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DIFC’s Innovation Hub to support Dubai growth

Dedicated to bringing the region’s startup community together


The innovation mandate has expanded for Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), the leading global financial center and fintech hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.

DIFC will set new standards for financial innovation in the region, building on its successful industry reputation for providing the region’s most enabling business environment, proven world-class laws and regulations, and attracting the best financial talent.

This comes at a time when the most successful organizations are expediting their innovation agendas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

DIFC’s approach enables individuals, businesses, regulators and the DIFC Authority to inclusively define the future of the industry, using a model that will be held up as global best practice. Collectively, over 250 firms are able to work together to develop and introduce innovative solutions and business models that will redefine the future of finance with the aim of providing sustained economic growth. The environment allows businesses to develop new ideas safely and thrive at each stage of their business lifecycle.

Although over 50 percent of fintech startups in the GCC are already based in DIFC, formalizing the end-to-end DIFC Innovation Hub proposition is expected to attract more high-impact entrepreneurs and growth companies to join the community.

Having access to the most active investor network is a key consideration for startups, which is why DIFC has built this into the overall DIFC Innovation Hub proposition. In addition to being considered by the DIFC FinTech Fund, venture capital firms from DIFC’s and the region’s broader ecosystem are using the DIFC Innovation Hub to identify businesses for future investment.

So far in 2020, the UAE accounts for over 60 percent of funds raised in the Middle East and North Africa for venture capital investment, validating the potential for DIFC based startups to access funding. DIFC has also enhanced its offering for VC firms which includes subsidized licensing and the launch of the leading VC framework that enables VC fund managers and funds to set up in weeks, with high flexibility and streamlined regulatory requirements.

Having developed new ideas locally, businesses will be able to leverage DIFC’s extensive partner network and fintech bridges to expand into regional and international markets.