Innovation Asset Blog

Middle East emerging as contender in global innovation

Over the past decade, globalization, mobile technology and the ubiquity of web-based communication have allowed once-troubled countries such as China, India and Brazil to emerge as leaders in global innovation.

More recently, the Middle East is beginning to experience its own revolution in entrepreneurship and technological development thanks in part to its sheer population, as well as improving conditions for entrepreneurship and economic freedom.

"The global Muslim population of a billion-plus is about the same size as both India and China's populations," writes Vali Nasr in his book Forces of Fortune. "In 2008, the GDP of the economies of five of the largest countries in and around the Middle East - Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, with a combined population of 420 million - was $3.3 trillion, the same size as that of India, which has three times the population."

This month's global Celebration of Entrepreneurship conference was held in Dubai and highlighted the region's growing relevance in the worldwide marketplace for innovation and ip management. Among the participants, according to the Washington Post, was an Egyptian entrepreneur who developed a technology that uses air pressure to blast less water from shower heads and thereby reduce water consumption in the extremely dry region.

There were also Lebanese computer graphics firms, Jordanian tech incubators and a 19-year-old Yemeni coffee entrepreneur who requires that all business operations be conducted in his home community.

With oil as the Middle East's chief export and consuming nations seeking alternative or domestic energy sources, the region must embrace new sectors to remain an economically viable competitor in the global marketplace. Initiatives such as Dubai's Celebration of Entrepreneurship help to encourage an environment that caters to this outlook.

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.