The UAE has become the world’s top hotspot for entrepreneurs to start and grow a business. Here’s why the UAE is the startup hub of the Middle East.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become known for attracting the world’s top entrepreneurs. From startup-friendly incentives to 100% foreign ownership of companies, the UAE has become the No. 1 hotspot for startups globally. Here are five reasons why startups are choosing the UAE as part of its global expansion strategy:
Location, Location, Location
The UAE is strategically located at the crossroads of the East and West trade routes, which makes for easy access to major emerging economies across the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and Africa. Having such an advantageous geographic location has established the UAE as a major international commercial hub for trade, real estate and banking.
The UAE has a world-class infrastructure that includes a strong banking system, and transparent and sound legal system backed by a stable political environment. The UAE is also regarded as a regional transportation center, having been ranked number one in the world for road quality.
The UAE is also known for its top quality airports and hotels which supports world-class trade exhibitions and conferences that attract millions of people from around the world. Expo 2020 will be hosted by Dubai, the largest city in the UAE, and is expected to host 192 countries and 25 million visitors, with more than 70% of visitors expected to be international. It will be the first time the World Expo has been held in MEASA (Middle East, Africa and South Asia Region). Expo 2020 will create new and exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs from all nations.
Technology & Innovation
The UAE is one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world. In terms of innovation, the UAE ranks No. 1 for innovation in the Arab world and 38th globally, according to the Global Innovation Index (2018 rankings).
Business Friendly Environment
The UAE is well-known for having an open and business-friendly environment. The UAE ranks 26th globally and third in the MENA region as one of the most favored destinations for startup investments, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI). The GEI measures the quality and the scale of the entrepreneurial process in 137 countries worldwide and captures the strength and weakness of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
There is a large number of free trade zones in the UAE, with more than 30 free zones operating in Dubai. The UAE free zones allows for speedy set-up of foreign entities, and have fully equipped offices and the latest communications. Additionally, foreign investors can create enterprises without partnership with local sponsors, allowing for 100% ownership for most enterprises. Foreign companies are also exempt from corporate and personal income tax and enjoy the benefit of duty free import of goods.
The government has an increasing focus on entrepreneurship and actively supports the startup ecosystem by offering exceptional incentives for startups. There are also special incentives for female entrepreneurs, which have led to the increase in the number of women-owned businesses in the UAE. Strong government support for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship is a key driving force behind the country’s growing startup ecosystem.
These factors, combined with an extremely safe environment, makes the UAE an ideal place to do business. If you are an entrepreneur looking to grow your startup in the MENA region, the UAE is a favorable destination with immense growth opportunities.
Staff Writer, The Global Business Advisor Magazine