Officials during the partnership signing ceremony in Dubai.
Dubai CommerCity the first and leading e-commerce free zone in the region and AstroLabs, a capability building company committed to strengthening the digital ecosystem of the MENA region, have partnered to launch a dedicated e-commerce academy.
The Dubai CommerCity academy will provide a range of key offerings, including training boot camps, webinars, coding hackathons, online courses and internship opportunities with e-commerce companies at Dubai CommerCity. The platform aims to enhance the techno-functional skills of individuals within the e-commerce space and improve the e-commerce talent pool of the UAE.
Commenting on the partnership, DeVere Forster, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Dubai CommerCity, said, “This partnership is an important development for Dubai CommerCity and aligns with our continued efforts to enhance the e-commerce talent pool in the UAE and improve the availability of skilled resources in the emirate’s job market. We are pleased to join hands with AstroLabs who will support us in our efforts to transform the UAE into a global hub for e-commerce and reduce the UAE’s dependency on global resources.”
Roland Daher, Chief Executive Officer of AstroLabs, said: “AstroLabs has been on a mission of developing the tech ecosystem in MENA for the last 9 years and we are excited to partner with Dubai CommerCity to boost the e-commerce industry in the region. Throughout the years, we have trained over 10,000 people and tens of companies in digital marketing, e-commerce, data, and coding. We are committed to creating a platform that will boost the skill development in the digital and e-commerce sector, attract and grow new talent, and contribute to Dubai’s vision of becoming the digital capital of the MENA region.”
To mark the partnership, Dubai CommerCity hosted a panel discussion featuring DeVere Forster, COO of Dubai CommerCity; Danielle Blizzard, Director of AstroLabs Talent; and Marius Clavola, CEO of Tradeling. Together the established panellists offered their expertise and insights on the current skills gap witnessed in the e-commerce sector and MENA region.
DeVere Forster stated that despite the advances witnessed in the sector over the last five years, the pool of talent in the e-commerce space remains very shallow. There is currently a huge demand for generalist e-commerce individuals, who hold the extensive experience required to accelerate the e-commerce sector. The implementation of platforms such as AstroLab’s represents a tremendous opportunity to bridge the current skills gap and deepen the talent pool.
While expressing her view, Danielle Blizzard commented that the skills gap in the current market has resulted in businesses struggling to diversify their teams. According to her, the sectors with the highest gap in talent currently are the technology, product, sales and marketing sectors.
Marius Clavola identified the rapid growth of the e-commerce space as is the main contributor to the gap in talent and skills. The demand facing the sector is far outweighing the supply available. To compete with this growth of e-commerce there must be greater benefits, packages and flexibility offered within that area to enhance the sector’s attractiveness.
The session also addressed the necessary factors for attracting top-rated talent, the need to strike the correct balance for building internal and external talent and advice for international businesses who wish to successfully enter the Dubai market.
Dubai CommerCity is part of the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority (DIEZ), which was established in 2021 to oversee and support the operations of several free zones, including Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZ), Dubai Silicon Oasis and Dubai CommerCity. Its primary aim is to achieve integration between all economic zones, enhance their role in supporting the economy, build an ecosystem that serves all strategic sectors, and enhance competitiveness in the emirate.
Dubai CommerCity is the first and leading free zone dedicated exclusively to e-commerce. With an area covering 2.1 million square feet and an investment of around $1 billion, it is uniquely designed to support new and existing e-commerce businesses across the MENA region. Dubai CommerCity includes state-of-the-art offices, as well as warehousing and last-mile delivery services. With its world-class infrastructure, the free zone provides flexible office sizes and scalable fulfillment centers, which offer various dedicated solutions for e-commerce businesses.
AstroLabs has been developing the digital ecosystem in the Middle East since 2013 through its capability-building academy, network of collaborative co-working communities, and company establishment services in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia, helping set up 400+ companies from around the world in these two key markets.