The UAE does not boast a high volume of start-ups compared to countries like Jordan, but the ones that do exist have more traction, according to an industry expert.
“The UAE start-ups have investors, teams, they are selling and moving,” said Omar Christidis, founder and CEO of ArabNet.
“They are more advanced, have more momentum and more assets – they have stronger fundamentals for success,” he said. (Read: 10 UAE Start-Ups To Watch)
One of the main factors driving the country’s start-up scene is that most of the new companies are being headed by experienced entrepreneurs.
“We are seeing a lot of mid-career professionals, not the 20-year olds, but the 30-year old entrepreneurs who have got experience in a particular field, have resources and the know-how to build and sustain a company,” said Christidis.
“They have a better shot at succeeding since they create more viable products.”
Currently, start-ups are a hot topic in the region and companies are hungry for information on them, said Christidis.
“There is heightened interest on how to create the next million jobs in the region, and a lot of people are seeing entrepreneurship as a possible solution,” he said.
Hence governments are taking notice, and there is also increasing interest from the private sector, he added.
However, although there is money to support start-ups on a regional level, there is not always a link connecting the firms to the right investors.
“Who is helping regional start-ups create revenue streams and helping them get their first client? That’s the link that’s missing here,” stated Christidis.
Mentoring is essential – most successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with established people because they have operational expertise and strong relationships.
It is also essential to build an open, dynamic culture among start-ups, to discuss failures and share what not to be done.
Christidis is hoping to highlight and address some of these issues during the three-day ArabNet Digital Conference in Dubai this week.