Transcript Expert tips for breaking into the UAE health sector

The United Arab Emirates has a goal; they want to be ten times more technologically advanced than any other country in the world in the next few years.

Medical tourism is a huge focus in Dubai. They want their Emiratis to stop going overseas and actually to look at this place as a place they can get the professional care that they’re getting overseas.

So, one of the things they realised was there are too many people going to hospitals that don’t need to be in hospitals, and they’ve got these portable - they’re called a ‘Consult Station;’ they look like a telephone box. And the software is actually being run by a New Zealand company. What that means is the person can go in, they can actually do their blood pressure, they can get their ear checked; they do it all themselves.

3D printing is quite amazing; it’s the latest thing in health technology but here they’ve taken it to extremes. They started off by just implanting, so implanting teeth, to a prosthetic leg, so somebody’s now walking on a 3D-printed prosthetic leg.

Last night the federal budget was approved. It approved that 7.5 per cent of that budget is going on healthcare; that actually equates to 4.5 billion dirhams in money amount. So, if we could just get a small, little 10 per cent - 50 per cent would be better - of that money for New Zealand companies that would be brilliant.

So, you can’t sell to the Health Authority without approval, without government approval. Now, there is a process to do that; it can be short and it can be very long. You actually need to do some homework; you need to come here, you need to look at the market, you need to be able to understand the market, and to do that you actually need to physically be present, and January is the best month to do that if you’re in the health sector.

It’s very useful if you have scientific data. Now, that scientific data will also be checked by the UAE authorities. But if you have already got something that is utilised overseas or internationally already that does make the process a lot quicker.

So, the whole idea of the innovation hubs is that you will come here for a certain amount of time and domicile yourself here, usually about two months. During that period you’ll meet all of the key contacts within whatever entity whether it’s health, whether it’s aviation, whether it’s education. You will utilise your product; you may tailor it, customise it. You will go out to - if it’s a product in health, for example - to hospitals, showcase it. It’s a good way to see the competitors. It’s a good way to meet with and meet key contacts and understand what sort of products are here, what sort of things do they need, and have I got something to fill that gap?

With all the exciting things that I’ve just told you about; innovation, huge budget, medical tourism, do you not think that perhaps you should come up here, scope the market, investigate and see if there’s actually an opportunity for you, your product, your service, to fit in this market?

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