Facebook’s parent firm, Meta, has declared an initiative to underpin start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE, the Arab sphere’s second-biggest economy, strives to emerge as a home for 20 unicorns or start-ups cherished at over USD 1 billion, by 2030.
Meta for SMEs in MENA
Boost with Facebook, as the new initiative is called, was launched in tandem with The Entrepreneurial Nation, a venture by the Ministry of Economy, The new venture is aimed at assisting entrepreneurs set up their business, export products, and sell online goods and services in the UAE.
Mr Hassan Alsayegh, the Director of SME development with the Ministry of Economy stated that the strategic partnership with Meta is in line with their vision to provide the UAE’s entrepreneur ecosystem with a support mechanism.
In a statement, he mentioned that Meta was a key facilitator for SMEs in the UAE and that he looked forward to continuing a strong relationship to empower the SME sector.
While recognising that SMEs form the backbone of the UAE economy, the UAE government introduced economic support measures for entrepreneurs to help ride the downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Easing visa regulations and streamlining company ownership laws were also measures taken by the Ministry of Economy to boost entrepreneurial activity in the region.
The boost with the Facebook programme commenced with an online workshop aimed at offering training to operators and owners of SMEs. This included training for activating social commerce on Meta platforms and creating online storefronts using the Shops feature. The workshop also offered ways to reach desired audience groups using personalized advertisements.
Public Policy Director for MENA and Turkey, Mr Azzam Alameddin mentioned that Meta would continue training efforts in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Economy. The training is aimed at positively impacting socioeconomic growth in the UAE, as well as boosting the booming start-up ecosystem in the UAE.
The Entrepreneurial Nation offers start-ups three stages of assistance, i.e., The Skill-up Academy, the Scale-up Programme and the Start-up Track.
Participants in the Skill-Up Academy would include students, recent graduates, employees, retirees, homemakers and job seekers. The Academy would provide entrepreneurial skills to these participants.
Targeting entrepreneurs who wish to establish a business, the Start-up Track offers incentives, products and services that support start-ups and other innovative companies. Participants in this programme are offered the facility of opening a bank account with Emirates Development Bank within 48 hours.
The Scale-up programme is offered to fast-growing revenue-generating companies which are more than three years old. This programme helps these companies to expand and become Unicorns.
The UAE intends to set up a USD 272 million PE fund to provide financing for start-ups that are based in the UAE, and operational in strategic sectors.