Emirati fund wants to create next Google or Tesla

Sandooq Al Watan, a national initiative launched in April 2016 by prominent Emirati businessmen to support research projects, has announced the "Our Future" initiative, which they hope will produce the next Emirati Google or Tesla by 2071.

The initiative is aimed at preparing the UAE for a post-oil era by supporting the establishment of world-class Emirati startups, according to the Emirates News Agency.

These businesses will be transformed into global companies that will generate massive economic and social returns to the country. The fund plans to support 20 key-sector startups by 2020.

"Our Future initiative is a foundation upon which we can create a knowledge economy by supporting innovative ideas and startups that propose solutions to the challenges of the future and growing them into a global phenomenon," said Mohamed Tajeddine Al Qadhi, director general of Sandooq Al Watan. "The initiative is unique because it supports the projects from inception all the way to growing the company into local and global leader."

The initiative is aligned with the UAE leadership’s directives, particularly, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to set plans for a sustainable knowledge economy in the post-oil era.

Sandooq Al Watan will be implementing the initiative in three phases, the first being the "Ideation Phase", where the fund will source groundbreaking and game changing ideas from the country’s brightest individuals. This includes incentivising researchers to generate bold ideas and increase patents in vital sectors, such as aviation, space, water, and genetics, in collaboration with the private sector. The ideation phase will see close to 30 million Emirati dirhams (US$8.167million) distributed to supporting research in key sectors over the course of three years.

The second phase is "Commercialisation", where the initiative will begin incubating and accelerating ground-breaking ideas identified in phase one. This will be done through the establishment of innovation centres across the UAE that will provide key services such as training, mentorship, free working space, and pre-seed funding. The first centre is set to be inaugurated in early 2018 in Abu Dhabi.

The third and final phase is named "Growth", which will see the fund create a platform that connects established start-ups from phase two with a network of venture capitalists, consumers and experts that would facilitate growth through financing and purchases.

The Fund has hoped that through this comprehensive three stage programme that brings together academia, industry and entrepreneurs, the initiative "Our Future" will help create the next Emirati Google or Tesla by 2071.

"Our Future signifies Sandooq Al Watan’s commitment to support the government efforts in diversifying our economy and to provide young Emiratis with the opportunity to pursue their ideas and shape the future," Mohamed Al Qadhi concluded.

Thumb image via Pixabay.

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