Location, Location, Location: Why Dubai Is Ideally Placed to Be Your Startup’s Gateway To Global Markets


Breaking into the Dubai market is great for startups, yet there’s a bigger picture to behold. Dubai is undeniably one of the best locations to scale up globally, and we’ve tallied up the numbers to share why.

First and foremost, geography. Nearly 2.5 billion people live within a four-hour flight from Dubai (that’s nearly a third of the global population) – and startups would do well to take advantage of this market proximity. Startups get easy access to some of the world’s largest, established as well as emerging economies, a fact proven by just looking at Dubai’s five largest trading partners: China (US$ 23.6 billion worth of trade deals in H1 2021), India (US$ 18.27 billion), USA (US$ 8.7 billion), Saudi Arabia (US$ 8.3 billion), and Switzerland (US$ 6.75 billion). Located at the centre of the world map also certainly helps startups maintain their bottom-line, as freight rates are comparatively far lower than what businesses in Europe would pay to reach Asian markets.

Secondly, the Middle East & North Africa region is pulling ahead in the digital transformation momentum, with World Bank reporting huge socio-economic benefits and a 46% increase in GDP per capita through digital adoption. The mainstage of MENA’s digital change agenda lies in the UAE, and in particular Dubai. Of the 50 most funded startups in MENA, 26 are based in the UAE. While four out of the top five Middle East unicorns are based in Dubai (Careem, Swvl, Kitopi, and EMPG) Source: Forbes Middle East.

A startup in the creative tech space, is seeing its business boom globally, right from Dubai. At North Star 2021 (the region’s largest startup event), this is what their COO, Shane Colwell had to say, “Dubai is a booming city, people are coming from all over the world. There’s a thirst for international customers to access Middle Eastern and especially Dubai startups.”

Mohammed Saboune, founder of successful startup Moodfit and now Principal Venture Architect at Venture Studio Ingenious Abu Dhabi mentioned, “Dubai is quite a launchpad. International entrepreneurs come in, they understand the culture, they understand the market and then go from here to the rest of the region.”

Excellent entrepreneurial infrastructure, robust investment ecosystem, strong trading relations with countries worldwide and an excellent business environment make Dubai the ideal location to start and scale up globally.

Registration to attend North Star Dubai is open. Online registration can be accessed here:

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