In recent years, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been at the forefront of fostering an inclusive society, recognising and championing the rights of all its citizens, including those with determination. The term "People of Determination" is used in the UAE to refer to individuals with disabilities, reflecting the nation's commitment to empowering and integrating this segment of the population.
For those not familiar with the term, 'people of determination' refers to those with disabilities or special needs.
The UAE government has launched several initiatives to help empower and integrate people of determination into society. For entrepreneurs and businesses, this presents an exciting chance to make a real social impact through their work.
This blog covers:
People of Determination, also known as Persons with Disabilities, refer to individuals with long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various attitudinal and environmental barriers, hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
In the UAE, there are many opportunities to provide services for People of Determination. For example, you could offer Counselling and Support Services to families of children with disabilities. This includes helping them handle their child's condition, find suitable schools and education, schedule medical assessments, set developmental goals, and cope with the psychological impacts of raising a child with special needs.
Another opportunity is Selling Assistive Equipment and Products for people with temporary or permanent disabilities and the elderly. This could include mobility aids, hearing aids, low-vision devices, wheelchair ramps, grab bars, and more. With the UAE's aging population and focus on inclusiveness, the demand for these types of products and services will only increase.
Assistive Technology Solutions:
Inclusive Education Services:
Accessible Transportation Services:
Adaptive Clothing and Fashion:
Accessible Culinary Experiences:
Providing counselling and support for families of children with disabilities can be an extremely rewarding business opportunity in the UAE. Many families struggle with navigating various challenges and would benefit greatly from professional guidance.
Services You Can Offer
As a consultant, you can offer services like:
There are several viable business opportunities in the UAE for providing specialised equipment and daily living aids for People of Determination. With over 500,000 residents with disabilities, the demand for these types of products is high.
You could consider starting a business that imports and sells mobility equipment like wheelchairs, crutches, walking frames, and stairlifts. Many families struggle to find high-quality, affordable options locally. Be sure to offer a range of products for different ages, body types, and disability levels. You’ll also want to provide fitting services to ensure maximum comfort and utility for each client.
Another option is supplying sensory tools and learning aids for children with autism or intellectual disabilities.Things like communication boards, behavioural tools, audiobooks, and educational toys are always in demand. Work with schools, therapists, and parents to determine the most useful and engaging products. Offer trials or rentals so families can test different options to find what works best for their child before purchasing.
For seniors or those with limited mobility, daily living aids can help maintain independence. Products like wheelchairs, walkers, special beds, pacemakers, grab bars, bath seats, dressing sticks, and jar openers are simple but make a big difference in quality of life. You might also supply incontinence products, pill organisers, or easy-to-use mobile phones. Focus on convenience, comfort, and dignity for your customers.
Partnering with special education schools is a great way to reach families of children with disabilities and offer your services. Many families struggle to find resources and support for their child’s specific needs. Working with schools allows you to connect directly with both students and parents.
Build relationships with administrators and teachers.
Meet with school leadership and special education teachers to discuss their challenges and needs. Explain how your business can provide extra support for students and relief for families. Offer to give free initial consultations or discounted services as a way to build goodwill.
Provide educational sessions for parents.
Offer to host informational meetings or workshops for parents on topics related to disabilities, education, or family life. This establishes you as a helpful resource and builds credibility. Answer questions and guide them on issues that concern them most. Collect contact information from interested parents for follow-up.
Ask for referrals.
Once you’ve established a relationship with the school and parents, don’t be afraid to ask administrators, teachers, and families to refer others to your business. Word-of-mouth and personal referrals are an effective way to find new clients. Offer an incentive like a discount or free initial consultation to show your appreciation for the referral.
Explore sponsorship opportunities.
Look for ways to support school events, fundraisers, or special education programmes. Sponsoring a school initiative is an opportunity to increase brand visibility while also giving back to the community. Work with administrators to determine appropriate levels of sponsorship and benefits for your business. Build sponsorship into your marketing budget and business plan.
Partnering with special education schools requires effort and commitment but can be very rewarding. Focus on building genuine relationships, understanding key issues, and providing valuable support. Your business will thrive by helping to empower people of determination and their families.
As a consultant or business owner in the UAE looking to serve People of Determination, there are a few commercial licences you’ll want to consider obtaining from the Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone (UAQ FTZ).
The application process to obtain one of these licences typically takes just one business day. The UAQ FTZ offers many benefits, like 100% ownership, 0% corporate and personal tax, and simplified administration.
A trade licence allows you to import, export, and distribute assistive devices, mobility equipment, and other supplies for people with disabilities. With a trade licence, you can operate a storefront, warehouse, or showroom to sell these types of goods.
A service licence enables you to provide various services for People of Determination like counselling, coaching, rehab, or training. For example, you might offer counselling and support for families of children with disabilities, guidance on education and diagnosis options, or goal setting and skill development for people with disabilities.
An e-commerce licence allows you to sell equipment, assistive devices, and other disability-related goods on your website or mobile app. This is ideal if you want to reach customers across the UAE and the GCC. You’ll still need a physical office registered in the UAQ FTZ, but you can operate and sell goods primarily online.
Are there specific industries or sectors that are more conducive to serving People of Determination in the UAE?
Industries such as accessible tourism, assistive technology, inclusive education, and adaptive fashion have shown promise. However, any business can incorporate inclusive practices with creativity and commitment. Consider the unique needs of the People of Determination community in the UAE and tailor your business accordingly. Getting a UAQ FTZ commercial or consultancy licence will help you start a business in these niche areas
What are the first steps to consider when starting a business in the UAE that serves People of Determination?
Begin by researching the specific needs of the People of Determination community in the UAE. Familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations related to accessibility and inclusivity. Create a comprehensive business plan that outlines your target market, offerings, and strategies for fostering inclusivity.
Are there financial incentives or support from the UAE government for businesses serving People of Determination?
Yes, the UAE government encourages businesses that promote inclusivity. Explore government initiatives, grants, and programs that support businesses catering to People of Determination. Engage with relevant authorities and agencies to understand the available financial incentives and support.
How can I engage with local communities and organisations that support People of Determination?
Attend events organised by disability advocacy groups, collaborate with local NGOs, and participate in forums focused on inclusivity. Establish partnerships with organisations that work towards the empowerment of People of Determination. Networking is key to understanding the local landscape and building meaningful connections.
So there you have it, a wealth of opportunities to empower people of determination right here in the UAE. Whether you want to start a consultancy providing critical support services, open a shop selling essential equipment, or launch an app facilitating daily life, the possibilities are endless. The UAE, in particular, aims to be a leader in inclusion and accessibility, so there's huge scope for innovation. The time is now to make a real difference in this community and build a sustainable business. Turn your passion for empowering others into a rewarding career path. The people of determination in this country deserve nothing less. What are you waiting for? Go get started!