Appointment of first CEO for British Business Centres in the UAE

WAM ABU DHABI, 16th December, 2013 (WAM) — The Joint Chairmen of the British Business Groups in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have announced the appointment of Joe Hepworth as the first CEO of the British Business Centres in the UAE (BBCUAE). The BBCUAE is an initiative announced by the British government earlier this year for incubator centres for British small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to be created in the U.K.’s top 20 export markets. BBCUAE, the second centre to be confirmed after India, will be established in the U.A.E. next year, in conjunction with Abu Dhabi and Dubai’s Departments of Economic Development.

Joe Hepworth started his new role on 15th December and is responsible for delivering the initiative in the U.A.E., working in collaboration with U.K. Trade ‘&’ Investment (UKTI) and the British Business Groups (BBGs) in both cities The two centres are designed to help British SMEs establish in the U.A.E. by providing practical advice, affordable facilities and cost-effective and one-stop-shop licencing arrangements.

After a successful career in the global shipping industry with P’&’O Nedlloyd and Maersk Line, Hepworth moved to the U.A.E. in 2008 to run a burgeoning SME in Dubai’s retail sector. He then joined The Links Group of Companies where, as Commercial Manager, he oversaw more than 50 entries to market and company formations. Most recently, he has managed the set-up and subsequent growth of U.K. .SME Event Marketing Solutions (EMS) in the region.

Commenting on the appointment, Jonathon Davidson, Chairman of the British Business Group in Dubai, said, “Joe brings all the qualities we were looking for to drive the project forward and bring the British Business Centres to life. This is a crucial part of the U.K.’s trade development strategy and I am proud that the U.A.E. is one of the first markets anywhere in the world to be taking this step. I am also very grateful for the active support that we have received from the Department of Economic Development to help bring the initiative to fruition.” The British Consul-General in Dubai and Northern Emirates, Edward Hobart, added, “Joe’s appointment will be vital in encouraging British SMEs to bring their expertise and skills into this market. The U.A.E. is the U.K.’s largest civil export partner in the Middle East, and its 12th biggest globally. The fact that the U.A.E. was chosen to be one of the pilot markets to launch a British Business Centre underlines our commitment to deepen and broaden our already strong business ties with the U.A.E..” Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Hepworth said: “I am privileged to be playing a part in this important global project. With the economic climate in both the U.K. and U.A.E. continuing to improve, I believe this initiative is being launched at the right time to harness growing interest from U.K. companies in the many opportunities that exist in the market here. What we do here will be watched carefully and hopefully copied in other key markets, and that is very exciting.” WAM/MZ/CM

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