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Registration for 3rd cycle of world’s fastest-growing business accelerator programme opens

July 15, 2017

Dubai is calling on the world’s most innovative companies to help find solutions to key strategic challenges as registration opens for the third cycle of Dubai Future Accelerators, the world’s fastest growing business accelerators programme, which is run by Dubai Future Foundation.

The third cycle, to be held over nine weeks starting in October this year, will see government entities joining hands with the private sector to develop innovative solutions, and discuss ground-breaking ideas that integrate cutting-edge and 4th Industrial Revolution-inspired technologies.

The first two editions of the program recorded overwhelming success, attracting more than 4,000 applications from the world’s best companies. During the first cycle, 19 agreements were signed between government entities and innovative companies, while 28 agreements were inked in the second cycle, recording an increase of 27%.

The third cycle will also witness Emirates airlines partnering with innovative global companies to develop solutions for future challenges in the aviation sector, and transforming them into opportunities that support the sector’s growth in a sustainable way.

Khalfan Belhoul, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Future Accelerators, said: “Over the past two programs, we have enjoyed remarkable success in terms of the enthusiasm of participating government entities, and the sheer number of MoUs signed with pioneering companies to find innovative future solutions, create opportunities for sustainable growth, and further enhance our society.”

He added: “Today, as we open submissions for the third edition, we look forward to building on our earlier success. This year, we will see new government entities come on board to collaborate with global innovators to create advanced working models and future solutions across many verticals. This will consolidate the UAE’s – and Dubai’s – position in forecasting and leveraging the future of strategically important sectors. It will help transform the UAE into a hub and testbed for innovative ideas, and state-of-the-art projects that will further contribute to the economy.”

During the third cycle of the program, participating government entities will discuss a number of challenges and work with innovative companies to find sustainable solutions to strategic challenges in key sectors, including:


The Road and Transportations Authority seeks to create a sustainable and integrated framework for Autonomous Transport legislation, testing, and operation in an urban context, with a preference for clean and alternative fuel-based technology. It seeks to enhance decision-making and user experience through technologies like AI, digital twin, and machine learning technologies; and explore breakthrough technologies to help cyclists and pedestrians travel in hot and humid climates.


Dubai Health Authority seeks to reduce costs and increase the efficiency and potency of diagnosis, disease prevention & patient monitoring by factor of 10 through advanced technologies.


Dubai Police aims to reduce general crime rate by 50% and traffic related mortality rate to 2.5 per 100,000 citizens by 2021, through the use of advanced technologies.


Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) aims through its participation in DFA to explore and demonstrate new technologies that can transform a utility provider’s traditional business model of generating, transmitting and distributing water and electricity.

City planning

Smart Dubai seeks to use artificial intelligence to deliver city services twice as fast, with half the budget, twice the customer satisfaction.
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs will be looking at how to implement the latest and most advanced face recognition technology and blockchain to enable seamless transition through Dubai airport passport control.


Du will explore new technologies that introduce an innovative customer loyalty system that helps customers enjoy the privileges of being part of the du network in various contexts such as location, time of day, user profile, activity, while integrating multiple du data sources such as fixed, mobile, data and other communication platforms The target would be twofold: To eliminate the need for traditional loyalty scheme and to use mobile identity only to improve the customer experience.

Etisalat, meanwhile, seeks to reduce digital risks in the UAE by 50 per cent over the next five years by building cutting edge digital security solutions focusing on Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Security, IoT Security or Incident Response.

Municipal services

Dubai Municipality seeks to reduce 75 per cent of general waste by 2021; implement 3D printing technology in a quarter of Dubai buildings by 2030; increase green areas in Dubai tenfold by 2020 through using advanced irrigation and agriculture techniques; and explore using nanotechnology in at least three Dubai Municipality services and operations by 2021.


The Knowledge and Human Development Authority will explore technologies that allow school committees to self-regulate their operations and curriculum in a fair and unbiased manner, so they can become future ready and amongst the best in the world by 2025.


In the third cycle of Dubai Future Accelerators, Emirates airlines is participating in three challenges, including the development of a self-driving fleet for ground support operations at airports that operate 100 per cent on solar and electric power, and to extend the airline’s operational efficiency by 50 per cent. It also seeks to find a new system to train cabin crew quickly and efficiently using advanced technology such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality. The third challenge seeks an integrated system to allow travellers to reserve cars and drivers; order meals on the plane; and shop in the duty-free areas smoothly and efficiently


Dubai Economy is focused on developing an integrated smart system to evaluate emerging companies based on financial and non-financial standards to enhance the SME’s credibility and increase their access to finance by 100% by 2021.

Humanitarian Accelerators

The third edition will host the Humanitarian Accelerators which is a first of its kind initiative in the Arab World, connecting ambitious startups with the UAE’s humanitarian sector to tackle social, cultural and environmental challenges in the region, using breakthrough technology and innovation. Strategically sponsored by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives the program will run in line with the Dubai Future Accelerators 9-week cohort and the inaugural program will focus on education for refugee children, as well as job opportunities for refugees, solutions for water sanitation in underprivileged countries and increasing readership in the region and the quality of Arabic content online.