DUBAI, Since its inception in May 2017, AREA 2071, the innovation ecosystem of Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), has hosted more than 780 physical and over 80 virtual events, including conferences, forums, workshops and interactive sessions, attracting more than 26,000 participants from around the world.
The ecosystem has also organised many innovation programmes, including ones from TechStars and Microsoft, and has run seven successful accelerator programmes, welcoming over 660 participants, representing 227 start-ups, 45 of which have established offices in the UAE, resulting in the creation of 600 jobs.
AREA 2071 runs a wide variety of innovative programmes as well as start-up accelerators and incubators in partnership with government entities and international companies. Its packed agenda has featured 230-plus start-up enablement sessions, 100-plus entrepreneurship sessions, 140-plus sessions aimed at exploring the future of vital sectors, 120-plus youth and women’s empowerment sessions, and 250-plus knowledge and skills sharing sessions. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the platform has kept the momentum going by switching from physical events to the virtual format and successfully running more than 80 virtual events.
Abdulaziz Al Jaziri, Deputy CEO and COO of DFF, said, "AREA 2071 is a global hub for exploring and designing the future that serves as a meeting point for the public and private sectors to support national efforts to achieve the objectives of the UAE Centennial 2071, including positioning the UAE as the best country in the world."
AREA 2071 houses several labs dedicated to key sectors of the future, in addition to initiatives aimed at designing, testing and implementing promising concepts and projects, such as the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE (C4IR UAE), Dubai Future Labs (DFL), Youth Hub, Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA), the Ministry of Possibilities and the Regulations Lab.
The platform assists start-ups and entrepreneurs by offering competitive company licensing offers, business golden visas, office spaces as well as organising relevant events. It also facilitates access to government agencies and investors in the UAE and the wider region.
Its focus sectors include aviation, healthcare, public services, food security, cybersecurity, social development, education, space, transportation, logistics and supply chain, artificial intelligence and 4IR technologies.
DFA is a cohort-based programme aimed at solving a broad spectrum of business and innovation challenges sourced from government and corporate entities. To date, 288 start-ups from 34 countries participated in more than 80 challenges across eight cohorts. Of these, 45 companies have established offices in the UAE, creating over 600 jobs.
The programme has resulted in 89 pilot projects and AED75 million in equity funds raised in addition to the signing of 153 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with potential partners. Moreover, 27 percent of the participating start-ups have signed contracts worth AED36 million with DFA’s partner entities, while 90 percent have entered agreements with other entities in the UAE, valued at AED125 million.
AREA 2071 also hosts start-up programmes in partnership with leading international companies, such as Techstars Dubai Accelerator, the first US accelerator and venture capital fund to set up an office in the UAE, and Microsoft AI Venture Labs (AIVL), the only accelerator in the region with an exclusive focus on AI.
Innovation programmes at AREA 2071 include Aviation X Lab, Smart Dubai Blockchain Challenge, VR and Beyond, Al-Futtaim Innovation Challenge and P&G i-Dubai Lab among others.
AREA 2071 is continuously extending the reach of the ecosystem by establishing further partnerships and attracting global talent to be part of its vision. With the "new norm" post-pandemic, AREA 2071 aims to double down on innovation opportunities to create a global impact.
Source: Emirates News Agency