant atmosphere and accessibility for our employees,’ says Ibrahim Imam, co-founder, group co-CEO, CEO Mena and Apac at MapRadardigital solutions provider.

“The announcement from Siemens and DP World confirms my impression that Expo City will provide an excellent environment for businesses of all sizes.”

But as the city strives to promote business inclusiveness, it remains to be seen how it can emerge as a serious competitor to existing free zones.

“I own a few businesses and would most definitely be curious to see how I can position at least one of my businesses within Expo City,” says Bianca Gracias, managing partner at the Dubai-based law firm. Crimson Legal.

“However, there would have to be a better incentive in several respects to allow me to offshore my small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), because offshoring has a high cost for SMEs, particularly from a compliance point of view, regulations and the law It will also be interesting to review the regulations in relation to other free zones.

Gracias sees an added benefit if a sandbox approach is deployed, allowing for innovative activities.

“We must also consider the legal implications of relocating SMEs to a new free zone, including de-registration and re-registration at different regulatory levels, signing new employment contracts, complying with Expo City regulations and visa and medical insurance re-registrations for employees.”

Synergistic workspaces

For those who are limited to occupying a singular office space due to their budget, coworking could be a potential solution.

“Business people prefer to be in a hub that serves their business, helping them connect with like-minded people in a creative and inspiring environment and forming a strong foundation for their businesses and customer attraction” , said Abdulla bin Lahej, Chairman and Founder of Ayana Holding and work bay, the latter a co-working space in Dubai. “Expo City will attract business for sure, but for those who don’t have enough budget to allocate to separate offices, there has to be a base.”

“The presence of coworking spaces such as WrkBay can help SMEs and entrepreneurs start their business by exploiting more profitable rents, networking with other SMEs, growing their business and re-adapting their angle.”

It’s also crucial for small business owners to have access to big business, and Lahej sees Expo City as a catalyst for such interactions.

“Some SMEs can complement larger companies or vice versa so that they can also partner to sell products or services. I think there is so much untapped potential instead of competition.

In the end, it’s not a question of space but of range. Lahej argues that a business could be started in Expo City but its reach extends far beyond those walls.

“The idea of ​​having SMEs or startups within Expo City is actually to enrich the space and also to export services outside of the venue itself,” he says. “There’s still more to come, so the big picture looks more promising.”

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