Silicon valley of the Middle East

By Sandhya D'mello / Khaleej Times 


SOURCE: Khaleej Times - Silicon valley of the Middle East

The UAE has been a testament to how innovation and disruption are giving the younger generation a platform to explore their entrepreneurial abilities and scale new heights, while at the same time helping conventional businesses maintain their growth and development.

The nation is witnessing a blend of both radical and conventional entrepreneurs with family businesses dominating a substantial share in the UAE economy and where being an entrepreneur is a just a regular norm.
On World Entrepreneurs' Day, leading startups came forward to share their views on how the nation shapes, incubates and allows the businesses to grow. The UAE is known to recognise talent and radical thinking and that is evident in the string of startups that have mushroomed over a period of time.
Magnitt, a UAE-based startup data platform, indicates that there are 6,000 startups in the region.
"Dubai has started the journey to establish itself as a startup hub. It is focusing on the core pillars of operational support, ecosystem support and financial support. It will need to continue to address all three of these to be the leader it has set out to be," said Arushi Sood, founder and chief executive officer of AtCash Tech.

"Dubai is already establishing frameworks for these pillars. As startups are given the right environment, incentives and access you will see a handful really take off. These 'shooting stars' will catapult Dubai to being viewed as a leading startup hub and environment. The Dubai government is already seen as a leader in the technology innovation and adoption. Its continued support of startups is sure to attract global talent and the 'shooting stars' will be a self-fulfilling prophesy.

"The entrepreneurship environment in the UAE is blossoming quite like the entrepreneurs they are supporting. While nascent the right ingredients are in place. Capital markets are still developing, however structures like In5 provide tremendous operational support... It takes a community to raise a startup; the UAE is well into establishing that community," adds Sood.

Some of the top sectors that have gained momentum in the UAE startups scene is e-commerce which has recorded a growth of 12 per cent in the first half, followed by technology, IT solutions and delivery and logistics.