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AIM To Promote Start-up Economy in Dubai & UAE

AIM To Promote Start-up Economy in Dubai & UAE

The AIM (Annual Investment Meeting) Start-up is one among the initiatives taken by the UAE government to promote Small and Medium Enterprises / Projects in the Emirates. The initiative provides a platform to connect the start-ups in UAE with investors from around the world. The Annual Investment Meeting is to be held on April 8-10 in Dubai. Last year, the event identified UAE to be among the world’s top destination for a huge number of start-ups followed by New Zealand, Singapore, Norway, Germany, Japan and Sweden.

UAE’s raise to 11th position in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2019 from the 21st position last year, a strong GDP growth rate of 3.7 per cent, favourable business environment and government initiatives to attract the FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) are some of the contributing factors for the increasing number of start-ups in UAE. The first quarter of 2018 recorded start-ups of more than 5,200 in Dubai.

Annual Investment Meeting – Overview

According to the reports published by the start-up platform MAGNiTT, a total of 366 investments were made in startups based in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region during the AIM for the year 2018 with a total investment accounting to Dh 3.2 billion ($ 893 million). This was an increase by 31 per cent compared to the previous year, where the total funding for the year was estimated to be Dh 2.5 billion ($ 670 million.).

Start-up Trends in UAE

UAE remained the most active start-up ecosystem, accounting to more than 30 per cent of all deals and 70 per cent of total funding. The major reason for the preference for UAE among the other countries in MENA (Middle East & North Africa) were the continued government support, corporate venture interest and growing investor appetite for start-ups within the Emirates.

The study conducted by AIM identified that approximately 69 per cent of the start-up companies were related to e-commerce, infrastructure and software as a service, and marketplaces. FinTech sector accounted for 12 per cent of all deals in 2018, overtaking e-commerce as the most active industry. More than 52 per cent of these start-ups were B2C ventures with 93 per cent of these companies having their headquarters in Dubai.

Investment Opportunities in UAE

UAE government has always been proactive in promoting the country as an investment friendly destination offering attractive investment environment to international companies that are looking to tap into the Gulf region. The Emirates provides excellent opportunities for investments in Retail, manufacturing, e-commerce and FinTech services sector. In addition, UAE is continuously upgrading its infrastructure which includes modern airports, hotels, public facilities and economic zones, as it strives to become an international business destination.


Research Konnection  is a market research company in Dubai that assists local and international companies to setup or expand businesses in Dubai and UAE smoothly. At Research Konnection, we specialize in Market ResearchFeasibility Studies and Business Plan Developments. Feel free to reach out to us on hello@researchkonnection.com



Author: Waqas Siddiqui
The author is the Managing Director of Research Konnection, a Dubai based market research and consulting firm that helps local and international companies to identify emerging business opportunities and successfully expand in the Gulf region. The author can be reached at waqas@researchkonnection.com