Top Startup Verticals in the Middle East

Top Startup Verticals in the Middle East

29 Nov 2020

The ME region which was considerably dependent on oil and gas sectors for fiscal development in the past has now witnessed tremendous growth in various segments including infrastructure, tourism, hospitality, healthcare and education. This has further encouraged aspiring entrepreneurs not just from Middle East countries but also worldwide to invest or set-up their businesses.  

The Middle East is thus fast becoming the most favoured destination in the world due to its extensive energy resources, geopolitically centralized location and fast-growing population. However, to own and run a successful business, it is essential to invest in businesses that will perform well and gain you desired ROI. If you are interested in setting up start-ups in the Middle East, here’s a list of top five industries/verticals that will thrive and boom!  

1. Real Estate

Though COVID-19 has impeded the growth of real estate in ME, the sector will see a strong rebound in the coming months. Moreover, potential homebuyers, especially from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt deem real estate as an excellent way of growing long-term capital. 

According to Savills Middle East, presently $5.8 trillion worth of projects are either in the construction or planning phases. This shows that investing in property has become an essential part of a diversified portfolio. Moreover, an increase in population will further surge the demand for residential and commercial properties. Hence, investing in real estate startups is a great way to benefit and make high profits. 

2. Service sectors 

Service sectors such as technology and finance are on the boom so they are the ones to focus on, especially in Dubai and Qatar. One can also capitalize on online retail and digital sectors. 

Digital spaces have grown at a staggering scale, speed during the pandemic period and will continue to grow at a rapid pace in coming years. Hence setting up online retail stores, tech startups or digital marketing companies, innovation-driven enterprises are the best options one can go for. 

3. Transport and Logistics

To fulfil the accelerated demands of online shoppers, retailers are always on the lookout for logistics suppliers that are dedicated, trustworthy, tech-driven and deliver the goods on time. Hence, transport and logistics businesses have gained considerable momentum in the Middle East. The development of new ports, airports and robust infrastructure has also accelerated the ease of movements. You can collaborate with local or international ventures to support the delivery network across the whole region.  

4. Cold Chain 

The demand for temperature-controlled services is also on the rise owing to the increasing value of food and pharma supply chains. You can set up a refrigerated warehouse to support the storage demands for frozen, chilled foods and pharma products. You can strengthen your foothold in the market by providing standout services like validated temperature-controlled packaging, logistics and distribution. 

5. Hospitality

Middle Eastern countries, particularly GCC (look out for Qatar and Turkey) countries are becoming the pivotal tourist destinations. Promotion of leisure destinations along with archaeological and cultural heritage sites, the introduction of tourism-friendly policies, launches of entertainment and multiple festivals have all given a sharp boost to the hospitality sector. With a huge demand and high-profit margins, hotels and restaurants are great businesses if you are looking to dive into a start-up venture.

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