Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly
When starting a business in the Middle East region, it’s difficult to know what country will be the most suitable. Entrepreneurs worry about access to good employees, capital through local banks, and other considerations that can cause many sleepless nights.
Here are four of the main benefits of starting a business in Kuwait.
The first thing that is noticed and often surprises people who have little experience in the Middle East region is how the culture is so welcoming. People are friendly and open to new people visiting or moving there. While Islam is the religion in Kuwait, it is studied and practiced through a modern lens and is far more progressive than often seen or experienced elsewhere.
Image Ref: Magellan Geographics
A large part of the population is young, full of energy and very consumer-centric. Western brands hold pride of place in the stores and even Western styled restaurants – including big restaurant chains from the UK, the US and elsewhere – are extremely popular with Kuwaiti families out for the evening.
Heavy Subsidisation Keeps Costs Down
The cost of water, power, land for lease or purchase and the labour pool are surprisingly low. In the case of the utilities charges for power usage, both industrial and residential users enjoy government subsidies up to 86% of the cost. The subsidies make it far more affordable to cool the premises using AC units and provide for the other energy requirements of a business without causing headaches.
Strong Banking System
In part due to the sheer amount of business being conducted in Kuwait – from oil to the growing retail industry – banking and finance continues to play a key role in the development of the country. The banking sector is stable and dependable, being one of the more respected sectors in the Middle East and North Africa regions.
A key figure in the banking sector is the Al Ahli United Bank which has offices in Kuwait, Bahrain (its base), the UK, Oman, Iraq, Qatar, and Egypt. The bank is responsible for commercial lending and also investment banking with services like wealth management, treasury, retail and offshore.
Wide Variety of Businesses & Business Mindset
The wide variety of business types in Kuwait is often surprising, but this is a testament to the commercially minded approach that many Kuwait business people adopt with their companies. The range of companies includes aviation designers for corporate and private jets, art consulting, financial services of all kinds, telecom services, retailing, and delivery logistics. This is hardly an exhaustive list though.
A key figure in the business market in Kuwait is Fahad Al Rajaan. He has been named as one of the most powerful Arabs in the world today. Mr Al Rajaan is involved with the Public Institution for Social Security in Kuwait as their Director General.
Living in Kuwait and starting a business is not as difficult as it may first appear. You would be surprised how helpful the local people are and how open the business community tends to be with new entrants. There is plenty of space for innovation and growth too.