(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Capital Club Dubai is striving towards a broad roster of companies including global, regional and local of both small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and established heavy weights, its senior official says.
The premier private business club, which was established in the heart of DIFC five years back, sees significant growth opportunities for its members in new year following a successful bid to host World Expo 2020 in Dubai. It is confident of growing business activities in the wake of positive economic indicators and teaming up with interesting partners in 2014 to further enhance the current membership offering.
"Naturally, given the successful Expo announcement, in 2014 we will be focusing on business and enabling opportunities for members to exchange ideas and engage with each other. We like to think that we are like a physical LinkedIn," Emma Cullen, general manager of Capital Club, told Khaleej Times in an interview.
The invitation only club, which is going to celebrate its sixth anniversary in April, is exclusively designed to meet the demands of those from the top echelons of business, finance and government. Currently, the club has over 1,500 members drawn from the leading businesses in the region and plans to make the business events more topical.
"The successful bid was an outstanding achievement for Dubai, but also for the region. With the workforce expected to grow in excess of 270,000, we, the club will be a space that helps facilitate relationships and business opportunities through a diverse calendar of events," she said.
In the Capital Club, memberships are offered in a number of categories including corporate membership, individual membership, non-resident corporate membership, non-resident individual membership and diplomatic membership. Some plans are on cards to enhance the current membership offering and focus will be on growing SME segment in the country.
"In 2013, we saw an additional 290 members join the club compared to 220 in last year. A good sign in addition to the growth is a reduction in resignations, an issue during the financial crisis. We hope to see a continuation of this upward swing in 2014," she said.
A business platform
Cullen said non-resident members represent about 15 per cent of total the members with a trend on the increase from 2012. "We have seen our resident members travel more for business as well and utilise the reciprocal club network to its full advantage. We find that the club lends itself to non-residents and visitors as it provides the right environment for business meetings."
"We want to provide a platform to our members to explore the business opportunities at the club's redesigned event calendar. The particular emphasis will be placed on fostering the SME segment through breakfast events," she said.
Elaborating, she said the club hosts many events that provide a unique platform for interaction between members.
"We work with a number of business groups and smaller business orientated bodies who support entrepreneurs and SME's locally, in the emirate and globally. This includes our Young Executive Committee, the Young Presidents Organistation (YPO), the Young Arab Leaders (YAL), Entrepreneurs Organisation, plus numerous Alumni's."
In January, the club is continuing it's effort to foster SME's with two events, the first is in conjunction with 'Fit For Business' and will be an ongoing breakfast series featuring speakers who give insight to start-ups on how to navigate different areas of developing their skills and business. The second event is in conjunction with Cass University and will be centred around a panel of regional business experts speaking about the 'importance of technology in SME financing'.
"2014 is all about bringing business opportunities to our members - whereas 2013 had a more social orientation. We believe the January line up of events set the tone for the balance of the year and our events committee help lead us on sourcing topical discussion points and industry experts that stimulate the membership and helps us in industries we wish to grow."
She said the club's primary goal is to connect members both in a social and business related context.
"We have a busy and diverse calendar to suit our member's needs, typically every week has something planned with some weeks a blend of both social and business events. We pride ourselves in striving towards a broad roster of companies - including global, regional and local of both SMEs and established heavy weights."
To a question about the club's role in promoting business in Dubai, she said Capital Club has been central to the greater Dubai business community since its opening in 2008. "As a fine business club, we cannot comment on the specifics of whom or what business is conducted, however a large percentage of our members form the driving force behind growth and key decision making in the region," she said.
"There is no doubt some significant business transactions have been forged in the history of the Club. The percentage of members in the financial industry is one of our highest sectors at 32 per cent so it's natural that a majority of our networking and events center on the finance industry," Cullen added.
About the available business related facilities to members, she said the club has 40,000 square feet of space, over four floors.
"We have four dining outlets, a boutique fitness centre, four well appointed bedrooms for members and guests and 13 meeting rooms," Cullen concluded.