The University of Wollongong in Dubai hosted a networking event recently at the University’s Knowledge Village campus, which was attended by over 40 of the establishment’s alumni who are successful entrepreneurs or aspiring business owners.
Guests enjoyed the exclusive opportunity to spend the evening exploring entrepreneurship in the UAE, the highlight of which was an engaging panel discussion featuring Mona Tavassoli, UOWD alumna and founder of director of both Mom Souq and Mompreneurs Middle East, Atif Rafiq, UOWD alumnus and director of Al Sharqi Shipping and Alexandar Mathew, Director of Business Development at the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). Led by UOWD’s Dr Mohan Guruswamy, an expert in strategy and business performance management, the panel discussed a range of issues that varied from the regulatory environment facing entrepreneurs in Dubai to how to nurture a successful business and why the focus of an organisation should be a reason that benefits all key stakeholders.
Commenting during the event, panellist Atif Rafiq said: “Events like these are extremely important. Founders of businesses find their co-founders during such occasions.”
Professor Barry O’Mahony, Dean of the Faculty of Business, who formally welcomed the alumni back to the University for the inaugural entrepreneur networking evening, added: “It was wonderful to see so much enthusiasm in the room and to welcome a panel of distinguished guests who shared valuable stories about how to overcome certain challenges that are unique to entrepreneurs in the UAE. With recent statistics from the Department of Economic Development suggesting a 17.4% increase in the number of total business licences issued in 2015, Dubai is a hotbed for entrepreneurs and it is a testament to the quality of the business programs offered at UOWD that so many of our alumni go on to run successful businesses of their own. This event is just the beginning of an on-going program of events and courses in the pipeline that are geared towards supporting such alumni and helping future students to succeed in this area. ”
Professor O’Mahony’s thoughts were echoed by Bipin Pillai, UOWD alumnus and entrepreneur, who commented: “Events such as the Entrepreneur Networking Evening benefit not only existing entrepreneurs but also boost the confidence of upcoming students who are looking for a support structure or an eco-system. These events create a sense of belongingness and positivity…creating an incubation centre which is much needed in the UAE to nurture, provide support and even offer opportunities for structured funding.”