Dubai Free Zones Council Reviews Strategy to Support StartUps and SMEs

Dubai Free Zones Council Reviews Strategy to Support StartUps and SMEs

To provide support in coordination with business accelerators to boost FDI and innovation

The Dubai Free Zones Council (DFZ Council) held its 18th meeting, headed by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Free Zones Council, to discuss strategic initiatives that support Dubai-based startups and SMEs.

The Council aims to provide support in coordination with business accelerators in order to boost Dubai’s status as a preferred destination for foreign direct investment and innovation.

Referencing their registered $37 billion in foreign trade in Q1 2021, approximately 38% of Dubai’s total foreign trade, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed lauded the role of Dubai’s free zones in creating a refreshing trade corridor with global markets and attracting foreign direct investments to Dubai in battling with the COVID-19 implications.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum emphasized that the highly flexible environment that Dubai’s free zones created through its value-added and incentivized initiatives has proven its exceptional economic model.

Positive List of Economic Activities Eligible for FDI

DFZ Council members highlighted that the recent decisions are taken by the UAE Cabinet, namely resolution no. 16 of 2020 concerning the determination of the positive list of economic sectors and activities eligible for foreign direct investment and percentage of their ownership.

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His Highness Sheikh Ahmed said: “The decision coincides with Dubai’s preparations to host Expo 2020 Dubai, the largest global event of its kind, as it will have a strong positive impact on attracting foreign direct investment.

"Our economy presents a real example in boosting the global business community’s confidence to invest due to its flexible and secure business environment, the advanced and world-class infrastructure, and high quality of life that allows global talents and investors to consider it home.

“Our unique initiatives are the result of the future-proof vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to build a stable economy that adds value to investors.

"The wise leadership’s goal to enhance the economic, political, and social security in the UAE as well as the nation’s swift response to crises is expected to yield a significant return on investment.”

DFZ Council members also reviewed the Business Accelerator Unit initiative, which coordinates meetings with relevant entities, companies, and investors, to evaluate challenges and propose innovative solutions that support a diversified, sustainable economy.

In contribution to achieving the fastest economic recovery globally, they refer to local and international success stories across business sectors and innovate action plans to accelerate business establishment.

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Dubai SME representatives also presented the Promising Startups Platform initiative in detail, aiming to attract startups to Dubai, especially those developing unique, sustainable economy concepts, in collaboration with an integrated network from 15 countries.

The Unified Record and Capabilities Database

During the meeting, DFZ Council members also reviewed the developments of the unified record that aims to integrate open data using the latest artificial intelligence systems in offering government services, in line with Dubai’s status as the smartest city in the world.

DFZ Council members also reviewed an initiative to link free zone employees with the Unified Registry of Dubai Government Employees, which was recently created to be the sole official source of information on Dubai Government employee data and a classification system to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data.

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