UAE leads the business revolution as entrepreneurship grows
The lure of entrepreneurship is growing in GCC countries, as the region plans ahead for when oil and gas run out.
Diversification plans for the Arabian Gulf economies involve not only investing in the growing non-oil sectors but also getting people back into business activities. Dubai is counting on its successful bid to host the World Expo 2020 to stimulate growth in the UAE’s non-oil sector, including increased spending on construction, tourism and hospitality, says Peter Feuilherade in a report for TheMiddleEastonline.
In April 2014, the UAE, which has been the most dynamic of the GCC states in driving forward small business initiatives, according to Mr Feuilherade, announced that 10 per cent of all future government tenders had to be awarded to SMEs, making it easier for all potential entrepreneurs to gain access to the lucrative public sector market.
UAE entrepreneurs can turn to the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, an independent agency of the Abu Dhabi Government, which offers a range of training and funding programmes for Emirati entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Meanwhile, Dubai SME, a division of Dubai’s Department of Economic Development, includes a business incubation centre for local entrepreneurs to develop their small and medium‑sized projects or businesses.
Peter Hiscocks, who teaches innovation management and entrepreneurship at Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) in the United Kingdom and has worked with organisations encouraging entrepreneurs in the GCC, lists retail, fashion, fast food (with a “cultural dimension”) and high‑tech companies as among the exciting growth areas for Gulf business start‑ups.
The indispensability of using social media and having website content in Arabic for any new business starting up in the GCC has opened up vast opportunities for technology entrepreneurs, analysts say.
“High smartphone penetration rates and a growing e-commerce sector have made Middle East and North Africa (Mena) a hotbed for tech start-ups, bringing a surge of investors in their wake eager to tap into the promising new business potential,” says Mary Sophia of the Gulf Business website.
The UAE in particular has seen a surge in start-up accelerators and incubators for technology companies.
The Dubai Technology Entrepreneurship Centre, which will be launched this year within Dubai Silicon Oasis, is being billed as the largest entrepreneurship hub in the Mena region and will complement Silicon Oasis Founders, another high-tech incubation centre currently up and running in Dubai.
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Updated: February 18, 2015 04:00 AM