UAE startups top in funding, deals led by ecommerce in 2020
The three main innovation hubs — the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia — accounted for 68 per cent of total deals disclosed in 2020.
Lessons of 2020 indeed impart a new meaning to resilience as the startup community received a stronger government support in various forms of sops, with Mena startups raising over a record $1 billion of investment in 2020, indicating a 13 per cent increase year-over-year.
Roberto Croci, managing director of Microsoft for Startups MEA, said: “The UAE has all the ingredients to become a vibrant hub for start-ups, underpinned by effective public-private partnerships and fast regulatory decision-making. The UAE has long been synonymous with change and innovation. Much of this has been driven by SMEs and Startups, which are often at the forefront of fresh ideas – in many ways they can be considered the lifeblood of the UAE commercial spirit. Microsoft has long provided the infrastructure and tools to support their work.”
The three main innovation hubs — the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia — accounted for 68 per cent of total deals disclosed in 2020 and once again, the UAE ranked first and accounted for the lion’s share of total funding and the highest number of deals in Mena, representing 56 per cent of all capital deployed across Mena (26 per cent), with 129 deals and $579 million in funding in 2020. Despite the challenges stemming from Covid-19, e-commerce and fintech, retained top spots by the number of deals, with the two sectors together representing 24 per cent of all deals in 2020. Similarly, the amount invested in healthcare startups more than tripled, increasing by +280 per cent to $72 million.
Sajid Azmi, founder and chief executive officer, Yegertek, said: “Pandemic induced restrictions accelerated the growth of e-commerce, but this should not be seen as a temporary transition. Not only has a much larger subset of customers become used to the convenience of e-commerce, the services on offers have also been enhanced. Add to this the inherent advantages e-commerce offers businesses in terms of market penetration, and it’s clear that growth in the sector will only accelerate.”
The Magnitt report ‘2021 Emerging Venture Markets Report’, released on Tuesday ranked Egypt second for both total funding with $179 million (up +31 per cent ) and number of deals (down -10 per cent) and fast-growing Saudi at third place for total funding with $152 million (up +55 per cent), with the number of deals seeing the highest increase in Mena, up by 35 per cent, which is made more remarkable when compared with the slow-down in the rest of Mena.
“2020 was a rollercoaster year that highlighted the importance of leveraging data to make opportunities visible across borders,” said Philip Bahoshy, Magnitt’s CEO. “Covid-19 rapidly accelerated the adoption of technology across emerging markets, creating larger markets and more opportunities to scale. By tracking and analysing startup investments in 19 countries and counting, we have been able to provide real-time intel to governments, founders and investors to support them in making informed decisions and policies,” added Bahoshy.
Magnitt’s latest report analyses and compares investments in technology startupscheadquartered in Mena, Pakistan, and Turkey, as the Dubai-based data platform expands its coverage beyond Mena and into emerging venture markets (EVMs). Last year, Pakistan recorded $77 million in 48 deals, and Turkey recorded $383 million in 140 deals.
Meanwhile, H.A.D Consultants and EMPWR are jointly organising ‘Empowering Minds’ a wellbeing and leadership event series. The startup community is certainly witnessing a spurt in mental health services and is gaining traction among businesses.
H.A.D Consultants is a team of three women — Hala Bou-Alwan, Amrika Bhogaita and Dalia El Kilany — who believe that empowering individuals has a snowball effect, leading to stronger, more resilient teams, businesses, communities and societies as a whole.
Ally Salama, CEO, EMPWR, said: “Traction and startup business in mental health means less stigma, and more marketing, education and awareness. The market now has more appetite for mental health services.”
Dubai Economy issues 42,640 new licenses in 2020
Dubai announced five stimulus packages to help Covid-affected businesses.
Dubai Economy on Tuesday announced that it registered a four per cent growth in new licences last year despite the Covid-19 pandemic and slowdown in the global economy.
Dubai’s Department of Economic Development, or Dubai Economy, said that it issued 42,640 new licences last year as against 40,891 new licences issued in 2019. It also recorded 15 per cent surge in licence renewals last year and said latest data reflects the resilience of the national economy.
According to a recent report of Dubai Economy’s Business Registration & Licensing (BRL) sector, 64 per cent of the new licences issued in 2020 were professional (27,307), 35 per cent were commercial (14,754) and the rest were distributed among tourism and industrial activities.
“The latest figures reflect the UAE’s and Dubai’s resilience as well as the emirate’s economic competitiveness, including its ability to provide businesses high-growth opportunities in various economic sectors,” Dubai Economy said.
Bur Dubai accounted for the largest share (22,276) of new licences followed by Deira (20,293), and Hatta (71). The top sub-regions were Al Khabaisi, Al Fahidi, Al Garhoud, Trade Centre 1, Burj Khalifa, Port Saeed, Oud Al Muteena 3, Oud Metha, and Hor Al Anz East.
Shailesh Dash, an entrepreneur and financier, said Dubai economy strengthened last year despite severe challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. He said credit goes to the government’s and its visionary leaders who took timely measures to contain the damage from the Covid-19 crisis.
“Dubai announced five stimulus packages to help Covid-affected businesses, taking the overall value of business incentives introduced by the emirate’s government to Dh7.1 billion,” Dash said.
The figures demonstrate the UAE’s success in maintaining its growth and development momentum and reinforcing its position as a leading global economic and business destination. The increase in new licences also shows the private sector’s growing role as a key partner in Dubai’s economic development as well as the emirate’s constant efforts to provide a supportive environment and infrastructure for local and international businesses.
