If you have been following the BBG news you will no doubt know that I have been challenged for the position of Chairman and CEO of the British Business Group Dubai and the Northern Emirates by a fellow member. Voting begins online on the 2nd May 2017 www.bbgdxb.com and closes on the 15th May 2017. You will be asked as a voting member to vote not only for the Chairman's position but also for the audited accounts and auditors and a small constitutional change concerning the renewal of a membership category. I urge you all to vote online or by proxy or by ballot on the day. Whilst we are on the subject of voting I would remind all of you that many of our members have the right to vote in the General Election in the UK and details will be on the government's website.
Last year the BBG committee and some of the members got together to review the BBG's vision and mission going forward. Part of this vision was to expand our involvement in the UK by targeting various cities where there were active business groups or chambers that would be receptive to a collaborative approach to business opportunities. Our first target was Milton Keynes where the MK Business Leaders Partnership signed an MOU with the BBG last year and has since developed the relationship with the UAE Embassy in London, the UAE Ministry of Economy and the DIT through the MK North MP Mr. Ian Stewart who happens to be the PPS to Liam Fox the Minister. This collaboration took longer than we expected due to the vote on the 23rd June 2016 to leave the EU. We have now regained traction on this issue and recently the MKBLP was hosted by the UAE Embassy and the UAE Ministry of Economy at a lunch in London to discuss trade opportunities. In addition the UAE Ambassador to London paid tribute to the efforts of the BBG and wider British business community at a lunch held in his honour in Dubai recently before his return to the UK. This collaboration is an agenda item at the UK/UAE Business council meeting in London on the 16th May 2017 as part of the BBG's remit to co-chair the SME working group of the council. At the last meeting of the UUBC SME working group in the UAE it was agreed that the BBG in Abu Dhabi would also participate in this collaborative approach to business opportunities and they will be on board at the next council meeting in London. I have just been advised that the Cambridge Chamber are very interested in following MK in opening discussions with the BBG's in the UAE and a meeting is being arranged for early May in the UK to kick start this opportunity. Other targeted cities include Derby, Reading, Cardiff, Nottingham, with others in the pipeline for research. The benefits of these new relationships to our existing members will become clearer as time passes and the potential for new business streams will evolve once inbound and outbound trade visits are developed. Our MOU with the Dubai Economic Council is still in place even though they have now been absorbed and relocated to the DED. During my last conversation with them they have requested a little time to adjust and will be back in business in due course. We are also in the process of finalizing an association with the Emirates Wildlife Society-WWF to increase awareness relating to the pollution of the waters and costal seas around the Emirates. With tourism dependant on clean beaches any awareness campaign will benefit all of us.
The holy month of Ramadan will soon be upon us in May and I would urge all of you to take advantage of this time to consolidate your marketing and BD activities to begin the new season with fresh ideas and vigor.
David J Burns MBE
Chairman and CEO
British Business Group, Dubai & Northern Emirates