Get All Access for $5/mo

Make Your Mark: Cracking The Code Of The Creative Industry In Dubai "Never think a project is too big, as this city has seen some of the most incredible things take place in the last number of years, and somehow, Dubai always finds a way to make the impossible possible."

By Ryan Poerner

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


The creative industry is by no means an easy nut to crack. Becoming successful doesn't happen overnight, and the first obstacle along the way is establishing your own personal views of what success means to you, so that you can measure how far you have come. If you want to be able to make a full-time career in this industry, you need to understand all the effort that is required to be put in, and judge accordingly. Managing expectations is so important, especially given that it allows you to consistently recognize when you have hit your milestones along the way.

Reaching global success is a whole different story again, and quite often, it involves either acquiring the best connections, or a large element of luck- for example, hitting it big with a viral TikTok video. For any artist looking to gain recognition in this industry, they need to be able to put in the work, grind the gigs, network, upgrade set lists, have variations on shows, and increase their level of content. All of these are major factors in reaching a high level of success., Ollie Chapman, one of the biggest upcoming talents we have at Dan Bolton Creative Management Agency, recently said, "It's a challenging industry to be in, which is why I really have to love it, if I'm going to push myself."

Having the love and passion for the work you do will obviously make it feel easier, and in this industry, that matters even more. You can't be afraid of failure, but instead, you need to value the process you go through. You should always look at and enjoy the process, constantly learning along the journey. Without having that love, your motivation can drop so easily when things go wrong, but once you are prepared for the hard times, the good times will feel all the sweeter.

It is also very important to work in tandem with your artists to collaborate, and ensure that their vision aligns with that of the agency. Ideas often adapt and change, so sharing resources is needed to fully complete the product offering or service. A lot of the time ideas will stem from a single, very concentrated session of thinking around a particular product, whether it be a business, a musical act, an art instillation, or anything in between. When something just clicks, and it feels like it can't be recreated due to it being so unique, that's when you will see the web of ideas that spring out of the product.

With social media nowadays, it can be argued that opportunities are become vastly more achievable, however certain territories have a much more direct pathway to success. In Dubai in particular, there is a huge melting pot of cultures, styles, and genres, making it a lot more difficult to stand out from the crowd. Because the culture of this city gives ample opportunity to take risks with unique event ideas, the market is somewhat saturated in brilliant, unique events, and creativity. The key then is finding that niche that can help you stand out from the crowd.

Related: How Dubai's Events Sector Is Reimagining The Industry After Being Hit Hard By The COVID-19 Crisis

When it comes to performing, collaborations, or working in events, the UAE has you covered in all aspects. The opportunities for creatives here are immense. The UAE is a fertile ground to all those who want to innovate, create, and live in an open and tolerant society. Everyone should be making the most of this supportive, family-vibe community. The country is so supportive of different business ventures, and the creative industry is no exception. The array of superb events that happen right across the country is unrivalled anywhere in the world.

In the UAE, if you work hard and put in the time your reputation can develop quite rapidly over some years. However, there are always personal challenges to overcome including procrastination and creative slumps, along with learning new skills, which can be time-consuming. In this very fast paced environment, it can be tricky to find those moments to upskill.

In recent years, the UAE has been making a significant push to advance its creative and cultural industries, and efforts by the local government have garnered international support. The Dubai government has also recently launched the 10-year National Strategy for the Cultural and Creative Industries. It intends to expand the size and capabilities of the two sectors, and rank them among the top 10 most important economic industries in the Emirates. This is, of course, a huge boost for creative individuals in Dubai, as they can see that the country values their efforts.

The vision of the Dubai government is very clear. They are aiming for the cultural and creative sectors to increase the contribution to the country's gross domestic product to 5% over the next decade. The plan will also develop proactive legislation and policies to help entrepreneurs and freelancers, as well as improve returns on investments. Along with the introduction of the golden visa to attract and retain talent, these are all huge steps, and they are a great indication of the value Dubai puts in the creative industry.

The platform for success is there in this country, and particularly the city of Dubai, it is just about how you approach this opportunity. Sometimes, it might seem like it is hard to break into the already established cohorts of creative individuals throughout the country, but if you have the passion, then anything is possible. My final nuggets of knowledge are that the world really is your oyster. Never think a project is too big, as this city has seen some of the most incredible things take place in the last number of years, and somehow, Dubai always finds a way to make the impossible possible.

Related: 2020, The Year That Was: Dan Bolton, Owner And Director, Dan Bolton Creative Management Agency

Ryan Poerner

Head of Entertainment at Dan Bolton Creative Management Agency

Ryan Poerner is the Head of Entertainment at Dan Bolton Creative Management Agency. Ryan began his career as a band manager back in South Africa, where his passion for entertainment grew. He then made a move to the UAE and started working at Dan Bolton Creative Management Agency in 2018, delivering some of the region’s biggest shows from Expo 2020 events such as Expo 1 Year To Go, WHY? The Musical at Al Wasl Dome, Alicia Keys Infinite Nights Show, as well as many projects for big clients like Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, Jack Morton, Five Currents, and Done + Dusted. Over a relatively short period, Ryan has managed, produced, and supported some of the high-profile events in the region.

Business News

Wells Fargo Reportedly Fired More Than a Dozen Employees for Faking Keyboard Activity

The bank told Bloomberg that it "does not tolerate unethical behavior."


The Best Work-From-Home Jobs That Actually Pay Well in 2024

If you're tired of commuting to an office and want to work remotely, consider one of these high-quality, work-from-home jobs.

Growing a Business

6 Effective Strategies to Secure Funding

Use these six proven strategies to secure the funding you need.


7 Ways You Might Be Damaging Your Credibility as an Entrepreneur

Here are seven credibility killers entrepreneurs need to be aware of.

Money & Finance

9 Side Hustles to Make Money Fast

Want to make extra money ASAP? Check out this breakdown of nine quick side hustles to get inspired and start earning quickly.

Starting a Business

I Left the Corporate World to Start a Chicken Coop Business — Here Are 3 Valuable Lessons I Learned Along the Way

Board meetings were traded for barnyards as a thriving new venture hatched.