Melissa O'Neill is the general manager of myOffice business centre on Emaar Boulevard in Dubai. The year-old company has accelerated its expansion plans to meet demand. Here she talks about what makes the company different from other serviced office providers and what is driving business in Dubai.
Are you taking on Regis?
We are not direct competitors because we offer completely different things. The owners of myOffice [thought] especially in the Middle East there was a gap for something a little bit more tailored to client requirements and something a little more higher end.
In addition to office space and admin services, what else do you provide?
The majority of people who have taken office space here, we have helped them through the incorporation process as well. There is [also] an ad hoc concierge service offered to in-house clients.
Who are your tenants?
We have start-ups that are looking for a way round having to spend on corporate and commercial rates for their rent. We have a lot on the creative side at the moment - events companies, marketing companies, freelance consultants. Then we have a lot of international branch offices of bigger companies such as Aston Martin. We have around 300 other companies that are external clients. They use the meeting rooms and we handle their mail like a PO-box service.
You brought forward your expansion plans, right?
We started with half the floor - around 8,000 square feet. We now officially have the whole floor [with 25 offices on one side and 20 on the other]. Seventy per cent of the new offices are pre-booked. There are also communal areas - lounges and meeting rooms - so each individual client has a good space to work from. We started with two of us [but] which was a bit of a struggle. Now we have a team of eight and we are due to take on a couple more as well in coming months.
What does this demand for offices say about Dubai's recovery?
The confidence in the market out here now is really growing. People are more willing to not only relocate companies that are already existing into the area [but] the number of start-ups that are coming through - that's where you can see people are really willing to take a risk.
Do you have plans to expand beyond Dubai?
There is no reason why something that worked so well here we can't do again. That was always the plan. We are looking at other cities in the Gulf. Abu Dhabi is being looked at and a couple of other potential areas. We want to make sure we are doing everything perfectly here before we take on more. In Dubai, there has been a big push by the DED [Department of Economic Development] on free zone and mainland licensing issues. In the past month, what we're finding from enquirers and clients is that this is their main concern at the moment making sure they are all licensed.