Join our event, ‘Made For Trade Live’ in Geneva in partnership with Swiss Business Council UAE, Swiss Group, Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services (CCIG) and CASCI to find out how to easily set up, run, and expand your business in Dubai with DMCC – the world’s #1 free zone.
A global hub for innovation, growth, and trade – Dubai’s attractive policies, proximity to surrounding markets, centralized time zone, lifestyle and business opportunities make it one of the world’s best destinations to do business. Ideally located in the heart of Dubai, DMCC’s award winning community offers businesses easy access to industry-specific ecosystems, world-class infrastructure, bespoke services and exclusive networking events to support your success.
Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,
Ahmed Bin Sulayem is the Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DMCC and has driven its growth from a start-up of 28 member companies in 2003 to the world’s leading free zone in 2022 with over 23,000 member companies from 180 countries, employing over 65,000 people.
Tasked with enhancing commodity trade flows through Dubai, DMCC has introduced to the market a number of value-added products and services under Mr Bin Sulayem’s leadership. In 2022, DMCC was named the ‘Global Free Zone of the Year’ by The Financial Times fDi Magazine, for a record eight consecutive years.
Mr Bin Sulayem oversaw the exponential growth of the DMCC Free Zone master development in Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), a 200-hectare business and residential community in Dubai of over 100,000 people living and working in 87 towers. Mr Bin Sulayem also oversees the development of DMCC’s latest real estate project; the much-anticipated Uptown Dubai district.
The Kimberley Process officially appointed the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the first and only Arab country to Chair the Kimberley Process in November 2015. Shortly after, the UAE Ministry of Economy officially appointed Mr Bin Sulayem as the UAE’s Chair of the Kimberley Process for 2016.
UAE Consul General of the United Arab Emirates in Geneva
Managing Partner, Swiss Group Advisory DMCC
Roberto is the Managing Partner of Swiss Group Advisory DMCC, part of Swiss Group, providing a wide range of comprehensive corporate and management consulting and accounting services for corporate and private clients.
He has extensive experience advising clients to set up a presence in the UAE, whether for a hub for their local, regional, and international business development or to maintain and optimise existing structures and entities.
The Swiss Group, which comprises of two entities, Swiss Group Advisory DMCC and Swiss Group Legal Ltd, specialises in corporate and management consultancy, legal consultancy and compliance consultancy.
Under Swiss management, the international team of qualified practitioners, lawyers, accountants, and business consultants offers an all-encompassing point for clients. It combines expertise and capability with an intimate and profound knowledge of the local requirements in the Middle East.
Roberto has held several executive positions in Consulting, Finance, and Accounting, Cost Controlling, in sectors including oil and gas, agricultural chemicals and fashion.
Born in Switzerland, where he studied Business Administration and Accounting, Roberto is now based in Dubai where he has lived and worked for 15 years. He speaks three languages, including English, French and Italian.
President, Swiss Business Council UAE
Mr. Michael Lane serves as the President of the Swiss Business Council UAE. Established in 1996, the Swiss Business Council UAE is a non-profit organisation, licensed by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the DMCC. Since its formation, the SBC has successfully promoted the interests of companies and individuals with connections between the UAE and Switzerland. The SBC works closely with the Swiss Embassy in Abu Dhabi, Swiss Consulate in Dubai, the Swiss Business Hub Middle East, Presence Switzerland and UAE Government departments to facilitate the interaction to promote Switzerland in the area.
Swiss lawyer Michael Lane is the Managing Partner of Swiss Group Legal Ltd, the legal advisory entity of Swiss Group in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), and the Director and Head of Legal at Swiss Group Advisory DMCC.
A DFSA and FSRA-approved Compliance Officer, Michael has extensive experience operating in the legal sectors of the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland, utilising a comprehensive understanding of the laws of both countries.
CEO, Areas SA
Areas SA, founded in 2005 by René Goetz, has been a trusted provider of tailor-made insurance brokerage services for clients. A former sportsman in tennis, René Goetz's passion for creativity and attention to detail led him to create Areas, offering clients clear and optimized insurance solutions. His commitment to sincerity and building strong bonds of trust with clients has been the driving force behind the company's success.
Areas operates through four dedicated departments, each catering to specific client needs serving more than 70% of institutional clients The "Corporate" department focuses on D&O, professional liability, and cybercrime in partnership with the Kudelski Group. the "Family Office" covers various assets like properties, fine art, collector's cars, yachts, and private jets. Additionally, the “Events" department caters to concerts, international conferences and tournaments, sailing and car races. The “Key person" department offers specific coverages for executives, sportsmen and artists, including Formula 1 drivers, models, musicians, and more. In 2022, Areas expanded its international services to Dubai, providing the same offerings to clients in the GCC region and also launching new products such as international Health insurance, Pension Fund and customised solutions for High Net Worth Individual clients.
Looking ahead to safeguard the future, René Goetz co-founded Herity SA in 2021, a company that extends the same level of service to employees as it does to managers. The team, who combines over 20 years of experience in this area, offers wealth planning, inheritance tax management, investment solutions, and occupational pensions for corporate and private clients. The focus on independence, highly personalized service, absolute confidentiality, and exclusive offerings have attracted clients who trust in the defense of their interests. The companies rely on word-of-mouth referrals as their best ambassadors.
