New law is shot in the arm for small businesses



ABU DHABI // Emirati entrepreneurs are celebrating a new law that will boost their business and cut their costs.

The SME law for small and medium enterprises, several years in the making, was given final approval on Sunday by the President, Sheikh Khalifa.

The law requires federal authorities and ministries to ensure that at least 10 per cent of their procurement budgets for purchasing, servicing and consulting is contracted to SMEs. The clause was inserted by the Federal National Council before it approved the new law last June.

Companies in which the federal Government holds a stake of more than 25 per cent must also place at least 5 per cent of their contracts with SMEs.

Small businesses will also have reduced licensing costs and greater access to finance: at least 10 per cent of loans by the Emirates Development Bank, a government lending body, will go to small companies.

“This is great news. I have been holding the newspaper for the past three years waiting for this to happen,” said Abdulla Al Shamari, chairman of Cirta, an electro-mechanical contracting and maintenance company in Abu Dhabi.

“It is not only about money but when we are involved in government procurement we gain experience. We will become international companies.”

Mohammed Lashin, general manager of Al Wegdaniyah Transport Solutions, a small business in Dubai, said the law could more than double its sales growth by creating more contract opportunities.

“We have been fighting for some time for some formal way,” Mr Lashin said. “We are a member of Dubai SME 100 and whenever we approach government entities they say there is no law binding them, only guidelines to encourage them,” Mr Lashin said.

Abdul Salam Al Madani, chairman of Index Holding, a small business with diversified interests, hoped the law would encourage more multinationals to work with SMEs in joint ventures.

“The multiplier effects of this law are evident and inspiring and I am sure it will play a significant impact on the national economy.”

Sultan Al Mansouri, the Minister of Economy, said the new law would “improve the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises, create new job opportunities for UAE nationals and encourage them to work in this sector and contribute to the GDP of the country – promoting its position as a hub for entrepreneurship”.

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COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Mozn

Started: 2017

Founders: Mohammed Alhussein, Khaled Al Ghoneim, Abdullah Alsaeed and Malik Alyousef

Based: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Industry: FinTech

Funding: $10 million

Investors: Raed Ventures, Shorooq Partners, VentureSouq, Sukna Ventures and others

UAE PREMIERSHIP

Final: Dubai Hurricanes v Jebel Ali Dragons
Saturday, 8.15pm, Al Ain Amblers

Semi-final results
Dubai Exiles 20-26 Dubai Hurricanes
Dubai Tigers 32-43 Jebel Ali Dragons

Table
1 Dubai Tigers, 33 points
2 Dubai Exiles, 24 points
3 Dubai Hurricanes, 18 points
4 Jebel Ali Dragons, 14 points
5 Abu Dhabi Harlequins, 14 points

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded

What is the Supreme Petroleum Council?

The Abu Dhabi Supreme Petroleum Council was established in 1988 and is the highest governing body in Abu Dhabi’s oil and gas industry. The council formulates, oversees and executes the emirate’s petroleum-related policies. It also approves the allocation of capital spending across state-owned Adnoc’s upstream, downstream and midstream operations and functions as the company’s board of directors. The SPC’s mandate is also required for auctioning oil and gas concessions in Abu Dhabi and for awarding blocks to international oil companies. The council is chaired by Sheikh Khalifa, the President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi while Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, is the vice chairman.

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Rating: 3/5

Directed by: David Yates

Starring: Mads Mikkelson, Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Jude Law

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Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Starring: Soma Santoki, Masaki Suda, Ko Shibasaki

Rating: 5/5

Health Valley

Founded in 2002 and set up as a foundation in 2006, Health Valley has been an innovation in healthcare for more than 10 years in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
It serves as a place where companies, businesses, universities, healthcare providers and government agencies can collaborate, offering a platform where they can connect and work together on healthcare innovation.
Its partners work on technological innovation, new forms of diagnostics and other methods to make a difference in healthcare.
Its agency consists of eight people, four innovation managers and office managers, two communication advisers and one director. It gives innovation support to businesses and other parties in its network like a broker, connecting people with the right organisation to help them further

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

How to avoid getting scammed
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The five pillars of Islam

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Director: Sean Baker

Starring: Bria Vinaite, Brooklynn Prince, Willem Dafoe

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Chris Jordan insists Sanchit Sharma will make an impact on the ILT20, despite him starting the campaign on Gulf Giants' bench.
The young UAE seamer was an instant success for the side last season, and remained part of the XI as they claimed the title.
He has yet to feature this term as the Giants have preferred Aayan Khan and Usman Khan as their two UAE players so far.
However, England quick Jordan is sure his young colleague will have a role to play at some point.
"Me and Sanchit have a great relationship from last season," Jordan said.
"Whenever I am working with more inexperienced guys, I take pleasure in sharing as much as possible.
"I know what it was like when I was younger and learning off senior players.
"Last season Sanchit kick-started our season in Abu Dhabi with a brilliant man-of-the-match performance.
"Coming into this one, I have seen a lot of improvement. The focus he is showing will only stand him in good stead."

