Hitting the halfway mark of the year presented the perfect opportunity to sit and reflect on H1 2023 with our CEO, Basma Ashry. We reflect on the year so far, previous predictions for the year and how they’ve materialized, personal triumphs, and the business landscape in the country heading into the second half of 2023.
Hi Basma! Can you believe half of 2023 has passed already?
Hasn’t it just flown past! I feel like we say the same thing every week, every month. Time flies when you’re having fun I suppose!
We sat down before the start of 2023 and discussed potential new trends to really thrive in the market during the year. Do you remember what they were?
I actually don’t! The landscape changes so much that I can barely remember what was new last month, never mind the beginning of the year. I’m sure you’re going to remind me, though…
Of course! The three main topics were AI, TikTok, and crypto. How would you rate your predictions?
I would give myself a score of 66.6% in that case. I feel like crypto popularity has fallen away a bit, and we don’t really see a great deal of demand for the industry from entrepreneurs. It was a real hot topic this time last year but that seems to have faded a bit. The big players like Binance are still around, and I know that there’s work going on in the background to see how crypto can play a role in Dubai business, but the ‘hype’ isn’t quite there like it was before.
TikTok is a solid platform in every marketing strategy now. You have to be creating solid content and making noise there to ensure you get noticed. With the search engine function being developed, it’s a great place to create content that your audience is searching for. We’ve been trying our best to do that.
And as for AI, that’s changed the game completely. If you haven’t heard of, or used, ChatGPT or any of the thousands of AI plugins available…well there’s just no way you have missed it actually! I think we can expect to see this continue to develop week by week.
On a personal note, you were promoted to CEO at the company. Congratulations! Was this an ambition of yours or did it come naturally?
Thank you so much! I’m very proud to lead this incredible team and set the tone for supporting entrepreneurs in starting their business stories. Truth be told, it wasn’t planned and it wasn’t a specific ambition. I just want to do my best each day and see where it takes me. It’s amazing what kind of journey you can go on if you take things one day at a time and always put 100% into what you do. I’m very grateful.
How has 2023 been so far with your own business? Is it meeting your expectations?
Dubai continues to be very popular. The demand for starting a business in Dubai is still strong, and we’re exactly where we expected to be business. Even with the introduction of the new corporate tax, we haven’t seen a slowdown. In fact, we’ve started to see more demand for setting up consultancy businesses, as there’s a bit of knowledge gap about taxation that business people from elsewhere are lending their experience to close.
On that note, what are some trends you’re currently seeing with entrepreneurship and business setup in 2023?
What’s been interesting is the demand from Europe, particularly western Europe. France, Germany and the UK are our most popular places to enquire from outside of the Middle East.
As I mentioned too, we haven’t seen any major dips in demand as a result of the new corporate tax. I think there’s a bit of a link between both factors. European countries are used to tax, they know the overall processes and how to set their business up to manage it. While it’s new to the UAE, it’s not to many entrepreneurs from overseas. In fact, they’d be quite happy with 9%!
What’s next for the company under your leadership? What are your main priorities heading into the second half of the year?
We have our own internal targets first and foremost, based on performance in the first half of the year. Our goal is to better our performance from that period as a minimum.
Second, we want to become THE place that entrepreneurs go to for advice and assistance on the corporate tax, and we want to create a space where individuals with the right skill set and experience can open their businesses seamlessly to support with the corporate tax. I mentioned that we have seen a growth in demand for setting up consultancy services as the country adapts to the tax. If you’re an entrepreneur with tax experience from Europe or afar, we want you to talk to us about how you can provide an incredibly valuable service to the businesses of the UAE.
We’re always looking to improve our services too, so it’s an easy process for entrepreneurs to get started. We pride ourselves on our ability to keep the business setup process moving quickly, so we’ll always be focusing on making sure we’re providing the best possible service for entrepreneurs in the region.
Are you prepared to make any predictions about the remainder of 2023?!
Yes! I think it’s safe to say we’re going to see a lot more corporate tax services available in the coming months. That’s the big talking point right now and conversations continue daily. So if you’re an entrepreneur who’s not quite sure about how the corporate tax works, help will be at hand everywhere you look. You can always talk to us as well for the information you need. Check our socials too as we’ve been creating some insightful content about what the corporate tax means for your business.
Aside from that, let’s see how things play out.
Thank you Basma! All the best for the coming months.