The UAE has been ranked first in the Arab world and 27th globally in the Global Start-up Ecosystem Index 2022 achieving 9,412 points on the general index of classification, according to a report by Israel-based Start-up Blink.
Start-up Blink is the world’s most comprehensive start-up ecosystem map and research centre, providing public sector ecosystem developers, innovative organisations, and researchers with the knowledge and tools to map, brand, and grow their start-up ecosystems.
The report ranks countries according to a set of criteria, including the number of start-ups, co-working spaces and accelerators, how attractive the country is to start-ups and unicorns, as well as some general indicators related to infrastructure, business environment, volume of business activity, and supporting policies.
The report said that the UAE is still in the list of the top 30 countries in the world and maintains its position in second place in the Middle East, after Israel.
The report further said the city of Dubai notched up six places as it improved its position from 67th in the world in 2021 to 61st in 2022.
The report indicated that the UAE can benefit greatly from enhancing the performance of its business environment, with Dubai continuing to excel in transforming itself into a global hub for emerging companies.
The UAE has become a strong regional hub for entrepreneurship, while Dubai boasts a high concentration of technological innovation, is the innovation hub in the Arab world and a popular destination for aspiring Arab entrepreneurs across the MENA region.
In addition, Abu Dhabi has also become a successful centre for the start-up ecosystem, is home to many accelerators and incubators, and is a large local market for start-ups.
Other Emirates, such as Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah, also have the potential to create their own successful ecosystems. An example of the Emirati potential is the successful exit of Careem, which was sold to Uber for more than $3 billion, the first unicorn in the Middle East. Other UAE-based start-ups such as Kitubi have joined the unicorn club.
US Leads the List
The US topped the world rankings, followed by the United Kingdom in second place while Germany ranked sixth, and China 10th in the list.
The report added that the business launch licenses recently issued by the state, in addition to the new flexible visa rules, had a positive impact in pushing foreign investment in the UAE. The abundance of investment and financing opportunities available to entrepreneurs is another factor contributing to the UAE’s success as a hub for emerging businesses.
The success of Expo 2020 in Dubai and hosting events such as the Annual Investment Meeting, the Global Entrepreneurship Conference, and the Start-up Investment Forum, has established the UAE on the global stage and attracted more attention to its vibrant start-up ecosystem.
The Middle East & Africa region experienced volatility this year. The region is represented by 19 countries in the 51-100 range, and all 19 countries shuffled their rankings this year, with quite a few experiencing sizable shifts up and down the Index.
Bahrain increased by 2 spots to rank 64th, while Egypt increased 5 spots to closely follow at 65th. Morocco also registered an impressive jump of 16 spots to rank 79th globally. The small island of Cape Verde is punching above its weight at 80th globally after increasing 7 spots.