Abu Dhabi has been recognised as the leading ecosystem in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the 2023 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER). The report, by the Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network, launched at The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam, found Abu Dhabi’s startup ecosystem was the fastest in the MENA region and 6th fastest globally.

Compiled in partnership with Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, the report found the emirate created AED 14.4 billion in ecosystem value from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2022, representing 134% growth from the previous period. Ecosystem value is a measure of economic impact, calculated as the value of exits and start-up valuations.

Abu Dhabi was also in the top 5 in the MENA region in several categories, including: Ecosystem in Bang for Buck, measuring the amount of runway tech start-ups acquire, on average, from a venture capital round; Ecosystem in Talent and Experience, measuring long-term trends over the most significant performance factors and the ability to generate and keep talent in the ecosystem; Ecosystem in Funding, ranking innovation through early-stage funding and investor’s activity; and Ecosystem in Performance, evaluating size and performance of an ecosystem based on the accumulated tech start-up value created from exits and funding.

Abu Dhabi was placed in the top 10 in the MENA region for Ecosystem in Knowledge, which measured innovation through research and patent activity, and in the top 15 MENA countries for Ecosystem in Affordable Talent, looking at ability to hire tech talent.

The report also highlighted Abu Dhabi’s Fintech, Cleantech, Agtech and New Food sectors for the abundance of talent, support resources and start-up activity. The UAE’s Golden Visa programme and its strategic location were cited as reasons start-ups should consider moving to Abu Dhabi.

Marc Penzel, Founder and President, Startup Genome, said: “As global economic transformation specialists and policy advisors, we are extremely proud of the impressive performance of Abu Dhabi in the 2023 Global Startup Ecosystem Report. Working with Hub71, we continue to witness and shape exciting new policy and programme developments that result in the emirates' continued rise in the rankings.”

Amer Aidi, Head of Marketing and Operations, Hub71, said: “Innovation and entrepreneurship serve as the dynamic engines propelling us into the future. Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, has firmly established itself as a leading hub that propels the development of cutting-edge technologies and cultivates the businesses of tomorrow, which are at the forefront of innovation. At Hub71, we are honoured to be an integral part of this journey, collaborating with our partners to shape the start-up landscape in Abu Dhabi. We provide founders with the essential elements of success, including access to talent, investment opportunities, and commercial potential. Together, we are empowering entrepreneurs to thrive and make their mark in the ever-evolving world of business.”

The GSER includes the world’s most comprehensive and quality-controlled dataset on start-up ecosystems. Informed by data on 3.5 million start-ups across more than 290 global ecosystems, the report provides new insights and knowledge about start-up trends around the world. Contributions from expert thought leaders and local key players further enrich the report’s extensive, evidence-based findings, which are the product of over a decade of Startup Genome’s independent research and policy work.

GSER 2023 ranks in the top 30 as well as the 10 runner-up global ecosystems and includes a top 100 ranking of emerging ecosystems. It also highlights start-up communities from a regional perspective, separately ranking ecosystems in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, MENA, North America, and Oceania. The key themes of this year's report include inflation, AI regulation, talent attraction, global VC funding, and a wide range of market sub-sector analyses.

The GSER is created in partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Network, Dealroom, and Crunchbase. The 2023 GSER provides invaluable insights and guidance on how to promote thriving start-up communities — the number one engine of job creation and economic growth.

Compare and view the full report here: https://startupgenome.com/report/gser2023