The Ministry of Economy revealed that it has received 700 applications from startups and SMEs wishing to participate in phase II of The Entrepreneurial Nation programs, between October 2022 and April 2023. The Ministry is currently in the process of shortlisting these applications in accordance with the program’s eligibility criteria.
The Ministry explained that 44 of the applications received under phase II of the project pertain to the development of franchise operations of SMEs in the country and supporting their capacities by providing them with expertise and knowledge to take advantage of global franchise systems. It will also help them drive expansion and investment plans in local, regional, and global markets. Another 120 applications pertain to the expansion of startups in Saudi Arabia in partnership with AstroLabs, which offers many advantages and incentives to entrepreneurs in the Saudi market. A total of 117 applications were received from startups from across many countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Bangladesh, Algeria, Pakistan, Morocco, India, Brazil, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Azerbaijan, seeking to set up and expand their businesses in the UAE. In addition, 40 applications were received for participation in the ‘Smart Framing Innovation Challenge,’ which was recently organized by the Ministry in collaboration with Elite Agro Projects.
The implementation of phase II of The Entrepreneurial Nation will support the UAE’s efforts to further develop entrepreneurship and SMEs in accordance with international best practices. The Ministry is keen to strengthen public-private cooperation and partnerships at the local, regional, and global levels in order to develop an integrated and leading ecosystem for entrepreneurs. It will ensure a prosperous future for them and encourage them to grow their businesses and leadership locally and globally, in line with the goals for the next 50 years.
Through Phase I of The Entrepreneurial Nation, the Ministry of Economy was able to support more than 240 startups and more than 700 businesses out of the 5,000 SMEs registered through The Entrepreneurial Nation portal.
The Ministry identified a number of key sectors for the development of SMEs, including health care, agricultural technology, education, e-commerce, financial technology, and logistics, based on the vital role SMEs play in supporting the national economy and promoting its sustainable growth.
Moreover, the Ministry succeeded in establishing and developing over 35 partnerships during the first and second phases of The Entrepreneurial Nation. These partnerships are the largest public-private sector partnerships of their kind, with notable global entrepreneurship institutions. These include Google, Amazon Web Services, Abu Dhabi Investment Office, AstroLabs, Elite Agro Projects, Emtiyz, Flat6Labs, Foodics, Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, Pure Harvest, Cisco, Huawei, and other leading entrepreneurship and SME development companies and platforms, which provide participants with direct funding solutions and indirect funding support.
Through these partnerships, the Ministry has also been able to launch 17 programs and 15 offers and discounts, contributing to a qualitative shift in the national entrepreneurship environment, making it more competitive. Furthermore, the Ministry is currently working on a set of new partnerships for the next phase to introduce programs and initiatives aimed at supporting digital transformation and expanding the import/export activities of startups and SMEs. These partnerships will also provide participants with world-class services and encourage them to expand regionally and globally from within the UAE.
The Ministry said that its efforts to support and empower the entrepreneurship sector will continue, providing all enablers and tools for its growth and prosperity. The development of robust legislation and the launch of innovative programs and initiatives complement these efforts, which in turn will help maximize the sector’s contribution to the UAE’s gross domestic product (GDP). In addition, these measures will help foster an environment of innovation and creativity, thus positioning the UAE as a top destination for entrepreneurs and startups from around the world.