Investors in the UAE and Israel are moving to strike deals in a business environment transformed by a diplomatic breakthrough between the two countries. One key sector that is likely to bring together the economies of the nations are start-ups.
Led by Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the UAE has one of the best ecosystems for start-ups. More than a third of start-ups in the Middle East and North Africa are reported to be based in the UAE, which seeks to be a powerhouse in the technology sector.
Israel’s high-tech sector — an industry that has earned it the nickname start-up nation — makes up more than 40 per cent of the country’s exports, according to its economy ministry.
To focus on the opportunities for collaboration, Gulf News and TheMarker’s first virtual UAE-Israel Business Leaders Summit will host a discussion on startups on December 15. Professor Eugene Kandel, CEO of Start-Up Nation Central, Israel, will deliver the keynote address, while an expert panel comprising Hanan Harhara Al Yafei, CEO of Abu Dhabi’s Hub71, Uri Gabai, Co-General Manager and Vice-President of Strategy at Start-Up Nation Central in Israel, and Netalie Nadivi, Partner at Israeli venture capital firm Triventures, will discuss how the partnership between the two countries can benefit start-ups and SMEs.
Of scale and size
The UAE and Israel share a remarkable degree of symmetry when it comes to their economic size and structure. Both countries have similar populations– with 9.8 million people in the UAE, compared to 9.1 million in Israel – and GDP, which was worth $421 billion (Dh1.54 trillion) in the UAE and $395 billion in Israel.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) also make up a major share of the economies of both countries, with around 450,000 SMEs in the UAE and some 550,000 in Israel.
Since the announcement of the peace treaty, the number of Emiratis using the Start-up Nation Central platform has increased, showing their keen interest. The panel will look at the opportunities for joint ventures and how UAE companies can use Israeli tech to differentiate themselves in the market.
In addition to discussing the challenges facing start-ups and SMEs and whether funding is still one of the biggest problems, the experts will also shed light on the sectors that are likely to attract funding and see growth amid the pandemic.
The UAE-Israel Business Leaders Summit, running from December 14-16, is sponsored by Kizad, ZonesCorp and Kalandoor Group from the UAE. The aim of the conference is to advance dialogue between business communities in the two countries, look at the opportunities created by the peace treaty and lay the groundwork for collaboration in several economic sectors.
December 15, 5.30-6pm
Startups ready to take off
Panelists: Hanan Harhara Al Yafei, CEO of Hub71 in Abu Dhabi, Uri Gabai, Co-General Manager and Vice-President of Strategy at Start-Up Nation Central in Israel, and Netalie Nadivi, Partner at Israeli venture capital firm Triventures