Mastercard’s Start Path Program and the Missing UAE Startups

In the recent unveiling of Mastercard’s Start Path Blockchain and Digital Assets program, the spotlight shines on innovation and collaboration as five promising startups from around the world join forces to explore the transformative potential of blockchain technology. Yet, amidst the excitement surrounding this global initiative, one notable absence catches the attention of observers: the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

As the UAE continues to cement its position as a regional hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, questions arise about the lack of representation from its vibrant startup ecosystem in Mastercard’s latest cohort. Did UAE startups apply for the program? Were they overlooked during the selection process? Or perhaps, is there a broader issue at play concerning the promotion and accessibility of such opportunities within the UAE and the wider MENA region?

Mastercard’s presence in the MENA region is robust, with initiatives aimed at fostering innovation and driving digital transformation. However, the apparent absence of UAE startups in this global program prompts reflection on whether Mastercard MENA is effectively promoting such opportunities and ensuring equitable access for startups in the region.

In a landscape where collaboration between industry giants and emerging startups is crucial for driving innovation forward, it’s essential to address any barriers that may hinder the participation of UAE or MENA startups in programs like Start Path. By fostering a more inclusive ecosystem and actively promoting opportunities for collaboration, Mastercard and other industry players can help unlock the full potential of the region’s entrepreneurial talent and drive meaningful change on a global scale.

As the conversation continues, it’s essential to acknowledge that the absence of UAE or MENA startups from Mastercard’s Start Path program prompts deeper reflection. While it’s possible that no startups from the region applied, it’s equally important to consider what this signifies about the strength of our ecosystem. Are we truly addressing real-world problems, or are we merely making noise? By asking these critical questions, we can catalyze meaningful introspection and drive necessary improvements to ensure that our entrepreneurial landscape thrives and competes effectively on the global stage.

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