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More than 30 startup companies participate in the Innovation Hackathon at AREA 2071

March 8, 2020

The Ministry of Economy, in cooperation with the Dubai future Foundation, organized the Startup Innovation Hackathon at AREA 2071 in Dubai, with the participation of more than 30 startups from across the UAE and abroad.

The hackathon was held in the aim to provide an opportunity for startups and individuals with innovative ideas to take part in the development of innovative solutions to a series of trademark-related economic and commercial challenges. The event provided financial prizes to businesses that offered the best solutions.

The hackathon was launched as part of the partnership between the Ministry of Economy’s national program to support innovative startups and Dubai Future Foundation, to support the development of an innovation environment in the UAE, and to engage the youth and individuals with creative ideas in providing distinct and practical solutions to develop government services, and enhance the ease and flexibility of doing business in the UAE.

The event included two main challenges: The Trademarks challenge, and the Restrictions challenge, which focuses on cases of acceptance or rejection of trademark registration. The value of the prize money for each challenge was set at AED 25,000.

His Excellency Eng. Muhammed Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Economic Affairs, distributed the awards to winning teams, in the presence of Samah Al Hajri, Director of the Anti-Harmful Practices Department and Executive Director of Innovation at the Ministry of Economy, and Fatima Al Hosani, Director of Trademarks Department at the Ministry.

The initiative was launched in two phases, the first phase included a group of startups to compete for the Trademark challenge. The second phase will be launched in the last quarter of this year and will include school and university students from different educational levels. A number of new challenges are also planned in various sectors.

The winners of the Phase 1 of the hackathon are GEEKS, a startup which specializes in providing IT solutions for businesses and individuals, and MMG, founded in Spain in 2015 and employs artificial intelligence to develop global solutions that enhance knowledge development and exchange.

Mohammed Al Shehhi: Promoting the role of innovators and startups in developing government services

Commenting on the event, Mohammed Al Shehhi noted that such events fuel the country’s innovation environment and creates an incentive for innovators and startup owners to contribute to developing more innovative government services in light of the rapid technological changes taking place in the world. He went on to say that the hackathon promotes integration between government agencies, entrepreneurs and emerging and innovative startups, as it aims to attract and support innovative university projects, stimulating young people to compete, innovate, and find creative solutions to the Ministry of Economy’s challenges, while also contributing to transform creative ideas into realistic and successful projects.

Al Shehhi added that the Ministry was keen during the UAE Innovation Month to organize a diverse number of activities that achieve a real return on the innovation environment in the country and serve entrepreneurs and young groups of inventors and innovators in communicating with institutions supporting innovation and the business sector, and also enhance their awareness about issues of intellectual property and its role in protecting their rights and the efforts of the UAE to develop this system in accordance with global best practices.

Khalfan Belhoul: a paradigm shift in the sectors of the new economy

For his part, HE. Khalfan Juma Belhoul, CEO of the Dubai Future Foundation noted that hosting the Innovation Hackathon for startups at AREA 2071 provides the opportunity for startups to work in an innovative environment that stimulates the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship for those with unique and promising ideas, and provides them with an opportunity to exchange experiences and communicate with government and private agencies within the Dubai Future District.

He pointed out that this event constitutes the first partnership between the Ministry of Economy and Dubai Future Foundation, which aims to enhance the position of the UAE as a world leader in encouraging future innovations and adopting emerging technology to keep pace with the rapid changes, as well as create a qualitative shift in various sectors of the new economy.