In summary, Areas and Herity teams have been delivering top-notch insurance services since 2005, earning the trust of their clients through personalized solutions, creative strategies, and strong commitment to their interests.
Honorary President, Swiss Business Council UAE
Born in 1945 next to the old golf course in Gürten (Berne, Switzerland), Peter continues the family’s golfing tradition.
Playing golf was compulsory and he received his first set of clubs at the age of six. A little practice and many rounds could not improve a handicap of 5.
In 1965-1966 Peter went to the U.S.A to study the theoretical and practical aspects of landscaping, golf course design and construction. Upon returning to Europe, he built and designed many courses with his father and other prominent European Golf Course Architects of the time.
In 1977 Peter established Orient Irrigation Servies in Dubai which now employs 1,800 specialized Gardeners, Landscape Architects, Engineers and Technicians.
In 1996, Peter co-founded the Swiss Business Council in Dubai and was the president for the last 22 years. One of his achievements was the construction of “The Swiss Tower” in DMCC, Dubai which is the second tallest Swiss tower in the world.
Peter is the Senior Architect of “Harradine golf”, Managing Director of “Orient Irrigation Services” and a former President of the “European Institute of Golf Course Architects” and the “European Society of Golf Course Architects”.
Managing Director, GMG ME Services DMCC
Patrick grew up in Geneva before studying Business & Management at Oxford Brookes University that led him joining PricewaterhouseCoopers. He moved to Dubai in 2006 to work for the commercial arm of a Family of Office owned by a member of the local royal family.
In 2009, he joined as COO M/HQ that became one of the leading one-stop-shop multi-services platform in the Middle East. Since 2018, Patrick has been acting as Group Managing Director of GMG, a multi-family office that had up to 12 offices in 10 countries.
Patrick is also a director and a member of the team that co-founded Global Partners Ltd, an institutional fund manager focusing on alternative investments, which is re-shaping the real estate investment landscape in the UAE.
Patrick has a deep and comprehensive knowledge of the Middle East regulatory, non-financial and financial services sectors, including investment. Over his seventeen years in Dubai, he has acquired extensive practice in local strategic implementation and business development, from start-ups to multinationals.
Founder & CEO, Property Finder
Michael Lahyani is the Founder and CEO of Property Finder Group, the largest and most searched-for property portal in the MENA region and Turkey. A pioneer in innovation and technology, Michael was the first to introduce real estate classified in the Middle East, prior to launching Property Finder in 2007. The company has grown exponentially through the years into an impressive and culturally diverse team of 500 individuals and generates over 14 million monthly website hits across its six countries of operation.
Michael moved to Dubai from his hometown of Geneva in 2005, and quickly identified a gap in the market: real estate advertising. With internet penetration at 45 percent in the country back then, Lahyani knew he couldn’t start a tech-only company. His journey into the prop-tech industry took off with the launch of Al Bab World in 2005, the region’s first property print magazine that generated leads for agents that offered free online advertising as well. Always at the forefront of developing new practices and products to drive the regional property market to greater heights, Michael led the company to digital transformation within two years of its launch and rebranded to propertyfinder.ae, a platform that appealed to a more diverse audience.
Property Finder has now penetrated into six territories across the region with operations in the UAE, Qatar, Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Australia’s REA Group had acquired 51% of the company in 2007, which was bought back by Michael when the Global Financial Crisis reached the region in 2009. Michael has since led the company to become one of the Middle East’s largest tech portals but continues to firmly believe in the value of self-funding to allow complete authority in the company’s growth and direction. His advice to new business owners: “I always say to entrepreneurs when they mention that they are trying to raise VC funding, ‘do you think you can get through the next 18 months without raising?’ If the answer is yes, put your head down and keep pushing.” In 2018, Property Finder secured funding of $120 million by US private equity firm, General Atlantic.
Lahyani holds a Bachelors and MBA in Finance from HEC Lausanne and has been at the forefront of launching initiatives that benefit the wider property market by constantly developing innovative products to aid the real-estate market in the region. He was elected first Endeavor entrepreneur of the Middle East, leading him to mentor young entrepreneurs. Harvard Business School wrote a case study on Property Finder which is being taught in their MBA classes.
Finally, the UAE government honored Michael with a UAE passport in 2020, a very rare gesture.
Regional Representative – Asia and Eastern Europe, DMCC
Bassel Bitar is the Regional Representative – Asia and Eastern Europe at DMCC, the world’s leading Free Zone and Government of Dubai Authority on commodities trade and enterprise.
Joining DMCC as a Team Leader in 2015, Bassel is responsible for promoting the benefits of doing business in Dubai and setting up companies in DMCC.
Prior to joining DMCC, Bassel held senior sales positions at both Etisalat Telecom and Emirates NBD in Dubai.
Bassel earned a Bachelor of Business administration degree in Hotel Management and tourism from the National American University in 2002.