• | 1:00 pm

Family comes first for UAE entrepreneurs, finds HSBC survey

42% of UAE respondents seek to keep their businesses within the immediate family, committed to passing on entrepreneurial values and expertise.

Family comes first for UAE entrepreneurs, finds HSBC survey
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

The UAE has a rapidly expanding business sector. Entrepreneurs in the country are distinguished by their ambition, global connectivity, and strong emphasis on family values.

HSBC’s new Global Entrepreneurial Wealth Report 2023 has insights into the priorities and aspirations of UAE entrepreneurs, painting a picture of individuals deeply connected to their families, driven by international expansion, and focused on passing down their businesses. 

The UAE ranks high in family-oriented entrepreneurship, with 66% of respondents from business families. This focus extends to personal aspirations, with education for children ranking as a top driver for international interest among UAE entrepreneurs (55%). 

The report highlights UAE entrepreneurs’ strong international connections, with 51% operating in at least two markets, second only to Hong Kong. This reflects a desire to expand beyond borders, with 86% actively operating or planning international expansion, surpassed only by Hong Kong (96%). 

While financial goals like international investments and real estate are priorities, family remains a key driver. Over half of UAE entrepreneurs (55%) prioritize their children’s education, showcasing a long-term vision for wealth creation and family well-being. 

Unlike their global counterparts (34% considering exit within 5 years), UAE entrepreneurs demonstrate the slightest interest in selling or handing down their businesses, with 79% opting to retain control. This suggests a strong commitment to building generational wealth and preserving family legacies. 

The desire to involve family is evident. 42% of UAE respondents seek to keep their businesses within the immediate family, highlighting a commitment to developing entrepreneurial values and expertise. 

The report reveals that 26% of UAE entrepreneurs have already begun transferring wealth, while 20% informally support their children and grandchildren. This proactive approach indicates a desire to secure the future of family members. 

Despite their family-oriented approach, some concerns linger. Lack of trust in the next generation’s work ethic or interest in the business is a concern for some, mirroring trends in other markets. Notably, wealthy entrepreneurs (over $10 million) express concerns about their ability to cede control, highlighting the delicate balance between legacy and letting go.

The Innovation By Design Summit is in Doha on April 24. Attendance at the summit is by invitation only. Delegates can register here to receive their exclusive invite.

More Top Stories: