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Four reasons for Startups to make Dubai the MENA entry point.

Most seasoned entrepreneurs based in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will tell you

to head to the United Arab Emirates to launch your tech product before rolling out your

growth strategies for the region.

At 10 million residents, comprised mainly of expats, it is a sizeable test market.

Like the rest of the region, the country has a young workforce, there is high internet

penetration and, according to the Oxford Business Group, users in the UAE spend seven hours online each day placing the country at number 10 globally in terms of usage. Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing estimates that over 40% of MENA startups establish themselves in the UAE.

Four compelling reasons to choose the UAE

1. Digital Transformation Policies

The UAE is on an aggressive timeline to transform itself into a knowledge-based nation. The

chances of success are high if you consider how rapidly the country has developed over the

past 50 years. From its humble beginnings as a collection of seven statelets reliant on pearl

diving and fishing to the discovery of oil in the 60s that propelled them into a new era of trade and rapid development. The country, along with other Gulf states, have been amongst the first to legislate in support of digitalization.

In 2018 Abu Dhabi Global Market announced their digital sandbox initiative to boost financial services innovation. Blockchain is also high on the agenda and by 2021 half of government transactions is forecast to occur on a blockchain platform. Two ministerial positions have been created, the Minister for Cabinet Affairs and the Future and the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence show how serious the leaders are about their vision.

2. Straight Forward Business Setup

If you want to create a world class infrastructure and attract innovative companies, you

simplify processes. The country’s 45 free zones are the result of such efforts. Each zone is

mostly industry specific and offers a liberal business environment, supporting infrastructure

and incentives such as 100% foreign ownership, tax and duty concessions. A recent example