Forty-six (46) companies from around the world, nine of which are from the UAE, will be taking part in the third edition of the Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) program; that is double the number of participants from the UAE in the previous rounds, with an overall increase of 24%.
DFA, the most attractive government-supported accelerator program in the world and part of the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), received more than 1,100 applications since registrations were open. The submissions cover a range of innovative ideas that seek to shape the future of key sectors, find effective solutions to the challenges facing the future of Dubai, transforming them into opportunities for sustainable development, and, ultimately, creating a better life for future generations.
Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Accelerators, said: “The program reflects the forward-thinking vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, and the directives of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Directors at DFF. The program’s great success reflects Dubai’s leading position when it comes to shaping the future.”
Belhoul continued: “The program offers an ideal platform to forecast and plan for the future as it gathers the world’s brightest minds and most innovative companies to join hands with government and semi-government entities in the UAE and address challenges in key sectors using cutting-edge technologies. We are proud to see local companies among the participants; this underlines the great progress that the local tech scene has achieved, placing it on par with major global competitors.”
Among the high-profile companies taking part in the program’s third cycle, which is set to last for nine weeks, are major players such as IBM from the US, Nokia from Finland and LG from South Korea. Emirates Airline has joined the program to help identify the most pressing challenges facing the aviation sector and work with the world’s most innovative companies to develop solutions and transform these challenges into opportunities that support the sector’s long-term sustainability.
The program also witnessed a huge turnout, receiving nine applications from the UAE – making the Emirates the second-largest source market making up 20% of all participating companies, double their percentage from last year. Meanwhile, the USA came in first place with 10 companies (22% of the total), the UK came third with eight participants, followed by Austria with four companies, Canada with three, two companies from New Zealand, two from Singapore and one company from China, Germany, Hungary, Lebanon, South Africa, Spain, South Korea and the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, the DFA’s “Humanitarian Accelerators” program signed an agreement with Dubai Cares, and received three submissions: two from the US and one from the UAE. The Humanitarian Accelerators is a first-of-its-kind initiative in the Arab World connecting start-ups and established companies from around the world with the UAE’s humanitarian sector to tackle social, cultural and environmental challenges in the Arab region.
The first and second editions of the Accelerators program attracted more than 4,000 applications to solve strategic challenges in key sectors. 65 international companies participated in both editions of the Dubai Future Accelerators. Overall, 72% signed a Memorandum of Understanding with their respective government partner by the end of the 9 week-program and are currently working on implementing their pilot projects.