Abu Dhabi is looking to diversify from oil to other businesses, and as part of that effort, it has committed to invest 1 billion dirhams on a technology hub that will lure startups. The technology hub will be called as the Hub 71 and is part of its Ghadan stimulus program launched by the UAE for economic growth where Ghadan in Arabic means tomorrow. It plans to have about 100 companies operating in the hub in the coming 3 to 5 years.
The launch of Hub 71:
The 1 billion dirham initiative is launched under the executive committee chairmanship of Shaikh Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan and is in collaboration with big companies and businesses like Microsoft, Mubadala, SoftBank, etc. It is also using the Ghadan program and using 50 million from the stimulus program. During the launch of this initiative, Elhan Al Qasim the CEO of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office said ‘Through the Abu Dhabi Government, we have put in place a range of initiatives designed to accelerate Abu Dhabi’s economy, one of that is even more dynamic, innovative and technology-oriented that it is today.’
Mubadala Ventures to be the leading investor:
The Mubadala ventures which are part of the Mubadala Investment company will be the main player with assets of over $225 billion. Head of Mubadala Ventures Ibrahim Ajami said that
“the market opportunities in this region are immense. It’s a Dh1-billion government initiative of which dh500 million is an investment in funds and companies, and dh500 million will be used as incentives to support startups with housing, office space and with health insurance under the Ghadan 21 initiative.”
Talking about the Abu Dhabi being a financial district and the best place to invest. It has committed to invest $15 billion to Softbank for its Vision Fund which helps startups and to launch a $400 million fund in tech companies in Europe. The investment company will have an able strategic partner in tech giant Microsoft which provides cloud and other technology services and also have a center in Hub 71.
Ibrahim Ajami further added that
“Hub 71 is an exciting area that Mabadala’s experience and networks can be brought to bear. We need to ensure that we’re ready for the future as a leader of innovation and at Mubadala, we’re committed to playing our part.”
Not just this, Abu Dhabi also plans to set up a research and development program as part of the Ghadan initiative.