Scope of Social Enterprises in UAE

Social Enterprise
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Social Entrepreneurship is the fastest emerging sector in UAE. Real participation to it has been felt only recently when efforts by pioneer institutions such as Emirates Foundation have started showing results. As per Forbes research conducted recently, UAE residents aged between 15-35 are leading the way through social entrepreneurship.

They have been showing interest in Food and Nutrition, Health and Hygiene, Safety and Education etc. which were once alien to the businessmen and considered less lucrative.

Although challenges exist such as the absence of concrete laws under its framework unlike the United States, the government has been making efforts in fostering social entrepreneurship through legislation, grants, and incubation to some of the promising enterprises.

Conversion rate at 12-15% of the new ventures to full-time enterprises has been all-time high since 2012. Investors in UAE are sensitive to social enterprises’ missions and goodwill. In every incubator, accelerator or VC portfolio you may find many social entrepreneurs but, funding opportunities solely dedicated to social enterprises are still rare. This needs to be encouraged.

The government has been easing out norms for business establishment and thus Currently, many social businesses are registering for their trade licenses with government and free zone entities as Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs).

Not only government but NGOs and even private players are showing interest through Corporate Entrepreneurship Responsibility (CER). It seems everyone wants to get the first mover advantage seeing the huge potential and government’s interest in the sector.

GDP growth of UAE is merely around 4%, while, inflation is growing at a rate of more than 5%. Oil prices crunch has further reduced the potential revenues through export. Unemployment has been a major concern with only a third of fresh graduates expected to be inducted into workplace according to reports.

Thus, Social entrepreneurship can rise up to a sector with multiple job opportunities weaved along with the larger cause of society.

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