Innovation hub to make Dubai economy future-ready

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DIFC witnessed its best annual performance in 17 years in 2021.
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  • The hub is an integral part of the roadmap for an innovation-driven growth in Dubai
  • The facility, a part of Dubai’s future district, will house more than 350 FinTech and innovation companies

 

An innovation hub officially launched at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) on Tuesday by the Dubai deputy ruler Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is designed to  foster the  development of  enterprise and talent across sectors, especially in future-oriented industries.

The facility, which is located in Gate Avenue, is part of the new Dubai Future District announced in January 2020 by Dubai’s deputy ruler.

Speaking on the occasion, Sheikh Maktoum  said that the establishment of the DIFC Innovation Hub is an integral part of the strategic roadmap for an innovation-driven growth in Dubai.

“This initiative supports Dubai’s aspiration to become a leading global player in shaping the future of vital sectors and creating a thriving international innovation hub in Dubai.” Sheikh Maktoum said. “It  is also a testament to Dubai’s emphasis on creating strong partnerships with players across the financial services value chain, ranging from large global corporations to promising small and medium enterprises and start-ups”.

DIFC is recognised internationally as a leading global centre for FinTech, and the Innovation Hub is set to play a key role in driving collaboration between early-stage and growth start-ups, tech unicorns and big tech firms to accelerate success. Members of the Hub will benefit significantly from being part of DIFC, the region’s largest ecosystem of financial services related companies that are collectively shaping the future of the industry.

The DIFC Innovation Hub is a major part of the Dubai Future District in 2020 with over 350 FinTech and innovation firms. The Innovation Hub will strengthen and enrich the DIFC ecosystem significantly by providing FinTechs at all stages of their evolution with unparalleled access to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and experts.

Tenants range from early to growth-stage start-ups such as YAP, Beehive, Tabby, Xpence, Stake, Rain and Bayzat as well as Thunderbird School of Global Management, part of Arizona State University, Other established tech companies include Ebury, Huawei and Amazon.

FinTech and innovation businesses in the Hub can connect and collaborate with many of the world’s top financial institutions based in DIFC. Following 2020’s record performance, more than 2,919 businesses, of which 915 are financial and innovation firms, are active in the Centre. FinTech firms based in DIFC have now raised more than AED 1.1 billion ($298.8 million).

Access to funding remains a key challenge for many start-ups. Not only does the DIFC Innovation Hub connect with a wealth of commercial partners, but it also actively delivers financial initiatives to provide funding. DIFC’s own USD 100 million FinTech Fund was established to bridge the funding gap for growth stage start-ups in the region and has successfully financed seven companies to date, including Sarwa, Beehive, NOW Money, FlexxPay, Rise, Rain and Clara.

DIFC Academy continues to accelerate the country’s economic growth by developing much-needed local talent. As part of the Centre’s vision to develop human capital and the skills needed for the future, DIFC Academy has launched the Future Campus, a knowledge platform that offers over 400 online degree programmes, practical skills-based training courses and education opportunities to UAE nationals and residents from leading global academic institutions. The Future Campus, which can serve up to 25,000 students a year, offers programmes that focus on skills and knowledge for the future.

 

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