The Abu Dhabi Investment Office and Microsoft welcomed 21 technology start-ups in the second edition of the jointly-run GrowthX Accelerator programme that aims to provide selected companies with access to the market and investors.
The new batch of start-ups will participate in a series of activities for 12 weeks. The activities will equip them with technical and technological knowledge to advance their business ideas, which aim to solve real-world challenges being faced by corporations in the region, Microsoft said on Tuesday.
The programme also aims to further drive Abu Dhabi's position as a global hub for technology and entrepreneurship.
“Abu Dhabi has been a leader in leveraging advanced technology to generate sustainable economic impact,” said Mohamed Al Dhaheri, acting executive director of business enterprise at Adio.
"Key to our approach has been the empowerment of innovative tech start-ups that play an important role in accelerating innovation and boosting entrepreneurship."
The UAE continues to support the start-up ecosystem with programmes and partnerships to boost the sector and encourage investments.
Start-ups in Hub71, the global technology ecosystem based in Abu Dhabi Global Market, secured Dh1.5 billion ($408 million) worth of investments, created 1,000 new jobs and posted revenue of about Dh1.2bn since the hub's inception in 2019.
Abu Dhabi venture capital firm Shorooq Partners launched a $150m fund to support early-stage start-ups operating in the Middle East and North Africa and Pakistan region, while Abu Dhabi's holding company ADQ and the Turkey Wealth Fund formed a new $300m technology fund.
Dubai, meanwhile, is home to almost 40 per cent of the Mena region’s scale-ups or companies with 10 or more employees, which have recorded average annual growth of at least 20 per cent over the past three years. The emirate also accounted for almost 57 per cent of the scale-up funding in the region last year, a report from the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy said.
The GrowthX Accelerator is part of the Microsoft for Start-ups Middle East and Africa programme.
Microsoft said GrowthX will familiarise the participating start-ups in business practices including selling, hiring, fundraising, mentoring and community building, while taking part in marketplaces, talent partnerships, investor workshops, community connections and corporate pitches.
The new programme comes about two months after the first cohort concluded, and its success was a driving factor for the new cohort that aims to be "more hands-on and offers even more value", said Roberto Croci, managing director of Microsoft for Start-ups.
"The 21 start-ups participating in this event will gain incredible knowledge from mentors in the programme that will not only help them scale their businesses, but drive real impact across the region," he added.
Adio helps investors and companies establish, grow and develop their businesses in Abu Dhabi as part of its efforts to grow the capital’s private sector and diversify its economy.