DUBAI: Looking to transform itself into an innovation hub, Dubai is wooing entrepreneurs from India, the third biggest startup base in the world, to set up shops in the emirate.
The focus is on technology-driven startups, wherein the authorities are offering easier business licences, office spaces and access to funding.
Dubai grew to prominence first as a trading hub, and then as a construction, tourism and manufacturing centre. However, it grew at 1.9 per cent in 2018, the slowest growth since the post-crisis time in 2010.
“When we decided to launch the programme of attracting overseas startups here, naturally the first choice was India, as 30 per cent co-founders of our Dubai Startup Hub have Indian origin,” Natalia Sycheva, manager, entrepreneurship department of Dubai Chamber of Commerce told Incubees here.
“We have a strong focus on India and we realise how our incubators will benefit from Indian talent,” she said, adding that the chamber has launched Dubai Startup Hub to attract startups here.
“We would like to have around a couple of hundreds of startups, to bring their businesses to Dubai,” she added. They are looking at companies in emerging technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence and digital transformations, with a focus on how their solutions can be applied to help the local economy, she said.
These startups should bring changes in e-commerce, construction, logistics and retail sectors, she said. The hub organised roadshows at the Indian startup capital of Bengaluru and Delhi last month to identify and attract high-potential startups from India.
Selected startups will get business licences and office set up in Dubai and assistance in getting access to various government or private sector funding, she said, adding that efforts are also on to get startups from different African countries.