Masdar City supports Adio-backed Microsoft start-up accelerator programme in UAE

Partnership is expected to develop a cohort of start-ups by providing training and workshops, boosting their contribution to Abu Dhabi

Masdar City, Abu Dhabi's flagship clean energy city, is giving a boost to start-ups. AP
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Masdar City, the sustainable research and development hub under Abu Dhabi's clean energy company Masdar, has teamed up with Microsoft to support the company's GrowthX Accelerator programme, in a boost to start-ups in the emirate.

The partnership will help start-ups to set up their operations in Abu Dhabi, Masdar City said in on Twitter on Thursday.

It is also expected to provide the companies with training and workshops, as well as equip them with the latest technology to help scale their operations, in accordance with the GrowthX structure.

GrowthX is backed by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (Adio), which is responsible for helping investors and companies establish and grow their businesses in the emirate.

"The Masdar City Free Zone looks forward to the growth of these start-ups and innovators," Masdar City said.

The UAE is among the most proactive governments worldwide, developing programmes to support the economy and keep it ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing landscape defined by digital transformation.

Start-ups play a key role in that development and the government has launched several initiatives to support their growth.

The industry received a further boost in October when the UAE Ministry of Economy launched its updated Entrepreneurial Nation programme, which seeks to develop more than 8,000 small and medium enterprises and start-ups by 2030.

The Emirates also aims to be home to 20 unicorns — start-ups with a valuation of $1 billion and above — by then, double the number initially planned.

Microsoft, during the third cohort of GrowthX in 2022, announced it had opened registrations for its Highway to 100 Unicorns conference series, which is also supported by Adio.

Abu Dhabi, in particular, continues to enhance its start-up environment as it banks on technology to drive economic growth and inclusion across all sectors.

Start-ups at Hub71, Abu Dhabi's global technology ecosystem, have raised more than Dh3.2 billion ($871 million) in funding, generated Dh2.5 billion in revenue and created 800 direct jobs since its inception in 2019 through to the third quarter of 2022.

Abu Dhabi's technology push has attracted several global companies to lend their support, including Google, which also has an accelerator active in the country.

Funding for start-ups in the UAE — one of the top destinations for venture capital investments in the Mena region — rose by about 5 per cent in the third quarter to $148 million from a year ago, according to latest data from start-up platform Magnitt.

"With Abu Dhabi continuing to grow as a hub for regional tech entrepreneurship, we look forward to working with Masdar City," Microsoft said on Twitter.

The key pillars of the GrowthX programme — technology enablement, corporate readiness, and financial readiness and investor readiness — will help start-ups to boost their strategies and streamline their operations, its website said.

The initiative aims to increase the contribution of start-ups to Abu Dhabi's entrepreneurial ecosystem by driving economic growth and creating jobs.

Updated: January 05, 2023, 3:04 PM