Dubai Exports, the exports promotion agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai, has announced the launch of a new networking platform that enables export-oriented companies to gain valuable information and referrals leading to new contracts and customers in overseas markets.
The ‘Dubai Continental Networking and Referral Group’ comprises 19 manufacturers from different sectors, looking at new export deals and markets. Modelled along the referral system of the Business Network international (BNI), the the world's largest business networking organisation, the group will exchange information on export opportunities among themselves and share experience on securing deals and navigating new markets.
The group provides the local exporter community with an innovative avenue to expand their exports by leveraging their knowledge and contacts within the community.
Commented Engineer Saed Al Awadi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Exports: “Referrals are an important part of any company’s success and growth strategy. In fact some non-service companies derive up to 20% of their business through referrals. The Dubai Continental Networking and Referral Group allows companies to add a referral strategy to their export marketing mix.”
Al Awadi added that the Group will also lead to improved relations and partnerships among exporters while also enhancing the export opportunities database available locally.
“When it comes to export there is nothing like talking to someone who has already exported to a target country. Our objective is to provide an environment to bring together like-minded companies that may not know each other otherwise and leverage the different kinds of experiences they all have for the benefit of the industry.”
Al Awadi said the new group is one of the many initiatives of Dubai Exports and complements the regular trade missions and exhibitions organised or led by the agency aimed at markets and potentials identified from time to time.
“We feel like we have filled a big void within the industry through this Group. There is a lot of knowledge among the local exporter community, which if shared within can produce outstanding outcomes, including a wider export market for Dubai. For example, in 2011 Business Network International passed over 6.9 million referrals among 139,000 members in 49 countries resulting in more than $3.1 billion in business,” said Al Awadi.
Rami Rabia, Exporter Relations Manager in Dubai Exports, said: “Companies in the Group will not have to worry about any conflict of interest as only one product from each category is represented in the group. The idea is based on the fact that a manufacturer normally has one product line, but their distributors and importers in different countries are agents to many other products. By working together members can leverage their connections in the export markets to the benefit of the rest of the industry”.
The knowledge shared within the Group will help companies overcome challenges posed by export barriers, customs issues, transportation and logistics or lack of local knowledge. The Group will meet every week and Dubai Exports will also provide monthly training to the group on enhancing export capabilities.
The ‘Dubai Continental Networking and Referral Group’ will also serve as an industry forum and a voice for manufacturers in the UAE. Dubai Exports will collectively interact with the Group to identify challenges and advocate necessary changes on behalf of the industry.