Middle East: A Paradise for Present-Day Entrepreneurs


Emerging as one of the most sought-after regions in the world from a business perspective, the Middle East is currently gaining widespread attention from budding entrepreneurs owing to its burgeoning young population and rapidly snowballing consumer-spending-power. Though it is often assumed that doing business in the Middle East can be quite unapproachable because of its stern laws, culture, languages, and customs, this outlook has been proven wrong today. Lately, numerous business startups and foreign investments have navigated their course of action toward Middle Eastern countries, especially across the banking and real estate arena. Driven by the factors such as the country’s robust economy, low operating costs, and probable high-profit returns on capital investment, more entrepreneurs are opting to set up their business across the Middle Eastern countries due to the country’s strong economy, low operating costs, and potentially high-profit returns on capital investment.

This article explores the various factors that make the Middle East the most sought-after business destination for present-day entrepreneurs.

Thriving Business Environment

The Middle East is not confined to a single region but is an assembly of many countries. According to a recent study, cities like Doha, Qatar; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Cairo, Egypt; Amman, Jordan; Beirut, Lebanon; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Muscat, Oman; Manama, Bahrain; Aqaba, Jordan; are arresting the attention of many new-age entrepreneurs as important economic hubs of Middle East. With a series of numerous business-friendly policies, measures, and initiatives, these cities present across distinctive countries of the Middle East are currently perceived as wetlands for entrepreneurship and startups. Offering a thriving business environment driven by a host of favorable policies and initiatives, the Middle East is regarded as the home to thousands of small and medium startups.

Rewarding Experiences for Foreign Entrepreneurs

The Middle East offers rewarding experiences to foreign entrepreneurs, whether it’s 100 percent ownership of businesses by foreign nationals, extended visas for entrepreneurs with enterprises, or even free zones that offer a variety of benefits to startups. Apart from the opportunities to avail of various services pertaining to incubators, government projects, public-private partnerships, venture capitals, and accelerators, businesses can enjoy world-class physical and digital infrastructure. Owing to all these factors, the Middle East has certainly earned its reputation of being a land of opportunity and an emerging destination for startups and entrepreneurs. Reflecting on this, Omar Khan, Director, International Offices, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, shared his views with The Economic Times, “Dubai is one of the best platforms and testing hubs for startups, startup ideas, innovations. It is bringing the best and brightest minds in the world together.”

Adequate Financial Assistance

The presence of sturdy financial entities across the Middle Eastern region makes the environment favorable to support the budding startups and entrepreneurs of the present era. The Middle East is home to some of the largest banks and high-net-worth individuals in the world. The city of Dubai alone is a leading financial hub in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region and hosts about one-third of investors as well as venture capitalists in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Not to mention the tax benefits that can be termed as a supportive factor for young entrepreneurs as well as novel enterprises for exploring newer horizons. Ensuring abundant and easily available financing options for startups and entrepreneurs, the Middle East has emerged as an apt podium that brings together startups, investors, and public-private partnerships to provide funding to startups.

Opportunities for Female Entrepreneurs

Lately, the environment of the Middle East has become predominantly advantageous for women entrepreneurs as well. Almost every country in the Middle East extends assistance to budding women entrepreneurs whenever they seek to support. Women make up 70 percent of the region's university graduates and 44 percent of the workforce. Over the last decade, there has been a significant rise in the number of female entrepreneurs across various distinctive countries in the Middle East. Not to mention, there has also been a significant surge in female entrepreneur support groups, advisories, and workshops, according to various international magazines, newspapers, and tabloids. In the last few years, there have been reports of the formation of certain networks that exclusively focus on women's entrepreneurship and function around verticals pertaining to investment, financial management, and so on. The Dubai-based, Women's Investment Network, is one such podium set up to assist female entrepreneurs and other aspiring women professionals with financial management. With more women investors coming forward to explore the diverse and consequently booming ecosystem of the Middle East, there has never been a better time for a woman to start her dream venture across the grounds of the Middle East.

The emergence of the UAE as A Prime Entrepreneurial Destination

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Index, the UAE is currently positioned as one of the most preferred destinations in the world to start a business, mostly owing to the prospects, assistance, education, and access to finance as well as support the budding businesses that the region offers to the entrepreneurs. Providing strong infrastructure and the right platform to scale up a business, today, SMEs and startups comprise more than 90 percent of the market across the UAE and employ more than 80 percent of the private workforce. According to one internal report, UAE is currently aiming to nurture more than 20 unicorns or startups valued at over USD 1 billion by 2031. Speaking to Entrepreneurial Nation, which is a unique initiative that supports startups through a series of public-private partnerships, Ahmad Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, quotes, “The very objective is to assist entrepreneurs in magnifying their businesses, export their products and tap into online sales.”

In the last few years, the affordable, profitable and simple business has become synonymous with the Middle Eastern market. Providing lucrative opportunities for business expansion and robust growth, the Middle East has evolved as a prime destination for entrepreneurs for all the right reasons. In the upcoming years, it is quite predictable that the Middle East will envisage an excessive hike in entrepreneurial activities and welcome a significantly higher rate of entrepreneurs from all over the world. 

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