Hub71 launches new programme to connect start-ups with Abu Dhabi corporations

The initiative will target late stage start-ups that have proven products witha strong potential to be commercialised

Set up in March 2019, Hub71 is a start-up incubator based within Abu Dhabi Global Market, the emirate's financial free zone. Courtesy Hub71
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Abu Dhabi-based global tech ecosystem Hub71 unveiled a new programme to connect selected start-ups with the emirate’s corporates, particularly those under Mubadala Investment Company and industrial holding firm ADQ, as well as local and federal government agencies, to increase their market access.

The annual initiative, called The Outliers, is open to start-ups based in any part of the world and will be launched through a four-month roadshow across the emirate, Hub71 said in a statement on Tuesday.

The partnership with leading public and private sector organisations will attract “ambitious start-ups” and “exceptional founders” to compete in the programme.

“Global tech start-ups can contribute to the innovation blueprint of Abu Dhabi by applying solutions to challenges that shift the status quo and influence the future direction of our economy and talent pool,” Hanan Al Yafei, Hub71’s chief executive, said.

Hub71, created with Dh520 million ($141.5m) from Abu Dhabi’s Ghadan 21 economic stimulus programme, is home to 102 start-ups presently and is continuing to attract successful companies from around the world. It has also helped position the UAE capital as an innovation hub and has attracted start-ups in sectors that are crucial to its growth, such as agricultural technology, health care and renewable energy.

The new scheme aims to create opportunities for global start-ups to work alongside and support Abu Dhabi’s businesses across various sectors to “build a solid pipeline of high-quality start-ups to consider doing business and relocating to Abu Dhabi”, Hub71 said.

The programme will target later stage start-ups that have proven products. During the challenge, they will be required to develop proof of concepts that have strong potential to be commercialised in the wider market.

Besides financial aid, the companies will also get an opportunity to participate in a demo day to pitch before investors and they will have faster access to the Hub71 incentive programme.

Hub71’s incentive programme offers 100 per cent free housing, office space and health insurance for two years for seed companies and 50 per cent subsidies for three years for emerging companies, equating up to Dh3m in benefits per start-up.

“No matter what challenges are set, we believe start-ups can translate their bold thinking into tangible solutions that respond to larger organisations’ challenges,” Ms Yafei said.

Hub71 has teamed up with organisations such as Etihad Airways, Department of Health Abu Dhabi, Thales, Mastercard, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Mashreq for the programme.

The tech ecosystem was set up in March 2019 by the Abu Dhabi government, Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi Global Market, Microsoft and SoftBank.

Its start-ups, which represent 16 tech sectors, collectively raised more than Dh185m last year. This year, they aim to generate more than 340 jobs in the next 12 months.