Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA), an initiative of Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), has launched the 7th cohort of its program that seeks to position Dubai as a hub for innovation, emerging technologies and an ideal destination for startups and entrepreneurs with bold solutions to future challenges. Through its program, DFA brings together top startups and entrepreneurs to focus on the identification and deployment of prototypes and products at a city-wide scale.
Based upon the requirements (‘challenges’) provided by the participating entities – Dubai Police, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Health Authority, Knowledge and Human Development Authority and Etisalat Digital – 688 start-ups and scale-ups from around the world applied to join the 7th DFA cohort.
After a 12-week multi-stage vetting and selection process, 27 companies from 16 countries were selected to join the in-residence program in Dubai. The countries represented span from the US, Europe, India, South Korea, Singapore, Latvia, Ireland, Andorra, Finland, New Zealand, Germany and Australia and is a testament of Dubai’s position as an attractive testbed for emerging tech solutions.
The solutions provided by the participating companies range from artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, IoT and autonomous driving to retail-tech, healthcare tech, educational tech and smart robotics.
During the 9-week program, the companies will be working hand-in-hand with the partner entities to test their solutions and explore how their products and services could be leveraged by their respective partner entities.
Launched in 2016 by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation, the Dubai Future Accelerators is seen as a global platform that provides an opportunity for startups and entrepreneurs around the world to collaborate with strategic government entities as well as work closely with decision makers in Dubai.
Abdulaziz Al Jaziri: In Support of the Dubai Future District Outcomes
Commenting on the launch, Abdulaziz Al Jaziri Deputy CEO and Chief Operations Officer Dubai Future Foundation, said: “The success of the Dubai Future Accelerators program in attracting startups from different parts of the world supports the outcomes of the “Dubai Future District” initiative, which aims to enhance Dubai’s position as a leading city for business with integrated investment opportunities and exceptional facilities and infrastructure in support of the new economy
He added: “The program has been created to jump-start collaborations between DFA’s partners and participating startups while supporting them in understanding the market and local business culture as well as connecting them to a wider ecosystem to maximize their potential.”
The program is designed to enable the participating companies to explore how their products and services can be leveraged by the Dubai government partners to realize the city’s innovation agenda. At the end of the cohort, both parties decide whether or not to continue the collaboration in the long run.
During the cohort, the participants are offered an array of educational workshops and introduction to mentors to further deepen their knowledge about the UAE ecosystem, enhance their presentation skills, understand how to set up a local office in the UAE, and how to hire and retain talent in the local market. Additionally, the program consists of several networking activities among the participants to explore potential synergies as well as with key partners such as respective business councils and trade commissions. Embedded in the AREA 2071 ecosystem, the program also allows the participants to connect and engage with the wider range of partners through various community events.
Cohort 7 Challenges
The Future of Policing and Security: Dubai Police is looking at innovative ways to realizing the leadership’s vision of making Dubai the happiest city in the world. As a result, they are testing AI-powered solutions in the field of data analytics and port security.
The Future of Energy and Water: Continuing its pioneering role and efforts in designing the future, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority works through its participation in the Dubai Future Accelerators program to find proactive, sustainable and innovative solutions to the most important challenges related to its sector by employing 4IR technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, drones, automation, the Internet of Things, augmented reality and many others. The Authority, through its participation in the 7th cohort, received more than 30 applications of which 3 startups were selected. It has also participated in all 7 cohorts since the program’s launch in 2016, through which it evaluated more than 400 startups, and contributed to the development of 20 pilot projects in addition to the completion of 8 major projects.
The Future of Transport: The Roads and Transport Authorities vision is safe and smooth transport for all. For this cohort, they’ve selected tech-solutions in the field of smart monitoring, futuristic wayfinding and innovative cooling by utilize the current environment (e.g. humidity and hot weather) to cool down pedestrian zones and/or generate energy.
The Future of Healthcare: The Dubai Health Authority states that patients are a priority, and their goal is to provide the best care for patients in Dubai. Their challenges focused on patient safety during surgery and early intervention are aligned with the Dubai Health Vision 2016-2021 to transform Dubai into a leading healthcare destination.
The Future of Education and Life Long Learning: KHDA ensures lifelong learnings and works towards fulfilling Dubai’s aspirations, in which their focus for the future relies on a heart-centered education that will lead to new and improved possibilities in the education sector in Dubai. Presenting one challenge, KDHA has selected start-ups and scale-ups to help create lifelong learning experiences for individuals, the community and the planet.
The Future of Telecommunications and Digital Retail: Etisalat Digital drives digital transformation by enabling governments and enterprises to become smarter. In addition to focusing on tech-solutions for automated user acceptance testing and augmented reality & service delivery experience, they also explore disruptive solutions in the field digital retail experience.