The UAE government’s initiative to grant one-year leave to UAE citizens to start their businesses will create more job opportunities for citizens and also reduce the burden on public and private sectors to hire Emiratis, say Emiratis, business consultants and HR experts.

On Thursday, the UAE announced that those Emiratis who will avail of one-year leave to start a new venture would get half of their salaries and also retain their government jobs in order to encourage more citizens to start their entrepreneurial journeys.

Abbas Sajwani, CEO of AHS Properties, said that as more Emiratis leave the workforce to start their own businesses, a natural gap in the workforce would need to be filled.

“This (initiative) will create more jobs and, at the same time, motivate Emiratis to pursue their passions.”

He added that the initiative would help create new Emirati entrepreneurs.

“As a business owner myself, I understand the time commitment needed to oversee all the details of running your own business. This (initiative) will naturally motivate them to pursue their passions and make their mark in the private sector,” added Sajwani.

He said Emirati youth are tech-savvy, educated and very exposed to the world through their dealings with expats and their ability to travel nearly anywhere in the world, whether it be for educational purposes or just as tourists. “Therefore, they have a lot of innovative potentials that only need to be encouraged and tapped.”

Mahmood Badri, CEO of GCC institutional business and taxation, MBG Corporate Services, said this initiative gives time to Emiratis to launch their businesses with the confidence that their jobs are guaranteed.

“Job security will provide the much-needed freedom and headspace to focus on building innovative business. The benefits will accrue to both the government and private sectors. As somebody with experience across government, semi-government and private sectors, I definitely recommend this initiative to my fellow Emiratis,” he said.

Jitendra Gianchandani, managing partner of Jitendra Consulting Group, said one-year leave for Emiratis would create more jobs for UAE citizens, who should be encouraged to start ventures on a small scale and grow bigger with the help of banking funding.

“This initiative will definitely help the government to achieve Emiratisation programme and reduce the burden on the government and private sectors to hire Emiratis who opt for the business venture,” he said.

Gianchandani added that starting a business is risky, but having job security for one year and a certain fixed income in hand will reduce the risk and uncertainty associated with the business venture, to begin with.

To support entrepreneurs, especially in technical areas, Gianchandani advised the launch of industrial training institutes in the country.

“I think three years gestation period is the minimum for any business to be independent. Hence post one year, without pay for two years should be allowed until the business is established. Also, special focus should be made on female entrepreneurship, art and fashion,” he added.

Deepa Sud, CEO of Plum Jobs, said the scheme would create opportunities for more Emiratis to be employed to fill temporarily vacant roles.

“The new initiative will enable Emiratis to ‘try out’ their own business in a safe zone and eventually build a strong ecosystem in the UAE that will benefit the region since startups are crucial drivers of innovation. With the ease of setting a company in so many available economic and free zones, there are many options available in the new-age trends, particularly those in the technology and digital sector,” she said.


Given the diversity of sectors flourishing in the UAE, Sud said Emiratis would certainly have ample opportunities to venture into establishing their own businesses.

“For many people who want to become an entrepreneur, the financial risks outweigh their dream. For Emiratis, the certainty of their income being guaranteed for one year will drive the uptake for them to venture into this space,” she added.


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