New DIFC Innovation Hub to spur fintech ecosystem in Dubai
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New DIFC Innovation Hub to spur fintech ecosystem in Dubai

New DIFC Innovation Hub to spur fintech ecosystem in Dubai

Plans have already been approved to expand the size of the Innovation Hub four-fold to cover 315,000 sq ft

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

The DIFC Innovation Hub, which is the region’s first ecosystem dedicated to bringing fintech and innovation communities together, was opened on Tuesday, May 25.

Located in the Gate Avenue, the 80,000 sq ft facility is part of the new Dubai Future District.

During its official inauguration on Tuesday, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and president of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) approved plans to increase the size of the innovation hub four-fold to over 315,000 sq ft, since all the space currently allocated to it has already been used.

Over the next two years, the expansion will include the development of an additional tower linked to the existing DIFC Innovation Hub, confirmed a statement issued by Dubai Media Office.

Accommodating up to 1,000 businesses, the building will have fitted offices, co-working spaces and light F&B outlets in the concourse and fine dining outlets at the rooftop level.

The DIFC Innovation Hub is a major part of the Dubai Future District in 2020 with over 350 fintech and innovation firms. The Innovation Hub is expected to play a key role in driving collaboration between early-stage and growth startups, tech unicorns and big tech firms.

Tenants range from early to growth-stage startups such as YAP, Beehive, Tabby, Xpence, Stake, Rain and Bayzat as well as Thunderbird School of Global Management, part of Arizona State University, and tech companies such as Ebury, Huawei and Amazon.

Driving development of a fintech ecosystem in Dubai, the DIFC FinTech Hive, will through its FinTech Accelerator programme facilitate access to potential partners and investors, as well as conduct workshops, events and feature co-working spaces within the new Innovation Hub.

Not only will the DIFC Innovation Hub connect startups with commercial partners, it will also actively deliver financial initiatives to provide funding. DIFC’s $100m FinTech Fund was established to bridge the funding gap for growth stage startups in the region and has successfully financed seven companies to date. FinTech firms based in DIFC have now raised more than Dhs1.1bn. The Innovation Hub is expected to continue providing financial support in to fintech entities.

“The new facility is a key initiative aimed at generating new economic value by fostering the development of innovation, enterprise and talent across sectors, especially in future-oriented industries,” said Sheikh Maktoum.

Essa Kazim, governor of DIFC, added: “With a strong focus on promoting promising startups and innovative ventures, DIFC is accelerating the strategic and sustainable development of the economy to be future-ready. The DIFC Innovation Hub is the region’s dedicated zone for innovators and investors to leverage the extraordinary potential of new generation technology.”

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