A new startup funding project launched by a group of local businessmen, has announced its three-point plan to develop an “Emirati Google or Tesla” by 2071.
Sandooq Al Watan’s Our Future initiative will initially incentivise researchers to generate bold ideas and increase patents in sectors including aviation, aerospace, water and genetics in collaboration with the private sector.
The first phase will see close to AED 30million distributed to supporting research in key sectors over the course of three years.
In its second phase, the initiative will begin incubating and accelerating ideas through the establishment of innovation centres across the UAE that will provide services including training, mentorship, free working space, and pre-seed funding. The first centre is set to be inaugurated in early 2018 in Abu Dhabi.
The final phase will see the fund create a platform that connects its most promising startups with a network of venture capitalists, consumers and experts that would facilitate growth through financing and purchases.
The fund plans to support 20 key startups by 2020.
The initiative aims to prepare the UAE for a post-oil era by supporting the establishment of “world-class” Emirati start-ups and growing them into global companies that can generate economic and social returns to the country.
“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, 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.”
According to Al Qadhi, the initiative is aligned with the directives of HH 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.
“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.