Author(s): Aamna Ali Aljarwan, Bushra Alyas Yahya, Bashayer Mohamed Almarzooqi, Toufic Mezher
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) commitment to building a sustainable and diversified economy includes the announcement of multiple strategies such as the UAE’s National Innovation Strategy and Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. Many institutions and key players have been taking an active role in these strategies by their involvement in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and supporting startups is lacking. This paper aims to examine the UAE’s current entrepreneurial ecosystem model, its gaps and opportunities and its impact on startups. Moreover, this research paper aims to explore the domains of the ecosystem that startups find pivotal to their growth and success. The data collection methodology taken in this research is to conduct qualitative research through interviews with key ecosystem players to understand their role in the ecosystem as well as quantitative research through surveys to quantify the availability and importance of key ecosystem support elements. The analysis is conducted to support the results of the collected data. The ecosystem is then modeled based on the Triple Helix perspective of National Innovation Systems and the relationships between its three key players (i.e., government, industry and academia). The outcome of this research is summarized in an entrepreneurial ecosystem framework design that is ideal and unique to the UAE. In addition, this paper provides recommendations to close the gaps leverage the opportunities and overall enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the UAE.