The 49th National Day – A look at the UAE’s inspiring journey towards digitalisation and entrepreneurship

Op-ed by Hisham Al Gurg, CEO, the Seed Group and the Private Office of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is synonymous with inspiration. It is a country that has exemplified how diversification and an openness to innovation are key to growth. Since the formation of the UAE, 49 years ago, on December 2, 1971, our leaders have emphasised their intention to pursue economic diversification and reduce the country’s reliance on hydrocarbons, which was at that time a primary economic pillar. These intents were fast-acted upon and the UAE has been on a journey to the path of becoming a crucial hub of industrial development.

Gradually, as technology started taking precedence and began to enter every known industry, the UAE fared nothing less than exemplary. Technological diversification, digital transformation, and entrepreneurship played a major part in this momentous growth. The fact that the UAE is the first country in the world to have a minister of Artificial Intelligence (AI), speaks volumes about the country’s progress in the field of technology and its crystal-clear intentions towards scaling new heights in the realm of the fourth industrial revolution.

The UAE in general, and Dubai in particular, opened new avenues enabling start-ups and entrepreneurs to leverage the supportive financial and legal policies around new businesses.

Today, as we approach the 50th year of the nation’s formation, the start-up ecosystem of the UAE is an inspiration to the entire world – even more so with the recent developments, including allowing 100 percent foreign ownership in businesses and the expansion of 10-year golden visa scheme to include a larger group of professionals. These futuristic initiatives by the government open scope for more growth than ever for foreign businesses.

As motivating as the past of this glorious nation has been, the future is deemed to be even brighter. The efforts towards digitalisation, FinTech advancements, AI adoption, and e-commerce are top government priorities as per the UAE’s Vision 2021. It would be apt to say that proactive and entrepreneur-friendly policies have been crucial in building a digital culture across the UAE.

We, at Seed Group, a company of The Private Office of Sheikh Saeed Bin Ahmed Al Maktoum, are an active catalyst in this context. Helping technology companies of all size and stature to come to Dubai and make it their new business address since 2004, we have seen the economic landscape shape into what it is today.

On the occasion of the 49th National Day, as we look back at what we, as a nation, have achieved, it fills us with pride and respect towards our founding fathers, our martyrs, and everyone who has lived in this country and contributed to its growth in one way or the other.

However, it is important to understand, in the words of Robert Frost, that there still are “miles before I sleep” … the evolution is constant and so are our efforts towards a resilient, future-proof, and digitally advanced nation where happiness is the prime focus.


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