Dubai Future Accelerators: Innovating for a Better Future
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Dubai Future Accelerators: Innovating for a Better Future

To solve the most pressing challenges of the 21st Century, the UAE has introduced a unique programme known as Dubai Future Accelerators. Under the programme, globally renowned companies will partner with government entities to nurture the champions of future in various fields, writes Akash Tomer of Elets News Network (ENN).

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is among the leading countries of the world when it comes to introducing innovative concepts. Dubai, the most populous city in the Emirates, has plans for a hyperloop transport system, a robot police force, a store that changes shape, self-driving electric vehicles, flying taxis, and a space agency that will work towards getting people to Mars.

Continuing this trend of innovation, the UAE has introduced several unique and innovative programmes to gather key government officials from different countries of the world and global industry leaders on a common platform to solve some of the humanity’s greatest challenges. Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) is one such initiative.

It is an intensive nine-week programme pairing the world’s most exciting technology companies with leading government organisations to create transformational solutions. Dubai Future Accelerators was launched in 2016 by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Future Foundation under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai.

It’s a unique programme for cutting-edge entrepreneurs to partner with the Dubai Government and use the city as a platform for creating solutions to the global challenges of tomorrow. The objective of the programme is to imagine, design and create the future by facilitating partnerships between renowned entrepreneurs and the government. Dubai Future Accelerators is run by Dubai Future Foundation, which plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of strategic sectors in cooperation with the Dubai Government and private sector entities.

DFA has received more than 1,100 applications since registrations were open. The submissions cover a range of innovative ideas that seek to shape the future of key sectors, find effective solutions to the challenges facing the future of Dubai, transforming them into opportunities for sustainable development, and, ultimately, creating a better life for future generations.

Dubai Future Accelerators Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Khalfan Belhoul says, “The programme reflects the forward-thinking vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, and the directives of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Directors at DFF. The programme’s great success reflects Dubai’s leading position when it comes to shaping the future.”

Among the high-profile companies participating in the programme’s third cycle, which is set to last for nine weeks, are major players such as IBM from the US, Nokia from Finland and LG from South Korea. Emirates Airline has joined the programme to help identify the most pressing challenges facing the aviation sector and work with the world’s most innovative companies to develop solutions and transform these challenges into opportunities that support the sector’s long-term sustainability.

The programme also witnessed a huge turnout, receiving nine applications from the UAE itself – making the Emirates the second-largest source market with 20 per cent of all participating companies, thus doubling their participation percentage from the last year.

The US occupies the first place with 10 companies (22 per cent of the total), the UK came third with eight participants, followed by Austria with four companies, Canada with three, two companies from New Zealand, two from Singapore and one company from China, Germany, Hungary, Lebanon, South Africa, Spain, South Korea and the Netherlands.

The DFA’s “Humanitarian Accelerators” programme has also signed an agreement with Dubai Cares, and received three submissions – two from the US and one from the UAE. The Humanitarian Accelerators is a first-of-its-kind initiative in the Arab World connecting startups and established companies from around the world with the UAE’s humanitarian sector to tackle social, cultural and environmental challenges in the Arab region.

The first and second editions of the Accelerators programme attracted more than 4,000 applications to solve strategic challenges in key sectors. As many as 65 international companies participated in both editions of the Dubai Future Accelerators. Overall, 72 per cent signed a Memorandum of Understanding with their respective government partners by the end of the nine week-programme and are currently working on implementing their pilot projects.

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