Startup heaven UAE is among Top 50 startup destinations in the world

UAE continued to be the most active startup ecosystem in the region with 26 percent of all deals

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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A news study conducted by global startup ecosystem map and research center StartupBlink has placed UAE and Bahrain 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 appeared in at 43rd, while Bahrain leaped 20 places to 75th. Saudi Arabia also increased its ranking by jumping 213 points to rank 281st globally. The study stated that the UAE was identified for the potential of its Arab-speaking market and close involvement of the government in the local startup ecosystem.

A report by Magnitt reveals that the UAE continued to be the most active startup ecosystem in the region with 26 percent of all deals, followed by Egypt (21 percent), and Lebanon (13 percent).

The Magnitt study points out that the number of investments in MENA-based startups was up by 31 percent in 2019, with 564 investments and $704 million in total funding, up by 13 percent compared to 2018, excluding previous mega-deals in Souq and Careem.

In 2019, Egypt, for the first time ever, contributed for the largest number of deals in MENA with a rise of 25 percent, while the UAE accounted for the lion’s share of total funding and a surge of 60 percent.

Eli David, chief executive officer of StartupBlink, related that good startup ecosystems are significant. 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.”

Mr. David stated that understanding how well your ecosystem functions is also essential. “Corporations use these rankings to make decisions about future expansion, universities and consulting agencies use them for research, and governments and local development organization use them to gauge how well their programs are paying off.”

Pakiza Abdulrahman, a Manager of Startups at Bahrain Economic Development Board, responded that choosing a startup location is one of the most significant decisions a founder can make, affecting everything from taxation levels to market access and the cost of doing business.

Pakiza Abdulrahman, Manager
Bahrain Economic Development Board

“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 unrivaled access to the $1.5 trillion GCC market.”

“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,” remarked Abdulrahman.

Bahrain gives 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.