NextGenFDI’ to trigger next wave of startup entrepreneurship, tech talent migration from India to UAE

The latest ‘NextGenFDI’ initiative by the UAE is set to trigger the next wave of startup entrepreneurship and tech talent migration from India to the Gulf country, industry insiders and experts said.

Several India-based startup ventures are seriously considering either expanding their operations or relocating their headquarters to Dubai or other major cities in the UAE.

The red carpet welcome for digital companies and talents by the UAE, coming at a time of a funding slow down and large-scale employee reductions by startups in some of the sectors in India, will add to the tech migration move to the country.

The UAE launched last week a major campaign to attract digitally-enabled companies and highly skilled talent to the country, as part of its wider ambition to become a global digital hub.

“This new incentive package will now attract more tech companies to the UAE. We will also consider setting up [operations] in Dubai if things work out well,” Arjun Varma, co-founder of Alcodex, an Indian engineering products and R&D startup, told Arabian Business.

“Within the tech community I am in, there are a lot of entrepreneurs exploring possibilities of setting up offices outside India for global expansion. With these kinds of incentives I am pretty sure a lot of them would consider UAE now,” Varma said.

Varma said traditionally there were a lot of visa constraints which did not make UAE a favourable destination for tech startups. But in the recent past, the country has emerged as a major attraction for Indian startups, following its new initiatives and changes in visa structure.

ShopDoc, an India-born healthcare startup, is among some of the startups from the South Asian country which moved their base to Dubai recently.

“We will now embark on scaling up our operations in the UAE, after the latest announcement by the UAE government,” Shihab Makaniyil, founder and chief executive officer of ShopDoc, told Arabian Business.

“NextGenFDI initiative offers various incentives that will enable tech companies and high growth startups from not just the region but also from around the world to move their base to the UAE,” Makaniyil said.

Shihab Makaniyil, founder and chief executive officer of ShopDoc

Makaniyil said UAE was already offering the most favourable regulatory environment for crypto and web3 companies.

“However, in spite of having one of the best infrastructure in place, there were other minor hurdles in terms of business setup procedures, higher leasing costs, tighter requirements to open bank accounts.

“With the new incentive schemes introduced, there will be more influx of highly talented and trained human capital to build great products and companies in the Metaverse economy,” Makaniyil said.

Tech talent sourcing firms were also upbeat about the latest UAE initiative to attract new gen companies.

“There has been a series of initiatives in the last 18 to 24 months by UAE authorities to attract both tech talent and tech entrepreneurs into the country. The country is going to see the cumulative effect of these far reaching measures by way of a significant flow of financial and human capital [into the country] in the tech sector in the coming 6 to 8 months,” A Ramachandran, founder and chief executive officer of MyRcloud, a recruitment marketplace technology firm, told Arabian Business.

Ramachandran said the new initiative could be a game-changer as it was equally targeted at tech entrepreneurship and talent.

“Attracting tech talent without opportunities was not going to work. Similarly, attracting tech companies without human capital would also not have worked,” he said.

Varma said globally there is a tug of war to attract tech talent and entrepreneurs and UAE could score well in this with the new initiative.

The UAE’s ‘NextGenFDI’ incentive package includes fast incorporation processes to speed up licensing, bulk visa issuances, banking facilitation and commercial and residential lease incentives.

The latest initiative builds on the UAE’s earlier announcements regarding boosting its digital economy such as the National Programme for Coders – which offered Golden Visas to 100,000 computer coders – and increasing investments in startups from $400 million to $1.3 billion.

This new incentive package will now attract more tech companies to the UAE. We will also consider setting up [operations] in Dubai if things work out well. I’m sure this company will continue to prosper and inspire us in its journey ahead. My best wishes to the entire team.

Shishir Gupta, Founder and CEO, StartupLanes

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