District 2020 partners with Dubai SME and MBRIF to support start-ups
The latest announcement is part of District 2020’s mission to stimulate lasting economic benefits and industry growth in the UAE.
Dubai SME and the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) will further support start-ups and small businesses in the UAE via partnerships with District 2020’s global entrepreneur programme, Scale2Dubai.
In line with Dubai and the UAE’s proactive approach to supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the important role they play in the country’s resilient economy, the strategic partnerships will provide Scale2Dubai with a pipeline of high-potential start-ups and small businesses.
Marjan Faraidooni, Chief Pavilions and Exhibitions Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “These milestone agreements with Dubai SME and MBRIF will further bolster the continued growth of the UAE’s start-up ecosystem and contribute to a stronger and resurgent economic environment.
“The advance towards a more connected future continues to gain pace, and new opportunities will emerge from the current set of global challenges that SMEs and start-ups currently face. Through the combined efforts of partnerships with both these organisations, Scale2Dubai and our wider District 2020 ecosystem support a crucial sector of the UAE economy and complement other accelerators and incubators around the country.”
Expo 2020, which will run from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, will showcase the best examples of collaboration, innovation and cooperation from around the world and help reinvigorate the global economy as it gathers some of the greatest minds from around the world to seek solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time.
District 2020, with a mandate to support industry growth, will evolve over a nine-month transition period after the event ends, during which more than 80 per cent of Expo’s built environment will be repurposed. It will transition into a mixed-use community and innovation ecosystem that will contribute to Dubai’s position as a leading innovation hub. It will also carry forward Expo 2020’s mission of stimulating business opportunities and continue to support start-ups and SMEs that are integral to the UAE economy.
The new agreements mark an important step towards District 2020’s vision for a curated innovation ecosystem. The partnerships will enable start-ups and small businesses to be part of the Scale2Dubai programme and access the District 2020 platform from which they can expand locally and internationally, while also offering them the opportunity to connect with large enterprises and receive access to funding and other growth enablers.
“Since its launch in 2002, Dubai SME has launched several programmes and initiatives to support entrepreneurs and promote the innovation ecosystem in the UAE. As we are an institution dedicated to supporting the establishment and development of innovative start-ups, our vision closely aligns with that of District 2020,” Abdul Baset Al-Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, commented.
“We will work on qualifying innovative national projects from the members of our Hamdan Innovation Incubator as well as from the different countries participating in our ‘Innovation Attraction Programme,’ to strengthen District 2020 as a platform for start-ups to grow regionally and access international markets,” Al Janahi added
Scale2Dubai was launched in February 2020 and offers successful applicants a range of benefits such as two years’ free working space in District 2020, support in visa and business set-up, two years’ subsidised urban living and access to funding.
The Scale2Dubai programme builds on Expo 2020 Dubai’s aim to support the SME and start-up sector, a driver of the UAE economy. As of the end of March 2020, Expo 2020 had awarded more than Dh4.6 billion to SMEs.
This latest announcement is part of District 2020’s mission to stimulate lasting economic benefits and industry growth in the UAE. After Expo 2020 ends on March 31, 2022, District 2020 will evolve over a nine-month transition period, repurposing more than 80 per cent of Expo’s built environment.
Scale2Dubai is currently accepting expressions of interest in the programme through the District 2020 website.
UAE stays in top 50 startup destinations
Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah leap in global rankings as govt plays key role.
The UAE and Bahrain rank among the world’s top 100 startup destinations as well as the top two most-preferred ecosystems for startups in the Gulf region.
Globally, the UAE came in at 43rd, while Bahrain jumped 20 places to 75th, according to new study by StartupBlink. Saudi Arabia also improved its ranking by jumping 213 points to rank 281st globally.
The study said the UAE was recognised for the potential of its Arab-speaking market and close involvement of the government in the local startup ecosystem.
A report by Magnitt shows that the UAE remained the most active startup ecosystem in the region with 26 per cent of all deals, followed by Egypt (21 per cent), and Lebanon (13 per cent).
The Magnitt study shows that the number of investments in Mena-based startups was up 31 per cent in 2019, with 564 investments and $704 million in total funding, up 13 per cent compared to 2018, excluding previous mega-deals in Souq and Careem.
