Dubai Next brings innovative means to supercharge startups

Dubai - Scaleability is a challenge many UAE startups face on multiple fronts running from talent, capital, technology and know-how.

The crowdfunding space has evolved and has opened up new funding options.
The crowdfunding space has evolved and has opened up new funding options.

By Nader Sabry

Published: Thu 20 May 2021, 6:32 PM

Last updated: Thu 20 May 2021, 6:33 PM

Dubai Next is a great initiative, especially given the current economic situation. Cash is like oxygen for startups: Without it, they cannot innovate and deliver value.

This initiative opens up many economic opportunities for Dubai. First and foremost is liquidity to an essential part of the economy that normally doesn’t have access to capital like more prominent companies. The more capital access options startups have, including equity and debt, the more economic value will be created. This also opens up unique opportunities like convertibles, which is debt that can be converted into equity against specific conditions. More sophisticated instruments are needed to help growth, and crowdfunding is one of the game-changers in that space.

Secondly, the ability to speed up and simplify the process of capital access is vital. Startups don’t have what banks want, nor do banks want to take the risk. Aside from banks, working with funds with overly extensive due diligence and other forms of red tape also hinder startups. In many ways, this move by the Dubai government will speed up capital access, forcing funds and other financial providers to keep pace with the step-up.

Third, this attracts more talent and foreign direct investment. This creates an opportunity for startups to obtain more talent creating more jobs and foreign investment opportunities to flourish, providing a whole new offering. This new offering enables exponential opportunities for small-to-medium-sized investors who want to tap into the Dubai success story.

Fourth, the ability for more innovation to take place. It’s no secret that startups are very good at solving complex problems using new ways. That is exactly what will happen; with fast access to capital and attracting more talent, startups can pave the way to solving some of the unique issues we face now in a post-Covid-19 environment.

Fifth is scaleability. As many startups struggle with scaling and accessing scaleable makes using the UAE, funding is critical. Several startups fail at this stage, and this is where the Dubai Next initiative can significantly help with crowdfunding as a source to help with scalability. Several small-scale investors want to tap into such opportunities, which generally would not be visible. This platform will help that visibility optimise the matching of investors seeking scalable opportunities and startups who need the funding to take their innovations to the next level.

Scaleability is a challenge many UAE startups face on multiple fronts running from talent, capital, technology and know-how. As many UAE startups are aware of these challenges, not enough resources are available or have been created by the government to support scalability. Dubai Next is a refreshing breath of fresh air on that note where the government is using innovative means to supercharge the growth of startups.

Finally, the crowdfunding space has dramatically evolved and opens up new funding options like cryptocurrency offerings. Although much more work will be needed from a regulatory perspective for cryptocurrency in Dubai, Next paves the way for that to happen.

Smart Dubai and other governments entities have significantly invested over the past few years in cryptocurrency and blockchain. Combined with the Dubai Next platform, it allows the government to bring all their hard work into fruition to support the private sector, especially startups and innovators. This will open up new doors for many more capital access instruments to help UAE startups scale.

Nader Sabry is a strategist, innovator and entrepreneur. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the publication's policy.

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