SHARJAH (WAM), 2nd May 2023 — The 4th Sharjah Accelerator for Advanced Industries (SAIA), which was launched by Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park, (SRTIP), received 3,536 applications in just 2 months from 40 different countries, proving the strength of UAE’s vibrant startup ecosystem.
India, Pakistan and the UAE were the top applicants, followed by Mexico, United Kingdom, France, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Mexico. There has also been a marked increase in the interest of women-led startup companies compared to last season. A unique aspect of the competition is that more applications have come from tech startups with a sustainable focus.
Hussain Al Mahmoudi said: “We are delighted by the unprecedented response from startups around the globe to our Accelerator Program. The growing importance of MENA and the UAE’s high ranking in terms of funding startups is a result of their progressive economic policies, as well as the innovation ecosystems that support them.
SRTIP is happy to provide the environment and framework that startups need to scale and grow. SAIA, which is now in its fourth-year, is proud to play a pivotal role in nurturing startups.
The Acceleration Programme will run between September and November 2023. It will conclude with an Investor & Demo Day, which will take place on the 27th of November. This will coincide with COP28, in Dubai. The deadline for applications is the 23rd of May.
The positive response to SAIA-2023 comes as the region witnesses an unprecedented flow of venture funding, which promises a prosperous future for startups.
Magnitt reports that the Middle East’s venture capital fund financing grew by 132 percent last year to reach almost US$2 billion, and the number of transactions increased 5 percent, to 410.
The Magnitt report revealed that startups in the MENA raised US$3.94billion in 2022, across 795 transactions. This represents a 24 percent increase in investment value compared to 2021. Magnitt’s report showed that the UAE was the top investment destination, with US$1.85bn in investments across 250 deals. This represents a 5 percent increase in investment value.
In its drive to become a regional hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, the UAE wants to be home to 20 unicorns — startups with a value of more than US$1 billion per company — by 2031. The UAE launched its Entrepreneurial Nation Initiative last year. It aims to provide support to entrepreneurs through a series public-private partnerships.