This came as a delegation of senior officials from Sharjah’s commerce-focused public sector entities, led by the Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah – IIS), met with a number of India’s leading business owners, entrepreneurs and government officials in a highly impactful tour of the sub-continent, which featured a packed agenda of B2B and G2G networking meetings as well as site visits to collaboratively explore the extraordinary potential for growth in technology and other future-focused industries in Sharjah.
The delegation was accompanied by Abdulnasser Alshaali, UAE Ambassador to the Republic of India and Aaref Alnuaimi, consul general from the Consulate General of the UAE in Hyderabad, which further strengthened the UAE-India ties and emphasized the importance of this visit in fostering business relations between the two countries.
During the roadshow organised from March 13 – 16 in partnership with T-Hub and the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), the IIS-led delegation consisting from four entities mapped two major south Indian cities of Hyderabad and Bengaluru to examine the outlook for growth in trade and investment, particularly in technology, and explore new pathways to further bilateral relations in light of the extremely productive economic ties that the UAE and India have enjoyed for over 55 years.
The delegation from Sharjah, included Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO, Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah); Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO, Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park, H.E. Shihab Alhammadi, Managing Director, Sharjah Media Free zone Authority (SHAMS), and Salim Alyammahi, Head of Partner Relations Division at Sharjah Economic Development Department.
The roadshow sought to inform and educate Indian investors and businesses in Hyderabad and Bengaluru about the new and emerging potential in Sharjah in the future-focused sectors of fintech, clean energy and climate action, food security, sustainability, digital payments, cyber security, cryptocurrencies, and advanced technologies, among others.
The two Indian cities are powerhouses of technological innovation in the region and this IIS-led visit gave industry players first-hand insights on ways they can leverage Sharjah as a gateway to the Middle East.
Al Musharrkh, noted: “This has been a very productive networking trip, which enabled leading Sharjah Government entities to showcase how Indian businesses can tap into Sharjah’s burgeoning potential for business and investment in their areas of interest in a seamless fashion as they benefit from the plethora of investor-friendly services and facilities they offer”.
“The bilateral trade relations between the two countries have been taken to new heights with the implementation of the UAE-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) since May 2022, and its contribution to qualitative developments in trade relations between the two countries. This roadshow for our counterparts in Hyderabad and Bengaluru was timed strategically to open the window of new and emerging opportunities to prospective entrants in Sharjah’s robust, competitive and highly diversified economy, particularly in technology”, he added.
Earlier in February last year, India and UAE took a significant step in strengthening their comprehensive strategic partnership with the issuance of a Joint Vision Document, ‘New Frontiers, New Milestones’, to chart the pathway towards a shared future building on past achievements and laying down new avenues of cooperation in fintech, clean energy and climate action, food security, sustainability, digital payments, cyber security, cryptocurrencies, and advanced technologies, among others.
Key lessons on ways to leverage Sharjah’s investor-first climate
In both cities, the roadshow agenda presented B2B and G2G networking opportunities, alongside informative discussions, during which participating delegates from the emirate outlined the tremendous opportunity and potential in Sharjah’s conducive business environment, its core strengths in diverse sectors, and easy access to global markets. The IIS CEO invited Indian companies, investors and entrepreneurs to avail the services of the Sharjah Investors Services Center (SAEED) that offers a complete range of government solutions to set up businesses with speed and efficiency.
Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO, SRTIP said: “This visit to Hyderabad and Bangalore enabled us to get close glimpses of what Indian entrepreneurs and investors really want. India is a colossus in technology and future-focused industries. In 2022, India had more than 115 unicorns; and 1 out of every 13 unicorns globally is born in India. At SRTIP, the Middle East’s vibrant innovation hub, we are keen to seek out Indian innovators to join our ecosystem. Already, we have some great global innovation startups doing phenomenal projects, and we look forward to Indian startups to joins us.”
“India is one of the key trading partners of the UAE, and Sharjah has always been a big magnet for Indian businessmen. The number of Indian companies or those owned by Indians in Sharjah has witnessed a remarkable increase in recent years, representing 48% of the total investments in free zones. This makes India a key trading pillar of Sharjah and the emirate is marching ahead with technology projects, including a world-class innovation park SRTIP,” Al Mahmoudi added.
