The inaugural Innovation Live!, an official anchor event for UAE Innovation Week, held a joint session with Tejar Dubai, a Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry initiative to discuss the future of entrepreneurship in the UAE. Aligned with the UAE Vision 2021 aiming to upscale Small and Medium Enterprises’ contribution of 70% of non-oil GDP, the session was held to formulate an action plan boosting entrepreneurship within the UAE.
The initiative’s overarching goal is to encourage public and private sector collaboration to foster a culture of innovation within the next generation of entrepreneurs. The session also debated how to remove barriers hindering success for start-ups in the UAE. As a result, Dubai Chamber has facilitated dialogue between prominent entrepreneurs of the UAE and government entities ranging from the energy to education sectors. The participants identified key challenges and opportunities entrepreneurs face during their new start-up ventures.
The focus group reached a consensus in identifying the main challenges entrepreneurs are faced within the UAE and the need for measures to be taken by the government to help them flourish. Factors contributing to the challenges were raised and included high start-up costs, limited access to data, lengthy administration processes and the gap of providing certified training to individuals wishing to become entrepreneurs.
Essa Al Zaabi, Senior Vice-President, Institutional Support Sector, Dubai Chamber, stated that the Innovation Live summit is designed to bring together the public and private sectors to work together to find sustainable solutions to diversified economic sectors leading up to the post-oil scenario.
“The summit with its extensive keynote addresses, panel sessions, debates and hard talks, is an ideal platform to support and inject innovation into business as entrepreneurs, especially SMEs who are central to the growth strategy of Dubai, can participate in brainstorming sessions designed to identify and solve specific sector based challenges that create barriers to innovation across the government and private sectors,” said Al Zaabi.
This Watercooler challenge is another step to identify the focus areas, which will contribute to help make the UAE one of the ‘happiest’ countries in the world.” For startups incubating in the region, it is imperative for them to align with rapidly evolving innovations to ensure competitive advantage. In order to support the growth of small and medium sized businesses, a law on SMEs passed last year which entitled these companies to 10 percent of Government awards.