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The National Entrepreneurship Agenda

  • The UAE will become the entrepreneurial nation by 2031
  • Home to 10 unicorns start-up companies by 2031
  • One of the top 3 countries in the Global Entrepreneurship Index

Supportive Environment for Entrepreneurship in the UAE

The UAE enjoys a world-class environment that supports and regulates the entrepreneurship sector, with an integrated system to incubate entrepreneurial projects and accelerate their growth. The concerned government entities are developing initiatives and programmes that serve as growth engines and major contributors to increasing the UAE's GDP. The entrepreneurship ecosystem in the UAE has been greatly enhanced through several decisive measures and decisions taken at the federal level, which include allowing full foreign ownership of companies in all activities, providing golden visas for entrepreneurs, in addition to dozens of promising advantages and incentives. Over the past two decades, specialised free zones have also contributed to establishing a solid foundation for entrepreneurship in the UAE. With its supporting strategies, the Ministry of Economy seeks to increase the number of SMEs in the UAE and enhance the contribution of this sector to the GDP.

Enablers of the Entrepreneurship Sector

  • National Agenda to support entrepreneurs
  • 10+ key government programmes
  • 11+ accelerators for entrepreneurship and startups
  • 100% foreign ownership of companies
  • Golden visa for entrepreneurs
  • Free zones and integrated business communities

Entrepreneurship is a priority
in the "Fifty Economic Plan"

The "Fifty Economic Plan" represents our vision for the economic framework in the UAE for the years 2021-2030. Its main pillars aim to stimulate entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises, spread the culture of entrepreneurship among future generations and establish the position of the UAE as a global hub and destination for entrepreneurship, especially in the areas of innovation and technology. The Fifty Economic Plan falls under the umbrella of the "Year of Preparation for the Next Fifty" strategy, which is the largest national strategy of its kind in preparation for the next fifty years at all levels of the federal and local state.

UAE Retains First Place in the Global Entrepreneurship Index for Two Consecutive Years, 2021 and 2022

The UAE has managed to retain its position as the global leader in the Global Entrepreneurship Index for two consecutive years, 2021 and 2022. This achievement underscores the national efforts that have been intensified over the past few years to improve the business environment and elevate its competitiveness on a global level. The Ministry of Economy is currently focusing its efforts on enhancing the business environment in the country to ensure that it meets the needs of the small and medium-sized enterprises sector, considering it a driving force for the national economy.

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Competitiveness Indicators

Entrepreneurship sector in the UAE

4th Globally

Venture Capital Availability

World Economic Forum

5th Globally

Innovative Business Growth Index

World Economic Forum

6th Globally

Business Growth and Venture Capital

Digital Competitiveness Index
Competitiveness Yearbook 2020

1st Globally

Global Entrepreneurship Index

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor

17th Globally

Business Efficiency

Competitiveness Yearbook

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Our current plans

Improving the entrepreneurial ecosystems

Diversify of financing
options and facilitate
banking procedures

business costs
for SMEs

Expand the scope of
incentives and facilities
related with government

Upgrade to Entrepreneur
Residence Visa

Support innovative

Strengthen digital

Exclusive benefits...

Golden Visa for Entrepreneurs

Experienced entrepreneurs from all over the world can apply for a golden visa to establish businesses in the UAE. These long-term residence visas will be grated to them and their families to be a part of the UAE’s success story. Investors and entrepreneurs can apply for a golden visa provided that they meet the specific conditions and requirements. The Golden visa is issued for a period of 5 or 10 years depending on the type and category of the visa, without the need to of a national sponsor. The duration of the residence visa for the entrepreneur and his family members is five years, subject to renewal. The entrepreneur may obtain visas for service workers, and nominate three CEOs and their family members to obtain the golden visa, provided that they commit to working with the entrepreneur for the duration of the residency permit.

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Future plans for the sector

SMEs in the
next ten years

No of companies in 2022

558 thousand companies

Target 2030

1 million    companies

An overview...

Micro, small and medium enterprises sector in the UAE

  • Micro-enterprises: 395 thousand -70.9%
  • Small enterprises: 150  thousand - 26.8%
  • Medium enterprises: 13 thousand - 2.3%
In numbers...

SME Sector Achievements in the UAE

  • 63.5% SME sector’s contribution to non-oil GDP in 2020
  • 37.5% Average growth in funding per deal for start-ups in 2020
  • 10.2% Increase in the number of Emirati-owned companies in 2022

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