UAE invests $272 million in its technology start-ups

In an attempt to diversify its economy, the United Arab Emirates announced its plans to invest over 1 billion dirhams ($272 million) to support technology start-ups of the nation. On Sunday, Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and Chairman of the Executive Committee, launched two multi-million funds – AED535 million fund and AED 520 million – to establish in Hub71 at Abu Dhabi Global Market Square (ADGM). The Emirati government, which aspires to transform the UAE into a leading technology hub, established Hub71 to offer fully subsidised housing, office space and health insurance for the tech companies which are starting out. Whereas for more established tech ventures, 50 per cent subsidy packages would be offered.

UAE collaborated with Microsoft, an American tech giant; SoftBank Group, a Japanese multinational; and Mubadala, UAE’s investment company, for Hub71 initiative to provide a big push to the nation’s capital’s technology sector. Microsoft would provide its technology and cloud services, SoftBank would lay out the expansion plan for the companies in which it has invested in, and Mubadala would act as the driver of the hub. During the launch head of Mubadala Ventures, Ibrahim Ajami, said, “We seek to develop a global ecosystem that labels the growth of transformational tech companies here in Abu Dhabi. The goal is to have 100 companies over the next three to five years. The market opportunities in this region are immense.”He added that the initiative also aimed at attracting Chinese and Indian companies, among other investors.

Abu Dhabi also announced a new research and development initiative related to the Ghadan 21 plan. Ghadan, which means tomorrow in Arabic, is a social support programme that aims to boost productiveness and competitiveness of businesses in Abu Dhabi. The Hub initiative is part of the government’s Ghadan 21 initiative, which would provide $13.6 billion stimulus package to create jobs and boost Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Ghadan 21 – a Dh50 billion investment stimulus fund launched last September by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

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