Mena start-ups and VC funds explore partnerships to boost Dubai's digital economy

The first meeting of DFF's 10x10 initiative drew entrepreneurs from sectors including banking, data, health care, retail, e-commerce and real estate

Dubai is home to nearly 39 per cent of fast-growing start-ups in the Mena region, according to a recent study by the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy. Reuters
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Entrepreneurs and start-ups from the Middle East and North Africa region presented their ideas before venture capitalists and select investment funds at an event organised by Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) and VC Mena aimed at enhancing Dubai’s position as a global centre for tech innovators and investors.

The event brought together start-ups with VCs to explore opportunities for collaboration and growth in the technology and digital economy sectors, DFF said in a statement on Wednesday.

The participating investment funds’ portfolios include more than 2,400 companies around the world, with 300 from the Middle East, of which 90 are from the Emirates.

Quote
This event aligns with DFF’s efforts to provide a platform to connect local and global start-ups and entrepreneurs with investors, incubators and accelerators
Khalfan Belhoul, chief executive, Dubai Future Foundation

The event was part of the “10x10” initiative launched by DFF to provide a platform for promising start-ups to with investors, utilise potential investment opportunities, mobilise support for their projects, expand their business in the UAE and globally, and ultimately become unicorn companies based in Dubai.

The first meeting of the 10x10 initiative had entrepreneurs from various sectors, including banking, data, health care, retail, e-commerce and real estate.

"The event aligns with DFF’s efforts to provide a platform to connect local and global start-ups and entrepreneurs with investors, incubators and accelerators,” Khalfan Belhoul, DFF’s chief executive, said.

“The initiative strengthens Dubai’s position as a sought out for destination that not only attracts talents and creative minds but also retains them and supports their growth from Dubai,” Mr Belhoul said.

The UAE ranked first in the Global Entrepreneurship Index 2022 report owing to factors such as the availability of good opportunities, skills and knowledge to start a business, confidence in the ability to overcome Covid-19 challenges, use of technology to grow business and start-ups’ ability to generate new job opportunities in the coming years in the country.

Dubai is home to nearly 39 per cent of fast-growing start-ups in the Mena region, according to a recent study by the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy.

The emirate also attracted 57 per cent of the total regional funding that these fast-growing start-ups have received, estimated at $5.2 billion.

The future economy is a “key pillar in the UAE’s vision to establish a global hub for incubating and supporting entrepreneurs in various sectors of innovation, technology and the digital economy to develop their concepts and expand their business from the UAE”, said Omar Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, and DFF’s deputy managing director.

In April, Dubai announced the launch of a new VC finance fund with about Dh370 million ($100.7m) to bolster start-up projects in the emirate and promote its ambition of becoming a global FinTech hub.

Dubai is among the top 35 most attractive cities in the world when it comes to attracting venture capital and the funding of start-ups, according to the first Innovation in Business Index by Finom, a business-to-business financial platform in Europe.

Updated: June 29, 2022, 1:21 PM
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