DS: Tell us about the reasons for the new Gofreelance program. How can Dubai benefit from fostering a gig economy?
In the media industry, we have several professionals such as writers, designers and actors who have been working for many years without any sort of license. By having the privilege of a freelance license, we hope to empower freelancers within the media industry to legally take ownership of their careers, and make most of their skills and talents. At Dubai Media City, we are always working towards providing the right business platform for entrepreneurs and start-ups to launch and scale-up their business and projects.
Today we believe that with the increased population and the direction set by the government we will definitely require to relook at our products and services. In the spirit of making business easier, we came up with a modified product that would help the gig economy.
It’s come at the right time. This gig economy has huge potential. Even companies are benefiting out of this economy. They want to use what they require and utilize talent for a specific job in a service per usage model. The economy has changed – a lot of new things happening on the ground. The mindset has changed. Earlier companies looked to grow by adding more people whereas now they are focused on being more efficient. The gig economy is a starting point for many professionals for transitioning into your business. We have services for people throughout the journey.
We have a huge population within the media clusters. Today we are focused on media and education but as we go forward there will be services that will open up.
DS: What about the competition from other freezones around the UAE?
This is not about competition from other freezones. In the UAE economy they all complement each other.
We are trying our best and they are trying their best – this is a sign of a healthy economy – the more the better. The population is enough for everyone and there are better options for the customers – that is always available. We believe today our offering is one the best offerings on the market. It’s benefiting everyone.
This is what we do – if you remove that part of the equation it’s just buildings. We are bringing communities together and these platforms will also be upgraded and added and made better as we move forward. This is a moving process – 10 years ago it was something and today it is something else. We adapt our activities very quickly and we upgrade quickly and we are able to accommodate new ideas and new companies. We are very agile.
In the future, we also plan to conduct several sessions with new and existing freelancers in our community to better understand any challenges or concerns – just recently, we also held a Suhoor in Ramadan, where we had an open discussion with our existing freelancers. One of our key goals is to create a vibrant community where people can work, live and play.
DS: Could the 70% reduction in the license price result in flooding the market with lower skilled talent?
We are committed to contribute and transform the economy by infusing diverse skills into the community through freelance talent. At Dubai Media City, we are always working towards providing the right business platform for entrepreneurs and start-ups to launch and scale-up their businesses and projects. The GoFreelance project is a great example of our leadership’s far-sighted vision for nurturing the best global talent in Dubai.
You always want talent. Talent will never be of one category – nowhere in the world will you find just one category. There are certain checkpoints in between so that we minimize the exposure for companies. With meet people – it’s not just that people can go online and get the license. We meet freelancers and get to know what they do – we make our best effort to make sure the people are vetted.
DS: What are the targets to attract freelancers and how has the response been so far?
We didn’t set any targets but we set the idea that we want this program to grow. We would like to have good quality. It’s got a good uptake and people are very happy with it. They see an opportunity for them to benefit, and the response has been very positive.
DS: How can freelancers ensure they are paid on time?
There are two clear differentiators here – freelancers need to know their rights clearly. If you don’t have this part of the equation then it’s better to join a company. We will support by giving you a heads up – so we show you need to have this legal framework and have these contracts in place.
You need to approach it in a professional manner. Freelancers have to understand how to shield yourself from such situations. This we can help with because we do a lot of educational work. If you understand correctly then you will not put yourself in such a situation.