With a contract in hand, entrepreneur and world renown DJ Charl Chaka, below, moved to Dubai in 2004. That didn’t stop him from looking for as many ways as possible to get involved in and establish himself in the local scene.
“You have to hustle in the industry,” Chaka told Wamda. “There were very few people with an entertainment and nightlife background. It was a challenge to find opportunities outside your company…there was no room for freelancers.”
Chaka eventually started contributing to Infusion Magazine, Dubai’s longest running music and nightlife guide. Now, he owns, and is a managing partner of, Infusion Group, home to the same magazine along with an events company, entertainment group and a record label.
On the other side of the Emirate, is Alserkal Avenue. Founded in 2007 and repurposed from an old industrial space, Alserkal pits itself as “the region’s foremost art and cultural neighborhood.” When it opened up the application process for its 50 units, more than 400 businesses responded.
Vilma Jurkute, director of Alserkal Avenue, believes Dubai already has the necessary creative talent with an organically growing creative ecosystem. The challenge remains in translating those talents into viable businesses.
“Dubai is the reason we are here,” Jurkute said. “There are different ways to pursue a city’s art scene - a government initiative, a private pursuit, etcetera. Dubai is already a sustainable commercial market with a friendly macro-economic system. The art scene here grew naturally.
“The status of creative entrepreneurship is growing in terms of infrastructure, but the opportunities Dubai offers transcend the existing infrastructure,” she added.