With a buoyant startup ecosystem and continuing steps to attract global talent, Dubai has steadily been strengthening its Fintech sector. The sector, experts believe, has entered the next phase of growth with Dubai ticking all the right boxes as it strives to position itself as the global hub for startups through a number of bold, forward-looking strategic measures.
What prompts experts to make such an assertion is the recent launch of $ 100.73 million Venture Capital Fund by H.E. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council aimed at adding more cushion to the emirate’s already thriving ecosystem.
“We have established Dubai as the city of entrepreneurs and risk-tolerant investors. We have a flexible legislative system, robust financing tools and an effective regulatory environment. More importantly, we have dynamic public and private sectors,” asserts Sheikh Hamdan, articulating Dubai’s determination to take a leadership position in offering tech-driven solutions to modern-day problems.
Sheikh Hamdan’s big announcement comes close on the heels of the UAE recently being ranked first in the world as the best place to start a business as per Global Entrepreneur Index. Home to over 10,000 small and medium startups, the UAE aims to nurture 20 unicorns or startups valued at $1 billion by 2031. SMEs and startups notably employ more than 86 per cent of the private workforce.
Industry experts find the newly announced $ 100.73 million Venture Capital Fund as a complimentary effort by Dubai to translate the UAE’s larger unicorn dreams. “We are all for encouraging the entrepreneurial community. We will help young talent to establish and expand their business on a global scale,” says Ahmad Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs.
Data from Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) confirm that the emirate has more than 2,400 companies whose core activity is financial services. “Our Fintech sector is built on a solid platform. It is bound to go places. Our ecosystem is so robust that it encourages the growth and innovation of financial services,” informs Ms Raja Al Mazrouei, Executive Vice President, Fintech Hive at DIFC.
DIFC, it may be noted, contributes 15% to the newly announced $ 100.73 Venture Capital Fund besides governing it. Further, it is also mandated with the task of creating an integrated funding system with suitable options to meet the varied needs of enterprises for their development in Dubai and gradual expansion to global markets.
Meanwhile, financial analysts who closely watch the Middle East market say the launch of Venture Capital Fund for Startups was on expected lines in the backdrop of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy recently forming four new committees to enhance digital business infrastructure in the emirate. The Chamber, they point out, had suggested improvements and changes to existing laws to boost the digital economy.
H.E. Omar Sultan Al Olama, the UAE Minister of State for Artificial intelligence and Remote Work Applications had also thrown sufficient hints suggesting that several new initiatives were in the offing to attract 300 digital startups to the emirate in the next two years. “The whole idea is to attract global digital firms to our soil,” Al Olama had said.
In the meantime, Dubai added one more feather to its cap with real estate brokers Savills listing the emirate as the third best city in the world for digital nomads. The report by Savills had ranked 15 prime residential markets by their appeal to long-term remote workers. The $ 100 million fund set aside for startups, it is believed, would add more vigor to the emirate’s digital drive.
The Venture Capital Fund for Startups besides contributing AED 3 billion to Dubai’s GDP would create 8,000 new jobs, particularly in the Fintech sector. “We are committed to create a vibrant business environment and provide opportunities to promote excellence,” adds Sheikh Hamdan. In short, that sums up how the emirate is aiding its entrepreneur community, pursuing bold ambitions.
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