Top Countries to Start a Business or Startup in the Middle East
Saudi Arabia for Entrepreneurs
The IFC ranked Saudi Arabia 1st for best place for entrepreneurs in the Middle East and Africa and it is widely recognized as a leader in promoting and enabling entrepreneurship and innovation. Entrepreneurs enjoy high level of support from the government and starting a business is relatively easy and encouraged by the government.
Saudi Arabia has an advanced education system with institutions such as the International University of Science and Technology and the National Entrepreneurship Center which were created to train and mentor entrepreneurs. The country’s population is made up of high number of young people and entrepreneurship is considered a popular career path. Saudi Arabia also has the highest number of women entrepreneurs in the Middle East.
Israel: A Startup Nation
Warren Buffet called it “the best place to invest” and with a strong tech startup scene and one of the highest densities of tech start ups in the world, Israel is considered a good place to start a business. It has more NASDAQ-traded tech companies than any other country outside the US and as a result, attracts venture capital dollars per person than any other country
Israel offers a comfortable environment for entrepreneurs with relatively low fees and shorter wait times to start a company. In addition, its open immigration policy created more entrepreneurship, especially with the Russian wave of immigration which brought engineering talent and boosted up the country’s tech sector.
United Arab Emirates: Easy for Doing Business
In recent years, there are growing government initiatives to fund and support entrepreneurs in the region which created a good environment for starting ventures. The cost of leasing office or residential spaces has come down and there is an abundance of unused office spaces.
UAE ranked relatively high with ease of doing business in the Middle East. It has the highest increase globally in new start ups activity and new policies make it easier to start a business with shorter wait times for permits and advanced online services. Cost of construction and building permits was cut in half and there is no minimum capital required for establishing a business in the UAE.
With its advanced high tech scenes and academic and professorship programs in entrepreneurship, both Dubai and Abu Dhabi have become attractive, emerging markets and hubs of business, media and entrepreneurship. Recently, a special visa system, EnterPass, was introduced, to ease on foreign entrepreneurs in Emirates.
Turkey: Heaven for Ecommerce Companies
If we take Turkey into account, since it is partially in the Middle East, the Turkish market is considered one of the hottest today. Turkey offers a sophisticated platform for entrepreneurs, relatively stable political and economic environment and diversified industrial base. Turkey has one of the strongest online markets and is ranked 13th in the world for internet users population, 5th in Facebook users and 8th in Twitter users. Turkish ecommerce market grew by 325% from 2006 to 2010 and the first half of 2011 generated a volume of 10.6 billion dollars.
1) Entrepreneurship.org: Entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia
2) Saudi Entrepreneurship: Is KSA the Land of Opportunity?
3) Energy Byte: Saudi Arabia Best Place to Do Business in the Middle East
4) Freakonomics: How Did Israel Become "Start Up Nation"?
5) The Telegraph: Israel: The Start Up Nation Taking on Silicon Valley
6) Kwintessential: Doing Business in The Middle East
7) The National: Problems Facing Entrepreneurs and SME's in the UAE
8) Newsglobe: UAE: Entrepreneurship is the Future
9) Arabian Business: Dubai Mulls New Visa Plan to Lure Entrepreneurs
10) Newzglobe: US Retailers Bet Big on Dubai
11) Sinaafra: Why Turkey is Hot