In the Middle East and North African region, the gender divide is still prevalent when it comes to the initiation of a business start-up.
Though the Gulf Cooperation Council is regarded as the most business-friendly sub-region in the Middle East and North Africa, the time required to start a new business can vary from 6.3 days in Oman to over one month in Kuwait.
Fintech and e-commerce are the leading start-up industries in the Middle East and North Africa. In this regard, the majority of fintech start-ups are based in the Gulf region.
Amongst all Middle East and North African countries, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are ranked the highest in regards to the ease of minority investor protection. This is an important factor for venture capitalists in consideration to their investments in start-ups. According to the Index score on ease to access venture capitals for start-ups, the United Arab Emirates scores 4.4 out of seven and Saudi Arabia 3.5.
The number of funding deals for start-ups across the entire Middle East and North African region has steadily risen in the past couple of years, with about 260 deals recorded only in 2017.