11/29/2013 02:33 EST | Updated 01/29/2014 05:59 EST

Is the UAE a growth opportunity for Canadian Business?

Many Oil executives will tell you that business is flat in Canada these days. As the Government of Alberta navigates the political landmine known as "pipelines" and explores new markets abroad, the business world is cautious. To grow business, companies are looking to other areas of the world like South America and the Middle East. The United Arab Emirates is an area that could be the next great growth opportunity for Canadian business for oil and beyond.

Right now there is lots of investment from the Royal family in Ajman and The "Green Sheikh", Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi says his Canadian representative Marco Abdi. Marco's company Abdi International has been connecting Canadian companies to the UAE for many years. His connection to the Sheikh goes back to high school and that alludes to the key factor in doing business in the Emirates. Abdi says "It's not about where you come from or who you know, but who you are." and this comes from a Somalian born Canadian. Clearly Marco made an impression on the young Sheikh and it continues many years later.

Investment and opportunity are there in the Emirates for those who have technology and are willing to work to make a project successful. Whether in the Oil business or the service industry, opportunity abounds. Marco stresses to get there, you need commitment.

"Three trips to the Emirates and your business should be ready to do business" he states. "Success is not free, you have to work for it," Abdi exclaims.

In this ever-changing world economically, politically and socially, Marco contends, "the biggest killer is not cancer, it's greed".

They (Abdi and the Sheikh) have had the opportunity to bring many wealthy and influential people into a partnership in the UAE, but the fit was not right.

"At the end of the day, we could have taken on all comers and made a quick buck, but we have families, we have relationships and we want to maintain it long term" he adds.

The key to any success is being "all in" and passionate about what you do. Learning from your failures will bring you success. Knowing who you are dealing with, even when the streets are seemingly paved in gold, seems of the utmost importance to doing business in the Emirates and, really, what all successful relationships, business or otherwise, are all about.