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DCO Launches Startup Passport to Support Entrepreneurs in Expanding across Markets Worth USD 2 Trillion in GDP
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 02 - 02 - 2022

The Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO), a multinational organization established to enable digital prosperity for all by accelerating the inclusive growth of the digital economy, has announced the launch of the DCO Startup Passport to make it quicker, easier and less expensive for startups to do business across borders, opening up potentially lucrative markets with a combined population of more than half a billion people and a combined GDP of nearly USD 2 trillion.
The DCO Startup Passport was launched at LEAP, a global event for future technologies being held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from February 1 to 3 and attended by leading technology corporations, global start-up pioneers and venture capitalists.
Despite significant potential global demand for their solutions, startups face legal, financial and administrative hurdles to expanding their businesses across borders, with startups citing more than a year of administrative processes solely to navigate the regulatory processes associated with expanding their offering globally. This is a major challenge for global economic and societal development, with the World Bank citing that startups and SMEs represent 90 percent of businesses globally and generate seven out of ten jobs in emerging economies.
The Startup Passport addresses these challenges by reducing administrative and financial burdens and accelerating corporate registration and other processes for entrepreneurs in one DCO member state to enter the markets of other DCO member states. The passport provides expedited entry and support in the markets of eight DCO countries in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa. The initiative will be rolled out initially in Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria.
Commenting on the Startup Passport, DCO Secretary General Deemah AlYahya said:
"Startups are driving forward growth and prosperity for the world, and solving the global problems of tomorrow. If entrepreneurs are strangled by bureaucracy, we will all struggle. Countries must work together to offer more integrated and seamless digital regulations for our startups and entrepreneurs.
The DCO Startup Passport is an important step in creating the borderless environment entrepreneurs need to prosper, enabling business growth and job opportunities for members. We commend the countries that are piloting the initiative and look forward to the DCO Startup Passport expanding its reach and services in the coming years."
The announcement was attended by DCO member state Ministers: Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Ahmad Hanandeh; Minister of Communications and Digital Economy of Federal Republic of Nigeria Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim; and Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications of the Kingdom of Bahrain Eng. Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed.

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