Women business leaders to be championed on European Company Mission to United Arab Emirates

28 August 2016
More than 50 companies from six countries are to take part in London Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s largest ever delegation on a trade mission next month (September) to the United Arab Emirates.

With 27 of the companies headed up by female entrepreneurs and business chiefs, the aim of the mission is to develop new business outside the EU and to encourage SMEs to grow internationally.

Although historically the UAE has been perceived as a difficult place for women to do business, the current government has placed much effort on enhancing the UAE’s ranking in global reports on gender equality. Most recently the UAE Gender Balance Council was formed to drive women’s participation in national development. It aims to reduce the gender gap across all government sectors in the country and promote gender balance in decision-making positions.

The Council is one of several initiatives under the UAE’s Vision 2021, the strategic roadmap for diversifying the UAE’s economy away from oil. In line with this vision, the government plans to increase the contribution of the non-oil sector to 80 per cent of the UAE’s gross domestic product (GDP) from the present figure of 70 per cent in the next 10 to 15 years. This is creating foreign investment opportunities across a host of sectors.

Among the priority growth sectors outlined in UAE Vision 2021 are: education, healthcare, hospitality, green building, transport and logistics. The UAE’s ambitious construction and infrastructure plans also require tremendous investment and provide another reason for the country to actively seek foreign and private sector investment to support its pipeline of megaprojects, including Expo 2020 Dubai. 

UK business-people on the five-day mission will be given a valuable introduction to one of the Middle East’s high growth markets, meet with local agents and distributors, trade associations and potential customers to look at possible business opportunities.

They will visit Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah and will meet representatives from the Dubai Business Women Council, the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce.


The prospect of travelling to a foreign market that businesses have little knowledge and experience of can be daunting and costly for many, and trade missions can facilitate this process. They provide direct access to markets that offer business opportunities for EU companies but are seen as hard to gain access to.

Peter Bishop, Deputy Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry said: “Trade development is at the heart of the work of chambers of commerce and bringing together companies from six countries to engage with such a vibrant and exciting market as the United Arab Emirates is a real high point. The quality of the companies on the mission and the support they are given will result in increased export orders.”

Industries represented on the visit include engineering, architecture, solar energy, education, fashion and design, IT, and food and drink, tourism and transport and logistics.

The mission is sponsored by Links Group which partners, protects and enables foreign companies to operate in the UAE and Qatar markets while safeguarding their status as business owners.

Julie Irving, Partner of Links Group commented: “Links Group is honoured to be a sponsor of this European company mission to the UAE and to lend our support to such an important topic – ‘women in business’. At Links Group we continuously strive to highlight the importance of women in the workforce, and to dispel myths many may have about the role of working women in the Arab world. A key element of the UAE’s development strategy is the engagement of women in the workforce and as leaders. Their participation in the UAE labour force currently stands at 43% and the government has implemented a number of initiatives to help increase this by 2021.”

The mission is supported by EAGLE projects which aim to enhance co-operation between European trade promotion organisations and the European Commission with the result that there will be an improved trade promotion service available to SMEs.


1.     London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the capital’s largest and most representative business organisation, with members ranging in size from multi-national companies to SMEs and sole traders.

2.     Peter Bishop, deputy chief executive of LCCI, is available for further comment and interview.

About Links Group 
Links Group partners, protects and enables foreign companies to operate in the UAE and Qatar markets while safeguarding their status as business owners. Combining business acumen with robust legal counsel, Links Group ensures its clients are protected at all times guaranteeing 100% owner control during market entry or exit, to build a business which they own and control.

Links Group is the first company of its kind to be endorsed by the Government of Dubai through a strategic alliance with the Foreign Investment Office (FDI) of the Dubai Economic Department. Links Group has an untarnished track record with over 400 clients, who represent combined annual revenues of over USD 5bn to their respective economies. It is also recognised as a Dubai SME 100 company, a ranking of the top performing SMEs in the emirate, and an Arabian 500 company.


Media contact
Katharine McGee
T: +44 (0)20 7203 1897                     
M: +44 (0)7827 241528
E: kmcgee@londonchamber.co.uk

Marianna Wisden
Mojo PR
Tel : +971 55 552 7758

© Press Release 2016

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