Three UAE ecosystems rank in the MENA Top 10 in Performance in the 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) issued by Startup Genome. Dubai was ranked in number 2, Abu Dhabi in 5 and Sharjah at 7 based on the size and performance of its ecosystem based on the accumulated tech start-up value created from exits and funding. The MENA top 5 also included Tel Aviv (1), Cairo (3) and Riyadh (4) in addition to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The GSER 2021 has also named Sharjah among the top 10 MENA Ecosystem in ‘Talent & Experience’ based on the ability to identify and retain talent in the ecosystem.
According to the report the total number of late-stage funding rounds in MENA almost doubled in the last five years, while the total late-stage funding amount has grown 2x. AI and Big Data is the leading sub-sector in MENA, with $3 billion invested in early-stage rounds and $8 billion in exit value between January 2018 and June 2020.
Commenting on Sharjah’s rank in 2021 GSER as a leading regional hub for startups, Sheraa CEO, Najla Al Midfa, said, “Sharjah has been strategically pushing forward towards creating a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem and is being recognised by global authorities like the Startup Genome and Global Entrepreneurship Network. The emirate has always been at the forefront of innovation – be that as a trade hub, the region’s centre of art and cultural activities, and now as an inspiring entrepreneurial destination. Government support through business-friendly policies, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and availability of top-tier talent have elevated Sharjah’s position on the startup world map.”
She added, “Sharjah has been the launchpad for numerous high-potential startups from the region and beyond, empowering a community of mission-driven founders by turning their disruptive ideas into impactful businesses. We will continue our drive to identify and incubate innovative and creative startups solving some of the world’s greatest challenges through entrepreneurial endeavours, whilst diversifying Sharjah and the UAE’s economy.”
Further, as a first-of-its-kind initiative, Sheraa recently launched the Sharjah Startup Studio (S3), a government-backed startup studio, to support early-stage impact entrepreneurs with funding, mentorship, and logistical assistance to set up businesses in the emirate.
The 2021 GSER from Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network ranks the leading 140 ecosystems in the world, breakdowns by continent with regional insights, and founder-focused articles from thought leaders and experts, with data from over 3 million companies across 280 ecosystems.