(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) The UAE's promise of a business friendly ecosystem for startups has resulted in the country not only encouraging the development and expansion of its home grown small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), but in also attracting international talent.
Speaking to Khaleej Times at the Step 2018 tech festival on Wednesday, Ammar Al Malik, executive director of Dubai Internet City noted that SMEs have had to face some challenges in the past few years, but they were now able to flourish as the market and the business environment in the UAE had matured.
"I think that it is very clear to us that the business ecosystem has matured very quickly. This is evident in the number of startups that are coming up, as well as the number of funds that are being launched to aid them. There are also a lot of family businesses in the region that are interested in investing as well, so the mindset that has to do with launching a startup and investing in one has changed dramatically; and we expect this to continue in the coming years as well," he said.
Step 2018 is being held at its new location in Dubai Internet City and will run until March 29, with more than 300 technologists, investors, entrepreneurs, and creatives speaking across four industry-focused stages.
"We are very excited about Step 2018 being held in Dubai Internet City, since it is a natural fit for an event of this scale. It offers a strategic advantage to the community that is present here, and it also offers the startups that are present here a chance to be exposed to the larger corporations in the city," Al Malik said. "Earlier, we announced over Dh7 billion of investments in Dubai Internet City, because the business ecosystem is growing very fast and we want to ensure that all the companies here, including small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are able to make the most of the resources available to them." He added: "SMEs are a big part of the UAE's economy and we want to ensure that they receive the support that they need to grow beyond Dubai into the region, and then internationally."
This support, Al Malik said, is not only limited to UAE companies; there has been a steady increase in the number of international companies looking to set up in the UAE because of its welcoming business environment and world class infrastructure. "The initiatives that have been launched by the government have been critical in positioning the UAE at the international business level. If you look at the selection of the latest technologies that are going to play a crucial role in the coming years, such as drones, hyperloops, AI, IoT, bloackchain, and VR, and how they are being integrated into the city's smart city plans, then you can understand why there are international companies and agencies that are looking at Dubai and thinking that it is the place to be," he said.
Patrick Rogers, co-founder and principal at Support Legal, a legal services platform for entrepreneurs and emerging companies in the Middle East and Africa, also said that it is an exciting time to be in the UAE. "People are making a conscious decision to move here from places like London and Singapore for a number of reasons such as developer talent, VC money, proven concepts, and successful exits; and, more importantly, it acts as a hub for developing your idea in the wider regional ecosystem."-
Rohma Sadaqat I am a reporter and sub-editor on the Business desk at Khaleej Times. I mainly cover and write articles on the UAE's retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.Originally from Lahore, I have been living in the UAE for more than 20 years. I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Journalism, and a double minor in History and International Studies from the American University of Sharjah.If you see me out and about on assignment in Dubai, feel free to stop me, say hello, and we can chat about the latest kitten videos on YouTube.
Legal Disclaimer: MENAFN provides the information “as is” without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.