The Fintech ecosystem in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is once again very much in the spotlight as OC&C Strategy Consultants, in collaboration with Wamda Capital, have published a 2019 report titled “Tech Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in the United Arab Emirates” identifying a number of areas in policies and regulations which affect tech entrepreneurship in the UAE.
Commissioned by Google as part of a six-country study that includes the Turkey, Russian Federation, South Africa, Nigeria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the report found that the UAE scores relatively highly on a number of indicators, making it a rising star in tech entrepreneurship and poised to become a global frontrunner.
Across the UAE, the strength of government commitments to innovation has yielded both a high startup density as well as a rich network of support services and foundational programmes to drive long-term innovation. The report highlighted that although innovation capability is still under development, investments in R&D projects at the public and private sector levels, and a sustained focus on STEM, both within universities and as part of
innovation projects, are likely to yield results in the long term.
The authors highlighted that most of the challenges faced by the UAE tech entrepreneurship ecosystem require addressing the foundation that tech entrepreneurship ecosystems rest upon. Ensuring that government targets for innovation development are achieved is likely to depend on maintaining focus on the regulatory infrastructure, and educational foundations already are a top priority. Accordingly, the UAE will need to continue aligning its digital policies with frontier nations in order to become a viable partner and supplier.
However, many challenges currently being addressed will only improve in the long term. In the interim, adopting a focused and targeted approach to relieving current tension points at the heart of the tech entrepreneurship activity could provide early success stories and working models that can be replicated across the country.
Also, the regulatory infrastructure supporting alternative funding for the UAE is also creating a space for tech entrepreneurs to look for funding beyond the traditional banks, venture capitalists or government accelerators.
Since equity crowdfunding opens investment opportunities to such a large population, it has the potential to unlock the funds needed to support a thriving tech ecosystem in the UAE.