• October 26, 2016
    Last updated 5 minutes ago


Making UAE a perfect springboard for tech start-ups

Entrepreneurs to add $14b to the UAE’s GDP and $1.5tr to global GDP by 2020

By Naushad K Cherrayil, Staff Reporter
19:40 October 16, 2016

Dubai: The five-day Gitex Technology Week is showcasing live demonstrations of next-generation technology solutions from governments and international companies that will transform Middle East businesses.

“Dubai and the UAE are world-renowned hubs for digital economy innovation as well as the home of a youthful population that is steadfast in its drive to innovate. The ‘Startup Movement’ will give more than one thousand of the brightest millennial entrepreneurs from the Middle East and around the world a chance to network with peers and gain insight from global technology companies,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice-President at Dubai World Trade Centre, organisers of the event.

She said that young innovators will hear success stories that will inspire their creativity and in turn positively impact the global community.

According to recent reports from consultancy Accenture, young entrepreneurs and start-ups have the potential to contribute significantly to employment opportunities for this class of fresh graduates. Digital entrepreneurs are expected to add $14 billion (Dh51.4 billion) to the UAE’s GDP and $1.5 trillion to global GDP by 2020.

Emerging market investors

Many innovative start-ups have already experienced success in the UAE, including UAE-born car booking service Careem, package delivery app Fetchr and online shopping platform Souq.com.

“The UAE is the perfect place for technology-based start-ups to grow. At the Startup Movement, start-ups can benefit from fund-raising from across emerging market investors who are eager for new innovations,” said Mudasir Sheikha, Co-Founder of Careem.

Jeffrey Paine, Managing Partner of the Singapore-based early stage investment fund Golden Gate Ventures in Singapore, who is a featured speaker at the event, said that the UAE is one of the world’s most attractive start-up destinations, thanks to strong government support, a culture of innovation, and a highly-educated population.

Dany Farha, CEO of BECO Capital, an investment house from the UAE, said that the time to invest in start-ups is now. “Those of us who have witnessed this region’s entrepreneurs grow and succeed know that Dubai is the crossroads where raw talent and essential support meet to mould innovation.”

Attractive hub

With a growing population of digital natives and access to the world’s emerging technology markets, the UAE is an attractive start-up hub.

“Digital marketing innovations that work in Singapore hold high potential in Dubai and the Arabian Gulf, with similar fast-growth markets, digitally-savvy English-speaking affluent customers, and a supportive start-up ecosystem,” said Aseem Puri, the Singapore-based Marketing Head at Unilever International.

He said that Singapore’s digital-first companies and start-ups need to expand quickly, and emerging markets such as the Middle East, Africa, and Asia present the biggest growth opportunities.

The new participating countries this year are Japan, Russia, Poland, Belize, Brazil, British Indian Ocean Territory, Estonia, Greece, Iraq and Slovenia.