Starting A Business In The Middle East

One of the best places to invest is the Middle East, as the current emerging economy is one of biggest. But the great opportunity offered by this emerging market, is coupled with many challenges – especially for global investors.

People know that this strength of the current Middle Eastern economy does not only come from within the Middle East, but that it is a result of united factors by both local and foreign organisations.

These foreign organisations should be given opportunities, whilst being protected to enter and progress within the markets, keeping in mind that working in the Middle East environment has many economic, legal, social, and political dimensions that differ considerably to those in Western industries.

Fear Of The Unknown

Doing business in the Middle East is a good way to establish partnerships between countries and organisations. However many foreign organisations have been rejected by Middle Eastern countries to enter the different markets for their segment. It is in most cases easier to establish an organisation with a Middle Eastern business partner to gain competitive advantage.

Many international organisations have challenges that local businesses do not have by entering the market through acquisitions and mergers, dealing with issues such as harmonisation of Human Resources, communication and culture.

One must be aware that local organisations know the culture, tradition, nature, demands and preferences of the Middle East markets and new organisations in these markets do not!

Emerging country markets, such as the Middle East are also smaller than big developed markets which mean that fewer employers participate, and not all sectors or industries may be represented at that time.

However everyone is looking for the people to work, looking at the same talented people. These people know the culture, behaviour and preferences of ‘Middle Eastern’ customers, so in a sense hiring these local talented people is not only intended to convince prospective customers, but also to convince prospective business partners.

Forget The Myths…

The diverse characteristic and uniqueness of the Middle East market and some bias against global regions, has made it historically difficult for many non-Arabic people to work in the Middle East. Nowadays the adherence to cultural rules, such as showing the sole of the shoe or eating with the wrong hand is old-fashioned.

I understand that the main issue with working in the Middle East is the importance of family, business dynamics and social relationships within an organisation.  The Middle Eastern people have a much more personal approach.  It is a great experience to learn how to network and build up partnerships and relationships, it is fun to be immersed in tradition, culture and be part of talented people with enormous cultural heritage and unsurpassed futures.

However when one learns about the culture context, customer behaviours and preferences and prepares for these changes it will feel less as a loss and more as an opportunity to start a business in the Middle East.

Human Resources Global Ltd. is an international Human Resources Consultancy which offers tailor-made packages to meet organisational and individual international goals.

Email Nicole Le Maire at[email protected]


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