Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, has established a new centre in the emirate that aims to support and help grow family-owned businesses.
The centre, to be established within the organisational structure of Dubai Chambers, will provide technical and administrative support to family businesses, ensuring their sustainability and smooth generational succession.
It will develop a comprehensive strategy to support and develop family businesses in the emirate and provide creative solutions to assist these businesses and improve their growth prospects.
Family businesses play an important role in supporting the UAE economy and account for some of the biggest conglomerates in the country.
These companies span a number of sectors, such as property and construction, retail, hospitality and travel, industry and manufacturing, technology and shipping and logistics.
Up to 90 per cent of private companies in the country are family businesses, employing more than 70 per cent of the sector's workforce and contributing about 40 per cent to the Emirates' GDP, the Ministry of Economy says.
In September, the UAE launched a programme that aims to double family-owned businesses' contribution to the nation's GDP to $320 billion by 2032 by preparing them for the future economy.
Thabat Venture Builder, the first such initiative in the region, supported companies through a five-month programme in which they looked at how ideas can be transformed into viable business projects by adopting emerging technology.
The programme aims to transform 200 family business projects into major companies by 2030 with a market value exceeding Dh150bn ($40.84bn) and annual revenue of Dh18bn.
The UAE's new family law that came into effect in January aims to boost the contribution of family businesses to the country’s economy and attract more businesses to set up operations in the Emirates.
The law regulates the ownership of family businesses by defining their capital, how the partner disposes of his share and the mechanism for waiving it, in addition to regulating the right of redemption and evaluation of shares and their categories, as well as the family company's purchase of its shares.
There are other provisions in the law that deal with solving disputes between family members, distribution of annual profit, insolvency and the number of partners in the business.
“The law forms part of the UAE’s comprehensive efforts to outline a road map for the growth and prosperity of family businesses in the country and strengthen their operations in various economic and commercial fields, especially in the sectors of the new economy,” Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy, said in November.