GrowthX, a Microsoft start-up accelerator programme backed by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, is now accepting applications for its third cohort.
The initiative is focused on start-ups at the growth stage — seed and series A phases — in the Middle East, Turkey and Pakistan, and will equip them with enterprise sales strategies and teach them to scale up their operations, Microsoft said on Monday.
The 10-week virtual programme will run from September 19 to November 25, and will eventually boost the contribution of start-ups to Abu Dhabi's entrepreneurial ecosystem by driving economic growth and creating jobs, it said.
“Tech start-ups, in particular, offer significant opportunities to accelerate innovation across the UAE and the region by bringing creative and unique solutions to various challenges. Abu Dhabi is committed to supporting and nurturing the growth of innovative businesses,” said Abdulla AlShamsi, acting director general of Adio.
Abu Dhabi continues to enhance its start-up environment as it banks on technology to drive economic growth and inclusion across all sectors.
The emirate is very active in promoting the growth of the industry through several initiatives.
In July, Hub71, Abu Dhabi's global technology ecosystem, unveiled its second Outliers programme, an annual initiative that invites start-ups around the world to solve actual challenges presented by participating organisations.
It also helps start-ups to protect their operations and gives them an opportunity to receive up to Dh100,000 ($27,229) to fund their proof of concept.
Alongside GrowthX's new cohort, Microsoft also announced that it had opened registrations for its Highway to 100 Unicorns conference series, which is also supported by Adio and will feature industry leaders.
More than 45 unicorns, start-ups that have a valuation of at least $1 billion, are expected to emerge from the Mena region by 2030, a recent report by Riyadh-based venture capital fund STV said.
In GrowthX's most recent programme, it welcomed 21 technology start-ups for a 12-week training course.
“We recognise the potential that start-ups bring to accelerate digital transformation across the region,” said Naim Yazbeck, general manager of Microsoft UAE.
“We look forward to harnessing these businesses and further strengthening the important role Abu Dhabi plays in the regional entrepreneurship ecosystem.”
Earlier this month, Microsoft teamed up with Emirates NBD, Dubai's biggest lender by assets, and the Dubai International Financial Centre’s FinTech Hive to set up a 10-week global accelerator programme for metaverse start-ups.