From funding platforms to incubators, the UAE offers a bouquet of options for SME initiatives. We list the best:


1. Khalifa Fund

This fund of over Dh500 million was established to stimulate local entrepreneurship. It provides 7-year interest-free loans, training, advisory, and after-funding support. Companies must be 100 per cent Emirati-owned. For more information call +971 2 696 0000 or email

2. Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders (SME)

A facility covering 10,000 square feet of area offers office space, administration, incubation, funding and training to develop small Emirati owned businesses. The centre is also considering developing incubation services and support for expats. 

3. Innovation 4 Impact

The organisation supports Islamic digital entrepreneurs from around the world, helping them gain mentorship, investment and advice including on how to scale their business ventures. Five distinguished finalists from around the world presented a five-minute pitch towards supporting the Islamic digital economy, followed by a seven-minute Q&A from a panel of expert judges.

One lucky winner receives a cash prize of $20,000 and a set of incubational services collectively valued at over $10,000 - including the opportunity to set up office at the Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Centre (DTEC), DSOA’s wholly owned technology incubation center and the largest of its kind in the region.

4. Drone for good

The UAE Drones for Good Award is dedicated to transforming the innovative technologies behind civilian drones into practical, realisable solutions for improving people’s lives today. Have a drone for good idea - win the contest and get your seed money - Dh1 million

5. GITEX Startup Movement

Hosted at GITEX Technology Week this global startup gatherings was represented by over 30 countries, it brings together entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, mentors and buyers for the first time in Dubai. Over 400 companies presented to more than 146,000 investors, visitors and 22,000 C-suite executives from around the world.


1. Twofour54

A fund, incubator, business services and production facility on a large campus in Abu Dhabi, aiming to make Abu Dhabi a center of excellence in content creation across all media platforms including film, broadcast, music, digital media, events, gaming, and publishing. It is run by the government of Abu Dhabi and focuses on companies that are media-focused.

2. Envestors

An angel investor network, based in the U.K., U.S., and UAE (Dubai) that hosts events to connect companies to investors. Its network includes 1000 private investors, a number of family offices, and links to many early-stage funds.

Click here for more as Ahmed Abdul Wahab, Head of Turn8 Accelerator, John Lincoln, Senior Vice-President, Small and Medium Businesses at Etisalat, and  entrepreneurs Saima Khan (Cheeky Monkeys) and Luma Bourisly (Kooot) share their thoughts on how start-ups and SMEs fair in the region.