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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

UAE's AIM Startup signs two agreements with Saudi institutions

The ministry of economy intiative helps to foster entrepreneurship

The UAE’s AIM Startup, an initiative by the Ministry of Economy and part of the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), has signed agreements with two Saudi Arabian institutions to help propel entrepreneurship in the region.

AIM Startup signed an agreement with Prince Mohammad bin Salman College of Business and Badir Programme for Technology Incubators as part of plans to grow the regional entrepreneurship community.

“Entrepreneurship is an important solution to the needs of the Arab youth and we have seen a major shift in government policies to empower the youth with the right tools so that they can become job creators, instead of becoming jobseekers,” said Dawood Al Shezawi, the chief executive of AIM Startup.

“AIM Startup – with a theme of technology for sustainable development and inclusive growth – is going to become the epicentre of entrepreneurship and start-up movement in the Arab World.”

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First half of year start-up funding in Middle East surges

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AIM Startup, which was launched in 2017 as an initiative of the Ministry of Economy to connect start-ups with investors and business partners from other parts of the world, will take place during the UAE’s Annual Investment Meeting, from April 9 to 11, 2018, in Dubai.

AIM Startup will host the second edition of its annual Innovation Showcase and Pitch Competition at the April event.

The number of start-up funding deals in the UAE surged in the first half of the year, according to the start-up online community platform Magnitt, following Amazon’s high-profile acquisition of local online retailer Souq.com, and a US$150 million investment by Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding and Germany’s Daimler in the UAE ride-hailing service Careem.

The rise in the number of investments also comes amid intensifying efforts by governments in the region to help small businesses get off the ground as they seek to diversify economies away from oil revenues, cultivate talent and promote entrepreneurship.

Around $140m was invested in 87 transactions, excluding money invested in Souq and Careem, during the first half of the year compared to 75 deals valued at $193m in the first half of 2016, according to Magnitt.

The flourishing of start-ups in the UAE comes amid intensifying efforts by governments to boost small and medium-sized industries through mentorship initiatives such as the one undertaken by the Abu Dhabi Global Market, the Emirate’s nascent financial hub.