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Is the Middle East on its way to become the next startup hub?
Source: Damien Terry , Author: Damien Terry
Posted: Fri December 8, 2017 12:22 pm

UAE. Startups have revolutionised the way that business is done. No longer do people with the right idea have to be in the right place, at the right time – nowadays, you can invent the time and the place by founding a startup and let your investors back up your creative drive with the funding that is so essential in entrepreneurship.

Middle Eastern countries could not lag behind in this game of innovation and creativity: UAE is still ahead in the race, but it seems that countries like Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan are quickly catching up.

Middle East to Focus More on Digital?
The landscape in Middle Eastern countries looks as promising as ever for new financial ventures in the digital world: Techcrunch reports that across the approximately 160 million people in the region spanning from UAE to Egypt, 85 million are online, but only 8% of businesses have an online presence.

This figure stands in especially stark contrast to the US, a traditional entrepreneurship hub, where 8 out of 10 firms are online. In the Middle East and North Africa, the digital market is projected to rein in roughly $95bn annually to the GDP figures in the region in the next three years, while every position created in the niche market is expected to help create at least two new jobs in the general market.

Source: Pexels

With that in mind, it is no surprise that many startups focus on digital trends and are active in the tech market. But even those that are not especially technology-orientated, tend to rely on apps and cyber-tools - and thus know how to make use of digital solutions that help optimise application performance, like a load balancer. Load balancing is a process that redistributes traffic across servers to reduce overload on any single resource, and is among tools that can help up-and-coming businesses make sure that they can handle the traffic that comes with unexpected online demand.

Solutions like these are especially crucial for startups across industries, as they will need to play it safe in order to truly establish themselves on the market - and keeping their website and webapps online is crucial not only in impressing investors but also in keeping customers happy.

UAE Is still the Funding Stronghold in the Region
According to the same research published at Techcrunch, 2016 saw more than $870 million raised to back startup ventures, while the top 100 in the region have raised approximately $1.42 billion between them and each enterprise across the top 100 has managed to raise over $500,000. In terms of geographical divisions, almost 7 out of 10 founders are natives of Middle Eastern and North African countries, while roughly 4 out of 10 startup founders hail from Lebanon and Jordan – but interestingly, only 16% of enterprises are based in those countries.

Source: Pixabay

It is also interesting to note that UAE remains at the top in terms of funding, since it is home to 50% of the startups that attracted the most financial support. Forbes backs this data up – in its latest top 100 startups in the Arab world for 2017, 12 out of the first 20 startups that raised the most money are headquartered in UAE; and many of them like The Luxury Closet, Mumzworld and yallacompare focus on facilitating or firsthand providing of goods and services.

Middle Eastern countries have still a long way to go to rise to the same level as the output in innovation strongholds, like the American economy. Yet the recent focus on tech-orientated businesses seems to slowly pay off – and the already numerous and diverse startups have put the region on the map for good.

Inset Photo Caption: For illustrative purposes only



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