The UAE has always been a preferred destination for entrepreneurs and businesses in the Middle East. This is particularly true for sunrise sectors like e-commerce, IT, etc. The UAE is known to be investor-friendly and business-friendly for startups by providing a conciliatory environment with low taxes, favourable regulatory environment, and a stable political climate.
The UAE administration has started a slew of reforms and initiatives to strengthen the startup ecosystem in the region. The initiatives are expected to enable entrepreneurs and new talents to be a core component of the new economy that the country is envisioning for the future. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai, recently launched a new set of pivotal initiatives to attract startups and young talents to the country. These include the Skill-up Academy, a business leadership school, and the Scale-up Platform, a platform to facilitate the establishment and growth of startups.
A new smart initiative called Grow in UAE has also been launched to provide all relevant information like investment policies and business opportunities in an integrated manner. This is expected to be of great benefit for strategic investment planning purposes. Other initiatives in the UAE include accelerators for family businesses that are looking to enhance their market base and a new economic research institute in collaboration with prestigious international business universities. It has also been announced that a global investment conference focusing on the new economy in the UAE will be organized. Investment companies should keep a close watch on the conference, which is tentatively scheduled for March 2022. The government also plans to restructure and reform regulatory and legislative structures with an aim to attain higher rates of sustainable growth in the country for the next 50 years.
Over the last few years, the UAE administration has also been carrying out many historic reforms meant to signal to the business community that the country is ready to adapt and change into a technocratic, knowledge-led economy. The increased focus on knowledge and technology and a proactive engagement of the government to strengthen the startup ecosystem indicates the administration’s commitment in this regard. The reforms that included liberalized ownership norms for companies, enhanced visa and citizenship regimes that seek to attract more talents, a departure from many traditional laws in favour of secular, liberal legislations, etc., are evidence for the UAE’s transformative capability into a global hub for startups and businesses.
According to many international indices and experts, the UAE has the most active and robust startup ecosystem in the Middle East. The country’s continuous emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation has enhanced its credibility as a global startup hub. The appeal is not expected to decline in the coming years, with the UAE’s unique positioning as a testbed for new businesses and startups that work with cutting-edge technologies and innovative solutions. The evident policy shifts and legislative reforms towards a sustainable, diverse, and knowledge-led economy are expected to be welcomed positively by the startup communities and investment planners around the world and in the region. The mature economic, physical, and social infrastructure, pro-business reforms, and a sound regulatory regime have contributed to strengthening the UAE’s appeal as one of the most preferred business destinations in the world.