Expo 2020 Dubai spreads Christmas cheer to excite visitors


Visitors spend a busy day at the Expo 2020 Dubai. Kamal Kassim, Gulf Today

Staff Reporter, Gulf Today

From life-size ornaments to festive parades, Expo 2020 Dubai celebrated Christmas  with a day full of spectacular activities for everyone to enjoy.

Dressed up as Santa’s elves, reindeers, and wrapped gifts, Christmas performers paraded through the site spreading holiday cheer to excited visitors.

In a magical Christmas evening celebration, audience was also impressed by the mesmerising performance of Disney legend Lea Salonga.

Guests stopped and took pictures with the performers to commemorate the occasion.

The streets of Expo 2020 were also decorated with massive ornaments, providing the perfect photo opportunity for Christmas cards.

Hundreds of guests took advantage of Expo’s Festive Pass to visit the beautiful site which was turned into a winter wonderland for this holiday season.

Meanwhile, the Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC), a NAMA Women Advancement affiliate, is calling out to members to avail a golden opportunity to secure funding for their unique ideas by participating in SBWC Pearl Quest, one of the largest pitch funds that will be open to women founders and entrepreneurs in the UAE.

SBWC is collaborating with PwC Academy to organise a Women Entrepreneurship Training Programme for its members interested in winning a substantial pitch fund that will be up for grabs at the SBWC Pearl Quest stage at the Expo 2020 Dubai on February 8, 2022.

SBWC Pearl Quest is one of the most high-profile and intense pitching events for entrepreneurs and founders looking for funding in the UAE. It aligns with SBWC’s commitment to provide a broad range of services to its members, including the right training, mentoring and funding as well platform to showcase their ideas.

Applicants need to be SBWC members. Non-members must apply for membership. SBWC members who register for the Women Entrepreneurship Training Programme will get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to pitch their unique ideas to a distinguished panel of judges, who will be joined by a renowned venture capitalist. A fee is applicable on registration for the training programme.

Only UAE-based startups, founded or co-founded by a women entrepreneur, and not operating for less than one year, are eligible to participate in the competition.

Those who wish to participate in the competition can register to become a member by downloading the SBWC mobile app.

The winners of the Pearl Quest pitch will be decided upon the originality of the idea; its positive and sustainable social as well as environmental impact; and its functionality and ease of implementation.

The high point of the event will be instant funding for the top three winning ideas.

Mariam Bin Al Shaikh, Manager of SBWC, said: “SBWC has been playing a strong role in promoting female entrepreneurial talents in the UAE. We are now taking it to the next level by enabling them to pitch for substantial funding for their ideas through the Pearl Quest event we are organizing at Expo 2020 Dubai. It is in alignment with SBWC’s goal of empowering women business owners and entrepreneurs to realise their ambitions and objectives and advancing their entry into targeted sectors as well.”

She added: “We encourage women entrepreneurs to seize this opportunity by registering for SBWC membership and joining the Women Entrepreneurship Training Programme being organised in collaboration with PwC Academy. This is a golden opportunity that will throw up numerous chances for the selected entrepreneurs to engage with talented peers and showcase their ideas to an audience of potential investors. They will also be able to gain exposure by participating in this pitch competition.”

“Apart from Pearl Quest, SBWC will offer new members a variety of activities over the year that will be aligned with SBWC’s mission and vision. Our holistic approach to helping female-owned and led businesses and startups includes assisting them through the process of setting up their businesses, and forging partnerships with government as well as private entities in the UAE and abroad. We also offer them valuable business exposure at various local and international events,” she concluded.  

Meanwhile, Dubai Chamber recently organised its last quarterly meeting of 2021 with the Business Groups and Business Councils which operate under the Chamber’s auspices, as part of its mission to represent, support and protect the interests of the business community in Dubai.

During the meeting, the Chamber reviewed the emirate’s economic landscape, growth prospects and investment opportunities, and introduced the private sector to the most recent developments in the laws and regulations.

The meeting provided a platform to engage with the business community and exchange views on the latest economic developments, identify the challenges being faced by the private sector, make recommendations to the relevant government agencies, along with exploring future investment opportunities.

Hamad Buamim, President & CEO, Dubai Chamber elucidated on these issues during his speech and remarked on how the recent legislative developments will play a key role in enhancing UAE’s competitiveness, as they covered a broad spectrum of issues, most notably the Protection of Data Personal Law and the Law of Electronic Transactions and Trust Services amendment.

He further added 2021 has been a transformational year where not only did we get business back on track but also posted an impressive financial performance under the guidance of our wise and forward-looking leadership, which is  a part of Dubai’s broader strategy to double the financial market’s size to Dhs 3 trillion ( $816.7 billion).

He also referred to the outstanding performance of Dubai’s economic sectors such as trade, tourism and hospitality, which coupled with Expo 2020 have played a key role in establishing partnerships, and reaffirming Dubai’s position as a global trade and investment hub.

To this end, he stressed on the Chamber’s commitment to continue to work to strengthen public-private partnerships, and to identify opportunities for the private sector through its flagship initiatives such as the Global Business Forum. As the Official Business Partner for Expo 2020, the Chamber has been actively involved in bringing together global business communities and exploring opportunities.

On his part,  Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Assistant Undersecretary for Communication and International Relations at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) emphasized the Ministry’s keenness to empower entrepreneurship and support the private sector, to achieve inclusive and sustainable development.

During the meeting, Al Nuaimi reviewed the most prominent features of the Federal Decree-Law on Regulations of Labor Relations, which will come into force as of February 2, 2022.

The new law aims to ensure the efficiency of the labour market, enhancing its ability to attract and retain talents, and at the same time, providing a stimulating work environment, flexibility , sustainability, ease of doing business and productivity by leveraging local and global talents,, thus improving the competitiveness of the labour market. He stressed that the new law is balanced and provides equal protection and rights to both parties.

He pointed out that the new law allowed greater flexibility to the private sector in regard to the weekly rest, as workers are entitled to at least one weekly rest day, however, this can be increased at the discretion of the company.

Ahmed Mohammed Al Naqbi, CEO of the Emirates Development Bank, reviewed the bank’s strategy and efforts to support the business sector in the UAE, especially SMEs, and the financing solutions it provides to the business community.

While, Nadimeh Mehra, Vice President, District 2020, threw light on how 80% of the Expo site will be repurposed to form a mixed-use complex comprising of commercial, residential and cultural districts, which will be an ideal destination for housing, work and exploration, with a focus on sustainability, and a balanced and healthy living.


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