Breaking: Dubai Council announces launch of Dubai Future District and AED1 billion Fund

Today, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced that a new “Dubai Future District” was created in Dubai, along with an initial fund of AED1 billion to support startups in the district.

The announcement comes as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues to account for the majority of total funding in the MENA region, according to MAGNiTT's 2019 MENA Venture Investment Report. In 2019, the country received 60% of total funding in the region.

Commenting on the initiative, Philip Bahoshy, CEO and founder at MAGNiTT, highlights, “This is a welcome initiative for the UAE – the clustering of startups promotes intellectual capital transfer and further encourages growth, hiring and experience sharing. While we are excited to find out more about the details of the fund, fundraising remains a challenge for MENA-based startups, and this provides a great opportunity to further support startups and venture capital firms at all stages. In MAGNiTT’s 2019 MENA Venture Investment Report, we highlighted the UAE’s strength as recipient of the most venture funding in MENA. This will no doubt further strenghten that positioning.”

The Dubai Future District will connect the Emirates Towers with the Dubai World Trade Center and the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), and will include a center for economic research, incubators, the newly established fund, and housing facilities for startup founders, among other initiatives.

The AED1 billion fund is the latest announcement of a government initiative in the UAE and wider MENA region, with regional governments increasingly focusing on entrepreneurship and innovation. Within the UAE, the announcement follows the launch of Mubadala Capital's AED918 million tech funds in October 2019, with which Mubadala Capital will focus on direct invesments in startups, as well as indirect startups through a Fund of Funds.

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