During an edifying session titled ‘Regional Efforts that Help Companies Scale-up,’ on the second day of the sixth Sharjah Investment Forum (SIF) 2023, panellists discussed investment opportunities and challenges facing the business community in the UAE and the region, stressing the support needed for ventures to become global competitors.
Moderated by Shafique Ibrahim, MD-Digital Transformation and Payments, Walvat, founder of FXB payment, panellists Anuscha Ahmed Iqbal, CEO and Co-founder of Spotti, Elizabeth Donaghy, Vice-President of Internal Operation at Sarwa, and Ekta Bhowjwani, Vice-President of Product Management of Kitopi, shared their insights on regional efforts to enhance companies growth.
Anuscha Ahmed Iqbal shed light on her startup journey in the UAE since its launch in 2020 and then expanding to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain by October 2021. She spoke about the different levels of support that start-up companies receive from governments, and the varying regulations to be adhered to by the business owners.
Elizabeth Donaghy highlighted the UAE government’s efforts to encourage starting businesses by providing significant facilitations such as reducing fees and taxes, creating an open market, and an inclusive environment for investors. “Our mission is to help everyone create wealth by making their money work in a smart way that is simple, accessible, innovative, and transparent,” she said.
Elizabeth also added that women only receive 2% of the investment opportunities, pointing out the percentage of Saudi women investing in technology as an example, and calling for more initiatives to support women and youth to preserve the continuity of the business ecosystem in the region.
Ekta Bhowjwani praised the support of the UAE government in scaling startup business owners, highlighting the keen efforts from authorities for constant development and providing opportunities. “When the country becomes an exciting place to live in, it’s a lot easier to recruit talent,” she added.
The SIF panellists also applauded the UAE government’s flexibility and continued easing of regulations, both of which are helping to attract more talents to start businesses and investment opportunities.