Key lessons from the UAE that inspired my entrepreneurship journey

As the Emirates celebrates its 51st National Day, the country has been my mentor and go-to business guru

The UAE's 50th National Day celebrations. Entrepreneurs can learn valuable lessons from the Emirates' vision and strategy. EPA
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This week, we will be celebrating the UAE’s 51st National Day. Over the past decades, the country developed on many fronts and today, it serves as a leading example for numerous nations to follow.

I have been an entrepreneur for more than a decade now. While my journey is shaped and inspired by the people I meet and the experiences I go through, I have learnt valuable lessons from the UAE’s vision and strategy.

In a way, the country is my go-to business guru.

Watch: the world's biggest flag to be unfurled on UAE National Day

The world's biggest flag to be unfurled on UAE National Day

The world's biggest flag to be unfurled on UAE National Day

No dream is too big

I was raised by parents who did not believe in the word impossible.

Whenever I had my doubts, they shook me and reminded me that if others were able to realise their dreams, then so can I.

What also helped me was growing up in a country that defied the impossible, and shattered naysayers every single day.

How far it has come in the past 51 years is testimony that great leadership, vision and strong will can get you far in life — and literally have you shoot for the moon and beyond.

We rise by lifting others

As the UAE developed on various fronts, it did not forget those in need.

The UAE Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, once said: “Foreign aid and assistance is one of the basic pillars of our foreign policy. For we believe that there is no true benefit for us from the wealth that we have unless it does not also reach those in need, wherever they may be, and regardless of their nationality or beliefs.”

Since its founding, the UAE has been a major contributor of emergency relief to regions and nations affected by disasters, poverty and conflict.

The country continues to rank among the largest suppliers of official development assistance (ODA) relative to national income worldwide, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

This should reflect in the way we conduct our business. Once our business develops, we should always remember to help budding entrepreneurs to climb up the entrepreneurial ladder.

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This could take different forms, such as funding their business, providing mentorship and guidance, or simply by working with them as suppliers and service providers.

We shouldn’t forget that we are all working towards a common goal and that when small and medium enterprises and freelancers prosper, so will our economy and our overall livelihood.

Embrace change as part of your overall plan

One of the key lessons I learnt as an entrepreneur is that the only thing constant in business is change.

If things are static, then something isn’t right. Your business should be continuously developing. Great leaders know how to turn challenges to valuable opportunities.

One of the key lessons I learnt as an entrepreneur is that the only thing constant in business is change
Manar Al Hinai

When change and challenges are thrown our way, the UAE pivots and demonstrates that as much as we may feel hesitant about change, it is not always a bad thing.

The Covid pandemic brought with it disruptions to manufacturers and logistics.

This year, Abu Dhabi unveiled the Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy, which will provide increased access to financing and attract more foreign investment.

The government will invest Dh10 billion ($2.72 billion) in six industrial programmes to double the size of Abu Dhabi’s manufacturing sector to Dh172 billion by 2031.

Learning is part of an entrepreneur’s journey. As we celebrate the UAE’s 51st National Day this week, I invite you to seek valuable business lessons from the UAE’s success story.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi

Updated: May 29, 2023, 1:29 PM