Dubai Startup Hub Membership Up by 236% During H1-2020 As Digital Transformation Accelerates Amid COVID-19 Dubai Chamber said that the growth in membership signals an upturn in entrepreneurial activity as startups in the UAE and from across the globe look to capitalize on emerging opportunities and bring new solutions to the Emirate amid accelerated digital transformation.

By Megha Merani

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Dubai Startup Hub, an initiative of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has recorded a 236% year-on-year surge in membership during the first half of 2020, attracting a large volume of high-potential startups specialising in fintech, healthtech, education, e-commerce, sustainability, wellness and supply chain that emerged in response to changing market conditions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dubai Chamber said in a press statement that the growth in membership signals an upturn in entrepreneurial activity as startups in the UAE and from across the globe look to capitalize on emerging opportunities and bring new solutions to the emirate amid accelerated digital transformation.

The number of Dubai Startup Hub members reached 1,568 in H1-2020, compared to 466 in the same period last year –a 13% average monthly increase– with more than half of applications for core programs coming from outside the UAE, affirming Dubai's position as an attractive market for global startups.

Following the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the businesses, Dubai Startup Hub realigned its offerings and resources to meet the changing needs of startups and SMEs in Dubai. The entrepreneurship initiative also organized 23 virtual events supporting close to 1,200 entrepreneurs as it addressed key subjects such as funding, banking, global expansion, market research, and data and digital innovation.

Related: Selling In a Pandemic: How To Communicate With Your Customers Amid COVID-19

UAE nationals accounted for a quarter of all Dubai Startup Hub beneficiaries in H1-2020, while 30 Emirati entrepreneurs are now one step closer to launching their businesses after graduating from the first-ever Emirati Development Program earlier this year.

On the global front, Dubai Startup Hub collaborated with more than 70 business incubators during Q1 and Q2, including India, USA, UK, Russia, Hungary, Germany and China, and received more than 50 percent of international startup applications for its core programs.

In addition, Dubai Startup Hub witnessed growing interest and record participation among international startups, and within the Indian, Chinese and African markets in particular. To meet this growing demand, Dubai Startup Hub aligned its efforts with Dubai Chamber's international offices to attract high-potential businesses to the UAE market.

H.E. Hamad Buamim, President & CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Dubai Startup Hub's performance and achievements reflects the strong entrepreneurial spirit that exists in the UAE, as well as the crucial role that startups are playing in bringing unique business concepts that fill market gaps.

Despite new challenges posed by COVID-19, he noted that the pandemic has created an opportunity for technology startups, in particular, that have demonstrated greater resilience as they capitalised on new market opportunities and benefitted from the various programmes, initiatives and support offered under Dubai Startup Hub, which continues to drive Dubai Chamber's entrepreneurship strategy.

Going forward, startups and SMEs will have a major role to play in building the UAE's post-COVID-19 economy and developing new industries, he explained, as this segment of the business community serves as an engine driving innovation and supporting the country's transition to a digitally-driven economy.

More than 8,200 entrepreneurs have benefitted from Dubai Startup Hub programs, services and events since its launch in 2016.

Established by Dubai Chamber in 2016, Dubai Startup Hub is the first initiative of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa region. The initiative is designed to emphasise the value of public and private sector collaboration and embodies the aim of encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship as a main driver of the economy of Dubai and the UAE.

This article was originally published on Dubai Startup Hub and has been reposted on Entrepreneur Middle East based on a mutual agreement between the websites.

Related: Dubai Startup Hub's Startup Panorama Edition 10.0 Focuses On Women Working In The Emirate's Tech Scene

Megha Merani

Independent Journalist

Megha Merani is an independent journalist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Her stories have made headlines across a number of publications including Reuters, Associated Press, Entrepreneur Middle EastBloomberg Middle East, Arabian Gulf Business Insight, Arabian Business, and former local daily 7DAYS.

Megha also produces editorial for government platforms including the World Government Summit and World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils. She has been a grant winner of the Thomson Reuters Foundation and The Global Initiative Against Organized Crime funded by the government of Norway to report on the online trade in illegal wildlife.

Megha is also an Associate Fellow (AFHEA) at Murdoch University in Dubai and leads its Digital Newsroom course unit. In addition, Megha serves as a United Nations Women mentor to support equal opportunities for women entrepreneurs, and supports various other programs including TIE Women, 60 Day Startups, and the Watt Inc. Business Incubator.

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