Start-ups still have a strong chance in Middle East market

By Noel Ebdon

- Last updated on GMT

The Middle East has some of the fastest growth rates in the global food industry - so how can start-ups tap into that?
The Middle East has some of the fastest growth rates in the global food industry - so how can start-ups tap into that?

Related tags: Middle east, Startup company

Breaking into the food and beverage market can be a challenge for many start-up companies, leading many businesses to either sink without a trace or opt for the franchise market rather than set up from scratch.

According to Imad Charafeddine, president of Francorp Middle East, franchising is set to grow rapidly in the food and beverage (F&B) industry, seeing 25% annual growth since 2010.

However, Uzair Anjarwalla, food entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and managing director of international food marketing company Bridgepoint Foods, said there is still hope for start-ups in the Middle East. However, he warned there were caveats in order to ensure an impact on the multi-trillion dollar global food sector.

At the upcoming SIAL Middle East Conference, Anjarwalla will outline how food and drink start-ups can help their business to prosper.

The food sector is worth US$4 trillion worldwide with stable and increasing growth rates, while the Middle East is one of the fastest growing regions within the industry,” ​he said. “The biggest advantage that F&B start-ups have over their multinational counterparts is innovation. It has been proven that it is extremely difficult for large players to innovate as they are managed in a way that doesn’t encourage disruptive innovation and risks. Start-ups on the other hand have a huge opportunity as long as they correctly address market gaps and innovate.”

According to Anjarwalla, some of the key challenges holding start-ups back are entrepreneurship training, availability of venture capital, and high risk aversion.

He explains: “Many fail because their business strategies can be weak, they have partnership issues and disagreements within the highly stressful first year of starting up, or venture capital is either not available or is not being invested into the right business processes.”

In order to try and help those entering the industry to address these challenges, Anjarwalla will speak at the SIAL Middle East Conference about ways in which food and drink start-ups can build a roadmap to ensure their businesses prosper.

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