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Saudi development Syahrel Azha Hashim/Getty Images

Kemenangan dan Perjuangan Startup di Arab

DUBAI – Konferensi STEP yang baru-baru ini diselenggarakan di Dubai – konferensi bisnis/perusahaan startup terbesar di Timur Tengah dan Afrika Utara (dikenal dengan sebutan MENA) – menarik banyak perhatian. Ini menunjukkan tingkat kematangan startup di kawasan ini. Akan tetapi wirausaha di kawasan MENA (Middle East and North Africa) masih terbentur hambatan-hambatan struktural yang menghalangi kemajuannya.

Keberhasilan startup di Timur Tengah dan Afrika Utara tidak bisa diremehkan. Berdasarkan Wamda, sebuah platform akselerator regional, lebih dari lusinan startup – termasuk Bayt, Careem, MarkaVIP, Namshi, News Group, Propertyfinder, dan Wadi.com – sekarang memiliki valuasi lebih dari $100 juta. Souq.com, perusahaan yang didirikan tahun 2005 dan mempekerjakan sekitar 3.000 karyawan, disebut sebagai “unicorn” pertama di kawasan MENA dengan valuasi di atas $1 miliar.

Namun tetap saja kondisi regional belum kondusif untuk memupuk pertumbuhan kewirausahaan. Di balik perang, terorisme, dan situasi politik yang bergejolak dan menghancurkan dunia Arab – ditambah lagi tantangan-tantangan yang biasa dihadapi wirausaha di luar Silicon Valley seperti keterbatasan modal risiko, SDM, atau infrastruktur – terdapat banyak persoalan struktural yang sudah mengakar.

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