Dubai attracts global tech elite to Future Accelerators program

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Dubai officially launched its Future Accelerators program on Sunday, following a $275 million pledge in August to address seven global challenges.

The program, whose first 12-week round began on September 18, is not an incubator specifically but pairs both international giants and startups with Dubai government authorities to solve problems at a hyper local level and at a global scale.

Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said the program would redefine government’s role to be “centers for planning the future and catalysing global innovation,” according to UAE News Agency (WAM).

"The Accelerators programme is a powerful tool that allows our government departments to identify the opportunities and challenges facing them in the future," Al Maktoum said.

The headquarters in Dubai house eight accelerators that will work with government departments on education, health, infrastructure, transportation, safety and security, energy and technology, and finance.

Dubai is backing the commitment with serious cash: companies can access up to $2 million in venture capital per month.

Thirty-one companies were shortlisted for the first round, including Hyperloop One which will work with the transportation authority, UAE startup Comae Technologies which is working with the police department on cyber security and data analysis after a crime has been committed, and Honeywell which is working on digital healthcare systems.

The companies have three months to come up with a prototype or a business plan that could work in Dubai. The government authorities and investors will be allowed to invest in those chosen to move forward.

On Monday, Dubai Holding, which is working with four companies on artificial intelligence uses, promised investment of 1 billion dirhams (US$272 million) over five years for the project.

Feature image via Government of Dubai media office.

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