Being an epicenter of global entrepreneurship and a home of choice to the world of startups, approaching the Dubai funding landscape to start financing your business is easier than it may seem. For investors, entrepreneurs, and emerging companies, Dubai offers a plethora of funding options and facilitators to cut through the noise, launch your projects, accelerate their growth, and create new markets.
The Mohamed Bin Rashid Fund For SME
More than 94% of the companies operating in the UAE are SMEs and together, they account for more than 86% of the total private sector workforce as well as more than 60% of the country's current GDP, which is estimated to go up to 70% by 2021.
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Fund, the financial arm of Dubai SME aims to finance innovative pilot projects, both small and medium enterprises, through dedicated efforts and a devoted focus on studying the project and providing appropriate assistance for start-up and expansion.
To receive funding, the project idea must be unique and innovative, registered as the intellectual property of its respective owner, with the initial stage of the project must have already been established.
Applicants must be a resident, individual or a company registered in the UAE. Applying is not restricted to Emirati companies but also includes all companies in the region, provided that they are registered in the UAE.
Applicants must introduce a long-term business development plan supported by a feasibility study in order to qualify the project and acquire the appropriate funding.
The fund will focus on financing projects within the seven major sectors of the National Innovation Strategy, namely: renewable energy, transportation, education, health, water, and technology.
Dubai Future Accelerators & Area 2071
Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA), an initiative by Dubai Future Foundation, facilitates the collaboration between government entities and private sector organizations with start-ups, scale-ups, and innovative SMEs from around the world to co-create solutions for future challenges.
In 2019, 219 start-ups have partnered with Government entities on 97 challenges, and 71% of start-ups signed contracts with partner entities to implement new projects.
Overseen by Dubai Future Foundation, Area 2071 is a unique ecosystem that nurtures global talents to start and grow their business in the UAE. Members of Area 2071 have access to a network of strategic partners, entrepreneurs, and investors.
Area 2071 offers subsidized licensing fees to all startups and entrepreneurs. The fees amount to AED 1,000 annually for a commercial license allowing the entrepreneur to conduct three activities within the same segment.
Registered businessowners will have a 3-year business license for operation within Area 2071 and Dubai Development Authority (DDA), known before as Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA).
Business Incubators and Accelerators
Dubai hosts a large network of incubators enabling start-ups to scale from an idea to a fully-fledged business. Incubators create the perfect environments for small and medium emerging businesses, offering early funding, working spaces, training programs and workshops, networking events, and access to investors. Dubai currently boasts several enabling platforms for entrepreneurs and start-ups, such as TechStars Dubai, Turn8, In5, FinTech Hive, Astrolabs, and many more.
Nasdaq Dubai Growth Market
The recently launched Nasdaq Dubai Growth Market, is a landmark initiative helping young businesses and small and medium-sized companies achieve the next phase of their expansion by raising capital through an initial public offering (IPO).
The Nasdaq Dubai Growth Market will enable fast-growing companies to achieve a streamlined and cost-effective listing on the region’s international exchange. As part of the Dubai Future District project, the Growth Market will welcome not only companies in the UAE, but also list companies from around the world to help them expand in the region and internationally.
Dubai Angel Investors
The Dubai Angel Investors (DAI) is a fully capitalized investment company, where angels range from seasoned investors, tech entrepreneurs, venture fund partners, senior executives of successful companies and one institutional investor.
DAI leverages their collective experience as well as their extensive network of contacts to add value to investees, through their ability to open doors and mentor them.
Home to one-third of all MENA investors, with over 140 venture capital funds and venture capitalists, the highest in the region, Dubai is the region’s top venture capital destination, offering a range of support mechanisms and enabling a creative and vibrant.
Small and large businesses can access a wide range of commercial and finance loans offered by majority of banks in Dubai, with low interest rates and flexible repayment options.
In general, a loan amount can vary from 50,000 AED to 5 Million AED, documentation process is simple and straightforward, and loans are usually granted within a period of 7 to 25 working days.
As a leading event destination, Dubai has one of the most comprehensive networking scenes in the world, giving entrepreneurs opportunities to present their startups and pitch their ideas to investors.
In 2019, a total number of 3.57 million visitors landed in Dubai solely to attend events hosted in the city. Dubai World Trade Center, one of the world’s major events and exhibition venue, generated $6.3 billion in economic value in 2019.
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