Revolutionary ‘Entrepreneurs Without Borders’ scheme launched from Dubai

Unparalleled initiative focusing on opening up borders for Arab entrepreneurs to do business

4110Dubai – 17 September 2014: The serial entrepreneur Mohammed Johmani has announced an unparalleled initiative under the name ‘Entrepreneurs Without Borders’. This revolutionary scheme will open up geographic, intellectual and financial borders for Arab entrepreneurs and contribute to the expansion of business within the Arab world.

The ‘Entrepreneurs Without Borders’ initiative was unveiled during Johmani’s participation in the Smart Living City Dubai 2014. This event was organised under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council. The conference was held in accordance with the implementation of a project to convert Dubai into a ‘Smart City’, which was initially launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The conference aimed to provide a raft of the latest ideas and techniques intended to improve the standard of living in Dubai, along with developing a roadmap to enrich the lives of its inhabitants.

In his panel speech at the conference, Johmani confirmed that the establishment of a company in any of the Arab markets represents a major challenge, since many entrepreneurs in Arab countries face serious barriers to success. These include naturalisation, the need for large capital, the difficulty of obtaining visas, restrictions on certain nationalities, and many other issues.

Johmani also explained that a huge number of conferences and seminars are being held and organised in the region, and several organisations and initiatives are being launched. But there has yet to be a plan implemented which effectively supports entrepreneurs and SMEs in the region. Therefore, he stated, governments should enact laws and formulate specific plans designed to reduce and eliminate barriers, and support all entrepreneurs, especially in the field of technology.

A particularly notable quote from Johmani’s speech was the following assertion: “Since the UAE has set its sights firmly at space, and aspires to launch the first Arab spaceship to Mars in 2021, we must begin by creating a foundation for a generation that thinks without borders”.

With regard to this, Johmani directly compared Dubai and Silicon Valley of California, the latter now considered the largest technology hub in the world for inventions and technical development. Most American entrepreneurs and investors launch their projects from Silicon Valley, and these often become massive projects, which spread to worldwide markets. Additionally, all American entrepreneurs coming out of Silicon Valley have direct access to the US population in particular, which is now around 315 million. He therefore urged the UAE government to determinedly aim to make Dubai the largest city of entrepreneurial projects and suppliers to all the markets of the Arab world, whose collective population is nearly 370 million.

He noted that the Arabian Business Magazine’s 50 Richest Arabs List – which classifies business leaders from various sectors such as media, education, and government, as well as investors, capital owners and major companies – does not include one businessman whose agenda and priorities are based around programmes to support and empower entrepreneurs and SMEs.

Johamni stated that most investments made by major media organisations focus on the discovery of new artists and singers, along with the promotion of television programmes which are already commercially successful, and this conservative approach negatively affects the current generation.

As for the education sector, he pointed out that there is no clear curriculum regarding entrepreneurship in either schools or universities. “We must start educating our children about how to manage a business, starting from the age of eight,” Johmani stated.

He also praised the courier company Aramex, which is considered a rare and strong example with respect to entrepreneurs. Unlike other large companies, Aramex supports and empowers its employees to actively develop entrepreneurial ideas, and encourages them to launch and develop their own businesses.

Johmani also outlined his belief that opening geographic, intellectual and financial borders for entrepreneurs on a permanent basis will be an important contribution to the achievement of this vision. In line with this vision, every entrepreneur should be granted a trade license that allows them to work in any Arab country. In addition to that, Johmani suggested that entrepreneurs receive particular passports, such as diplomatic passports, that would grant them the right to enter any Arab country without hindrance, and thus conduct business easily and conveniently.

The serial entrepreneur Mohammed Johmani concluded his speech by saying: “If there is no competition, there is no stimulus for creative thinking, and this will critically isolate the individual entrepreneur.”

Among the keynote speakers at the Smart Living City Dubai 2014 were H.E. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, H.E. Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director-General of Dubai Municipality, and Mark Chandler, Director of San Francisco Mayor’s Office of International Trade and Commerce. Additionally, a multitude of other business accelerators, education professionals, technology investors, investment executives, retailers and corporations, and trade professionals attended the conference.

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