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Published February 19, 2023

4 minute read

Abu Dhabi – Your Next Stop for Business Expansion

Abu Dhabi is a proven expansion ground and a gateway to the world’s fastest-growing economies. It has recognizably nurtured a supportive business environment, unparalleled connectivity and infrastructure and an entrepreneurial mindset that presents investors with plentiful growth opportunities. This session showcased the priority sectors and highlight the role they are playing in the growth of Abu Dhabi and communicate the support, incentives and initiatives available to investors within the respective sectors.

Session Speakers: 

Gabrielle Inzirillo

Gabrielle Inzirillo

Senior Specialist Financial Technology, ADGM

James Hartt

James Hartt

Director of Strategy & Business Development, twofour54

Pankaj Paul

Pankaj Paul

Director, VPS Healthcare

Safeya Al Maqtari

Safeya Al Maqtari

Senior Director of Operations, Mubadala Health

Sky Kurtz

Sky Kurtz

Founder & CEO, Pure Harvest

Stephen Severance

Stephen Severance

Head of Program Management & Marketing, Masdar

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Key Takeaways

  • Abu Dhabi is an attractive destination for business expansion, offering a supportive business environment, unparalleled connectivity and infrastructure, and plentiful growth opportunities.
  • The session highlighted priority sectors in Abu Dhabi and the support, incentives, and initiatives available to investors in those sectors.
  • The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) is a young jurisdiction built to be future-proof, incorporating the best regulations in the world and scouting best practices to create a robust financial center that protects consumers and allows for a thriving industry.
  • Mubadala Health has significantly invested in life sciences and is moving to technology to provide precise and personalized medicine. AD wants to become a healthcare technology hub in the region and the world.
  • VPS Healthcare is a home-grown entity in Abu Dhabi and has made significant investments in research. Its success is linked to the trust patients have in the system.
  • TwoFour54 is looking at the business environment of creative industries and is focused on making Abu Dhabi a global gaming hub. The company is soon moving to a home on Yas Island.
  • Masdar is making strides in renewable energies and has moved forward with 2GW of solar panels in 15 years, going from uneconomic renewable energies to the cheapest economy on earth.
  • Agriculture is a sector that Abu Dhabi is focusing on, and PureHarvest Farms is a prime example of the innovation and entrepreneurship that exists in the country. The company was created from research work at IRENA and has a pilot farm in Al Ain. The government provides support and will, and the company's success can be replicated.
  • Regulation plays a crucial role in fintech, and ADGM works closely with companies to understand industry needs and create new regulations that support access to international capital markets.
  • Trust and collaboration are crucial components of business in Abu Dhabi, and the government has proven its agility and ability to scout new partners and solutions during the pandemic.
  • Abu Dhabi has all the ingredients to become a top player in the gaming and screen industry and is investing in programs at universities that cater to the country's needs.
  • Overall, the session was optimistic about the future of Abu Dhabi as a destination for business expansion and innovation.

Abu Dhabi Emerges as a Gateway for Business Expansion: Investopia 2022 Summit

Abu Dhabi is quickly emerging as a destination for business expansion and a gateway to the world’s fastest-growing economies. This was the focus of the “Abu Dhabi – Your Next Stop for Business Expansion” session at the Investopia 2022 Inaugural Summit, which gathered investors, regulators, and success stories.

The session was moderated by Salvatore Lavallo, Head of FDI at Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), who introduced a panel of experts from various sectors. The panelists included Sky Kurtz, Founder and CEO of Pure Harvest; Gabrielle Inzirillo, Senior Specialist of Financial Technology at Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM); Safeya Al Maqtari, Senior Director of Operations at Mubadala Health; Stephen Severance, Head of Program Management and Marketing at Masdar; Pankaj Paul, Director at VPS Healthcare; and James Hartt, Director of Strategy and Business Development at TwoFour54.