In 2019, Egypt, for the first time ever, accounted for the largest number of deals in Mena with a jump of 25 per cent, while the UAE accounted for the lion’s share of total funding and a surge of
60 per cent.
Eli David, chiefexecutive officer of StartupBlink, said good startup ecosystems are fundamental. They create jobs, boost the economy, increase tax revenue, improve quality of life and urban innovation, and attract and retain talent. “As an entrepreneur, location will greatly influence the chances your startup will succeed.”
David said knowing how well your ecosystem performs is also important. “Corporations use these rankings to make decisions about future expansion, universities and consulting agencies use them for research, and governments and local development organisation use them to gauge how well their programs are paying off.”
Pakiza Abdulrahman, manager, Startups at Bahrain Economic Development Board, said picking a startup location is one of the most important choices a founder can make, affecting everything from taxation levels to market access and the cost of doing business.
“Startups coming to Bahrain join a thriving ecosystem that combines pro-enterprise regulation with competitive costs, backed by the support of a government that listens – not to mention our unrivalled access to the $1.5 trillion GCC market,” said Abdulrahman.
“We are delighted that the Bahrain approach – and that of the wider Arab region – continues to gain recognition and we look forward to enhancing our support for the startups of tomorrow and today,” said Abdulrahman.
Bahrain offers startups an ideal testbed location for new ideas, combining pro-enterprise government policies with an ever-evolving ecosystem and a wide pool of international talent.
21 UAE firms among 100 top Middle East companies
As many as 21 UAE firms have made it to the list of top 100 Middle East companies, the second highest after Saudi Arabia’s 33 entries, according to Forbes.
Qatar came in third with 18 companies while Kuwait and Bahrain have seven companies each on the list and Oman has four. In total, GCC countries make up 90 per cent of the list.
Among the North African countries, Egypt has five companies on the list and Morocco has four. Only one Jordanian company made the list. No Lebanese companies feature on the list as none disclosed their financial statements before 23 April 2020.
The highlight of this year’s list is the arrival of Saudi Aramco, making its debut in first place. The oil giant is currently the most valuable company in the world with a market value of $1.6 trillion.
The 100 companies have a total of $670 billion in sales, $148 billion in net profits, $3.5 trillion in assets, and $2.3 trillion in market value-but Saudi Aramco represents 49 per cent of those total sales, 59.6 per cent of the net profits, and 69.6 per cent of the market cap.
“Although the pandemic has sadly led to the closure of some companies, it has also opened doors of opportunity and growth for others,” said Khuloud Al Omian, Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Middle East. “While the market value of many the companies on our list has dropped, they are still showing great resilience and continuity in difficult times.”
The ranking is compiled based on data from all stock exchanges in Arab countries and analysis of market value, sales, assets, and profits.
Dubai will be among top 5 tourism destinations
Over past few days, Dubai began to reopen tourism facilities such as holiday homes, beaches, hotels etc.
Dubai stays among the top five destinations for most of the people who are looking at their next holiday as restrictions on air travel ease and airlines resume regular flights, said a senior official.
“World tourism has witnessed an unprecedented negative trend, not seen since World War II. These types of shocks are something that have not been planned by tourism sector globally. We need to work hard to bring back confidence to the sector. However, there are positive indicators. We have seen a lot of online travel agency and other travel sites showing that demand for Dubai is very high and we are among the top five cities that people are looking at as their next holiday destination,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of Dubai Tourism.
“We are definitely ready and prepared for the next stage and are ready to welcome guests.”
He praised the crisis committee for having the highest level of Covid-19 test as well as the best level of healthcare and attention given to travel ecosystem to make sure that right system is in place so that people can enjoy.
Almarri said no date has been announced yet for the opening up the emirate for tourists but the complete reopening of the tourism sector will happen after Covid-19.
Over past few days, Dubai began to reopen tourism facilities such as holiday homes, beaches, hotels etc.
“While areas which are still pending such as spas, pools and kids play areas still need time before they open up,” he said, adding that “Dubai has the highest global standards of safety and security across all stages of travel reopening. There is going to be reopening of markets not just based on when we are ready but also when everybody else is also ready to open their markets,” he added.
While highlighting the trends in aviation industry, he noted that group travel is likely to decline and there will be more individual travellers, especially in places like China and Russia.