Neil Petch actively assists over 300 entrepreneurs and startups conceive, plan and build their businesses on a monthly basis. After launching Virtuzone as the first private company formation business in the region over ten years ago, it has set up more than 16,000 businesses, making it the largest, fastest-growing and best-known set up operator in the Middle East.
As the chairman of the holding company, Virtugroup, Neil also leads VirtuVest, an in-house angel investment vehicle; Virtuzone Mainland, a provider of directorship services, corporate sponsorship and facilitator of local Dubai and Abu Dhabi company setups; and Next Generation Equity, a citizenship-by-investment firm. Virtugroup has invested in and supported the growth of multiple companies and delivered passports in over ten different jurisdictions. Virtugroup also enjoys partnerships with Dubai FDI, the Chamber of Commerce, Dubai Holdings (ARN), VFS, Regus, Etisalat, KPMG, Aramex and Beehive, and has received awards from Arabian Business and Entrepreneur Magazine among others.
In addition to starting up businesses, Neil has held leadership roles in several companies. He helped establish ITP, the largest media publishing house in the Gulf, which he oversaw growing from 2 to 600 employees. At ITP, he spearheaded the launch of over 60 digital and print titles, including Time Out, Harper’s Bazaar, Arabian Business, Ahlan and Grazia. As Managing Director of ENG Media, Neil launched the Coast FM radio station and numerous magazines including MediaWeek. For the last seven years, Neil has also served as Chairman of GMG, the world’s first interbank financial brokerage based out of Dubai, with offices in DIFC and London. Due to his extensive knowledge and expertise, Neil has been appointed a member of the ‘Ease of Banking’ panel organised by the Chamber of Commerce.
Having lived in over a dozen countries and with a career spanning over 25 years in the UAE, Neil has the ability to merge astute cultural insight with fresh thinking, leveraging his seasoned business acumen, intuition and black book to repeatedly bring ideas to living, breathing success stories.
Neil has appeared in BBC (Dubai Dreams) and ITV (Piers Morgan) features on Dubai, as well as programmes on BBC World and Sky. He has participated as a judge on the radio programme Falcons’ Liar, an entrepreneurship reality show loosely based on the BBC production Dragons’ Den, as well as a similar TV competition hosted by MadTalks and now hosts Starting Up, the only national weekly show for the startup community (Dubai Eye 103.8FM) in the world’s start-up capital. He is also a regular speaker, panelist and economic commentator, specialising in the SME sector.
As part of Virtuzone’s COVID-19 support initiatives for SMEs, Neil spearheaded the launch of www.standtogether.ae, a free online marketplace designed for local businesses to promote exclusive offers, reach a larger audience and generate immediate revenue.