Sharjah FDI Office highlights how emirate is responding to shifting needs of American investors in current economic climate

Webinar brings together prominent local officials with American diplomats, entrepreneurs, business owners to explore opportunities in high-potential sectors

Sharjah FDI Office highlights how emirate is responding to shifting needs of American investors in current economic climate

SHARJAH: The Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), an affiliate of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), organised an interactive business webinar via the Zoom platform on Tuesday, July 21, to introduce emerging opportunities in various high-potential sectors to investors and businesses from the United States of America.

With 462 US companies currently operating in Sharjah – 200 onshore and 261 offshore, the webinar titled ‘Commercial and Investment Opportunities Between Sharjah and USA’ focused attention on business sectors that are experiencing rapid growth amid a challenging investment landscape. These include advanced manufacturing; innovation and technology; and media and entertainment, that are today boosting Sharjah’s FDI appeal, alongside developments in travel and leisure; transportation and logistics; healthcare; and environment.

Prominent speakers at the business webinar included H.E. Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); H.E. Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Media City (Shams); H.E. Hussain Mohamed Al Mahmoudi, CEO, Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation (SRTI) Park; and Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO, Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah).

Steve Lutes, Vice President Middle East, US Chamber of Commerce, moderated the webinar and welcomed the distinguished speakers and other guests including officials from the US Embassy in Washington, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and entrepreneurs and business owners from around the globe.

Speaking at the webinar, H.E. Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal noted that in its role as an investment authority, Shurooq has been heeding investor sentiments to create economic diversity and enhance Sharjah’s appeal as an investment, tourism, and business destination. “This has led to joint ventures and partnerships with international investors for technology transfer in diverse fields such as real estate, tourism and infrastructural projects, education, aquaculture, agriculture, mobility, and AI.”

“The emirate’s success in attracting inward investment and diversifying its economy stems from the relative ease and lower costs of doing business, its infrastructural support, and availability of incredible human talent,” he added. “The high growth business environment offered in Sharjah has created several homegrown global success stories. By creating opportunities for investors, we are also looking for partners who can contribute to the dynamic transformation of Sharjah.”

H.E. Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa said that the digital capabilities of Sharjah Media City enabled it to transition smoothly to remote functioning during the pandemic. “We are pleased to be a part of this webinar hosted by Invest in Sharjah, whose aim is to highlight the various investment opportunities in light of the current conditions we face. The webinar is an opportunity to discuss how businesses and entities have taken advantage and entered emerging markets, benefiting from Sharjah's vast potential."

He continued: “During the last few months, Sharjah Media City has introduced a number of incentives as a way of extending support to governmental and private entities, business sectors, and individuals. This period gave Shams the opportunity to closely study the requirements of our clients and consumers and devise strategies that best suit their needs. Our efforts have resulted in an increase in new companies registered by 6.3%, with more than 150 e-commerce companies registered. We have embraced the new opportunities that have arisen and used innovation and creativity in our shift towards digitization of business.”

“Innovation’s future address is the UAE,” stated H.E. Hussain Mohammad Al Mahmoudi, citing how SRTI Park is leveraging intellectual, academic, and business capabilities of the local ecosystem to attract leading companies and serve as a platform for innovative startups and established companies to enter or expand in the region.

He said: “In the past year alone, SRTI Park has attracted more than AED 300 billion for R&D activities. We have developed the biggest transport research centre and the largest additive manufacturing centres in the region. The Park also hosts the largest agricultural technology facility and will soon have the largest VR and mixed reality experiential centre.”

In the recently concluded first phase of its debut accelerator programme, SRTI Park attracted more than 500 companies from 57 countries, he added. “The Park has emerged as a catalyst in developing and promoting innovation and with the support of our partners and investors, we want to scale up the potential of high-tech companies throughout the MENA region.”

Addressing participants, Al Musharrkh, stated that: “The emirate is now shifting from traditional manufacturing sectors to move into new age and high-tech industries such as AI, 3D printing, robotics, and drone technology, amongst others. The pandemic has only accelerated this moveand we are seeing greater focus on tech-driven businesses such as vertical farming, e-learning, and e-medicine. As part of our role to promote Sharjah to new investors, we are constantly identifying emerging opportunities and have also taken our activities online to respond to the shifting needs of our investors in the current situation.”

Describing how his 25-year-old US-based manufacturing business set up in Sharjah has grown rapidly over the years, further expanding during the pandemic as it found a specific niche to export to Europe and the West, AhmedaliNalwala, CEO of Anchorallied, said that the investment climate in the emirate, together with strategic facilities and advanced logistics infrastructure have contributed to the success of many entrepreneurs.

He also lauded the launch of the Sharjah Investors Services Centre (Saeed) which provides advanced integrated service offerings to set up a business swiftly and efficiently in the emirate.

Previously in September 2019, IIS had collaborated with the US–UAE Business Council to hold a series of business seminars in Durham, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to showcase the strengths of its economy, and highlight the lucrative commercial opportunities in education, technology, trade, real estate and SME sectors in Sharjah. The Sharjah FDI Office also held a business seminar in Boston to provide strategic and personalised prospects to investors in Boston and across the US in Sharjah’s unique and leading investment climate.