Third cohort sees record participation from UAE and global startups

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Dubai Startup Hub, an initiative of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has announced the successful conclusion of the third cohort of Market Access, which achieved record participation from UAE and global startups offering cutting-edge solutions for the program’s corporate members.

The third cohort attracted 148 startup submissions from 21 countries, marking a 105% increase in applications compared to the previous cohorts this year. Around 75% of total applications came from outside the UAE, with Egypt accounting for the largest number of submissions, followed by the UAE, India and Lebanon.

During a business pitching and matchmaking event held Sept. 27-29, Sumitomo Corporation, Emirates Post Group, Emirates NBD and Accenture announced plans to collaborate with six startups on new pilot projects that will develop solutions in the areas of travel technology, health security, third-party payments and logistics, telemedicine, third-party administration, digital banking and credit scoring.

Sumitomo Corporation will collaborate with healthtech startup Healthigo. Emirates Post Group chose logistics provider CamCom and Accenture selected three startups, namely NEARMOTION and Intuito, providers of digital navigation solutions; and Gokaddal, a developer of innovative soft and hardware solutions to enhance health and safety of travellers. In addition, Emirates NBD selected Verismart, an identity blockchain platform automating data access control between enterprises.

The startups were selected from a pool of 14 shortlisted candidates that pitched business concepts and solutions addressing existing challenges for the corporate members. Shortlisted startups benefited from a two-week business training and tailored support.

Market Access is one of Dubai Startup Hub’s flagship programs designed to facilitate partnerships between corporates and startups. The program offers annual membership to corporates and access to a series of dedicated matchmaking events held throughout the year.

Natalia Sycheva, manager of entrepreneurship at Dubai Chamber, said the third cohort of Market Access coincided with an uptick in business activity within Dubai’s entrepreneurship ecosystem as Covid-19 led more companies to prioritize digital transformation, a key area of strength and expertise for startups.

She noted that the quality of applications from high-caliber startup candidates also improved during the period, and said that the record participation in the program reflects Dubai’s strengthening position as a preferred hub and land of opportunity for innovative startups from around the world.

By organizing the third cohort in a digital format, Sycheva said the Market Access was able to reach and attract international startups with a strong interest in entering the Dubai market. She added that the program itself has evolved considerably in 2020 and now serves as an ideal platform for startups that are looking for partnerships that can help them scale and boost market exposure. On the other hand, she noted that corporates are leveraging the same platform as a source of innovation offering high-tech solutions in key areas where they need support.

Established by Dubai Chamber in 2016, Dubai Startup Hub is the first initiative of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa region. The initiative is designed to emphasis the value of public and private sector collaboration and embodies the aim of encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship as a main driver of the economy of Dubai and the UAE. — SG

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