Dubai free zone to create 15,000 jobs in next 4 years

Al Malik expects at least 2-3 unicorns to come up in the UAE over the next 3-4 years

Dubai Internet City (DIC), the region’s leading technology hub, expects the number of employees working in the free zone to increase to 40,000 by 2025.

Currently, over 1,600 companies are operating in the technology free zone, employing around 25,000 people.

“There are a few industries that are going very fast, such as e-commerce, logistics, digitalisation, payment solutions, fintech and agricultural technologies. The next unicorns are likely to come from these fields, because they have very strong interests. Two years ago, companies had digitalisation plans spanned over 3-4 years; now, they have shrunk to just six months,” said Ammar Al Malik, managing director of Dubai Internet City.

Al Malik expects at least 2-3 unicorns to come up in the UAE over the next 3-4 years.

Dubai’s robust technology ecosystem and world-class infrastructure play a vital role in helping nurture unicorn companies. Careem was acquired by Uber in 2019 for $3.1 billion. Soon after, Dubai-based Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG) and OLX Group merged their Mena and South Asia operations, Bayut and Dubizzle, resulting in a business valued at Dh3.6 billion ($1 billion).

“Dubai Internet City is contributing towards all the digital initiatives taking place in the country. We consider ourselves a pillar for future IT, AI and other such initiatives. Projects like attracting a large number of coders are integral for the growth of the sector. In addition, the Golden Visa initiative ensures that the talent stays in the country and people invest here,” he added.

Dubai Internet City also announced that investments in the start-ups operating in the free zone’s platform for entrepreneurs, in5, have crossed Dh1.4 billion. The direct investments came through venture capital and angel investors.

More than 150 new companies have joined in5 since 2020, bringing the total number of start-ups supported by the incubator to 500. Of these, a quarter is led and managed by female entrepreneurs.

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Notable start-ups that secured significant investments include buy-now-pay-later start-up tabby, which raised approximately Dh485 million in the last year and now works with leading retail brands such as Adidas, Ikea and Shein. Sunglasses e-commerce company Eyewa secured Dh77 million in total funding while agri-tech startup Desert Control raised approximately Dh85 million in its initial public offering (IPO) on Euronext Growth Oslo.

“Despite the global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, our talented entrepreneurs proved their agility, determination and persistence in seizing new opportunities across tech, media and design. Their unwavering resilience resulted in innovative solutions and products that were not only relevant to an increasingly diverse marketplace but also addressed the market needs,” said Al Malik

waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com

Waheed Abbas

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