According to the report, 346,375 business registration and licensing transactions were completed in 2020, a growth of three per cent compared to 2019 (337,752). The figures highlight Dubai Economy’s vital role in providing value-added services to businesses in Dubai. The report also showed that Licence Renewals accounted for 162,762 transactions in 2020, a 15 per cent growth compared to 2019 (141,788).
“Dubai has done it again. Despite the challenging year affected by the pandemic, Dubai and its government departments have been very resilient and the various stimulus packages introduced by the government has proved to be a real boon for the businesses,” said Nazim Munshi, director at business consultancy Enterprise House.
She said professional and consultancy fields have shown more confidence.
“With the positive data of 2020 this year 2021 is expected to be even better. The business community has shown the trust they have in Dubai and UAE and such positive sentiment shall continue further with the opening up of opportunities in Qatar,” she said.
The growth validates the positive impact of the economic stimulus package launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, which allowed commercial licenses to be renewed without lease contracts.
Auto Renewal via text messages accounted for 92,576 transactions in 2020, a 36.5 per cent growth from 2019 (67,813). The number of Trade Name Reservations reached 51,170, Initial Approvals totalled 40,932, and Commercial Permits touched 10,680.
Highlighting the importance of collaboration between the government and private sectors, Dubai Economy noted that the private sector’s competitive and value-added projects play a key role in advancing the emirate’s economic development.
Dubai Economy strives to deliver solutions that contribute to enhancing ease of doing business in the emirate and expanding investment and growth, which in turn help create more new job opportunities and maintain a sustainable economy.
India witnessing V-shaped recovery since June: FinMin Report
India has been witnessing a ‘V-shaped’ recovery since June with the gradual easing of restrictions on economic activities, said a Finance Ministry report.
“The sustained improvement in high frequency indicators ignite optimism of an improved performance in second half of the year,” it said
The Monthly Economic Recovery for December by the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) also noted that the impending vaccination is set to spur the momentum in economic activity globally.
“The effective management of Covid-19 spread despite the festive season and onset of winter season, combined with sustained improvement in high frequency indicators and V-shaped recovery along with easing of lockdown restrictions distinguish Indian economy as one riding against the Covid-wave,” it said.
The agricultural sector remains the bright spot of Indian economy, with healthy year-on-year growth of 2.9 per cent in rabi sowing, accelerating tractor sales, and reservoirs’ live storage at 122 per cent of decadal average.
“This rise in rural incomes is mirrored in the healthy, though moderated, sales in passenger vehicles, two and three wheelers and tractor, and a rebound in vehicle registrations for the first time after March 2020,” it added.
Further, the industrial production growth ran parallel to the festive fervour of October and rose to an eight-month high, led by manufacturing and electricity sector. The core industries registered slight decline in November driven by natural gas and cement, while coal production, electricity and fertilizers’ production registered growth.
Dubai Startup Hub launches eight guides to support entrepreneurs
Guides cover key sectors of Fintech, Healthcare, Transportation, Education, F&B, Social Impact, Sustainability, and Travel, Tourism & Hospitality
The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Dubai Startup Hub initiative has launched eight guides to help startups in the UAE do business, as the Chamber concluded its fifth and final ‘Networking Series’.
The new guides cover eight key sectors, namely, Fintech, Healthcare, Transportation, Education, F&B, Social Impact, Sustainability, and Travel, Tourism & Hospitality. They provide ample resources – including relevant data, statistics, opportunities, and legislation – for entrepreneurs looking to launch startups in each of the eight sectors, additionally offering advice on how to apply for licences.
The guides also provide a comprehensive list of business incubators and accelerators that can help entrepreneurs grow their startups, as well as events and conferences that focus on their specific sectors.
The fifth edition of Dubai Chamber’s Networking Series drew more than 360 participants, 22 per cent of them Emirati entrepreneurs, in addition to startup owners from around the world tuning in for the virtual event.
“The guides are an innovative new tool to help promising startups in each of the target sectors,” asserted Natalia Sycheva, senior manager, Special Projects and Entrepreneurship at Dubai Chamber. “They form part of the Chamber’s plan to address the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, where a significant chunk of our investments has been earmarked for knowledge-building and providing information for entrepreneurs and startups at this critical time.”
“The Dubai Startup Hub’s mandate is to support emerging companies and help them understand and navigate the procedures for establishing businesses in Dubai,” she explained. “The initiative serves to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and lays solid foundations for partnership and cooperation, all in an effort to drive growth in the emirate’s startup scene. This ultimately boosts Dubai’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and strengthens its position as a global destination for new businesses.”
Dubai Chamber’s Networking Series has drawn more than 1,650 participants throughout its five editions, including entrepreneurs, startup founders, and investors, where a total of 48 meetings were held. Attendees came together to showcase success stories, explore ways to overcome challenges, highlight the necessary tools for business development, and help create an environment for networking and building new relationships.
Established by Dubai Chamber in 2016, Dubai Startup Hub is the first initiative of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa region, with a mandate to emphasise the value of public and private sector collaboration, in addition to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship as key drivers of the economy in Dubai and the UAE.
The initiative provides a multi-programme platform for entrepreneurs from around the world to explore business opportunities in Dubai, while also enabling them to benefit from a set of initiatives and services, such as the Market Access Programme, Emirati Development Programme, Dubai Smartpreneur Competition, and the Co-Founder Dubai Programme, among others.