Skip to main content

Northern businesses look to the Gulf for new opportunities


Northern businesses look to the Gulf for new opportunities

Friday 26 June 2015

Northern businesses were given expert advice on how to create opportunities in the high growth markets of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait at an event held at the University of Salford on the 8th of June.

The Gulf Tour to the UK event at Salford was part of an UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) initiative, which, after Salford, travelled on to tour Nottingham, Cardiff, and London.

The event featured panels teaching British businesses the specifics of the overseas Gulf markets. The panel discussions were led by sponsors HSBC and Pinsent Masons and UKTI experts.

Speaking at the event, Prof Nigel Mellors, Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Salford, said: “As part of the event, the University team was able to share its experiences of establishing in the region, as we are the first UK University to establish a physical presence in Abu Dhabi in 2014.”

The Deputy Consul General based in the British Embassy in Dubai, Ian Gibbons MBE, is the mission leader for the Gulf Tour and moderated the panels at the event.  He said: “What we want to do over the course of the Tour is to identify individuals and other business support organisations, who will help us get our message across- to think about the Gulf when exporting -  to as many local companies as it is possible.

“We want to work with the University of Salford, because its reputation will add to our credibility when we are articulating opportunities, particularly in the education sector.”

The executive director of the Saudi Arabia British-Business Counsel, Chris Innes-Hopkins, also participated in the event panels.

Speaking on one of the main challenges, he believes, occurs when doing business with Gulf countries, he said: “Middle Eastern visitors know London very well- they know Knightsbridge, Hyde Park, and Mayfair. But getting them out of London is sometimes a challenge. But I think Manchester and Salford are increasingly on the map.”

Salford City Mayor, Ian Stewart, commented on the importance of the Gulf Tour: “Today’s event is significant because it has provided opportunities for local businesses and it is a step towards the growth of this country in a northward direction.”

At the end of the event, guests were provided with networking lunch and opportunities to have one to one meetings with Gulf experts.

Over the last 12 months, The University of Salford has expanded its presence internationally, opening its first international hub in Abu Dhabi to develop public and private sector skills and to meet the demands of the Abu Dhabi 2030 Economic Vision.

Under the stewardship of Ali Kadir, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical and Petroleum Engineering, the University has also made progress in securing students with internships in Gulf countries.

Kadir revealed: “Last week, I attended the Energy Industry Conference, where I managed to build links with top companies, such as bp, Shell, and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). “

The University is also working towards developing work placements and opportunities for split-side PhDs for staff at the above-listed companies.