Published On: 08/11/2020

• More than 50 percent of applications for core programmes came from outside of the UAE, signalling growing interest in Dubai as an attractive market for global startups.

Dubai, UAE: Dubai Startup Hub, an initiative of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, recorded a 236 percent year-over-year surge in membership during the first half of 2020, as accelerated digital transformation led many startups in Dubai and abroad to capitalise on emerging opportunities and bring new solutions to the emirate.

Dubai Startup Hub membership reached 1,568 in H1-2020, compared to 466 in the same period last year, while a 13 percent in average monthly growth was observed. Meanwhile, 1,200 entrepreneurs benefitted from Dubai Startup Hub’s programmes and 23 webinars, bringing the total number of beneficiaries to over 8,200.

UAE nationals accounted for a quarter of all Dubai Startup Hub beneficiaries in H1-2020, while 30 Emirati entrepreneurs are now one step closer to launching their businesses after graduating from the first-ever Emirati Development Programme earlier this year.

In light of Covid-19’s impact on the business landscape, Dubai Startup Hub realigned its offerings and resources to meet the evolving needs of startups in Dubai, while organising virtual events that addressed matters of importance to startups and SMEs such as funding, banking, global expansion, market research and data and digital innovation.

From a global perspective, Dubai Startup Hub collaborated with more than 70 business incubators in countries across the world during Q1 and Q2, including India, USA, UK, Russia, Hungary, Germany and China, and received more than 50 percent of international startup applications for its core programmes.

Among new members, Dubai Startup Hub attracted a large volume of high-potential startups specialising in fintech, healthtech, education, e-commerce, sustainability, wellness and supply chain that emerged in response to changing market conditions, signalling a resurgence in entrepreneurial activity.

In addition, Dubai Startup Hub witnessed growing interest and record participation among international startups, and within the Indian, Chinese and African markets in particular. In an effort to meet this growing demand, Dubi Startup Hub aligned its efforts with Dubai Chamber’s international offices to attract high-potential businesses to the Dubai market.

H.E. Hamad Buamim, President & CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Dubai Startup Hub’s performance and achievements reflects the strong entrepreneurial spirit that exists in the UAE, as well as the crucial role that startups are playing in bringing unique business concepts that fill market gaps.

Despite new challenges posed by Covid-19, he noted that the pandemic has created an opportunity for technology startups, in particular, that have demonstrated greater resilience as they capitalised on new market opportunities and benefitted from the various programmes, initiatives and support offered under Dubai Startup Hub, which continues to drive Dubai Chamber’s entrepreneurship strategy.

Going forward, startups and SMEs will have a major role to play building the UAE’s post-Covid-19 economy and developing new industries, he explained, as this segment of the business community serves as an engine driving innovation and supporting the country’s transition to a digitally-driven economy.

Established by Dubai Chamber in 2016, Dubai Startup Hub is the first initiative of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa region. The initiative is designed to emphasise the value of public and private sector collaboration and embodies the aim of encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship as a main driver of the economy of Dubai and the UAE.