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Hub71, Abu Dhabi's global technology system, has launched a programme to support climate technology start-ups, backed by some of the UAE's biggest public and private sector organisations.
The Hub71+ ClimateTech ecosystem was announced at the Cop28 climate conference in Dubai on Tuesday, with funding commitments from more than 25 key local and international partners.
A total of 342 start-ups submitted their applications, with 100 being reviewed, of which “the best” will be included in a further shortlist, Ahmad Alwan, deputy chief executive of Hub71, told The National before the announcement.
Selected start-ups will receive Dh250,000 ($68,000) in incentives and an initial Dh250,000 in cash support.
Those deemed to be high performers can receive a top-up of up to Dh250,000 in exchange for additional equity, Hub71 said.
“This initiative aims to bring in different entities that have a shared mission towards climate tech and that could contribute to their business,” Mr Alwan said.
“Throughout the journey, we will support these companies, not only from being start-ups to becoming mature companies, but also to facilitate their engagement with entities that would support them with access to capital, market and talent.”
Adnoc, the programme’s founding partner, has pledged Dh2.5 million, in addition to further potential investments for participating start-ups.
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy and the Abu Dhabi Global Market have been announced as policymakers.
These entities will collaborate with Hub71 to establish frameworks that will test and develop the solutions to be pitched by the participating start-ups.
Abu Dhabi National Energy Company and the National Central Cooling Company, two of the biggest utilities in the Mena region better known as Taqa and Tabreed, respectively, have each committed Dh500,000 as anchor partners.
They are joined by Abu Dhabi holding company ADQ, sovereign wealth fund Mubadala, Aldar Properties, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Masdar City and Dubai's Emirates NBD as corporate partners while Siemens Energy is an anchor partner.
All the corporate partners will support proof-of-concept and market access by providing resources, expertise and industry experience.
Meanwhile, capital partners include Masdar-based accelerator Catalyst and e& capital, the investment unit of the global technology conglomerate formerly known as Etisalat Group.
Other capital partners are VentureSouq, Global Ventures, Investible, Target Global, Mizmaa Ventures and Eiffel Investment Group, while Microsoft is the technology partner.
“Our partners have a shared mission of contributing to climate technology ... there are going to be a lot more of these types of initiatives that will come out and that are associated with Hub71+ ClimateTech,” Mr Alwan said.
The UAE is actively pursuing a green agenda, including a pledge to achieve net zero by 2050, reduce carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 and invest billions in clean energy.
The Emirates also supports green infrastructure and clean energy projects worldwide, and has invested in renewable energy ventures worth about $16.8 billion in 70 countries, with a focus on developing nations, and has also provided more than $400 million in aid and soft loans for clean energy projects, according to government data.
There has been a flurry of commitments at Cop28 to support sustainability programmes, as well as calls for increased collaboration between governments and industries to support game-changing initiatives.
Meanwhile, ClimateTech start-ups in the UAE attracted about two-thirds, or about $401 million, of total funding from 2018 to 2022 to lead the burgeoning sector's growth in the Mena region and Turkey, start-up data platform Magnitt said in a recent report.
“Generating efficiencies and work in a lot of [use] cases would translate into the reduction of emissions that would impact climate. There's a lot of these themes that have now become more prominent, but it's always been very important on the national and international agenda,” Mr Alwan said.
“There's an increasing focus on solutions that become more viable and there's always been attention on climate tech solutions.”
Hub71's member start-ups number more than 260 and have created more than 1,000 jobs, according to its website. Latest data shows that they have collectively raised about Dh5 billion since Hub71's inception in 2019.