Three global celebrities, meditation guru Deepak Chopra, former Manchester United captain Patrice Evra and American former professional basketball player Metta World Peace, have signed letters of commitment to establish their respective businesses in Abu Dhabi.
The signings took place on Thursday at Abu Dhabi Finance Week’s celebrity entrepreneur World Cup event.
Organised by Abu Dhabi Global Market, ADFW is hosting 500 high-level investors from around the world across 30 separate events, including FinTech Abu Dhabi.
The celebrity entrepreneurs’ visit to the UAE capital formed a part of Maven Global Access’ business expansion programme, Access Abu Dhabi, which is supported by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office.
Mr Chopra will enter Abu Dhabi’s Web3 ecosystem with his ChopraVerse — a platform that empowers a culture of well-being in the metaverse, Adio said in a statement on Thursday.
Evra will set up a new content company, while Peace’s Artest Management Group’s XvsX Sports will bring competitive basketball experiences to the emirate.
Abdulla AlShamsi, Adio’s acting director general, said: “Adio supports innovation-focused businesses and entrepreneurs looking to explore the full potential of Abu Dhabi’s ecosystem. We look forward, through our support of Access Abu Dhabi, to working with Deepak Chopra, Patrice Evra and Metta World Peace as they take the next steps to grow their global ventures from Abu Dhabi.”
Access Abu Dhabi programme is supporting the celebrities to fast-track their expansion to the UAE capital.
Abu Dhabi and the UAE economy rebounded strongly from the coronavirus pandemic on the back of higher oil prices and government projects to support growth.
Emirates NBD recently raised its UAE growth forecast to 7 per cent in 2022, owing to a higher estimate for the energy industry's output and the “robust growth” of its non-oil sector, setting up the country for its fastest annual expansion since 2011, when output grew by 6.9 per cent.
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank projects a growth of 6.2 per cent.
“As realities merge and technology advances, opportunities for new immersive experiences focused on wellness and meditation arise,” Mr Chopra said.
“Abu Dhabi’s leadership in Web3 innovation and commitment to enriching happiness offer the perfect base for the expansion of the ChopraVerse.”
The metaverse is the emerging space where people, represented by avatars or three-dimensional representations, can interact in virtual worlds. It is part of Web3, the next evolutionary step of the internet, with blockchain, decentralisation, openness and greater user utility among its core components.
“It became clear to me that now is the perfect time to bring competitive basketball experiences to the UAE for both men and women, and with Abu Dhabi being one of the few places worldwide to get a feel of real NBA [National Basketball Association] action, this feels like the natural choice,” Peace said.
Access Abu Dhabi programme is open to all US businesses and includes support to accelerate expansion and growth in Abu Dhabi, including mentorship from programme ambassador Kevin O’Leary.
Former French football Evra said: “The opportunity to tap into Abu Dhabi’s world-class talent will bring about exciting prospects for our new company.
“I look forward to assembling a team that will explore the emirate’s creativity and capitalise on the support provided by Maven Global Access and the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, amongst other people that I have had the pleasure to connect with across this innovative ecosystem.”