Indy's Blog

November 29, 2012   Posted by: Indy

UAE mulls 100% foreign ownership of companies

Officials in the UAE are reviewing a draft commercial law that will allow 100 percent foreign ownership of some companies.

Officials in the UAE are reviewing a draft commercial law that will allow 100 percent foreign ownership of some companies, Bloomberg reported, citing the undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

The Abu Dhabi government and others within the UAE are reviewing the draft legislation, which would allow some sectors to operate outside of free zones, said Mohamed Omar Abdulla.

“We recognise the importance of the foreign companies to have 100 percent ownership, but within specific rules and conditions,” he said.

Companies that are eligible would “have to be within the industries that have certain priorities within the economy, like petrochemicals, communications, logistics, aerospace, financial, and others,” he added.

Under UAE law, only nationals are allowed full ownership of companies operating outside of free zones. The law currently requires foreign citizens to have a UAE national as a partner or sponsor to conduct business.

The Gulf state has been trying to diversify and modernise its economy, developing areas including tourism and finance, in a bid to reduce its dependence on oil exports.

The UAE’s state news agency in December said the cabinet had approved a draft companies law that may allow foreign ownership above 49 percent.

The legislation lays down a framework for the governance of public companies, ensuring transparency and disclosure of financial data as well as the efficiency and integrity of the board of directors, WAM said

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November 29, 2012   Posted by: Indy

Dubai ruler announces new mega city project

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced on Saturday plans to build a new multi-billion dollar project called Mohammad Bin Rashid City.

The new city project will be built by Dubai Holding and Emaar Properties in what is being described as the biggest real estate joint venture in the region.

No value has been given for the project but plans include building the world’s biggest shopping mall, a Universal family theme park and a park that is a third bigger than Hyde Park in London.

The project will comprise four key components and will feature “world class leisure facilities and provide an integrated environment for the development of entrepreneurship and innovation”, a statement said. It is not clear how this project will impact the much-delayed Dubailand project.

Sheikh Mohammad said in the statement: “The current facilities available in Dubai need to be scaled up in line with the future ambitions for the city.

“Therefore we have to start work immediately on the third phase of development that is aligned to our Vision till 2030 and boost the UAE economy to enable it to enter a new era in which it will become the capital of entrepreneurship, arts, culture, and family tourism for over 2 billion people.”

He added: “Our development initiatives concerning infrastructure in all sectors should be aligned with this growth rate and we have the determination to reach our objectives and be the first in the region to achieve them.”

The new city will also include residential areas built on green building standards in terms of energy consumption, waste treatment and conservation of natural environment.

It will also feature a number of golf courses under well-known international names.

Courtesy of Arabian Business – full story here



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November 7, 2012   Posted by: Indy

MEDC announces second year of export assistance for small businesses

MEDC announces second year of export assistance for small businesses

LANSING – On the heels of Gov. Rick Snyder’s second trade mission to Asia in 12 months, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation today announced a second year of financial assistance to Michigan small and medium businesses for export-related activities through the Pure Michigan export incentive program.

“My recent trip to China reaffirmed that foreign countries offer new markets, distributorships and other business partnerships to Michigan companies. The Pure Michigan export incentive program helps Michigan companies tap into those markets and diversify their customer bases,” Governor Rick Snyder said. “In today’s globally interconnected world, export sales offer extraordinary opportunities for Michigan companies to grow and create new jobs.”

The $2.1 million in funding is from a second year of allocations to the State of Michigan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program. State project award amounts vary based on the proposed project plan and budget.

“Through the first year of the STEP program we were able to assist many Michigan businesses with increasing their sales in foreign markets – sales that help diversify companies’ customer bases, provide longer term stability and can support higher paying jobs,” said MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney. “This year’s STEP award, a $600,000 increase over last year, is the second largest award in the nation, reflecting the Small Business Administration’s strong confidence in Michigan’s successful execution of export promotion to increase international sales.”

The SBA STEP grant program provides direct reimbursements to qualified companies with 500 or fewer employees globally for export-related activities, ranging from foreign market research to international trade missions.

The program’s goal is to increase Michigan’s export sales, increase the number of new-to-export companies and introduce current exporters to new foreign markets and buyers.

MEDC launched the STEP pilot program in October 2011. More than 400 Michigan companies received assistance through the first year of the program, with 132 companies entering 62 new global markets. New export sales of more than $21.2 million were reported as a result of the program.

The MEDC’s export plan was developed through collaboration with strategic export service providers including U.S. Department of Commerce, Michigan Small Business Administration, Michigan Small Business Technology & Development Center, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Michigan State University’s Center for International Business Education and Research, along with Automation Alley, Van Andel Global Trade Center, Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, and Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The MEDC coordinates a statewide export assistance delivery system with public and private resources to ensure company access regardless of geographic location.

