Beginning today, going global will take on fresh meaning for US women and minority entrepreneurs interested in scaling their businesses overseas. Access Abu Dhabi, a new programme created by Maven Global Access and powered by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), will offer US companies a bridge to the fast-growing Middle East region by way of Abu Dhabi with a slate of tailored incentives and support.

In recent years, the Abu Dhabi government has doubled down on efforts to facilitate economic progress in Abu Dhabi by nurturing and attracting the best and brightest innovators, while creating a landscape that ensures businesses have access to the tools and resources needed to achieve success. US companies participating in Access Abu Dhabi will benefit from the emirate’s commitment to growth through a host of benefits including introductions to key stakeholders, one-on-one counsel and guidance from an advisory board led by programme ambassador Kevin O’Leary and UAE insiders, and setup support.

His Excellency Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), said: “The UAE and the US have enjoyed strong ties for decades, anchored by our strong trade and investment relationship and further enhanced by our alignment on advancing innovation to build a better future. As part of Abu Dhabi’s vision to support ambitious businesses cultivating innovative, globally exportable solutions, we’re excited to welcome U.S. businesses, particularly female and minority-led companies, to our enabling business environment. Access Abu Dhabi is an empowering initiative reflective of the emirate’s inclusive nature and desire to serve as a gateway for business expansion to the Middle East in our increasingly globalised world.”

The campaign strikes a personal chord for the Access Abu Dhabi ambassador, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and star of four-time Emmy award-winning television show Shark Tank, Kevin O’Leary. “My entrepreneurial Lebanese mother taught me how to balance business ambitions with empowering others,” he said. “This effort supporting women and minority businesses in their international expansion to one of the most innovative destinations in the world epitomises everything I’ve learnt from her. Having seen the abundant opportunities in Abu Dhabi, I want to work with companies and introduce them to everything the emirate has to offer. This endeavour will uplift entrepreneurs and enable them to scale new heights.”

As part of the programme, curated delegations of notable Americans will gain an insider experience of Abu Dhabi’s advanced infrastructure, hyper connectivity, competitive talent pool, world-class lifestyle and myriad of business opportunities. These key groups will help spread the word of the emirate’s advantages among their respective communities back home.

Access Abu Dhabi’s inaugural envoy will take place from 21-23 November, coinciding with FinTech Abu Dhabi organised by international financial centre and global tech ecosystem enabler Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). The diverse group, led by O’Leary, will explore various business opportunities and tech intersections between industries, including sports and finance. Manchester United soccer legend Patrice Evra, NBA champion Metta World Peace and mother of NBA superstar Kevin Durant, Wanda Durant will be in attendance. Female delegates moving the needle in the tech world include Halycon’s Kate Goodall, while actor and founder of The Black Wall Street App, Hill Harper, will explore further tech opportunities in Abu Dhabi.

Sarah Omolewu, Managing Partner of Maven Global Access and founder of Access Abu Dhabi, said: “As an African American hailing from Ohio, one of the questions I am asked most often back home is ‘what is like doing business not only as a woman, but a woman of color in the region?’ People are often surprised and inspired when I tell the story of how female-led businesses from all over the world are thriving in the UAE and Abu Dhabi,” she said.  “I founded Access Abu Dhabi to help lead the way for other women and minorities looking to turn their ambitions for international growth into reality.”

Access Abu Dhabi is one of ADIO’s initiatives to support global companies seeking expansion to the emirate. ADIO offers a range of programmes and incentives, including investor care services and the AED 2 billion Innovation Programme, to help businesses achieve long-term, sustainable success in the market and across the region.

Access Abu Dhabi is open to all US businesses. Interested companies can apply for the programme here: