His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has directed relevant authorities to invest Dh1 billion on projects and companies taking part in Dubai Future Accelerators – the ambitious programme launched to advance research and development, and entrepreneurship in strategically important sectors in the UAE.
The Dubai Future Accelerators initiative has been gaining international attention since its launch. It stands out from similar initiatives for transparently and clearly revealing new trends within each individual sector, which was evident in the initiative’s global competition that encouraged participants to find innovative solutions for seven “Future Challenges” in strategic sectors.
The suggested solutions reflected each organisation’s visions and the opportunities it seeks to capitalise on – in the areas of education, health diagnosis, sustainable buildings, and mobility – and explored the enablers of the “fourth industrial revolution”, such as robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, genomics, biomimicry, and biotechnology.
This is generally looked at as a qualitative leap for government work, whereby government departments will resort to research and innovation to develop existing sectors on the one hand, and work to create an environment of entrepreneurship on the other.
A new investment approach and a key driver for venture capital deals
Mohammed Al Gergawi, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Managing Director of Dubai Future Foundation, and Chairman of Dubai Holding, confirmed that the Dubai Future Accelerators initiative – which was launched under directives from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and closely monitored by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the board of Trustees of Dubai Future Foundation – will be an important and strategic contribution to the regional investment market, as it attracts the world’s best start-ups in innovation-led sectors, provides appropriate opportunities for growth, and opens new markets.
He said: “We are pleased to announce the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to invest one billion dirhams in the projects and companies of the Dubai Future Accelerators initiative over the next five years. The investment serves to boost the programme and increase the attractiveness of its projects and emerging companies – locally, regionally and globally – and to leverage the investment opportunities that will come out of the programme, which is expected to be a major market for venture capital and an important venue for the world to invest in innovation.”
Al Gergawi stressed that this step complements the efforts of the initiative to attract global entrepreneurship to the UAE and stimulate innovation, research and development in the areas and sectors most closely related to human life, adding that the UAE – and Dubai, in particular – has succeeded in creating a business establishment in the areas of digital technology and the Internet, media, and financial services.
“Today,” he explained, “under the directives of the leadership, we look forward to a new phase in the development of our national economy, one based on creating opportunities for innovation and future technology as key sources of income. Dubai Future Accelerators also aims to instill a new investment culture in the region, and provide an opportunity for investors to diversify their portfolios in new innovation-led field, on top of the traditional sectors, such as banks and real estate.”
Partnership between Dubai Future Foundation and Dubai Holding
Dubai Future Foundation and Dubai Holding will both invest one billion dirhams over the course of five years in projects and companies capable of passing the Future Accelerators programme, and solving their respective sectors’ challenges through projects on the ground, and in partnership with the proper institutions and authorities, such as Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Dubai Municipality, Dubai police and Dubai Holding.
This will contribute to the growth of these companies and provide profitable investment opportunities at the same time. The technical details and criteria for investment will be announced soon, in addition to the governance processes of the projects.
Ambitions and global targets for shaping the future
The Dubai Future Accelerators initiative works first and foremost to create an integrated programme to enhance the performance of local, regional, and global emerging companies, operating in the field of future technology within key innovation-led sectors. It will also help expand and facilitate the framework of global cooperation in the field of innovation, by creating an outstanding platform for start-ups, in collaboration with relevant government institutions, and providing solutions to the biggest challenges of each sector.
The recently announced Seven Future Challenges competition serves to consolidate efforts to address the most vital challenges of the 21st century. The electronic platform of the initiative provides more details about the programme, as well as conditions and instructions to participate in it.