Gitex: Abu Dhabi's Hub71 revamps start-up incentive programme

Companies can now receive up to $204,000 in incentives to help accelerate their growth and hasten their contribution to the economy

Ahmad Ali Alwan, deputy chief executive of Hub71, said the tech ecosystem will remain engaged in ensuring the sustainable growth of start-ups in Abu Dhabi and beyond. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, has refreshed its incentive programme for start-ups as it seeks to accelerate their development and contribution to the economy.

Companies signing up for Hub71's Company Building Programme can now receive up to Dh750,000 ($204,000) – 50 per cent higher than the previous Dh500,000 equity-free incentives – it said at the Gitex Global technology conference in Dubai on Monday.

This is broken down into Dh250,000 in the form of support services and Dh250,000 in cash for equity, which will assist start-up founders in accessing readily available capital.

Upon completion of the one-year programme, top-performing start-ups selected by Hub71 can receive up to an additional Dh250,000 cash incentive in exchange for additional equity.

Also for the first time, Hub71 will gain an ownership interest in start-ups selected to join its programme, which offers comprehensive support packages.

Hub71's member start-ups, which number at 240, have collectively raised nearly Dh5 billion since its inception in 2019.

The new incentive programme is a “natural progression”, building on Hub71's pledge of supporting the growth of early-stage technology companies, deputy chief executive Ahmad Ali Alwan said.

“This impact and shift to provide greater value to our start-up community solidifies our commitment to founders as we aim to enhance the growth trajectory of innovative companies with the simplicity and flexibility needed to ensure they succeed,” he said.

“Our dedication will go beyond financial support; we are deeply invested in the success of start-ups in our community and will remain engaged in ensuring their sustainable growth and development in Abu Dhabi and beyond.”

Worldwide start-ups are booming as they take on the challenges of developing solutions for a world that is becoming increasingly digital in key sectors such as retail, services and commerce.

The value created by start-ups globally is about $3 trillion, which is almost on par with the gross domestic product of a G7 economy, according to advisory company Startup Genome.

Hub71’s new incentive model is being positioned to boost its commitment to raising the value provided to founders and high-performing technology companies out of Abu Dhabi.

The UAE aims to be home to 20 unicorns – or start-ups with a valuation of $1 billion and above – by 2030, Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq said during the launch of the revamped Entrepreneurial Nation 2.0 programme last year.

Hub71's start-ups currently cater to more than 20 industries, according to its website.

Among the sectors it plans to focus on further are financial technology and its digital asset subsets, health, education, transport, logistics, travel climate and food, Mr Alwan had previously said.

Start-ups that join Hub71's Company Building Programme will be able to unlock the benefits of Abu Dhabi's market advantages by being able to tap into an extensive network of corporations, investment partners and government entities

Part of the programme is a three-month course that allows start-ups to receive mentorship, advice and support, which in turn increases their prospects of commercial deals and fund-raising.

Updated: October 16, 2023, 5:25 PM