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Abu Dhabi starts incubators programme to empower innovators and entrepreneurs

August 13, 2022
finance & economy

Initiative will focus on developing innovations that support clusters with high growth potential, including IoT, data centres, cloud services and e-commerce

The Competitiveness Office of Abu Dhabi, part of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (Added), has launched a new programme aimed at helping innovators turn their ideas into commercial projects.

The Abu Dhabi innovation incubators programme will support a “diversified, robust, smart and sustainable economy”, Added said on Friday.

It is part of the 14 initiatives under the “Abu Dhabi Innovates” programme that was launched in May to boost the emirates's innovation ecosystem.

The new programme focuses on developing clusters with high growth potential including the Internet of Things, data centres, cloud services, e-commerce, smart manufacturing, clinical research, asset management, commodity trading, tourism, FinTech, and AgriTech.

It will enhance the innovation ecosystem, support the development of business environment and strengthen Abu Dhabi’s status regionally and globally, said Sameh Al Qubaisi, director general of economic affairs at Added.

“This programme ... [also] provides regulatory and institutional frameworks that support innovation and research and development in vital economic sectors,' he said.

“This will be achieved by following a set of policies and regulations to ensure that innovation incubators are well equipped and have the right operating model to support innovators at different stages.”

Abu Dhabi’s economy rebounded strongly last year on the back of government measures to curb the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The growth momentum carried into this year has picked up pace and the emirate’s economy is expected to grow by 6 per cent to 8 per cent over the next two years, Mohammed Al Shorafa, chairman of Added, said in April.

S&P expects Abu Dhabi's economy to accelerate to more than 5 per cent in 2022, with output reaching 2019 levels in 2023.

Innovation incubators are among the top drivers that encourage individuals and provide incentives. They support and convert ideas or scientific inventions into commercial opportunities.

Public and private institutions that are investing in innovative technical solutions and supporting research and development are eligible to earn innovation incubator licences, after a thorough review by experts, Added said.

In the past, various academic and private institutions were granted incubator licences. They include Khalifa University, Al Ain University, Abu Dhabi University, Higher College of Technology, Khwarizmi International College, New York University Abu Dhabi, Plug and Play and Fat6lab.

“The programme will also facilitate access to financing opportunities and business deals as well as encouraging entrepreneurs and investors to deal with trusted incubators, select innovations to invest in and support innovators to navigate their way through challenges to success,” said Hala Al Ameri, executive director of the Competitiveness Office of Abu Dhabi.