A new licensing framework to support technology start-ups in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) should boost innovation and entrepreneurship in the Middle East, an expert has said.

Nathalia Elhage of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, was commenting after the DIFC announced that applications are now open for its new 'innovation licence'.

"This will give start-ups and entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to operate from the much-coveted Dubai International Financial Centre for a fraction of the usual cost which should help innovation and entrepreneurship in the region," Elhage said.

According to the DIFC, the new licence is available to all start-ups, entrepreneurs and technology firms operating in any sector. There are already more than 100 technology companies and start-ups based in the DIFC, it said.

The DIFC said successful applicants will be eligible for a number of benefits, include access to co-working space at the DIFC and subsidised visas. Licensees will be obliged to pay a $1,500 annual fee.

"The innovation licence will serve as a launch pad for relevant and cutting-edge technology pertaining to all tech start-ups, entrepreneurs, and technology & innovative companies, and will enable them to tap into tech innovations and opportunities across the MEASA region," the DIFC said.