Hub71 signs deal with Saudi Arabia’s Digital Innovation Centre to boost innovation

The partnership will support entrepreneurs in the UAE and Saudi Arabia and help them to grow their businesses in new markets

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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Hub71 joined forces with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology’s Digital Innovation Centre to boost innovation and tech entrepreneurship in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the Arab world's biggest economies.

Under the three-year pact, the entrepreneurs will have access to Hub71 and the centre’s network of corporate partners, mentors and expertise, the Abu Dhabi tech accelerator said in a statement on Monday.

Training courses and workshops will facilitate the exchange of knowledge and digital expertise in advanced technology, it added.

This partnership “opens the door even wider to the lucrative Saudi market for our fast-growing start-up community”, Hanan Harhara Al Yafei, Hub71’s chief executive, said.

It will facilitate Saudi Arabian entrepreneurs to “advance their knowledge and capabilities in the tech sectors [while] driving forward our burgeoning tech ecosystem in Abu Dhabi”, Ms Yafei added.

“We can support entrepreneurship that drives transformative technologies and helps future-proof our economies.”

The partnership will support entrepreneurs in getting licences and completing other formalities to ease the process of establishing new tech start-ups in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

It will increase market opportunities for start-ups seeking to scale in the Middle East and North Africa region from the thriving tech ecosystems of Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia's start-ups will also gain priority access to Hub71's incentive programme, which includes free housing, health insurance and office space for up to three years and equates up to Dh3 million in support per start-up.

The kingdom’s innovation centre is a key pillar of Saudi Arabia’s digital infrastructure. It supports the nation’s digital start-up community, fostering economic development and job creation in line with the country’s Vision 2030.

“Our priority is to stimulate innovation and opportunities for entrepreneurs to put their best foot forward in scaling their businesses,” Ibrahim Al-Nasser, general manager of the Digital Innovation Centre, said.

“We want future generations to have access to a leading tech hub that shares our ambition in driving forward our digital transformation,” he added.

Hub71, whose start-ups have collectively raised more than Dh510.1m up to the second week of July, was set up in March 2019 by the Abu Dhabi government, Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi Global Market, Microsoft and SoftBank. It is a flagship initiative of the Dh50 billion Ghadan 21 economic stimulus programme.