In September, leaders from 21 Michigan companies, many of them STEP program participants, traveled to China to meet with prospective partners, distributors and buyers to increase export opportunities from Michigan to China. The MEDC, which facilitated the mission, arranged more than 100 matchmaking meetings for the participating companies. Several of the companies also met with distributors who can sell their products throughout China, further increasing Michigan exports.

The trip occurred in tandem with Gov. Snyder’s 10-day China trade mission, where he focused on strengthening relationships and developing pathways for increasing Michigan exports to the country.

For complete details on how companies can apply for assistance, including eligibility requirements and the application process, please visit

The MEDC markets the state with a focus on business, talent, jobs and helping to grow the economy. For more on MEDC and its initiatives, visit:


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October 20, 2012   Posted by: Indy

Chairing the Debate – Updated !

Update : Note that the same furniture was used for the Presidential Debate on Monday 22nd October !

Story by Rob Kirkbride, Courtesy of the Monday Morning Quarterback,








As the dust settled on the second debate of this election season Thursday, when Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan faced off, there was one clear winner: furniture.

That’s according to a few solid sources who claim the furniture was the best part of the vice presidential debate. And as an industry, who are we to argue with that assessment? The first vote of confidence came from Erik Wemple, a Washington Post blogger and editor who said the furniture stole the show at the veep debate in a Friday post on the newspaper’s website entitled “VP debate winner: Furniture.”

“Opinions on who won Thursday night’s vice presidential debate may well line up — not the first time!!! — along ideological lines,” he wrote. “Right-wingers will dwell on Vice President Biden’s demonstrable and annoying personal tics — his laugh, the dismissive smiles that share a border with Al Gore’s smirks of 2000 — and Paul Ryan’s reasoned responses and respectable demeanor. Left-wingers will dwell on the sitting veep’s clear command of policy issues, from A to Z. Which means that the term “tie” will get tossed around quite a bit in the coming news cycles.

“So let’s tip our hats to the debate’s hard surfaces. The adjoining oval-circular table setup provided just the right level of intimacy — and, at the same time, distance — between moderator Martha Raddatz of ABC and the two opponents. When Raddatz needed to intervene, she was right there — her excellent questions couldn’t be ignored. And when she (wisely) on many occasions chose to stay out of the fray, the tables, again, facilitated things.”

Wemple wrote about the “chasm” between the presidential debaters and Jim Lehrer when they went at it last week. “We’re calling this one a blowout for the furniture,” he wrote. So who made the tables used for the vice presidential debate? It was hard to tell from the video and photos from the event held at Centre College in Danville, Ken. (If you know who made the tables, please let us know). But the chairs were easily recognizable.

Raddatz sat in a Steelcase Leap chair with mahogany leather, though chances are she didn’t know the name of her chair or the technology that kept her comfortable as she made the vice presidential candidates squirm in their chairs (we will get to those in a minute). Any Steelcase dealer or chair geek could tell her that four years of research work by 27 scientists and 732 test participants helped create the LiveBack technology that makes Leap adjust to the spine of the user. Though it is hard to tell if it is the real deal or a knockoff, it appears as if Jim Lehrer, who moderated the first presidential debate, was sitting in a Herman Miller Eames Aluminum Group Management Chair.

Sadly, the vice presidential candidates probably didn’t know who made the chairs they were sitting in while they grilled each other, rolled their eyes and smirked as the other attempted to answer questions about Social Security and Iran’s nuclear threat.

The vice presidential debate chairs are veterans in the political arena. The HBF Arlington Chairs have been used in the presidential and vice presidential debates since 2000. According to HBF Brand Manager Sarah Nielsen the chairs date back to the George W. Bush/Al Gore presidential debate in Winston-Salem, N.C. HBF was picked to supply the chairs because one of the facility managers for the debate commission was a fan of the company’s furniture. The commission contacted a salesperson and HBF and the company sold the group the chairs.

Seated debates are a somewhat new phenomenon in politics. The Bush/Gore debate at Wake Forest University was the first ever seated debate. Before such time, height was considered an important factor since it was believed that taller candidates fared better in debates. The debate coordinators were concerned about height while seated as well and asked HBF to produce the chairs without the height adjustability mechanism.

“Though the Arlington came with height adjustability, they didn’t want anyone to be able to move the chairs up or down to make their candidate look taller,” Nielsen said. “So we had to castrate the chairs to make it all be fair. The chairs have been used in the debates ever since.”

Arlington was designed by William Raftery for HBF. But you are out of luck if you’d like an Arlington chair to recreate a debate-like setting in your home or office. HBF stopped making the Arlington chair. “It is no longer being produced,” Nielsen said, “so these debate chairs are truly classics.”

Maybe the first question at the next debate should not be about foreign policy, the economy or healthcare. Let’s petition the moderator to ask the candidates a much simpler question: How does that chair feel?

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