Dubai has expanded rapidly over the past decades with its economy now based around trade, manufacturing and tourism. But the ‘Merchants’ City’ is about far more than business. Dubai presents a kaleidoscope of past and present. Wind towers sit beside glittering skyscrapers, desert dunes roll into green golf courses whilst luxury yachts sail the wind alongside traditional dhows. Against a backdrop of a carefully preserved heritage, Dubai is building a visionary future. The world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, The Palm is a trio of man-made projects, and the first since the Great Wall of China to be visible from space.
The Conference themed “Breaking Barriers” was attended by members across the globe from Europe, US and Asia convening in Middle East.
Globalization has made cross-border business deals more common than ever. Doing business globally can provide businesses with exciting new opportunities for growth and profit. However, if global business were easy, everyone would do it, and there are significant risks and challenges associated with going international.
Commit a faux pas (a slip or blunder in etiquette, manners or conduct) while travelling, meeting a foreigner or communicating on the phone or email may jeopardise or lose deals, or offend foreign associates or locals if unaware of other countries’ customs, culture or manners, etiquette etc. Cultural clashes are not limited to individuals or groups of people discussing or negotiating a business deal. Company mergers or acquisitions can suffer from cultural clash. Disputes symbolize deep divisions that may prevent the company from becoming a cohesive unit. Much of the cross border disputes are caused by a basic lack of understanding of each others' national and, by implication, corporate-cultural differences.
The legal complexities of international business can be challenging, and without proper legal advice might subject to fines and penalties. Language barriers are an obvious downside to doing business internationally. Different cultures have different values, and sometimes these differences can be stark. Whether opening a factory in another country or simply buying and selling property, distance reduces one’s oversight. Thus is the theme of the conference.
Keynote Speaker, Shridhar Sampath, a veteran CPA, inspires, challenges and empowers entrepreneurs, business owners and executives to succeed in business. He motivates people to want to do it, take ownership of their action and holds them accountable. His stimulating and engaging style delivered a valuable, added opportunity, lasting impact presentation and team building session to the members in attendance.
Guest Speaker, Professor Elamana Vijay facilitates and teaches leadership, changes in management domain to a number of multi-national companies. Professor Vijay delivered an empowering self-engineered human development programme that focused on managing oneself, managing key professional and personal excellence, fostering critical self development interface, vignettes of transformational feats in human excellence from a thought, deed and propositional stand point.
Members also benefited from an economic and financial lesson – Europe and the Euro zone – where is it all heading - from former Minister of Economy and Finance of Malta, Tonio Fenech, a post he held from April 2008 to March 2013. Malta joined the Euro on 1 January 2008, and it went wrong. The collapsed of Lehman Brothers and the banking crisis that followed caused an avalanche. Five years after the beginning of the financial crisis the world is still witnessing bailouts and bank failures on a regular basis.
In addition, they also benefited from Dr Chua Hock Hoo’s sharing of The Way Forward, the challenges, the solutions and how a practice could embark on Differentiation strategy through 7 Golden Rules.
Two member firms also shared their firms’ thoughts and experiences at the Case Study sessions. Oslo Beckman Lundevall Revisjon AS (BLR), Rolf Arentz-Hansen, BLR being one of the largest INPACT firm in Norway, with broad experience in the profession and based in the capital city presented on Referrals – Where is it? Why not them? Why not more? How to get more... and Perth Cheng & Co, Dr Chua Hock Hoo whose head office is based in Kuala Lumpur shared experience on their firm’s growth.
The conference covered a lot of diverse topics that have a significant impact on the operations of practices and business opportunities.
The Host firm, Ethics Plus in Dubai presented on the ample Business Opportunities in Dubai and also the factors and challenges that entrepreneurs would face as well and what to expect if Dubai won the bid for Expo 2020 to be held in Dubai. Another complementary topic to Business Opportunities in Dubai was the structure and process of setting up Businesses in Middle East presented by Abu Dhabi member, Odeh & Co.
From setting up business to business opportunities, after the creation and accumulation of wealth, there would be a need to protect the preserved wealth - the next stop is a lesson on Wealth Management and Asset Planning lead by George Lim, Lim Su Chung & Co, Sabah-Malaysia member.
You may catch all these presentation on videos. The videos shall be uploaded to the Members Community. An announcement will be made once the videos are ready.
All the work also comes with play. Members rode on camels to arrive at Al Hadheerah, an open air restaurant located in a resort hidden amongst the dunes. Yes rode on camels ….. Just kidding! Whizzed to the dunes on 2 bus coaches. Built to resemble a fortified Arabian desert village, the rustic-looking buildings have been designed to look centuries-old with their pre worn paths, meandering routes, and numerous nooks and crannies. The sandy courtyard is covered in Arabian carpets that look as if they might fly, and illuminated by Islamic stained-glass lanterns. The first assault on the senses is the lavish outdoor buffet with a dozen food counters serving scores of carefully created Arabic dishes, including proper Emirati food.
A band was already playing Arabic music on stage when our group arrived at the open air restaurant at about 7:30pm; a belly dancer joined them at 8.30pm and by the time the camel rides, Arabian horse displays and a tunic-twirling Sinbad appeared, we were wondering if we were hallucinating.
The finale was a gala dinner at the iconic Legends restaurant at the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. The dinner was held on the Terrace overlooking the waters of the Dubai Creek. Barriers and cultural differences aside, each table saw the members intermingled with each other - Europeans, Americans, Middle Eastern, Africans and Asians – the INPACT group.
Barriers lifted, we can move towards our goal. Contrary to how we think about barriers as obstacles, they are not the problem – it is the way in which we respond to them that holds us back.
Click on the link below and have a look to the pictures from the Conference: