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The future for Emiratis is innovation and self-employment. Parents should encourage and nurture youngsters into entrepreneurs and not job seekers.

The future of young Emiratis lies in "job creation and self-employment", according to a top government official.

Essa Al Mulla, chief of National Workforce Development, Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), said at present there is a necessity for entrepreneurship and that young people have to change the way they look at things. "Young people need to change from the thought of being employed in government departments or private sector and focus on starting their own work or businesses," Al Mulla told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the Government Human Resources Summit in Abu Dhabi on Monday. "The future for Emiratis is innovation and self-employment. Parents should encourage and nurture youngsters into entrepreneurs and not job seekers."

According to Al Mulla, the challenge for Emiratis today is not unemployment but the competition for the available jobs in the market and the pay which may not meet their expectation which warrants for a change so they become self-employed.

"The UAE government is keen on supporting young Emiratis to become entrepreneurs through equipping them with the knowledge and financial support to start small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)."

Commenting on challenges facing Emiratis in the job market, Al Mulla said many private companies being reluctant to take Emirati nationals because they are not prepared for what's required in the job market - technical skills, critical thinking and technology."

"There is need for schools especially universities to prepare the youngsters into critical thinkers, innovators and entrepreneurs,"

On the Emiratisation in the private sector, the official said 13,500 Emiratis have joined the private sector since 2006.

Al Mulla noted that unemployment in Dubai has decreased from 10.7 per cent in 2006 to 2.8 per cent in 2016 and the government wants the rate to reduce to one per cent in 2021.

Utilising employees' potential

In a panel discussion on developing and deploying people's potential and what the human resources (HR) team have to do to reduce complaints from workers. Nawal Hamad Bourisli, Director HR, Zain, Kuwait said that HR people should make a balance between the workers and the company leadership or management so everyone is happy.

"The expectations of the employer might be different from what the employee delivers. People working in the HR department, therefore, have to keep a balance the workers and their bosses so that everyone gets satisfied," she said. "Figure out what the employee can do better. Make a person do what they love and do the best so they can produce great results."

Al Roudhan noted that HR have to motivate workers and ensure they create a conducive working environment for the employees.

Abdulmalik Al Balushi, CEO of Oman Post, said talent is very important in the workforce because people with extraordinary talents provide the required support during bad and challenging times. "In bad times, talent is very important as a company has to rely on special skills from talented and gifted employees to survive."

Dubai: Entrepreneur Wejdan Bin Jasem Al Mutairi has turned a childhood passion for drawing into a designer handbag label she sells through her two boutiques in Abu Dhabi.

After her sales steadily recorded an increase from nearly Dh24,000 in late last year, to nearly Dh76,000 in the third quarter of 2017, she’s aiming to take the next step and sell her Opium Luxury Bags through a major department store.

“If you reached a big department store, you reached the top end of your target market,” she said.

Ninety per cent of the customers in her boutiques — Chique La Boutique in Al Bateen area, and Gen Boutique in Foutouh Al Khair mall — are Emirati, primarily from Dubai and Al Ain. Eight per cent of her clientele are from Saudi Arabia.

Her target sector is women between 18 and 35 years old, the group she believes have the most interest in fashion. “The younger age are difficult to satisfy, and many in the older group are less enthusiastic,” she said.

At 29, she is in the middle of her targeted age range. She’s been making the bags for a year, using a Thai factory to fabricate her designs of bags made from python, ostrich and crocodile leather. It also makes wallets and cardholders for her.

As well as her mall-based boutiques, she uses a mobile boutique launched late last year to increase exposure. The mobile unit also displays and sells products such as abayas, dresses and wallets. It’s a concept also used by another Emirati entrepreneur and fashion designer, Azza Al Marar.

Al Mutairi began selling her own handbags a year ago, and has faced several challenges, including making sales in the face of established brands. Her strategy is to match quality, beat the international brands on price (her most expensive bag retails for Dh5,000), and have excellent customer service.


Still, she says, people “fear spending few thousands of dirhams for products they don’t know. This is unavoidable wherever you go.”

Her second challenge is the old start-up bete noire, turning revenue into profit. Here, she says, the “healthy level is to give you a year to two years before the expenditures are covered by the profits”.

UAE women, according to UAE Ministry of Economy, constitute nearly half of the small and medium enterprise sectors, and the Dubai Business Woman Council concluded that almost half of the female business owners are the sole owners of their firms

Al Mutairi, who holds an Executive Masters degree in Business Administration from Zayed University and has a full-time job with an Abu Dhabi government body, planned her move into business cautiously.

“I was not satisfied with being a person going to work and comeback home every day. I always wanted to be something bigger.” she said.

“It took me two years thinking and looking into options of what my business would look like. I didn’t want to go into a traditional kind of business, such as making abayas and jalabiyahs.

“Also, I wanted to have something that is relatively new to the market. Something unique, something if people hear about will stick in their heads and they won’t confuse or mix it with anything else.”


Her break came when she was offered a role as a distributor for a Thai luxury leather factory; instead she negotiated a partnership where they would make her handbag designs.


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