Living and working in Dubai
Siegrid Althuizen is CEO of Skyne creative visionaries. The Dutch company is based in the prestigious design center of the Middle East, Dubai Design District (D3). She has extensive experience in the media and was responsible for growth and innovation within this sector in the Netherlands and other European countries. She is best known for her people management, commercial management and structuring of organizations.
With her creative vision, commitment and motivation she inspires people around her.
“I am convinced that the distinctive character of a brand lies in putting the focus first on the customer and I always strive for this. She combines her down-to-earth and result-oriented approach with humor and a touch of “Brabant” (province in the Netherlands) cosiness. A few years ago Siegrid met her husband Dennis de Rond who has been living in Dubai for more than 10 years: “During a trade mission to Istanbul, the first year we traveled back and forth, we married two years later and I moved to Dubai. “Together they make Skyne a success, with strategy and design as basis, for local, Dutch and international brands: as an entrepreneur you are looking for market share and profit in a constantly changing market.
The most challenging moments offer the greatest opportunities to grow. Competitive advantage and brand relevance have never been as urgent as today, due to economic reforms, the increased use of digital technologies and competition from emerging markets. We have a broad geographic presence. Althuizen: “Our global expansion enables us to be closer to our customers and to serve them even better”.
The Dutch business spirit and expansionism are as old as the Dutch themselves. Now that the growth and thus the stability in the Dutch market comes back we see that the Dutch entrepreneur is looking for outside opportunities again and is increasingly finding it outside the country’s borders. A step that is made less is that to the Middle East. ‘A missed opportunity,’ according to Siegrid Althuizen, “People sometimes have a wrong perception of the Middle East, but really; it is in several ways a good decision to imigrate here, both business and personal. Although I came here for love, I have also built up a certain love for the country. “
The image that exists in the Western world of the Middle East is not always positive. Before leaving Althuizen received a lot of reactions from fellow citizens. “It is often thought that women can not do anything, it is unsafe and everything is about oil. But the reality is much different. The area is currently in change. A positive change that ensures that entrepreneurs business climate is becoming increasingly attractive. And I can just here unknowled as a woman on the street hear, and drive, and work as much as I want. “
Benefits; why the Middle East
Entrepreneurship in the Middle East is more attractive than ever. New markets are opening, governments stimulate growth, innovation & diversification, the tax system is attractive and the population is young, curious and wealthy. The Middle East is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. There is a constant demand for expertise and foreign investments. Dutch companies have played an important role in the progress of this region and are seen here as innovative, thorough and knowledgeable. The market is flourishing and therefore offers many opportunities.
But what works in the Netherlands is not necessarily successful in the Middle East. You get to deal with a completely different market, new competitors and cultural differences. There may also be language barriers or lack of knowledge, local regulations make it difficult for you to work. There are many opportunities but the actual step towards success in the Middle East is not always easy. “We still see that things go wrong, that companies come up with enthusiastic plans but are disillusioned by a lack of insight and cultural adaptation, and finally return home. We ourselves have become wise through damage and shame, have a large network we have clients in the MENA region and together achieved successes and we would like to help Dutch companies be successful in the Middle East. “
For success in the Middle East, the smallest details make the biggest difference. It starts with knowledge of the local market. Even within one country there are already differences in social norms, traditions and values. How do you respond to the local culture? How do you ensure a distinctive position in the market? And how do you stay true to the values of your brand in the process? It starts with good insights of the market, the connection with the right people and institutions to ultimately become a valuable
brand. “There are, of course, cultural differences to take into account. Habits that are in
The Netherlands natural, need not be here. One of those little things that make a big difference could be a good Arabic logo, or maybe even the full re-branding of your brand because the name has a strange meaning in Arabic. In addition, entrepreneurship in the region starts with having a network. Skyne in this way supported Rituals, Henkes (Lucas Bols), Obesity Clinic and helped HEMA with their local strategy, branding and design.
“All companies with a specific challenge and different issues, but through the knowledge of the culture and a sober and energetic approach we always come to an appropriate, practical and fair solution.”
Dutch Design Center in Dubai
With Skyne, Althuizen also wants to strengthen the business ties between the Dutch and the Gulf regions. The Dutch Design Center (DDC), which opened in Dubai in 2017, DDC is the first platform outside the Netherlands dedicated to Dutch Design. The on- and
offline initiative stimulates international collaboration and focuses on the best and latest
the field of Dutch creativity. Skyne is the proud founder together with Royal Ahrend Group, Keller Kitchens and HunterDouglas; companies with a well-established reputation in this region.
Drop in for a coffee
Finally, Althuizen indicates that although she and her company have long been based in Dubai, the Dutch sobriety is still prevalent. “I may not live there anymore, but I will always be a “Brabander”. Both in Dubai and in the Netherlands coffee is always served for people who want to exchange their thoughts or want to know more about what Skyne can do for them. The only difference is perhaps the syrup waffle or date served next to the coffee 🙂 “