Let's Get To Business: The UAE Ranks First On The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor's Global Entrepreneurship Index 2022 The UAE emerged as the winner beating 46 other economies to claim this much-deserved achievement.

By Ali Hussain Sajwani

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The UAE leaped to the number one position this year in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor's (GEM) Global Entrepreneurship Index 2022 report. What this means is that the UAE is now the best place to do business globally- in fact, the survey adds that the nation is "the number one global destination for establishing and starting businesses, boasting the most encouraging environment for entrepreneurship."

The UAE emerged as the winner beating 46 other economies to claim this much-deserved achievement. The country gained a total high score of 6.8, showing improvement in 11 of the 13 framework conditions. The report rightfully applauded the government's "policy adjustments that have moved to increasingly promote business conditions for entrepreneurs." The framework included a range of relevant conditions such as the availability of both good opportunities to start a business and entrepreneurial finance, as well as experience to start a business, confidence in the ability to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, the ability of entrepreneurship projects in the country to generate new jobs, ease of access to entrepreneurial finance, and access to entrepreneurial education at schools.

Furthermore, the 2021 Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival brought to light the fact that entrepreneurship was going to be the foundation of the region's post-oil economy, over the next 50 years. Experts highlighted some very valid points, and what best resonated with me was that entrepreneurship is a mindset- it absolutely is! It is essential to build a society where entrepreneurship is accessible and approachable by supporting the young minds from an early age and helping mould them to begin their own journeys of success. Experience maketh man, surely, but an occasional nudge forward can only help leverage the experience. It is essential to have a supportive ecosystem where entrepreneurs can work in a symbiotic manner, helping one another, and together build an economy that both can thrive in. This also resonates with one of the framework conditions mentioned in the GEM report.

Related: If The Middle East's Entrepreneurs Are To Succeed, They Need The Long-Term Support Of The Region's Policymakers

Support doesn't end there. Last year, the government extended its support to encourage small and medium enterprises by announcing the Entrepreneurial Nation initiative. As part of this programme the UAE aims to set up 20 unicorns worth more than US$1 billion by the year 2023. The government aims to offer this support through various public-private partnerships, as well as assist in export and online sales. Over the next five years, an AED1 billion private equity fund will be released from early this year for lending to SMEs, as per an announcement from the UAE Ministry of Entrepreneurship and SMEs late last year. This is a giant leap of faith the government has taken to support SMEs, which have been claimed to be the backbone of the UAE. In fact, this sector contributes to 47% of Dubai's gross domestic product. Bearing this in mind, Dubai SME, an integrated division of the Department of Economic Development (DED) launched the Dubai SME 100 to identify SMEs based on financial and non-financial parametres and support their growth to match international practices.

There is thus a reason to the honours and recognition the UAE has received so far- a wise and valid reason. The UAE grew from its grassroots and arid landscape to a thriving economy due to its tolerance and hospitality towards the global community, and the visions of a leadership that was committed to ensure a harmony between its people and those they welcomed to their home. Fewer nations in the world have shown the support, solidarity, and opportunities available for the world to live and work in than the UAE has. Words may fall on deaf years, but seeing will ascertain that belief. Living here and experiencing the opportunities this nation provides can make anyone embrace this land like many generations have done, and so making the UAE their home, growing with the country, and sharing its lows and highs, like families do.

Related: Here's Why Entrepreneurship Is A Viable Graduate Career Choice In The UAE

Ali Hussain Sajwani

General Manager - Operations, Damac Properties

Ali Hussain Sajwani oversees day-to-day operations at global property developer, DAMAC Properties. He holds a BA from the Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, where he majored in economics.

Having inherited an entrepreneurial mindset from his father, the founder of DAMAC Properties Hussain Sajwani, Ali is keen to explore new frontiers with an eye on strategic business investments, especially in technology, sustainability, and the startup ecosystem. He has set up several private business ventures, including a luxury transport business, which he exited in 2020, delivering a 200% return on equity. Ali went on to establish a specialized facilities management company with 1,500 staff members that provides services to the high-end hospitality segment. His most recent entrepreneurial endeavor is establishing a highly targeted short-term leasing company in Dubai.

Ali also sits on the board of the family office for investments, with a focus on US equities and venture capital funds. Through the fund, he participated in the acquisition of the global fashion brand Roberto Cavalli in 2019. He is also the founding board member of Emirates Angels Investors Association, a non-profit aiming to positively contribute to the early-stage investment ecosystem through their investor network. With a passion for sports cars and delectable cuisine, Ali strives to promote healthy living and physical fitness and actively pursues kickboxing, circuit training, weight training, horseback riding, skeet shooting, skiing, and scuba diving. damacproperties.com

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