The panel discussed Abu Dhabi’s supportive business environment, unparalleled connectivity and infrastructure, and an entrepreneurial mindset that presents investors with plentiful growth opportunities. The session showcased the priority sectors and highlighted their role in the growth of Abu Dhabi while also communicating the support, incentives, and initiatives available to investors within these respective sectors.

During the session, it was clear that Abu Dhabi has set its sights on becoming a leading hub for various industries, from fintech and healthcare to gaming and renewable energy. With a supportive business environment and significant investments in innovation and infrastructure, the speakers demonstrated that Abu Dhabi is a prime destination for business expansion.

One of the main takeaways from the session was Abu Dhabi’s commitment to creating a future-proof financial center. Gabrielle Inzirillo, a senior specialist in financial technology at the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), emphasized that the young jurisdiction is built to be future-proof, with regulations that protect consumers while allowing for a thriving industry. ADGM’s virtual asset regime, launched in 2018, and its upcoming launch of decentralized finance programs next week further illustrate the center’s commitment to innovation.

Innovation was also a significant focus in the healthcare sector. Safeya Al Maqtari, senior director of operations at Mubadala Health, highlighted the company’s significant investments in life sciences, including a genome project launched during the pandemic. Mubadala Health is also exploring precise and personalized medicine, with investments in research and development and the provision of services. The company aims to become a healthcare technology hub in the region and the world, with a partnership announced last month with Biointellesens providing FDA-approved monitoring tools for long-term patients.

Meanwhile, VPS Healthcare’s director, Pankaj Paul, discussed the company’s success as a home-grown entity in Abu Dhabi, with 16 entities in the UAE. VPS Healthcare’s investments in research and its focus on building patient trust have contributed to its success. The company’s book about cancer care was downloaded 70,000 times in the past few days, further underscoring the company’s commitment to providing quality healthcare.

Another industry with significant potential for growth in Abu Dhabi is agriculture, with a focus on producing food in a climate-challenging environment. Sky Kurtz, founder and CEO of Pure Harvest, discussed the company’s creation of a resource-saving farming unit and pilot farm in Al Ain. Pure Harvest has proven its capability in Abu Dhabi and is now exporting its produce to countries such as Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. The company’s success in tackling climate challenges and producing high-quality food highlights the potential for innovation in this sector.

The financial technology sector is among the most significant contributors to Abu Dhabi’s growth. ADGM, a young jurisdiction, is built to be future-proof, focusing on building the best regulations in the world. In addition, ADGM has launched decentralized finance programs, making them a leader in this space.

Another important sector for Abu Dhabi is healthcare. Mubadala Health is investing in research and development and has recently launched a Genome project to advance precise and personalized medicine. Mubadala Health also announced a partnership with BiointelleSense, providing FDA-approved monitoring tools. VPS Healthcare, a home-grown entity in Abu Dhabi, has made significant investments in research and development and is trusted by patients due to its focus on providing the best care possible.

The creative industries are another sector that has been given significant attention in Abu Dhabi. TwoFour54, which focuses on the business environment in this space, is supporting the growth of the gaming and screen industry. Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s energy capital, is a regional reference point working to move forward with renewable energies. PureHarvest Farms is another innovative company that has emerged in Abu Dhabi, focusing on agriculture and creating resource-saving farming units.

The regulation was also a key topic of discussion, with speakers emphasizing the need to strike a balance between regulation and innovation. ADGM’s Inzirillo emphasized the center’s agility in creating new regulations that support access to international capital markets while protecting consumers. Trust and collaboration were highlighted as essential components of successful business expansion. Pure Harvest Farms’ Kurtz noted that the company gave a lot of time to the government because it was involved in processes and invited to the table. Mubadala Health’s Al Maqtari also noted that the agility of the regulator enabled the company to build new products and test new things.

In conclusion, Abu Dhabi’s agility, government, and economy have proven themselves as an agile ecosystem during the pandemic. Abu Dhabi is poised to become a top player in the gaming and screen industry, building on its strengths in the financial technology, healthcare, and creative industries. With an environment supporting access to international capital markets and a willingness to partner with foreign entities, Abu Dhabi is the next stop for business expansion.

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