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1 September, 2019

Growing Pull Towards Entrepreneurship in the UAE

The pull of self-employment is as strong as ever in the region, in fact recent surveys reports confirm that almost seven out of 10 employees want to start their own ‎companies despite concerns over procuring finances. Indeed Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa is growing in 2019, as the survey mentioned 69 % of UAE employees want to quit their current job and be their own boss ‎instead. 54 % cited freedom over their work-life balance as the reason behind their ‎thinking, while 42 % aimed to find personal fulfillment.‎ 73 % admitted that they are currently thinking of starting a business, ‎while only 7 % say they have never thought of starting their own business.‎ On the regional scale, 33 % employees affirm leaving their previous jobs in order to increase their ‎income, while 27 % wanted to do something they loved, and 25 % had a great business idea or concept.‎IT, internet, e-commerce, commerce, trade, retail, consumer ‎goods, FMCG, real estate, construction, property development are The most appealing industries for prospective entrepreneurs.

Despite 61% of future entrepreneurs concerned by procuring finances to start, and 41% worried about the uncertainty of profit or income while setting up their own business, these concerns haven’t stopped increased numbers of people opening businesses – at least in ‎Dubai, where the number of new business licenses in the first four months of 2019 grew by 35 ‎percent compared to the same period in 2018. The emirate’s Department of Economic ‎Development issued 9,489 new licenses between January and April.‎

Start-ups and SMEs have long been the backbone of GCC economies, with SMEs making up ‎around 98 percent of business in the UAE, contributing approximately 53 percent of gross ‎domestic product (GFP). Under the country’s Vision 2021 plans, the government is seeking to ‎increase this contribution to 60 percent by 2021.‎

As part of the UAE’s bid to improve ease of doing business, the Federal Authority for Identity ‎and Citizenship started issuing five-year residency visas to entrepreneurs – a move that drew ‎more than 6,000 applications. It’s one of a series of moves that aim to improve opportunities ‎for the wider SME community.‎

Another is Dubai’s recent package of initiatives by the emirate’s Department of Finance, announced in March. These initiatives include paying the dues of SMEs that supply services and goods to government agencies sooner, reducing the value of primary insurance for SMEs, cutting ‘performance insurance’ rates, calling for 5 percent of government capital projects to be allocated to SMEs, and seeing projects worth Dhs1bn allocated to public-private partnerships.

Regionally, Saudi Arabia has also striven to lay more accommodating foundations for entrepreneurs, such as 2018’s launch of an entrepreneur license that allows new companies to benefit from a range of SME services and incentives.

Source: Gulf business

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