Dubai is hosting an accelerator program for startups which will drive innovation and is focused on general public services such as health, transport services, education etc.
The program is called Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA). Dubai’s government is also going to offer grants worth $33 million for the startups shortlisted for the accelerator program.
Dubai Future Foundation (the parent company of the DFA) is setting aside a fund of $275 million which will be invested in the companies shortlisted through the DFA program.
Target Areas and Challenges for Startups
Your company must target 11 key areas or challenges related to Dubai’s public services. The solutions you provide must target one of these entities:
- Roads and Transport Authority
- Dubai Police
- Dubai Municipality
- Dubai Health Authority
- Knowledge and Human Development Authority
- Dubai Holding
- Dubai Electricity and Water Authority
- General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs
- DU (telecom company in Dubai)
- Department of Economic Development
- Etisalat Digital
For more details click here.
They accept companies on a case by case basis but they also require that the companies should have launched their core technology and should be able to demonstrate traction and/or substantial use cases.
If it’s a software company they should be able to demonstrate the software in action and explain the technical details. If it’s a hardware company you will need to bring with you a working prototype so it can be tested.
‘Not an Incubator’
The program is not an incubator, it won’t teach you how to write a business plan. Instead it focuses on already launched products that have gained traction. Aside from grant money, tech companies get access to the staff, resources and expertise of Dubai’s government entities.
According to the DFA website,
The aim of the program is to provide a dynamic environment where companies and entities can explore new opportunities to deliver transformative technologies and services, culminating in companies receiving a MOU (or other commercial agreement) to deliver a funded pilot project after the program ends.
Unlike venture capitalists or other investment programs, DFA would not receive or expect any equity if your company participates.
You will be required to send at least two participants from your company to participate in the program. Ideally a team of 3 or 4 is recommended. DFA will cover travel and stay costs for the duration of the program,
DFA will provide an economy return flight to and from your home country, plus accommodation for the full 9 weeks. We’ll also cover the cost of visa applications for each full-time participant.
You can submit your application for the program until January 11th. The program will start on February 12th and will last 9 weeks until April 13th.
To apply click here.