The progress that start-ups have managed to achieve highlights their potential to spearhead innovation and generate economic growth. It should thus serve as a powerful incentive for MENA governments and businesses to change their approach with governments leveraging their spending to support new, innovative businesses, while established companies opening up their operations and cooperating with start-ups to scale up innovative activities that can inject dynamism into markets.
The successes of the region’s start-ups should not be underestimated. According to Wamda, a regional accelerator platform, more than a dozen start-ups – including Bayt, Careem, MarkaVIP, Namshi, News Group, Propertyfinder, and Wadi.com – now have estimated valuations above $100 million. Souq.com, a 3,000-employee company founded in 2005, is poised to be the region’s first “unicorn,” with a valuation above US$1 billion.
Start-ups are proven hubs of innovation and drivers of economic growth, employment, and development. It is time for the MENA countries to make the most of that potential.
Reference: INSEAD Study on Middle Eastern Startups