DUBAI – International economic studies and reports indicate that startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will lead the economic growth in the UAE and the GCC over the next few years. This will promote job generation which will contribute largely to an increase in consumption and spending of low-income people.
“The UAE has been alerted early to the importance of startups and SMEs in supporting the national economy and its place in contributing to GDP, ” said Adib Al-Afifi, Director of the National Program for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Ministry of Economy. “We have introduced the necessary economic regulations and legislation that provide stability to the sector, and to strengthen its position, in order to attract more domestic and international investors.”
Al-Afifi added, “Although this type of investment activity faces many challenges in most developing countries, it is the marketing and administrative difficulties and the low financial potential of these projects, which necessarily lead to weak marketing efficiency. However, the GCC countries, specifically the UAE, has been alerted to these challenges, thus has launched the National Program for Small and Medium Enterprises. We have adopted and promoted these investments as well as provided the ideal environment to enable these projects and impose their presence and competitiveness in the local and international markets.”
According to a new study conducted by one of the international consulting offices in the region, investments for startups and SMEs in the Gulf region will reach US $2 billion over the next decade, compared to only US $150 million invested in the last ten years.
The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will play an important role in stimulating the growth potential of the region and in developing startup ecosystem in GCC. This scenario places both UAE and Saudi Arabia at the forefront, developing and sustaining an active startup ecosystem while keeping a solid pace as major international cities race to build their own smart cities using disruptive technologies.
According to investment report statistics 2018 has proven to be a record year for startups in MENA, with 366 recorded deals and an increase of funding by 31%. There was also in an increase of 5% in the number of institutions and angel groups investing in MENA-based startups increasing the number of investing institutions to 155, 30% of which are from outside the region.
UAE’s Ministry of Economy has established the National Program for Small and Medium Enterprises with the aim of empowering SMEs and developing general frameworks and guidelines aimed at providing the necessary expertise, technical and managerial support and training for SMEs.
This emphasis is being shared by the third edition of AIM Startup, a global platform for entrepreneurs which is under the patronage of the Ministry of Economy. Hosted in partnership with the National Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, AIM Startup will once again support emerging and innovative companies for three days from 8-10 April 2019 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
AIM Startup anticipates more than 20,000 visitors who will maximize the global networking opportunities onsite. At AIM Startup, innovators are linked with potential investors and can benefit from the investment climate to form collaborative partnerships, facilitate investment deals, and gain knowledge from industry players and though leaders.