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

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Starring: Jason Mamoa, Patrick Wilson, Amber Heard, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II 

Rating: 2/5

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Citizenship-by-investment programmes

United Kingdom

The UK offers three programmes for residency. The UK Overseas Business Representative Visa lets you open an overseas branch office of your existing company in the country at no extra investment. For the UK Tier 1 Innovator Visa, you are required to invest £50,000 (Dh238,000) into a business. You can also get a UK Tier 1 Investor Visa if you invest £2 million, £5m or £10m (the higher the investment, the sooner you obtain your permanent residency).

All UK residency visas get approved in 90 to 120 days and are valid for 3 years. After 3 years, the applicant can apply for extension of another 2 years. Once they have lived in the UK for a minimum of 6 months every year, they are eligible to apply for permanent residency (called Indefinite Leave to Remain). After one year of ILR, the applicant can apply for UK passport.

The Caribbean

Depending on the country, the investment amount starts from $100,000 (Dh367,250) and can go up to $400,000 in real estate. From the date of purchase, it will take between four to five months to receive a passport. 

Portugal

The investment amount ranges from €350,000 to €500,000 (Dh1.5m to Dh2.16m) in real estate. From the date of purchase, it will take a maximum of six months to receive a Golden Visa. Applicants can apply for permanent residency after five years and Portuguese citizenship after six years.

“Among European countries with residency programmes, Portugal has been the most popular because it offers the most cost-effective programme to eventually acquire citizenship of the European Union without ever residing in Portugal,” states Veronica Cotdemiey of Citizenship Invest.

Greece

The real estate investment threshold to acquire residency for Greece is €250,000, making it the cheapest real estate residency visa scheme in Europe. You can apply for residency in four months and citizenship after seven years.

Spain

The real estate investment threshold to acquire residency for Spain is €500,000. You can apply for permanent residency after five years and citizenship after 10 years. It is not necessary to live in Spain to retain and renew the residency visa permit.

Cyprus

Cyprus offers the quickest route to citizenship of a European country in only six months. An investment of €2m in real estate is required, making it the highest priced programme in Europe.

Malta

The Malta citizenship by investment programme is lengthy and investors are required to contribute sums as donations to the Maltese government. The applicant must either contribute at least €650,000 to the National Development & Social Fund. Spouses and children are required to contribute €25,000; unmarried children between 18 and 25 and dependent parents must contribute €50,000 each.

The second step is to make an investment in property of at least €350,000 or enter a property rental contract for at least €16,000 per annum for five years. The third step is to invest at least €150,000 in bonds or shares approved by the Maltese government to be kept for at least five years.

Candidates must commit to a minimum physical presence in Malta before citizenship is granted. While you get residency in two months, you can apply for citizenship after a year.

Egypt 

A one-year residency permit can be bought if you purchase property in Egypt worth $100,000. A three-year residency is available for those who invest $200,000 in property, and five years for those who purchase property worth $400,000.

Source: Citizenship Invest and Aqua Properties

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Touring range: 350km (GS); 480km (GF)
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Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

'Texas Chainsaw Massacre'

Rating: 1 out of 4

Running time: 81 minutes

Director: David Blue Garcia

Starring: Sarah Yarkin, Elsie Fisher, Mark Burnham

Coffee: black death or elixir of life?

It is among the greatest health debates of our time; splashed across newspapers with contradicting headlines - is coffee good for you or not?

Depending on what you read, it is either a cancer-causing, sleep-depriving, stomach ulcer-inducing black death or the secret to long life, cutting the chance of stroke, diabetes and cancer.

The latest research - a study of 8,412 people across the UK who each underwent an MRI heart scan - is intended to put to bed (caffeine allowing) conflicting reports of the pros and cons of consumption.

The study, funded by the British Heart Foundation, contradicted previous findings that it stiffens arteries, putting pressure on the heart and increasing the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke, leading to warnings to cut down.

Numerous studies have recognised the benefits of coffee in cutting oral and esophageal cancer, the risk of a stroke and cirrhosis of the liver. 

The benefits are often linked to biologically active compounds including caffeine, flavonoids, lignans, and other polyphenols, which benefit the body. These and othetr coffee compounds regulate genes involved in DNA repair, have anti-inflammatory properties and are associated with lower risk of insulin resistance, which is linked to type-2 diabetes.

But as doctors warn, too much of anything is inadvisable. The British Heart Foundation found the heaviest coffee drinkers in the study were most likely to be men who smoked and drank alcohol regularly.

Excessive amounts of coffee also unsettle the stomach causing or contributing to stomach ulcers. It also stains the teeth over time, hampers absorption of minerals and vitamins like zinc and iron.

It also raises blood pressure, which is largely problematic for people with existing conditions.

So the heaviest drinkers of the black stuff - some in the study had up to 25 cups per day - may want to rein it in.

Rory Reynolds

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

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Director: Blitz Bazawule
Starring: Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo
Rating: 4/5

SERIE A FIXTURES

Friday (UAE kick-off times)

Sassuolo v Bologna (11.45pm)

Saturday

Brescia v Torino (6pm)

Inter Milan v Verona (9pm)

Napoli v Genoa (11.45pm)

Sunday

Cagliari v Verona (3.30pm)

Udinese v SPAL (6pm)

Sampdoria v Atalanta (6pm)

Lazio v Lecce (6pm)

Parma v Roma (9pm)

Juventus v Milan (11.45pm)

 

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Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★


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