Miroslav Vyboh, a Slovakian success story exemplifying the international business people drawn to Dubai
Originally from Slovakia, Dubai-based entrepreneur.
Miroslav Vyboh has built a successful business empire in a variety of sectors. He is perhaps most well-known for his ventures in prestige real estate, including his work at MiddleCap, an investment and financial advisory holding company with offices in Dubai as well as in Bratislava, Prague, Berlin, London and Monaco. Vyboh's choice to call Dubai home is a testament to the UAE's ability to attract leading international businessmen
Vyboh's atypical path to entrepreneurial success has taken him from the defence sector to luxury real estate. Originally from Zvolen, in central Slovakia, Vyboh graduated from the University of Bratislava in the late 1980s with a double degree in tourism and international trade. He started off his professional career as an export manager at equipment manufacturer ZTS Detva. A leader in the industrial machinery and military equipment market, the Slovakian company achieved worldwide success with its demining system, which was exported to the four corners of the globe.
After his successful stint as an export manager at ZTS, Vyboh was transferred to the company's international department, Martimex, where he took on the role of chief operating officer. For several years, he focused on diversifying the company and moving it away from the defence industry; Vyboh bounced between Hanover, Germany and Slovakia, working closely with a German bulldozer company and finding buyers all over the world for the equipment which ZTS produced in Slovakia. The Slovak businessman's first international experience couldn't have been better timed-by the end of the 1980s, the USSR was on the verge of collapse; Czechoslovakia was about to split into two nations; and the Soviet-era way of doing business was about to be shattered, opening up a wide range of possibilities for daring entrepreneurs.
An unexpected springboard to prestige real estate
After brief stints at two other Slovak companies, Vyboh returned to his favourite sector the heavy machinery and military equipment industry where he put his experience in international negotiations to good use. In his hometown of Zvolen, the entrepreneur founded Willing, a small company that managed to become one of the leading partners of the Slovak ministry of defence and the country’s armed forces within a few years.
Willing’s expansion came at a pivotal time for Slovakia, as the Eastern European country began the process of joining NATO. Willing picked up some key contracts, including, for example, the exclusive rights to provide services for the MiG fighter aircraft that the Slovakian army was acquiring as part of its entry into the Atlantic alliance. As majority shareholder of the company, Vyboh oversaw Willing's dramatic growth before deciding to pursue other opportunities, selling his shares to the company’s senior management in 2011.
In particular, Vyboh gradually shifted away from the defence sector, where he had built both his fortune and his reputation as an international entrepreneur. In 2007, the entrepreneur founded AMW, a real estate development firm specialising in restoring and renovating exemplary examples of Eastern European architecture-buildings such as a 1920s bank building in Bratislava's old town and the historic site of the Hungarian chamber of commerce. The chamber of commerce building, initially built in 1903 and designed by Jozef Hubert one of the leading architects of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at that point had been left to decay for years. Vyboh's company carried out a complete restoration of the property, including overhauling the original street and courtyard façades, and carefully preserved key pieces of architectural heritage such as the decorated stone staircase with its original blacksmith railing dating from the turn of the 20th century. The restoration, which took five years, won the prestigious CIJ Award for the best commercial reconstruction.
MiddleCap and Vyboh's other entrepreneurial adventures
Ambitious projects such as the award-winning renovation of the chamber of commerce building helped Vyboh build a reputation as one of the most successful real estate developers of his generation. In 2018, mobilising his deep business knowledge and a team of experienced professionals, the entrepreneur merged two separate companies to create MiddleCap, a firm combining investment advisory and real estate activities. MiddleCap's most emblematic project so far, is the construction of the Southworks building, a 6,000 square metre space in the heart of London, equipped with the latest technology: thermal cameras, QR code gates, air quality sensors, etc. Notably, the Southworks building was the first in the UK to receive a Platinum Smart Building certification.
In 2021, Vyboh moved to Dubai to lead MiddleCap's activities there. The international businessman's decision to base himself in Dubai is in line with the Emirate of Dubai's growing reputation as a global financial hub, and confirms how the UAE's economic diversification strategy and forward-thinking policies are attracting attention from leading business people from around the world.
In June 2021, the Emirates launched ambitious reforms to further improve the business climate in the country, ranked 16th in the World Bank's 'Ease of Doing Business' index. In addition, foreign business investors are now allowed to have 100 per cent ownership of Dubai-based firms, another development which will appeal to overseas entrepreneurs. Last October, new visa regulations further strengthened the advantages for expatriates, who will enjoy more stability and flexibility under the new system.
Unsurprisingly, these initiatives have paid off handsomely, attracting countless international businesses and entrepreneurs like Vyboh. One ranking last November listed Dubai as the second-best city in the world for expats to live and work in, and another classification in December 2022 found that the UAE is the most attractive country in the Arab region for talent. Investment is blossoming as well even despite the Covid-19 health crisis, inward FDI flows to the UAE have continued to swell, rising by 11 per cent between 2019 and 2021. According to recent projections, the UAE will attract a substantial share of the $66 billion in 2023 potential FDI inflows into the MENA region yet another confirmation of how the country has become one of the world's leading financial centres.