Over the last 13 years, 45-year old Georgian Nikoloz Kobakhidze has been a frequent visitor to the UAE — and whenever he’s in the country, he has always felt ‘at home’.

Kobakhidze, CEO of Georgian Integrated Systems, has seen and experienced the UAE as a ‘visionary and forward-looking nation’.

“I have seen a constantly high level of readiness from the UAE Government and public sector players in their quest to provide new opportunities. Government and businesses are bridging their resources to develop emerging sectors, boost foreign direct investment, harness technologies, and most importantly, contribute towards education,” he said.

The UAE has impressed him in many ways, he said — from how the country created a vibrant business ecosystem to how fast it turned digital.

“As a businessman, it inspires me to contribute towards developing these industries with my expertise and making the UAE my extended home,” he added.

Kobakhidze describes himself as a serial entrepreneur and has created various businesses in different sectors since 2006. These include artificial intelligence and robotics, business tourism and business events, education, consulting, and startups.

His journey to Dubai started in 2008, when he was invited to an annual event organised by one of his global partners. “I often visited the UAE for different business purposes. But the main cornerstone that expanded my activities was education. From 2014 to 2016, I completed my executive MBA at the London Business School, Dubai campus. It was an eye-opener for me. I connected with global citizens who contribute to shaping the world. In a nutshell, it unlocked those horizons that enabled my businesses to act in regions such as: the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe,” said Kobakhidze.

“The internationalisation of my business activities and expansion are part of my five-year strategy. Being a global citizen, I make every effort to bring my know-how to different markets; discover growth opportunities; and establish synergies with different local businesses. I believe that by providing very attractive conditions for companies, the UAE is a very reliable country and thus a major spotlight for us.”

The businessman is currently focused on expanding his latest initiative — THE Crossroads, a bespoke platform for startups and investors, with a strong involvement of governments, education institutions, accelerators, international corporations, and other important stakeholders.

Crossroads aims to link up all players from different industries by giving them an avenue to share their experiences and knowledge, support and accelerate growth, enabling them to create more innovative businesses and jobs.

Kobakhidze also plans to establish a MICE tourism and conventions business in the UAE. Premium Events is a professional conference organiser, with extensive experience in the MICE industry, offering full event organisation.

“We have implemented a number of large-scale strategic business events in the Caucasus for EBRD, ADB, NATO, WTO, ITU, the United Nations, the European Union, local and international governments, to name just a few. Jointly with our local partners, we would like to help create new initiatives and attract more international events to the country. Through my unique network of professionals, experienced team, and our know-how, we are aiming to establish ourselves in the UAE market as a reliable partner,” he said.

Exploring the Emirates

As an entrepreneur, Nikoloz Kobakhidze sees a lot of potential in Sharjah. “The city is rapidly developing, therefore the integration of our services and offerings are crucial. We have a solid experience, knowledge, and networks we can bring to the table and share for outstanding results in a short period of time,” he said.

When it comes to expanding his business in the country, Kobakhidze is also looking at opportunities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, since both already have the necessary MICE infrastructure in place.

“Ras Al Khaimah is also a highly interesting and untapped destination for MICE travellers. I am interested in exploring this city more closely and looking to bridge our experience with this destination,” he added.

Kobakhidze has also followed the development of Expo 2020 Dubai, and he is now looking forward to what will happen next after the mega fair.

“By analysing the concept of this project, it further highlights the visionary approach of the UAE and its leadership. Expo 2020 is bringing a huge added value to the country by contributing towards developing tourism, establishing global bridges, and focusing on the visibility of this vibrant destination, especially post-Covid. In practice it attracts the whole world to the UAE,” he said.

“But I mostly value the idea of post-Expo: the creation of District 2020, offering favorable taxation systems to companies; countries establishing residency with their pavilions for the promotion of their investment climate; the creation of the Expo ecosystem; and the development of the new community. It will attract more international corporations, startups, business tourists, cultural events and basically become a hub of tomorrow.”

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