Advisory City: An ecosystem for consulting firms in Sharjah

30 July 2020 3 min. read

In order to help consulting firms to grow in the Middle East, Advisory City has launched in Sharjah. The ecosystem helps consultancies establish and operate in the region, and provides a platform for growth.

One of the key tests in the growth of a fledgling consultancy is the moment it begins to scale. While it may have been able to win contracts on a local basis, eventually a firm will need to expand its operations if it is to maintain its early momentum – and in this case launching in new geographies becomes essential. Market entry is easier said than done, however.

Common barriers to entry include special tax benefits to existing firms, strong brand identity or customer loyalty, and high customer switching costs. Specifically, in the United Arab Emirates, there are other barriers including the need to grow personal network, or in some cases to obtain proper licenses. In order to help consultancies looking to navigate such challenges and grow their practices in the region, Konsälidön has launched Advisory City.

Konsälidön is a modern consulting platform, which works to build consulting teams from a wide-reaching network of independents. This platform enables Konsälidön to operate as an agile and decentralised regional consulting firm with low overheads – meaning its clients see only senior experts, while being charged a lower rate for that than they would be by a traditional firm.

Advisory City: An ecosystem for consulting firms in Dubai

Since launching, Konsälidön has delivered some consulting teams to its clients, and extending its portfolio, the company has now also ventured into the provision of services to start-up consultancies. The Advisory City initiative – hosted in Al Zahia, Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates – provides a number of services to members, from registering as a Middle East business to helping build a customer base.

As a Free Zone Authority, Advisory City can incorporate newcomers as a Middle East entity, issuing a business license in less than a day at a low initial investment. At the same time, it can help save 30-50% on a business’ setup, infrastructure and operational costs in comparison to other cities and Free Zones in the Middle East, via its shared services centre.

In terms of helping build a business ecosystem and client base, Advisory City can provide access to several opportunities and projects, knowledge content and a diverse talent pool, to enable entrants to compete with larger firms on a level-playing field. Meanwhile the organisation’s lead generation centre will help by setting up between 25-40 conversations with new potential customers, investors and partners every quarter.

To date, Konsälidön has already supported over 60 consulting firms grow their Middle East consulting practice. These include OSquare, a UAE-based boutique consulting firm, which it helped win a $250,000 business process reengineering project with an Ajman state-owned enterprise; Talent Capital, a consulting firm based in Lebanon which won a project with a Saudi Investment fund; and BlueBox, a UK-based consultancy which won a $200,000 project with an Abu Dhabi government entity after Konsälidön helped generate the lead, helped with the pitch, contracting and negotiations.

Registration in 2020 will be limited to 500 consulting firms, on invitation and successful application only. A maximum of 10 consulting firms will be entered into the ecosystem per solution vertical and industry vertical.