Sharjah identifies potential for Italian businesses in advanced technology, manufacturing, and the green economy

Invest in Sharjah's business webinar showcases the expanding investment ecosystem of the emirate


Sharjah: Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), operating under the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), showcased compelling opportunities for Italian businesses in a range of key industries in Sharjah’s expanding investment ecosystem at a high-level virtual business webinar held recently, titled ‘Investment Opportunities for Italian Companies in Sharjah’.

Highlighting Sharjah’s advantages in providing an impressive growth and expansion platform for Italian companies in a wide range of sectors, the webinar hosted a number Italian businessmen and entrepreneurs who were introduced to the fast-growing business opportunities in the key emerging sectors of advanced health technology, agri-tech, IoT, advanced manufacturing, tourism, and the green economy, among many others.

Prominent speakers at the business webinar included H.E Omar Al Shamsi UAE Ambassador in Italy; H.E. Nicola Lener, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE; H.E Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman of Shurooq; H.E. Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City Free Zone (Shams); H.E. Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of Sharjah Research Technology and innovation Park (SRTIP); Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah); and Tommaso Belli, owner of AVE s.p.a. The session was moderated by Prof. Giovanni Bozzetti, President of EFG Consulting.

In his keynote address, H.E. Omar Al Shamsi, UAE Ambassador to Italy, commended Sharjah for its “holistic and balanced approach to economic development” and described how the emirate has grown over the years into a centre for arts and culture as well as a leading industrial hub under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

He added: “This event will further strengthen the outstanding bilateral relations between the UAE and the Italian Republic as well as attract mutual investments.”

Italian Ambassador Nicola Lener said that for Italian companies keen on a long-term business plan, “Sharjah is a promising destination for foreign investments, especially in technology and innovation-related sectors.”

Welcoming the virtual gathering, HE Marwan bin Jasim Al Sarkal, emphasised Shurooq’s sustained drive to maximise the growth and profitability of Italian businesses in Sharjah, stating how the emirate’s digitisation strategy and increased emphasis on R&D and tech capabilities, together with the newly launched UAE Strategy for Domestic Tourism will open a world of investment opportunities for Italian investors.

He added that market research forecasting a multi-billion market opportunity due to increased IT spend across GCC is a positive signal for tech investors in all the key emerging industries.

“With bilateral relations having commenced almost five decades ago, the UAE is the largest trading partner for Italy in the Gulf region,” he said, adding, “We must leverage the potential of this innovative investment ecosystem that exists between the two destinations.”

H.E. Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Shams, pointed out that the “cost-effective solutions of Sharjah Media City for entrepreneurs offers a platform to easily embark on their business start-up journey. Setting up a business in a free zone is a seamless process, and 100 percent ownership of the company and 100 percent repatriation of capital and profit are key attractions for investors.”

The CEO of Sharjah Research Technology and innovation Park (SRTI), H.E. Hussain Al Mahmoudi, predicted that “the next 50 years for the UAE would be a knowledge-based economy boosting space programmes, 3D printing, AI, and the next generation technologies.”

Sharjah’s recognition as the regional hub of innovation, backed by a massive talent pool at its University City, and with the dedicated focus on research at SRTI Park, investors can be part of an ecosystem that fosters innovative solutions, he added.

Stating that there are currently more than 260 Italian companies registered in Sharjah, Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), said that with “a GDP of USD 25 billion; Sharjah’s economy is backed up by more than 55,000 SMEs.”

“In the post-COVID world, investments in technology will outpace any other sector. Agro farming and aqua tech ventures are on the rise due to increased focus on food security in the UAE. Sharjah’s unveiling of the first 3D printing house in the region signals its competitiveness in advanced manufacturing. While cutting-edge technologies are dominating the healthcare sector, leisure and tourism will now have a greater focus on eco-tourism,” he said.

Describing his experience of opening a company in Sharjah, Tommaso Belli said the clinching factors were the emirate’s “advanced logistic capabilities, efficiency of its services, excellent opportunities to expand into the wider MENA markets, and the easy process of setting up a business.”

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