Dubai: Lack of funding, renting office space, as well as attracting qualified capital are among the top challenges facing technology start-ups in the region, a survey released yesterday showed.

The survey, conducted by the Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSOA), Google and YouGov, polled 150 start-up entrepreneurs in the age group between 20 and 40 in six Arab countries — UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco.

“As a leading technology enabler, we will use the survey’s key findings to further drive the growth of technology start-ups as well as Islamic Economy initiatives in the digital and Arabic content domains in the Mena [Middle East and North Africa] region,” said Shahla Ahmad Abdul Razak, Deputy CEO of DSOA. “We are committed to the UAE’s vision to support SMEs [small and medium enterprises],” she added in a statement.

“Despite challenges, entrepreneurs remain very optimistic about the value of the web,” said Wassim Kabbara, Head of e-commerce, Retail and Local at Google in Mena. “One of Google’s key objectives in Mena is to support and help grow technology start-ups and this research is the first step for us to understand how we can best support these young businesses.”

Dubai-based Louis Lebbos, founding partner of Astrolabs, a technology organisation that offers start-ups advice and assistance on accelerating their prospects and scaling online business, told Gulf News that governments and educational institutions play a role in solving many of the challenges including graduating talented and qualified young generations. “We are launching a tech-hub in Dubai, where young entrepreneurs can pay for a seat, and get with it a full licence, and support services,” Lebbos said.

The hub is expected to be launched next spring, and has initial capacity of 80 people.

DSOA has also announced a plan to inaugurate DTEC, the largest technology entrepreneurship centre in the region, in the first quarter of next year with the capacity of 1,000 people.