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Middle East ‘Shark Tank’ pilot to spotlight start-up potential launches in Dubai

Indeed, Dubai’s real estate sector is awash with cash, locals say, despite seeing continued losses in recent years. While investors will put tens of hundreds of millions toward a hotel or office building development, there’s significantly more reluctance to invest in nascent business ideas.

Part of this is also due to regional risk, a Dubai-based senior associate of U.K. law firm Taylor Wessing told CNBC during the event.

“There is a lot of unrest in the region and people are concerned about what happens if things escalate,” the associate said. “Even the local business community invests outside the region. This isn’t only because of risk diversification, but also because there are more developed markets and they feel more secure within those arrangements.”

Still, one of the most ruthless sharks had high hopes for the future of entrepreneurship in the UAE.

“I think Dubai is probably one of the best ecosystems in the region for new ideas to be tested, due to the demographics here, you have so many people from so many different countries,” said Saiyad, the Portuguese-born ASA founder whose firm has invested more than $100 million in start-ups across five countries since 2003.

“There’s no shortage of start-ups, of ideas, but there is required a change in the mentality of founders in order to be on a show like this,” he added, describing some of the entrepreneurs’ company valuations as “crazy” high.

“But I got wonderful feedback from fellow sharks, they loved it. These start-ups are hungry for cash today. Of course they were nervous, but I think at the end of the day we helped out the right ones, so let’s see what happens next.”

Correction: This story has been updated to correctly identify the producer of “Shark Tank.”

source : CNBC

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