Dubai summit to attract venture capitalists to support start-ups

Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy to host more than 500 venture capitalists and 1,000 tech start-ups in January 2022

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, June 09: Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry building in Dubai. (Pawan Singh / The National) For Stock
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Dubai will be hosting a key summit next year as it aims to attract more venture capitalists to fund start-ups in the emirate and boost its digital economy.

The Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, one of the three entities that was formed following the restructuring of Dubai Chamber last month, said on Wednesday it will host the summit in January 2022.

"The summit will serve as a catalyst to help Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy achieve its goal of accelerating the growth of Dubai’s digital economy and doubling the number of digital companies operating in the emirate in the coming years,” said Omar Al Olama, chairman of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy.

The UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, has been focused on supporting start-ups and increasing their contribution to the country’s economy. Abu Dhabi started Hub71 in 2019 to boost start-ups in the UAE’s capital.

Demand for start-ups which are active in the FinTech and e-commerce sector has increased in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 500 venture capitalists and 1,000 tech start-ups are expected to participate in the two-day event. The summit will also feature an accelerators unit that will allow venture capital firms and start-ups to fast-track the establishment of their businesses in Dubai.

“UAE and Dubai start-ups usually attract 50 per cent of total funding raised in the Mena [Middle East and North Africa] region,” Dubai Chamber said. It added that its start-up hub has been receiving about 50 individual requests from venture capitalists globally, including from North America, Russia and India, to invest in start-ups.

Start-ups in the UAE secured 61 per cent of all Mena investments in the first half of 2021, according to the latest report from data platform Magnitt. Funding for Mena start-ups during the period stood at $1.2 billion, exceeding the $1.09bn raised in the whole of last year.

There are more than 1,400 start-ups in the country, with Dh1.5bn allocated to them, according to Dubai Chamber. The total value of start-ups in the country is estimated at Dh90bn.

The digital economy accounts for about 4.3 per cent of the UAE's gross domestic product, equivalent to Dh100bn.

Updated: July 28, 2021, 5:57 PM