How UAE teens are gaining vital job and money skills through part-time work via The National News

Posted by Aakifah Jacobs on

After an overhaul of visa regulations in September last year, teenagers in the Emirates can now apply for a part-time work permit while they continue their studies

Harry Tomkinson-Haw, 14, began an online retail trainer business called VIP Sneakers in December 2021 with hopes of gaining real-world experience as he prepares for his GCSEs in business and media studies next year.

“The UAE’s decision to allow full foreign ownership of companies was a catalyst for the business. I am also thrilled that my business can offer work opportunities for other teenagers. We will be launching this very soon as my siblings and friends are already interested,” Harry says.

“Dubai’s reforms have been a key enabler to the feasibility of the business.”

His mother will own VIP Sneakers until he turns 18, he says.

Harry began his entrepreneurial journey a few years ago with a sweet shop in an Abu Dhabi villa compound and earned Dh1,000 in profit in two weeks, which he donated to a UAE charity.

“My dad saw that I had something in me. I started selling these trainers easily, so my dad decided to invest in me and VIP Sneakers,” he says. “I also put all my savings into the business.”

The teenager and his two business partners, who are in their early 20s, buy trainers from retailers around the world, including in the US, UK and Asia.

“What started off with Dh4,000 invested into four sneakers has now gone up to stocks of 400-plus sneakers. Some of our sneakers can go up to Dh45,000, while normal ones sell for prices starting from Dh1,500,” he says.

Harry and his business partners do not spend any money earned from the business, but instead reinvest it to grow the brand and make it a trusted name. They plan to expand internationally over the next 12 to 18 months.

Harry is keen to gain experience from other high-end fashion outlets, so he plans to apply for the UAE teen part-time work permit when he turns 15.

Article by Deepthi Nair, The National

Jul 21, 2022

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