Shifting trends in the global market due to the aftermath of Covid-19 have paved new paths for entrepreneurship and nowhere is it more prominent than in Dubai, which has over the years created a diversified economy.
This, in turn, has resulted in the creation of business opportunities in a variety of sectors. Additionally, the government has brought about several incentives that have not only attracted businesses to the country, but talented professionals as well.
There are many reasons why people choose to become entrepreneurs, but how does a city inspire entrepreneurship? Every entrepreneur wants to start his or her business at a location where the government is pro-business, provides easy access to the global market, has world-class infrastructure and provides exciting business opportunities.
That is exactly what Dubai offers. The city has constantly evolved, adjusted and adapted to innovative schemes of production, circulation and consumption of goods and services, which has consistently fostered an environment conducive to business and investment.
There are plenty of success stories that have risen from the sands of Dubai. One such success story is that of Saygin Yalcin, a German entrepreneur who set up sellanycar.com and is currently its CEO. Determined and strongly motivated by the success story of Dubai, he arrived in the city with just a backpack and the dream to achieve.
He founded the region’s first online private shopping club in 2009, Sukar.com, and sold it to Souq.com three years later. He then became a partner at both Jabbar Internet Group and Souq.com in 2012 and set up Sellanycar.com a year later.
Today the latter is the UAE’s largest online car trader, and the company crossed AED1 billion in total revenues in 2019. Yalcin has taken his entrepreneurial lessons from Dubai and expanded his roles into other business, mentoring budding entrepreneurs as well as becoming a social influencer on the way.
The government’s role
The largest driver of entrepreneurship in Dubai is the government — with its pro-business policies and state-of-the-art infrastructure. The government has recently pushed several new incentives designed to attract professionals and independent investors from all over the world and support smaller enterprises.
Some of these include allowing 100% foreign-owned businesses, offering extended visas for entrepreneurs, attracting tech businesses to the UAE, providing funding and support for smaller businesses and creating a favourable environment for living and working, among others.
Dubai was among the first Emirates which allowed foreign ownership of properties and stocks, and the city’s Department of Economic Development (DED) has kept itself updated with policies that provide support to maintain a favourable atmosphere for local, as well as foreign investors.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have also been a key contributor for business growth and expansion.
According to a report by the Oxford Business Group, SMEs contribute to nearly 40% of the GDP and 42% of employment. With several new initiatives being rolled out to promote entrepreneurial growth — like the Dubai Plan 2021 launched in 2019 which aims to increase SMEs GDP contribution to 45 per cent — Dubai could well witness a remarkable new phase in SME growth and innovation.
Beyond its economic favourability, the UAE is also a great place to live. Dubai led the region in the annual 2019 Quality of Living survey by Mercer, ranking 74th globally and was closely followed by Abu Dhabi, in 78th place.
The UAE cities continue to rank high on the survey and their positive scores are largely attributed to their impressive performance in several areas, such as providing a stable political environment, encouraging a pro-business economy, offering premium public services and being a tolerant, diverse and multi-cultural country.
Furthermore, the UAE took the number seven slot for safety and security, according to global data website Numbeo – making it an attractive location for entrepreneurs with families.
The UAE is also working on a series of reforms to meet its target of topping the World Bank’s annual ease of doing business ranking in 2021, moving up from the 16th position it currently holds. Meanwhile, the country maintained its top spot for the fourth year as the most competitive economy in MENA, according to the World Economic Forum.
Globally, the country jumped two places to rank 25th out of 140 countries in the 2019 Global Competitiveness Report published annually by the organisation.
The growing support network provided by government initiatives, and the communities they foster, will no doubt strengthen the overall entrepreneurship ecosystem in the UAE and continue to attract entrepreneurs here for years to come.
What is certain is that enthusiasm and drive are important factors in growing your business and an environment that is geared towards helping such businesses succeed is essential. And as it stands, you are unlikely to find another location like Dubai, where the government and the economy are so invested in your success.