District 2020 announces key partnerships to help create a global innovation ecosystem

District 2020, the human-centric smart city evolving from Expo 2020 Dubai, has announced a number of key partnerships that will contribute to the curation of its innovation ecosystem and its startup community, coinciding with the annual UAE Innovation week known as UAE Innovates 2021. 

During the nation-wide event, District 2020 is marking its contribution to driving innovation in the UAE and to supporting the UAE’s aim to be the most innovative and future-ready nation in the world. 


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District 2020 is bringing together global entities comprising of Fortune 500 companies, SMEs, startups, academic institutes, labs, accelerators & VCs to actively curate the business ecosystem that will focus on spurring innovation. As a human-centred smart community, it is supported by the latest 5G connectivity, and advanced technologies such as IoT, an urban lab, and an environment designed to meet the needs of the businesses and people who will live, work and play there. It will facilitate collaboration and enable businesses large and small to test and pilot ideas and solutions that will positively advance their industries.

District 2020 has also announced new local and international alliances with startup enabling entities from the UAE and from across international markets, including the USA, UK, Namibia, Slovenia, Malaysia, and Botswana. These latest partners will feed District 2020’s global entrepreneur programme, Scale2Dubai, with a pipeline of eligible international startups and small businesses creating a network of local, regional and international startups at the heart of the innovation ecosystem.

The latest international partnerships between Scale2Dubai and the US-based Founder Institute; British Centres for Business (BCB); Namibia’s Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade; the Slovene Enterprise Fund; Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC); Botswana’s Local Enterprise Authority; as well as UAE-based MAGNiTT, underline District 2020’s commitment to attract and support small businesses and startups in the region and around the world. These latest collaborations follow District 2020’s partnerships with key local entities including Dubai SME and the Mohammed Bin Rashed Innovation Fund.

Through its human-centred approach and infrastructure design, District 2020 is curating an ecosystem that will prioritise the needs of these businesses and the future workforce in a rapidly evolving global landscape and post-pandemic world. By inheriting from Expo 2020 Dubai, District 2020 will integrate innovative applications of the latest smart technologies — such as IoT — to address challenges, and improve services enabling the community to function both smarter and more sustainably.  This will be supported by District 2020’s urban lab, an open data platform and testbed for entities to test their solutions to urban challenges in a live urban environment.

Tala Al Ansari, Director, Innovation Ecosystem & Scale2Dubai Programme, District 2020 said, “We are designing an innovation ecosystem and community that will enable businesses at District 2020 to realise their potential. We understand how challenging it is for most businesses to scale in new markets. By studying the challenges faced by start-ups and small businesses, we designed the Scale2Dubai programme to specifically address their needs and support them in their journey."

Sameer Sortur, Managing Director, The Founder Institute - UAE, commented, “Our collaboration with District 2020 is a smart move for our organisation and the global tech startups we support. The Founder Institute and District 2020 share an appreciation for the challenges facing growing businesses, but also the massive, industry-changing potential waiting to be unlocked when these challenges are overcome."


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