Regulation changes, big acquisitions spark thriving UAE startup scene

Strategic geographical location, government support programs, policy reform, local enterprise resources and a recent history of successful exits are converging to create an environment to nurture the next generation of tech-oriented startups in the UAE.

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As the startup scene in the United Arab Emirates enters a new phase of growth, the country has learned from bumps in the road and is emerging as a regional startup hub.

The UAE has a long history as a regional business hub, its geographic location bridging east and west with open access to emerging markets in both Africa and South Asia. The local startup scene, however, was initially impeded by lengthy visa processes and high establishment and licensing fees. That, coupled with a lack of local presence from multinational tech enterprises created a number of pain points for young, local would-be entrepreneurs.

But as governments across the emirates begin to address those issues, implementing startup friendly policies, and tech giants like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft begin to offer their resources locally, the UAE is positioning itself to become a regional - if not global - startup hotspot.

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