Abu Dhabi-backed Microsoft accelerator programme graduates third batch of start-ups

GrowthX companies will work with Masdar City to obtain licences and set up operations

The graduates from Microsoft's third GrowthX accelerator programme. Photo: Microsoft
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GrowthX, the Microsoft start-up accelerator programme backed by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, has graduated its third batch of companies.

The 12 successful start-ups will now work with Masdar City, Abu Dhabi's sustainable research and development hub, in obtaining licences and establishing their operations in the UAE capital, Microsoft said on Thursday.

Last week, Masdar City teamed up with Microsoft to become a partner of GrowthX.

The companies, from the Middle East, Turkey and Pakistan, are developing solutions in e-commerce, finance, education, human resources and insurance.

The initiative is meant to help start-ups achieve scale and grow their impact in their chosen fields, said Abdulla Al Shamsi, acting director general of Adio.

“The rapid pace of digital transformation is an opportunity to continually find new technological solutions to global challenges,” he said

“We look forward to seeing how [the graduates] leverage the tools gained to accelerate their growth and enhance the regional start-up landscape.”

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

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

The start-up 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.

Last month, the UAE launched Future 100, a new programme aimed at supporting and honouring the top 100 start-ups that will have a significant impact on the country's economy.

Start-ups across the Middle East, Africa, Pakistan and Turkey (MEAPT) raised $7.2 billion through 1,473 deals last year, despite macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty, data platform Magnitt reported on Wednesday.

Funding for Mena start-ups alone crossed the $3 billion mark last year, an annual increase of 8.3 per cent, the research showed.

FinTech led both funding and number of deals in the MEAPT region, with the sector's funding reaching $2.25 billion across 351 deals in 2022, Magnitt said.

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Elsewhere in the region, Sanabil Investments, a financial company wholly owned by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, and US venture fund 500 Global welcomed its new batch of start-ups for their Middle East and North Africa seed accelerator programme.

GrowthX Accelerator ran for 10 weeks and gave start-ups programmes on enterprise sales, technical readiness, investor readiness and customer engagement strategies.

They were also given the opportunity to co-create technology solutions that address challenges facing organisations in the region, Microsoft said.

Masdar City's free zone hosts more than 1,000 companies that benefit from Abu Dhabi's ecosystem of education, research and development, incubators and corporates, in addition to a robust start-up platform.

Microsoft's GrowthX Accelerator programme has graduated a total of 48 start-ups since it began in 2021.

Updated: January 13, 2023, 3:30 AM