Dubai Leads MENA region in Startups and Scale-ups Presence 

Dubai Leads MENA Region in Startups and Scale-ups Presence 

According to Dubai’s Chamber of Digital Economy, Dubai is the location for over 40% of the startups and scale-ups in the MENA region. According to the OECD, scale-ups are defined as companies having an average annual return of 20% in the past 3 years and at least 10 employees during the same period.

At present, Dubai is home to 40% of MENAs scale-ups and home to 306 scale-ups. Dubai’s Venture Capital Ecosystem report reveals that Dubai’s scale-up companies secured over AED 43 billion ($11.7 billion) funding during the last decade. This represents 60% of the total funding accumulated across the region.

Notably, in 2022, Dubai based startups managed to raise over AED 77 billion ($2 billion) in funding. Between 2012-2022, a total of 749 scale-up companies in the MENA region (excluding Israel) have collectively raised an impressive funding sum exceeding AED 71.5 billion ($19.5 billion). In this cumulative funding, UAE’s scale-up companies contributed to 65% of the total amount. 

In the first half of 2023, the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, also attracted 69 technology companies aligning its strategy of advancing the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33). Likewise, Dubai Chamber of Commerce reported a 43% increase in new companies during H1 – 2023, reaching a total of 30,146. This is a notable increase from the 21,098 companies during the first half of 2022. 

As leading Dubai Business Consultants, we provide Business Consulting Services support to Dubai Startups. Contact us on for Business Startup in Dubai.  

UAE Pioneers Digital Ecosystem, Entrepreneurship and Growth

Omar Sultan Al Olama from Dubai’s Chamber of Digital Economy highlighted how the UAE’s thriving digital ecosystem expedited entrepreneurship and spurred remarkable activity growth. The nation’s proactive approach to digital regulations and initiatives has established a conducive environment for startups and rapidly expanding companies. This attractiveness has drawn global firms and investors, solidifying the UAE’s stature as a worldwide digital economy center. 

UAE Outpaces Egypt and Saudi Arabia in Scale-ups

Leading the MENA region with 339 scaleups, the UAE outpaces Egypt and Saudi Arabia, with 140 and 132 scaleups, correspondingly. A study disclosed that Dubai witnessed a 26% rise in scaleups, totaling 306, between 2021 and 2022. Moreover, funding in the MENA region surpassed AED 15 billion ($4 billion) in 2021-2022. Mega-rounds of AED 1 billion ($300 million) or more exhibited a rising trend, numbering three in 2021 and six in 2022, featuring two scaleups going public.

Dubai Aims to Become Global Destination of Choice for Digital Entrepreneurs

Moreover, UAE’s digital economy is currently valued at AED 140 billion ($38 billion) and it is expected to cross AED 514 billion ($140 billion) by 2031. The UAEs strong economic performance as well as the initiatives taken by the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy will ensure that both Dubai and UAE becomes the most preferred destination for digital entrepreneurs globally.

Author: Waqas Siddiqui
As a research consultant, I am passionate about supporting businesses in successfully expanding in the UAE and Gulf region. I can be reached at for research inquiries.