Market Entry to the United Arab Emirates

Structured market entry into the dynamic and high potential ecosystem of the UAE via our programme


The Programme

Rainmaking Expand: United Arab Emirates is a market entry programme for startups and SMEs looking to expand and de-risk entry into the UAE market. We do this by collaboratively working with your company to strategically validate the best method for your business to enter into the UAE and support the execution by connecting and building commercial opportunities.


Companies in the programme will go through three phases, adapted to your specific needs, readiness and schedule. We do this because we understand that market expansion cannot be timeboxed and can vary between each company. In the programme, you and your team will work closely with an Expand Lead—who will guide your overall development and expansion— as well as a Partnerships Lead—who will connect you to our broader network in-market to generate strong business leads and support your expansion with the goal to achieve commercial success.


Applications for this programme are currently open.

Programme Timeline

The programme is cohortless with regular onboarding. We will be accepting companies like yours into the programme every month, allowing for flexible and dynamic approaches to the UAE market, which is inline with both your company plans and with the opportunities discovered in-market.


Startups and SMEs who join this programme will go through three phases: Go-To-Market Review, Go-To-Market Execution and Post-Programme Support. The time spent in Phase 1 and Phase 2 will depend on your timeline, market readiness and identified opportunities. After connecting with various commercial leads and making progress towards commercial agreements in Phase 2, companies are able to access 18 months of post-programme support in Phase 3.

Phase 1

Go-To-Market Review: De-Risk Your Market Entry

This phase focuses on working with your company to identify a clear understanding of the market potential for your business in the United Arab Emirates and validate your market entry.


The process for this is tailored for every company as we recognise that no two market entry strategies are the same.

Therefore we will adapt the process to your unique situation while also utilising our proven methodology to:


  • Identify assumptions on the business model
  • (re)Define the customer segments and the value proposition best suited to them
  • Master a clear presentation for the United Arab Emirates


This phase takes 4 weeks to complete.

Phase 2

Go-To-Market Execution: Validate Commercial Opportunities

This phase focuses on the execution of the Go-To-Market strategy. During this phase, we focus on connecting with key players within the UAE and developing relationships with potential partners.


You can expect us to collaborate and navigate introductions which can lead to commercial outcomes while also:


  • Confirming and executing the expansion strategy
  • Generating high value market counterpart introductions
  • Creating high potential opportunities
  • Achieving concrete commercial engagements


This phase can take 12 weeks to complete.

Phase 3

Post-Programme Support: Commercial Engagement Development

After completing Phase 1 and 2, your company will move into Phase 3 which focuses on post-programme support. Phase 3 consists of regular check-ins and ad-hoc business introductions when we identify new potential leads in relation to your business needs.


In order to maximise your success in the UAE, this post-programme support is tailored to your needs and requirements.


This phase is available for 18 months after the completion of Phase 2.



Selection Process



This programme is cohortless, and has regular onboarding. Applications are open throughout the year, allowing startups and SME’s to apply and join the programme at the timing that best suites you.
If you are interested in joining, or considering market expansion please register your interest below to meet our team and discuss your expansion.



If your application passes the initial stages, you’ll be invited to an online call for further review. This is an opportunity for you to learn more about the programme, and for us to better understand how we might support your expansion goals.

Internal Review


Upon completing the interview, our team internally reviews your company and your expansion plans for Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the United Arab Emirates.

Agreement Review


Upon a successful selection for the programme, we work with you to decide the best timing for your entry into the market and enter the agreement process review to align expectations and outcomes for the programme.



Why United Arab Emirates?

Stepping Stone into MENA

The UAE leads the MENA region with their innovation policies and active commitment to developing the market. Currently around 50% of investment and activity in the MENA region takes place in the UAE. Startups entering here will be able to access the entire MENA market.

Ease of doing Business

The UAE ranks 16th globally, and 1st in the MENA region for ease of doing business, thanks to their open, transparent regulatory framework. The nation places high value on partnerships, and connecting with the broad networks within the country allows companies to do business with ease in both the public and private sectors.

Focus on a Variety of Industries

There are multiple projects within the region driving development and growth in different industry sectors in order to diversify the business portfolio of the country. These include, but are not limited to, AgTech, FinTech, HealthTech, ICT, Education, Sustainability, eCommerce and Supply Chain.

Dynamic and growing Startup & SME Community

The UAE has spent a lot of time and effort to develop their Startup and SME Communities. These communities provide support and a variety of incentives to enable companies to enter and grow smoothly.

Attractive Policies for Foreign Companies

The UAE has a variety of different legislations to support and smoothen the process for companies to enter the market. This includes allowing 100% foreign ownership for multiple economic activities in specialised sectors, providing a tax-free system and clear governing laws in English.

Leader for VC funding in the MENA region

Investors from the MENA region and have poured $4.2B into the scaleup economy so far, with the majority of the funding happening in the UAE. Funding in the UAE reached a value of $579M in 2020 through 129 deals.

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For Singaporean Startups & SMEs: Costs Supported by Enterprise Singapore

GIA × Rainmaking Expand: United Arab Emirates is a programme supported by Enterprise Singapore as an official partner of the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA).


Singapore-based legal entities can benefit from financial support when joining this programme. If selected for the programme, the majority of participation costs will be subsidised by Enterprise Singapore for Singapore-based legal entities. A small, remaining participation fee will be paid by participating companies.


Programme Cost (After Enterprise Singapore’s Subsidy): S$ 8,736 per Company.


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Applications to this programme are open on a rolling basis. Apply now to start your market expansion journey!

Not sure if you are ready for Market Expansion?
Take our Market Expansion Readiness Quiz today!