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Exclusive interviews with entrepreneurs from the Middle East and beyond. All the important stories, plus authoritative opinion and analysis

Abu Dhabi's Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Mubadala Investment Company and Kelix Bio announce plans to collaborate on R&D into biopharmaceutical technologies

UAE considers R&D tax incentives to help SMEs

The UAE is considering plans for a research and development tax incentive scheme to boost its ambitions to become a regional centre for homegrown innovation. The Ministry of Finance said it has launched an official consultation on the possible implementation of the tax incentive under the UAE corporate tax law.  The consultation will be open […]

Qatar hopes to lure skilled individuals and wealthy entrepreneurs

Qatar woos foreign talent with 5-year residency permit

Qatar has launched a residency permit aimed at attracting talented individuals and entrepreneurs.  The permit programme, which is expected to open in the next few months, offers five-year renewable residencies to people with expertise in specific fields including the arts and scientific research. Applicants must either have a job offer in Qatar or demonstrate financial […]

Visitors at the Leap Technology Conference in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia backs tech startup sector with $888m

Saudi Arabia has announced investments worth $888 million to support the local tech startup and venture capital sector. The funds will support industries such as digital payments, e-gaming and artificial intelligence (AI). The announcement was made on the second day of the Leap international technology conference taking place this week in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia has […]

Emirates NBD will finance eligible SMEs at competitive rates, charging the Eibor with no additional margin

Dubai’s $136m boost to drive global growth of SMEs

Dubai has allocated AED500 million ($136.13 million) to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with ambitions to scale up globally. The initiative was launched in partnership with Emirates NBD, the UAE state-run Wam news agency reported. The Dubai international growth initiative will support the global expansion of SMEs founded in the emirate, Dubai Crown Prince […]

The Future Investment Initiative Conference, run by the Saudi PIF. The FII invests in a range of sectors, including startups Video length: 05:04

Middle East unicorns will flourish, predict VCs

For the first time since 2015, there were no deals worth more than $100 million last year in the UAE. Despite this, venture capitalists predict the region will see the creation of at least 10 unicorns – defined as a privately held startup company with a value of more than $1 billion – within the […]

Saudi Arabia's new long-term residency visa programme follows its HQ Programme for international companies

New Saudi visas aim to lure ‘high-wealth investors’

Saudi Arabia’s new long-term residency visas is at attracting “high-wealth investors” to the kingdom, though it may hinder the nurturing of local talent, some analysts have warned. The updated “premium residency” options are designed to lure top global talent to Saudi Arabia as it continues its billion-dollar transformation from a hydrocarbon-based economy. The visas cover […]

42 deals to secure funding for startups were agreed in November

Mena startup funding bounces back in November

Startup funding rose sharply in November, reflecting regional and global investors’ renewed confidence in the Middle East and North Africa.  Investment totalled $764 million from 42 deals, according to Dubai-based venture capital company Wamda. It was the highest monthly figure in 2023, an increase of 390 percent from October’s figure and a year-on-year rise of […]

The UAE bankruptcy law seeks to 'strike a balance between the rights of creditors and the interests of debtors'

UAE sets up bankruptcy court to rule on disputes

The UAE is overhauling its bankruptcy and restructuring law, introducing a specialist court to oversee disputes. The legislation – formally Federal Law Decree No 51 of 2023 – comes into force on May 1, 2024, and replaces the 2016 bankruptcy framework. It will emphasise the importance of amicable resolutions, broadening the scope for debtors to […]

Businesses will benefit 'when their female directors have the numbers to build influence,' says Maliha Jilani

More women join UAE boards, but progress ‘still slow’

When Maha Abdul Majeed Ismail Ali Al Fahim joined the board of Islamic Arab Insurance Company this year, she became part of a growing trend. Women made up 23 percent of appointments to UAE boards in 2022, from just 12 percent in 2020, according to executive search company Heidrick & Struggles. But campaigners in the Gulf […]

Gary Neville

UAE buyers help ex-England footballer hit property goals

The former Manchester United and England footballer Gary Neville has revealed that one in five properties in his luxury residential development have been snapped up by UAE investors. Neville, a Champions League-winning defender turned entrepreneur, visited the Emirates this week to gauge Middle Eastern interest in his £400 million ($501 million) hotel and apartment project […]

The UAE minister of climate change and environment, Mariam Almheiri, right

Agtech in spotlight as Mena startup funding recovers

Startup funding in the Mena region in October remained subdued on a year-on-year basis, but agtech is one of the areas set to shine. Mena startups raised $156 million in October, compared to $646 million raised in October 2022, but vastly up on the $36 million raised in September, according to data from Wamda, a […]

Jack Selby says there are many opportunities for acquisition in the Middle East following his experiences with PayPal

Gulf’s ‘copycats’ still attractive to Silicon Valley

Copycat companies in the Middle East are still an attractive acquisition option for Silicon Valley giants because the risk of trying to establish themselves in the region is too high, according to Thiel Capital managing director Jack Selby. The Middle East has been criticised for mimicking startups from other parts of the world, rather than […]

The Dubai Investment Fund will replace the Dubai government as owner of shares in companies

Dubai protects city emblem as IP laws evolve

A new law has been established to protect the official emblem of Dubai as part of evolving legislation aimed at improving intellectual property (IP) rights in the UAE. Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also vice president and prime minister of the UAE, has issued Law No. 17 of 2023, which […]

Middle East startups

Middle East needs to make it easier to launch startups

The Middle East is a “very attractive” market for entrepreneurs but its fragmented nature is a barrier to entry, even as jurisdictions compete to attract international startups, executives said at an industry event in Dubai. “None of the countries in the region are large enough or full enough to be an ecosystem on their own,” […]

Cop28 SMEs hub

Cop28 launches hub to help Mena SMEs cut carbon

The Cop28 presidency has set up a dedicated programme to help small and medium-sized enterprises in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) to cut their carbon emissions. The team behind the climate conference, which is being held this year in Dubai, has joined forces with the global not-for-profit SME Climate Hub and the We […]

One Moto founder Adam Ridgway says the shift to EVs will help delivery drivers who often have to pay for their own fuel

Dubai company’s EVs aim to deliver ‘last mile’ in 100 cities

Dubai company One Moto, which aims to decarbonise “last mile” deliveries using electric vehicles, has said it plans to serve 100 cities by 2028. After launching the company in the UAE, serial entrepreneur Adam Ridgway has gained a foothold in the UK, Bahrain, Jordan, Sri Lanka, Chile, Iraq, Nepal and Ethiopia. It is in talks […]

Palestine startups

Funding options on the rise for Palestine startups

Palestine is home to a wealth of entrepreneurial talent but its startups have struggled to gain access to funding. A number of initiatives are aiming to change all that by doubling the amount of startup funding available and offering mentoring opportunities. Support is also being offered to Palestinians living in the Middle East and North […]