New year, new direction for the British Business Group in Dubai

New year, new direction for the British Business Group in Dubai

30.01.2007: New year, new direction for the British Business Group in Dubai

BBG revamps its strategy to boost its image as a modern, dynamic organisation as it prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary

British Business Group chairman Nick Dutt looks forward to an exciting new era in the history of the organisation

Dubai’s British Business Group, which is widely recognised as one of the largest and most active business groups in the Gulf, has made a dynamic start to the new year by putting into place a change of direction and strategy.

The group, due to celebrate its 20th anniversary this year, has introduced a raft of new activities and reforms aimed at presenting a more modern and business-like image and highlighting its qualities as a dynamic and forward-thinking organisation.

Central to its new direction is the BBG’s ambitious target of more than doubling the number of members by broadening its membership criteria. The group has also pledged to deliver a wider variety of top quality events and high-profile speakers and is improving the way it communicates with the public and its members.

BBG chairman Nick Dutt said: "While the BBG has come a long way in the last three or four years, there is a strong feeling that we can further enhance the group’s effectiveness and profile by becoming even more dynamic, business-like and forward-thinking. We will continue to build on our success and ensure that the group evolves and grows along with the marketplace in Dubai and the Northern Emirates."

"We want to be recognised as one of the premier and most dynamic business groups in the world and to achieve this we will focus on delivering quality speakers and events, broadening our membership and strengthening our back-office operations to better serve our members."

The BBG exists to encourage the development of British business in the UAE and promote trade links between the UK and the Emirates. Figures released by the UK government show that UK exports to the UAE totalled £5.57 billion (approx 39.7 billion DHS) in 2005, making the UAE the UK’s ninth largest export market worldwide and the largest in the region. Exports to Dubai alone accounted for 85 per cent of the overall figure.

The group’s activities range from communicating with decision makers and testing British goods to sharing best business practice and arranging networking events for its members.

The strategy change is the result of feedback from members after a random sample was asked what the BBG could do better. The results showed that members wanted the BBG to enhance its networking events, expand membership to represent the entire British community in Dubai and strengthen its internal and external communications.

The BBG has already begun to diversify the type of events it organises, with more breakfast meetings alongside its lunchtime and evening functions. The group will also be holding more joint meetings with other business groups and will be looking to raise the profile of its events and secure high-profile speakers.

For example the BBG recently allowed its members to rub shoulders with stars from the world of sport and entertainment by throwing an exclusive cocktail party at The Fairmont Dubai for the celebrities in town for the Middle East launch of the Manchester United Opus. Famous guests included Manchester United legends Sir Bobby Charlton and Peter Schmeichel, former England national football team manager Sven-Göran Eriksson and supermodel Caprice.

The BBG has also explored ways of increasing its membership. It currently has more than 850 members and has set itself the ambitious target of gaining 1,000 new members by the end of March.

Its research into the changing demographics of Dubai showed that the growth in membership over the past few years had not kept pace with the sharp rise in the number of new Britons registered, with the UAE now home to more than 120,000 British citizens. As a result the BBG has simplified and widened its membership categories to encompass the entire spectrum of the British business community in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, including not-for-profit organisations and individuals who, although they are working Brits, are not working for a British company.

The BBG has also examined the way it communicates with both its members and the wider community. It has employed public relations agency Total Communications to raise the profile of its activities, events and members and is looking to make better use of IT, including email, fax, text messages and the internet, to improve its communication with members. 


The British Business Group, Dubai & Northern Emirates, more usually known as the BBG, was set up in 1987 to encourage the development of British business in the UAE. It is led by an elected committee of members and operates under the auspices of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry. It is recognised by the UAE authorities as the representative body of British companies and individuals operating in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

Since its inception the BBG has undergone huge growth and now has more than 850 members and holds around 70 networking events, forums and seminars each year. Its activities include a cost-effective Product Testing Service that allows British companies to identify how their product or service would compete in the regional markets. The BBG is also the official body for provision of British Standards in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

The BBG’s events include regular monthly working luncheons, dinner and breakfast meetings and networking sessions, which provide a forum for members and guests to discuss their views and frequently feature guest speakers from the British and UAE business worlds. Its monthly Special Interest Groups provide a forum for members with a common interest and include Banking & Finance, Construction, Education and Real Estate.  


- Lucy Wray / Bridie Probert, Total Communications Dubai - also photo -


30.01.2007 / MaP

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