DIFC officially launched its venture building program ‘DIFC Launchpad’

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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DIFC Launchpad
Mr. Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC & Mr. AbdulAziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of Mashreq, at inaugural event of DIFC Launchpad

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading global financial center in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, has launched its venture-building program, ‘DIFC Launchpad’.

The initiative seeks to develop a strong venture-building model that promotes the growth of innovative start-ups and scale-ups in the region.

The inaugural event was attended by Mr. Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, and a host of dignitaries, business leaders and partners. The ‘DIFC Launchpad’ program expects to support the launch of more than 200 new ventures, with over 100 of them being scale-ups that will collectively create over 8,000 new jobs and attract over $544 million in venture capital

Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed _ DIFC Launchpad launched
Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai,
Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Finance of UAE,
President of DIFC.

“The launch of ‘DIFC Launchpad’ is set to further attract innovative companies and enhance the emirate’s appeal as a city that supports business growth and success. The launch of the platform also serves as an important step towards realizing the objectives of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, which aims to double the size of Dubai’s economy and consolidate its position as one of the world’s top four financial centers over the next decade. It also supports efforts to realize DIFC’s 2030 strategy to catalyze new job creation and economic development in both the financial and non-financial services industry.”

The event drew focus to the significant role that FinTech and Innovation firms play in Dubai’s economy, and how DIFC and its partners are contributing to the sector’s growth. DIFC FinTech and Innovation firms raised over $600 million in 2022 alone, making it the fastest-growing sector in DIFC. A total of 291 new FinTech and Innovation firms joined DIFC last year, representing a 36 percent increase year-on-year, taking the total to 686.

With the ‘DIFC Launchpad’, Dubai is well-positioned to become the global hub for venture building, and the program is expected to have a far-reaching impact on the region’s economic growth.

Mr. Kazim said that “We are thrilled to officially launch ‘DIFC Launchpad’ with our partners, an initiative that is aligned with DIFC’s broader 2030 strategy to drive the growth of innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. DIFC is providing a unique platform for its partners to access global networks, expertise, funding, mentorship and a range of other resources, that will help them to succeed through ‘DIFC Launchpad’. We are excited to see the impact that this platform will have in supporting the next generation of FinTech and Innovation companies and driving economic growth in Dubai and beyond.”

A highlight of the event was also the announcement of the ‘DIFC Venture Studio Regulations’, the world’s first legislative framework for venture building. The new regulations will facilitate the ease of doing business within the venture studio model and help create a tailored ecosystem for venture building, entrepreneurs, start-ups and investors.

The ‘DIFC Launchpad’ program is supported by multinational experts specialized in new venture creation, corporate innovation and emerging technologies, who will be working closely with DIFC’s investor bases and corporate partners Mashreq, Mastercard and Commercial Bank of Dubai to create and launch the next generation of global FinTech start-ups in Dubai. To scale venture-building activities across a range of verticals, ‘DIFC Launchpad’ attracted some of the world’s leading venture studios to Dubai including R/GA, Antler, BIM Ventures, and Futurelabs.

The Career Development Centre at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford is the Talent Partner of ‘DIFC Launchpad’. This pioneering talent bridge between Oxford and Dubai will connect ‘DIFC Launchpad’ members with the world-class talent and expertise that exist within Saïd Business School. The partnership will further accelerate Dubai’s position as a global, inclusive and forward-thinking talent hub.

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