Thousands attend Going Global Live to learn about taking business overseas
London - Nearly 3,400 business owners attended Going Global Live, a conference in London that shows attendees how to take their businesses overseas or increase presence in the international marketplace. Many businesses that were at the May event are active in the Middle East.
One company in attendance was Arthur J. Gallagher and Company, an international risk management and insurance brokerage firm that helps small and medium-sized enterprises go global.
“Regulatory environments are different in every country so we advise them on what they need,” said Wayne Grinsted, the company’s regional managing director.
“The Middle East is challenging from a regulatory perspective and political perspective. It is unique because of the ‘Arab spring’. We need to revise very carefully to ensure their interests are protected but, nonetheless, there is no prohibition from that perspective,” he added.
Also represented was the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA), whose core goal is to attract inbound investments to Kuwait. They focus mainly on the IT sector, health care and education.
“We have worked with huge companies such as IBM and General Electric. Every year we come up with new sectors to work in. We do all our research around the world. We try to see it from every angle, so politically, geographically and economically and we see which sectors are booming,” said Farah AlAjeel, who works in the company’s promotional activities department.
“General Electric just opened its first branch outside the United States and it was in Kuwait. It is a training centre. The reason they chose Kuwait is because it is strategically located in the Middle East,” she said.
“If you choose to invest through KDIPA, you get incentives. Previously you couldn’t invest solely on your own, you needed a local partner, but through us you have 100% ownership of your company. You get exemptions from taxes, including custom duty taxes. Also, we transfer earnings free of charge. We will also treat your company as a Kuwaiti company so you can invest in other parts of the [Gulf Cooperation Council].”
Translation companies also attended the event. The company 101Translations has many clients who work with the Arab region.
“We work with a network of translators who have a lot of expertise. Many European companies need to communicate with the Arab region. We have done translations for business proposals, interactive systems, software and medical questionnaires. We also have a point and reward system,” 101Translations Managing Director Giovanni Giusti said.
“A lot of our customers for Arabic are design firms and marketing firms. Arabic is written from right to left so that affects the layout of books. We have professionals who work with Arabic layout because if we send Arabic text to our British customers, they will not be able to come up with a properly formatted text. Another popular service we offer is double-sided business cards where one side is in English and the other is in Arabic.”
A British barrister registered in Malta spoke about how the country helps Middle East companies trade in Europe.
“Malta is the most southern country in Europe. Its neighbouring countries are Sicily at one end and Libya at the other. It has strategic shipping routes into Europe and the Middle East. We set up Maltese companies because it is a tax-efficient jurisdiction. The effective corporate tax rate after tax refunds is 5%. As Malta is a European jurisdiction, it will be a European company with a VAT number so that allows Middle Eastern companies to trade in Europe so they can claim back VAT,” said Geraldine Noel, a partner of Acumum.
“Malta also offers a number of residency programmes. We have clients from the Middle East enjoying the benefits of that. Malta is a member of the Schengen visa-free travel zone so it provides for visa-free travel as well. The residency is a one-time payment of 30,000 euros ($33,642), which includes grandparents, yourself and your children,” she added.
The next Going Global Live event is scheduled for November 16-17 at Olympia in London. If interested in exhibiting, contact Simon Chicken at 0117 907 3520 or firstname.lastname@example.org.