Shihab Alhammadi, Managing Director, SHAMS said: “We are excited to explore the boundless potential for trade and investment in Sharjah’s future-focused sectors, particularly in technology, and to strengthen our economic ties with India. Shams offers investors many advantages, including a thriving media ecosystem, a cost-effective business setup, and 0% corporate or personal income tax. It is an ideal platform for entrepreneurs who want to establish a company in the UAE, even without being physically present. With seamless registration and access to a desk facility offering up to 12 visas, shareholders can turn their ideas into thriving businesses. With our investor-first climate, world-class infrastructure, and facilitating ecosystem, Sharjah is a gateway to the Middle East for Indian businesses looking to expand globally’’ Commented. H.E. Shihab Alhammadi, Managing Director, Sharjah Media City (SHAMS).
For his part, Abdelaziz Omar Al Midfa, Deputy Director of Government Communication Department at Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD), said that the Department’s participation in the Sharjah delegation comes out of SEDD’s concerns to promote the economic potential of the emirate, due to its advanced infrastructure, economic stability, high efficiency and interest in encouraging investments and entering into partnerships and mutual projects through participation in various economic forums. Such a thing helps to highlight commercial opportunities, attract investors and expand the investment base of the emirate, which will reflect positively on the economy and contribute to strengthening Sharjah’s position on the economic map.
Al Midfa pointed out that this participation aims to get acquainted with the investment opportunities in many fields, and to deepen aspects of cooperation, as meetings and B2Bs were held with a number of senior officials and representatives from various business sectors. Such thing helped in discussing aspects of mutual trade cooperation and ways to enhance and develop it to serve the economic relations between the two parties, as well as discourse ways to review the available opportunities to increase trade and investment exchanges between them, especially in sectors of common interest between the two countries.
During their recent visit to Hyderabad, the Sharjah delegation held meetings with a range of influential representatives from various organizations, including Mr. Mahankali Srinivas Rao Chief Executive Officer, T-Hub; Praveen Mokkapati, Deputy Director of NASSCOM, Sundeep Makthala – Founder and President (Telangana Information Technology Association,Veera Chappi – Director, Partnerships, People & Culture,T-Works, Sanjay Gajjala Sr Director, Product and Engineering, T-Works and Mr. Ganesh Aryan Commercial Manager- Central India Air Arabia (India Office). Likewise, whilst at the visit to Bengaluru, the delegation met with several prominent figures, including Mr. Unnikrishnan K, Jt. Director General of FIEO, Mr. B V Gopal Reddy, President of FKCCI, and Mr. Girish Hiremath, Chief Operating Officer of Global Incubation Services (GINSERV). Additionally, the delegation held discussions with Mr. Swayam Mishra, Incubation Manager of GINSERV, Mr. K N Narasimhamurthy, President of KASSIA, Dr. L. Jyothish Kumar, Founder & President at Additive Manufacturing Company Society of India (AMSI), and Dr. Kavyashree, Chairperson of the Indian Women in 3D Printing Society (IW3DP). These meetings provided the delegation with valuable insights and information, allowing them to forge strong connections and partnerships with key players in the Indian business community.
In the Sharjah-India Roundtable last November organised by IIS in Sharjah, Musharrkh revealed that to attract and facilitate investments in Sharjah and the UAE, Invest in Sharjah’s roadshows will focus on Indian markets in 2023.
Frequently updated regulations, world-class infrastructure, a facilitating ecosystem, and diversification strategies have reinforced Sharjah’s reputation as a global hub for investments. With 16,916 Indian companies operating in the mainland in Sharjah and 9,611 across its specialised free zones, the growing economic and commercial relations between Sharjah and India touched AED 1.14 billion in 2022. Historically, the most popular sectors of Sharjah-India trade and investment include tourism, hospitality, catering, healthcare and wellness, retail and education, with giant Indian conglomerates like companies like the Lulu Group, Gems Education, Danube Group, Anchor Allied Factory Ltd, DBMT, Quality International, Listek, and others, operating out of Sharjah.
Technology and other future-focused sectors in Sharjah and the UAE show immense growth potential and the nation continues on its mission to be one of the world’s leading innovation- and knowledge-based economies.