Dubai, a global metropolis known for its towering skyscrapers, luxury lifestyle, and thriving business landscape, has emerged as a prime destination for entrepreneurs and businesses worldwide. The city offers a unique blend of strategic advantages, a business-friendly environment, and unparalleled opportunities for growth, backed by a wide range of government programs and initiatives.
#Startup Incubators and Accelerators in Dubai
Dubai is home to a number of high-profile startup incubators and accelerators that help to nurture and support early-stage companies. Some of the most notable include:
- In5: Global innovation hub and accelerator that provides startups with resources, mentorship, and funding.
- Flat6Labs: Leading venture capital firm and startup accelerator in the MENA region. Provides funding, mentorship, and office space to startups.
- Dubai Future Accelerators: Government-backed initiative that brings together startups, government agencies, and corporations to collaborate on innovative solutions to global challenges.
- AstroLabs: Leading technology startup accelerator and venture capital firm in the MENA region. Provides funding, mentorship, and access to its network of partners and investors.
Some of the latest entrants to the market include:
- Sirdab Lab: Venture builder and startup accelerator that invests in and supports early-stage startups in the UAE and MENA region.
- Wamda X: Venture capital firm and startup accelerator that invests in and supports early-stage startups in the MENA region.
- Scale2Dubai: Government-backed initiative that helps startups to scale their businesses in Dubai.
Other startup support programs in Dubai:
- DIFC FinTech Hive: Financial technology accelerator
- Startupbootcamp: Global startup accelerator network (smart city and sustainability)
- Techstars: Global startup accelerator network (technology)
#UAE’s national Entrepreneurship Agenda:
This agenda seeks to launch 10 unicorn companies by 2031 and have 1 million companies by 2030.
The UAE’s National Agenda for Entrepreneurship and SMEs aims to make the UAE an entrepreneurial nation by 2031. The agenda includes 29 initiatives that focus on:
Ease of doing business, Innovation, Business support, Digital transformation, Funding, Human capital, Increasing demand. The agenda also includes an integrated package of incentives.
The National Program for Small and Medium Enterprises and Projects was established in 2014 by the Ministry of Economy. The program supports UAE entrepreneurs by:
- Helping them strategize and satisfy their needs
- Helping them grow and sustain their businesses
- Providing expertise, technical, administrative, and training support
#Dubai Economic Agenda (D33):
The Dubai Economic Agenda (D33) is a plan to double the size of Dubai’s economy by 2033. The plan includes 100 transformational projects. The goal is to make Dubai one of the top three global cities for living, investing, and working. The D33 was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The D33 envisions establishing economic corridors with Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. These corridors will facilitate enhanced trade, investment, and collaboration.
The D33 focuses on several key priorities, including:
- Raising the value added of the industrial sector
- Promoting export growth
- Contributing to sustainable economic growth
- Achieving self-sufficiency in key sectors and industries, including manufacturing
#Dubai Industrial Strategy:
This strategy aims to establish Dubai as a knowledge-based, sustainable and innovation-centric global hub; to generate USD 43.6 billion in revenue by 2030; to boost the city’s exports by USD 4.36 billion.
The Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030 was launched in June 2016. The strategy aims to:
- Increase the manufacturing sector’s output and value-addition
- Enhance knowledge and innovation
- Make Dubai a preferred manufacturing platform for global businesses
- Promote environmentally friendly and energy-efficient manufacturing
- Enhance industrial coherence and integration with other economic sectors
- Create an attractive investment environment
- Encourage innovation and advanced technology adoption across the industrial framework
The strategy identifies 75 initiatives to transform Dubai into an industrial hub, focusing on the aerospace, maritime, aluminum and fabricated metals, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, and machinery and equipment sectors.
#Dubai Future District:
This district aims to develop the new economy with a dedicated fund of USD 272 million; on track to achieve USD 544 million in non-oil foreign trade by 2025.
The Dubai Future District (DFD) is an entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports startups, SMEs, and business owners. The DFD is made up of three hyper-connected hubs:
- Area 2071
- Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
- Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC)
The DFD also refers to a venture capital firm founded in 2020. The firm’s goal is to invest half of its investments into venture capital funds with a local focus and the other half into startups directly or through Future District affiliated programs. The DFD Fund is the region’s first evergreen venture capital fund-of-funds. It focuses on Series A to Series C investments, with ticket sizes ranging between $1-7 million.
These programs and initiatives provide entrepreneurs and businesses with a wide range of support, including:
- Financial assistance: Government grants, loans, and other financial incentives to help businesses start and grow.
- Business setup support: Streamlined business setup processes and guidance from government agencies.
- Training and development programs: Programs to help entrepreneurs develop their skills and knowledge.
- Networking opportunities: Events and programs to help businesses connect with potential customers, partners, and investors.
- Infrastructure support: Access to world-class infrastructure, including modern transportation networks, state-of-the-art office spaces, and cutting-edge technology.