The Covid-19 crisis has put considerable strain on startups, impacting everything from supply chains to mobility. Without the deep pockets that tech giants have, many startups are still coping with the shock of the pandemic.
Yet, the importance of innovation in technology is heightened and the technology sector has been thriving throughout the crisis. A development that was recognized by the UAE government and further underpinned by the appointment of the Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, His Excellency Dr Sultan Al Jaber, the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Working, His Excellency Omar Al Olama, and the Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, His Excellency Ahmad Belhoul.
Startups with a mindset of embracing new technologies have been on the forefront of Abu Dhabi’s digital transformation even throughout the pandemic. One example is Hub71’s Addenda, an innovative insurtech startup that uses blockchain technology to speed up motor insurance claims, is now pivoting its business model to offer rewards for safe drivers.
It is in times like these, businesses, governments, and entrepreneurs are reassessing their approach to technology, the digital economy and transformation. This mindset will allow them to grow.
The UAE’s capital has heavily invested in the technology sector for years and has been gearing up to become a global innovation hub. The Abu Dhabi government has launched remarkable initiatives, including the establishment of the world’s first university dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI), Mohammed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) and, more recently, the announcement of an Advanced Technology and Research Council that will be headquartered in Abu Dhabi to boost homegrown talent and innovative technology.
Abu Dhabi sits on the crossroads between East and West, with easy access to high-growth markets in Africa, Asia, and Europe with the availability of deep pools of funding, Abu Dhabihas many value-adding incentives for startups.
The Abu Dhabi government launched the future focused Ghadan 21 program, a $14 Bn project that includes a AED 500 million tech fund. Hub71 is a flagship initiative, born out of Ghadan 21, set up to foster and nurture global tech startups and offers startups equity-free incentives that covers housing, health insurance and WeWork x Hub71 office space. These incentives are placed against Abu Dhabi’s backdrop of state-of-the-art R&D centers, digital infrastructure, high-speed 5G networks and advanced cloud technology that will help transform the future economy.
We are making it easier for startups from India and around the world to conceptualize, develop, and test their innovative products and services.
Indian startups are welcome in Abu Dhabi. The UAE has a long-standing relationship with India and the country is our third biggest trade partner. Our relationship was further deepened by our strategic partner Mubadala’s $1.2 Bn investment into India’s Jio Platforms, a Reliance Industries subsidiary, with more than 388 Mn subscribers.
Just a three-hour flight from India’s top tech hubs, Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 offers markets opportunities to growth-stage startups, supports them with access to capital and valuable mentorship through its vast network of influential corporate partners, including Mubadala, Microsoft and Abu Dhabi Global Market.
For many, the Covid-19 crisis might seem daunting. For us, we see it as an opportunity – an opportunity to work together, create something new and embrace a digital-enabled future.
Now is the time to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead, and Abu Dhabi can be a guiding beacon toward growth for India’s tech community.