13 Un-Miss able Evenings for Networking in UAE

Networking oppotunities in UAE

Bhoomika Ghaghada Career

It can be difficult to carve out a social or professional network in the UAE, given long working hours, fast-paced lifestyles and other significant barriers to socializing, but only people who have been in the UAE for a while realize how important the right connections [or Wasta] can be.

Business here goes beyond documentation and short Skype calls, moving into an arena of hospitality, personal relationships and long conversations – no matter who’s on the other line.

In a quest to help you make meaningful connections in UAE, here are 13 laidback evenings for networking in UAE you won’t want to miss:

1. For Artists: ThriveIn Events now at Tribeca

For Fashion, Art, Entertainment, Media and Hospitality peeps, meaty discussions take place in a NY loft-style space with bean bags, organic wine, dim lighting and delicious food.

When: Every Sunday

Where: Currently at Tribeca, JA Ocean View, JBR

More information:

2. For Entrepreneurs: Networking Under the Stars

Phil Bedford, Director of the Business Network International Middle East chapter hosts these networking events frequently, complete with training sessions and interactive activities. He’s also known for putting you in touch with the right people for your business needs.

When: Find list of upcoming events on their Facebook page.

3. Media Mondays @ Zero Gravity

A quarterly event where professionals from “film, TV, PR, advertising, internet, mobile, radio, and other media-related industries” gather to swap ideas, have a few drinks and begin valuable business exchanges.

When: Join their mailing list to get a heads up about their next event at

Where: Zero Gravity, Dubai Marina

4. GCC Business Council Events

From the Original Speed Networking events to Business Afterhours, follow their official Facebook pages. Their entry fees are reasonable [AED 50-100] and you can encounter business success stories and pick up effective tips and tricks to survive in the UAE.

Typically help at restaurants and cafes.

When: Find list of upcoming events on their Facebook page or follow their events here.

Where: Varies.


5. ExpatConnect Events in Dubai

In addition to professinal networking, the monthly ExpatConnect events cross over into personal and social territory, sometimes held at clubs and bars for a party. Great place to meet likeminded people or even others from your neighbourhood.

When: Find list of upcoming events on Facebook page here.

Where: Varies

6. Her Hub UAE Events

Exclusively for women – entrepreneurs, professionals and socialites – to make new connections, helping each other climb ladders. They have speed networking events often with interactive activities and an easygoing atmosphere.

When: Find list of upcoming events on their Facebook page.

Where: Abu Dhabi

7. ExpatWoman Evenings

Their monthly evening gatherings include hot and cold beverages, wine, cocktails and canapés. Meet influential women, swap stories and know you’re not alone.

They also have newly launched movie mornings.

When: Find list of upcoming events on their Facebook page.

Where: Emirates Golf Club

8. Dubai StartUps and Entrepreneurs Business Networking MeetUp

Formed in 2015, their page exudes warmth towards aspiring entrepreneurs, so if you’re thinking of going into business, this weekly meetup will prove valuable. It’s an agenda-free space, where you can bring friends and family too.

An average evening has about 50 attendees, including those running their own businesses and those looking to.

When: Every Wednesday

Where: Varies. You can follow their events here.

9. Speed Business Networking Dubai

Short on time? Pitch to multiple people and see where you can help each other in 2-3 minutes each. Like speed dating, it’s all about chemistry [and a lot of business cards].

When: Every alternate Wednesday. See schedule here.

Where: DIFC & JLT

10. Afterwork Dubai

Great for when you want the weekend to arrive a day early after a tedious work-week, this group invites all professionals working in Dubai for a few drinks and dinner old-school style.

When: Typically 6pm, selected Wednesdays

Where: Varies. Follow their schedule here.


11. For Freelancers in Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Freelancers and Entrepreneurs Networking

This one’s different – it has the free-flowing set-up same as other groups, but every session includes a special educational session from experts at well-known firms [Google, LinkedIn, Entreprenuer magazine etc.] to guide you through best practices for legal, finance, marketing and more for your new business or brand.

When: Usually Wednesdays

Where: Varies. Follow their schedule here.

12. Business In Heels Dubai

They have a Facebook group that’s relatively inactive, but don’t let that fool you. With a revived spirit, these ladies are back with events in 2016 where you can meet fellow working women and swap stories in a 2 hour session.

When & Where: Both vary – Find their schedule here.

13. The StartUp Grind Dubai

With speakers from well-known local start-ups and schools like HULT, Insydo and more, you’ll get a look up close of what it’s like to be in nosiness in the UAE.

When & Where: Follow schedule here.

Do you know of more networking opportunities in UAE? Tell us in the comments below.

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