dubai business economy

Dubai is Boosting Creative Firms

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Mark Fiddes, the international creative consultant, discusses the short- and long-term implications of the plan to increase the number of creative firms from 8,000 to 15,000 over the next five years.

Dubai is looking to become a major player of the global creative economy under a new initiative launched in early April by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and ruler of the Emirate of Dubai.

Under the Dubai Creative Economy Strategy, the number of creative professionals working in the emirate will jump from 70,000 to 150,000 in the next five years. 

What are the short-term creative impacts on the creative business in Dubai?

So much will depend on the details of the expansion plan, of course. Immediately, it should benefit the home-grown creative businesses, from interior designers, to game developers and filmmakers who are looking for investment and support in their early years. But more can and must be done for our ‘ideapreneurs’, from freeing vacant office space to more active mentoring.

Established creative businesses, like the international advertising networks will continue to originate even more work from Dubai, rather than versioning ideas generated elsewhere with an Arabic slant. Recent years have shown how competitive the city’s agencies have become in international awards competitions.

What are the longer-term impacts on industry and innovation in the city?

Think of creativity as the best catalyst you can give an economy. A recent study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research in the UK indicated that for every single job generated by creative industries, a further 1.65 jobs are supported in the wider economy through indirect and induced multipliers with the inevitable boost for GDP.

What’s good for innovation is good for the economy as a whole. So, this isn’t just about Dubai being ‘cool’. It’s about Dubai being long-term smart when other regions can barely see beyond the next quarter.  

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