UAE’s Virtuzone teams up with Etisalat and Aramex on start-up programme

The new initiative aims to accelerate the growth of e-commerce in the country

A new programme launched by Dubai-based Virtuzone will give e-commerce startups access to over Dh60,000 worth of benefits and subsidies to help their businesses grow. (Photo: AETOSWire)

The UAE’s Virtuzone is going into partnership with Etisalat, Aramex and other organisations to launch a programme to boost the growth of start-ups in the country and expand across the Middle East and North Africa region.

Virtuzone is a Dubai company that helps businesses to set up their operations.

“The core objective of AMP by Virtuzone is to accelerate the growth process for aspiring e-commerce entrepreneurs, minimise the risks and challenges involved, and put them in a position to succeed,” Virtuzone said on Sunday.

Start-ups that join the programme will have access to Dh60,000 ($16,337) worth of benefits and subsidies that cover the bulk of operating costs for trade licensing, bank account opening, website development, shipping and office space among others.

“Through AMP, we seek to build a community of e-commerce entrepreneurs where they can exchange ideas, build partnerships and work together to elevate the country’s e-commerce sector,” said George Hojeige, chief executive of Virtuzone.

There are more than 1,400 start-ups in the country, according to Dubai Chamber. The total value generated by start-ups in the country is estimated at Dh90 billion.

“With the tremendous growth of the UAE’s digital economy, which now accounts for 4.3 per cent of the nation’s GDP, we felt that it is our duty to create the perfect opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to harness this potential, while supporting the vision of the UAE government to build a robust digital economy and facilitate digital transformation across all sectors,” said Neil Petch, chairman and co-founder of Virtuzone.

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.

The launch of the programme by Virtuzone comes as the UAE plans to become a global entrepreneurship centre.

The country aims to be home to 20 unicorns, or start-ups valued at more than $1bn, by 2031 as it seeks to attract and expand small and medium enterprises.

The Entrepreneurial Nation initiative aims to offer support through a series of public-private partnerships that help entrepreneurs set up in the UAE, expand their businesses, export their products and tap into online sales, Ahmad Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said during a conference in Dubai earlier this month.

The UAE will also set up a Dh1bn private equity fund for lending to SMEs based in the country and operating in strategic sectors, which will be released from the first quarter of 2022 and over the next five years, he said.

Updated: November 28th 2021, 4:19 PM