Realising entrepreneurial dreams: Why the UAE’s top ranking makes it a safe haven for global SMEs

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


The UAE is a country of dreams – a country that was built on a dream and 50 years later, it is still one of the best nations in the world for dreamers. There is no better country than the UAE to start your entrepreneurial journey and a recent top ranking in a global index strongly backs this statement.

The UAE has been ranked first in the region and fourth globally in the latest Global Entrepreneurship Index, by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.

As per the ranking, the UAE has outperformed major global economies such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, China, Japan and South Korea by varying parameters. Riding high on the wave of technological developments and the presence of a forward-looking supportive government, the Emirates took fifth place in the 2019 ranking.

The ranking has also placed the UAE second under the national government’s response to the Covid-19 lockdowns and the impact on the entrepreneurial sector. It has scored 7.3 out of 10 on the general physical infrastructure and services indicator access along with other factors such as cultural, social norms, and society support.

Though we are proud of this ranking, it is no surprise to us, the people familiar with the work being done in the direction of empowering small and medium enterprises and enabling entrepreneurs to chase their dreams.

We are a welcoming country – to ideas, to people, to diversity, and to inclusion. The enabling policies around business establishment, growth and success have entrepreneurs at the heart of them. Our supportive and visionary leaders are one of the key forces behind all the success that our country has achieved and that entrepreneurs have witnessed.

The country is rife with integrated systems, supportive policies, and robust infrastructure to support and incubate entrepreneurial missions. But that support is not limited to just setting up of a company. It goes beyond this stage to help entrepreneurs compete on a fair footing, gain access to everything they need to succeed and build a global brand.

Small and medium-sized enterprises in the UAE are one of the major contributors to its non-oil GDP and a strong pillar supporting the overall economic landscape. Exemplary announcements around financial and infrastructural aid are part of national efforts towards a level playing field for SMEs to thrive.

Overall, the rankings are reflective of what the UAE as a country offers to the SMEs and entrepreneurs. This ranking positions the UAE as a leader endowing the entrepreneurial ecosystem, helping millions to realise their dream of owning a company, by tying it to the broader national vision – all in one land.

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