The MENA region is trending on tech startups and its success, but more importantly, UAE is taking lead with its smooth business start-up systems and an enabling environment to support innovation. The Emirate has the highest number of venture capitals in the MENA region –currently possessing 19 venture capitals. According to founder and co-founders of tech start-ups, there is, even more, ease operating in a free zone as compared onshore, as free zones are indeed free from complex bureaucratic and regulatory procedures. The free zones help simplify things by aiding in areas such as visa acquisitions, residence permits, documentation and bank accounts. Series of success story testimonies within the tech start-up area makes it an attractive sector and a booming one for UAE.
What makes the UAE a better place for startups?
Two start-ups, Careem and Souq.com, are currently valued at about 1 billion USD, and according to The State of Digital Investment in Mena 2013-16 report, the nation leads the region as a tech start-up hub and is home to one-third of all Middle East and North Africa (Mena) investors. For a start-up to be successful, it should have a strategic plan, investors, a mentorship scheme – this is found in UAE.
The Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) holds a number of events every year to recognize and provide such opportunity for start-ups. Gitex Technology Week in Dubai offers hundreds of entrepreneurs an opportunity to meet potential investors from around the globe. The Gulf Information Security Conference (GISEC) and Internet of Things Expo (IoTx) 2017 is another event to provide entrepreneurs an exciting platform to pitch their ideas for support and investment from investors. The Senior Vice President at the Exhibitions & Events Management of DWTC, Trixie LohMirmand, said: “Technology is playing a greater role in our lives and the Middle East is home to some of the brightest minds in the sector — the opportunities for entrepreneurial innovators are endless.”