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How startups will help the UAE economy grow

The Future 100 initiative aims to identify and support promising SMEs.

How startups will help the UAE economy grow
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

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The UAE has launched multiple initiatives in nurturing its startup sector, which will help its overall goal of doubling the GDP and becoming home to 20 startups valued at more than $1 billion by 2031. The Minister of Economy says that the development of startups and their contribution to the economy plays a big role in accomplishing this objective.

The Future 100 initiative aims to identify and support promising small and medium enterprises (SMEs) contributing to the UAE’s future economic sectors, noted Abdulla bin Touq.

“Our objectives are very clear: accelerate the growth of SMEs into the future economy and stimulate private investment in the future economy,” he added. 

By providing fast access to investors, regulators, and the business community and supporting with funding, legal advice, commercial assistance, and capacity building, the initiative will give startups a push into new and emerging markets, he added.

The initiative will help build partnerships between the public and private sectors. The minister added that these partnerships will provide incentives, investment opportunities, acceleration support, technical and legal guidance, and competitive financing solutions.

“The Future 100 initiative is an integral part of our growth strategy to transform our economy, enhance its resilience, and ensure future sustainability,” bin Touq said.

Launched in December, the program will honor 100 startups annually, assessing them based on creativity, market potential, business scalability, and ESG. 

“As we navigate an era of great challenges and even greater opportunities, we must ensure that future readiness is the central force driving everything we do,” says Ohood Al Roumi, Minister of State for Government Development and the Future.

“In our vision for 2031, we have set ambitious goals and measurable targets on all fronts for the next decade, including becoming one of the top 10 countries globally in future readiness,” he added.

The initiative has brought in 25 new strategic and acceleration partners to support 100 emerging companies that are future-focused, enhance the competitiveness of new sectors, and help prepare the country for the future, according to Al Roumi.

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