It is important for startups to have access to big markets, have an open trading hub, and be cost effective. Most new startups in the Middle East have the ambition to go global; however, strategically speaking, it is often a good idea to first test their products in the MENA region. The MENA region is a familiar market suited to most startups. Below are three reasons why starting in the MENA region is a good first step:
1- Access to a bigger market: Launching your business in Arabic to satisfy the needs of the market is important, but it is also crucial to instill the English language into your product/service as soon as possible. Eventually, you will need to cater for a larger market, and with hands on experience in the MENA region, you will have a better product to work with.
2- Open Trading Hub: If you are looking for a great exposure, then Dubai is one of the best places to expand your business. Dubai is a member of the World Trade Organization, and it encourages open trade. It also promotes trade relationships with Europe, Asia, and North America, providing you the first step into a global market.
3- Lower Costs: If you are selling goods, it is extremely easier to do so in the neighboring countries you know very well of. The culture, language and the people in the MENA region are more familiar to a Middle Eastern startup than a European one. Understanding foreign markets takes time and research, which is unnecessary for a startup with a very limited budget; accordingly, launching and selling your product in familiar markets is the way to go. It is cheaper and a much better stage to practice your selling techniques.