Recent years have seen Kuwait become an increasingly global destination – proud of its ambitions, but also even more proud of its Islamic heritage. Often however as a business or country opens up to the global c o m m u n i t y , there is a danger that some of its traditions and practices are diluted to make way for new audiences.
Kuwait’s economic growth in recent years, driven by the country’s leadership has meant that many more people are experiencing Kuwait and sharing in its growth and development. With that comes a demand for products, as expatriate workers seek to find those goods from their home countries in their new home. As a result of high demand for British products in Kuwait, we at LuLu set up a facility in the UK with the express purpose of not only ensuring quality control and traceability of product, but crucially the Halal process.
As I referenced, it is important not to lose sight of Kuwait’s heritage and that is why the Halal component of our UK operation is so important, and consumers here benefit from knowing that the products that they purchase are coded, labeled and certified to the specific demands of the country here. We chose the UK, and in particular Birmingham as it provides excellent connectivity from where we can consolidate, store and ship a wide variety of goods from nearby major international sea and airports. In the same way that here in the region we seek to identify opportunities for the local workforce, our 220,000 sq. ft. facility has provided significant employment opportunities, thereby supporting the local economy.
The UK, through its agencies such as UK Trade & Investment provides a supportive link to help Kuwaiti and regional companies invest into the country, guiding them through the various legal and regulatory requirements in addition to providing business support services. Working closely with local employment companies and colleges, means that companies investing in the UK can access high caliber staff as well as work with partners that can develop specialized training programmes to ensure that each new employee can make a genuine contribution to the business from the first day.
Our experience has shown us that colleges can develop pre-employment training programmes that focus on communications skills, behavior at work, team skills and health and safety, all of which can be tailored to your company’s mission, vision, policies and practices. Although we have primarily sought to employ people from the domestic workforce, such support for foreign investors into the UK suggests that there are opportunities to bring talent from the region to the UK, develop international experience before bringing those skills back to Kuwait to pass onto colleagues in the local market.
This form of boomerang investment can have a major impact on both economies. Prior to investing in new markets, there is often a period of time dedicated to exploration and fact finding. For those companies looking to the UK market I would suggest that the UK not only benefits from a good investment climate and high quality legal structure, but its long established legal system and other professional services and global connectivity makes it a prime location.
Further to this is the role of government agencies and a strong culture of Research & Development that support the enterprise process. The UK is increasingly being seen as a hub for Islamic commerce, whether it is in the financial or food industries. As such our two markets that have a long history of mutual trade, appear to be growing closer than ever from a cultural perspective too.
Originally published on www.zawya.com