Dubai / Emirates Business
Sandooq Al Watan, a national initiative launched by prominent Emirati businessmen to support research projects, has announced an unprecedented initiative titled “Our Future”.
The initiative aims to prepare the UAE for a post-oil era by supporting the establishment world-class Emirati start-ups and growing them into global companies that generate massive economic and social returns to the country. The fund plans to support 20 key-sector start-ups by 2020.
“The 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 of which is the “Ideation Phase”. Here, the fund will source ground breaking and game changing ideas from the country’s brightest individuals. This includes incentivizing 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 AED30million distributed to supporting research in key sectors over the course of three years.
In its second phase called “Commercialization”, the initiative will begin incubating and accelerating ground-breaking ideas identified in phase 1. 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, which will then be showcased in an event held in October 2017. The third and final phase called “Growth” will see the fund create a platform that connects established start-ups from phase 2 with a network of venture capitalists, consumers and experts that would facilitate growth through financing and purchases.
It is hoped that through this comprehensive 3 stage program that brings together academia, industry and entrepreneurs, “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” said
Mohamed Al Qadhi.