A startup accelerator founded by Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar and BP has been officially launched and is now accepting applications from local and international clean-tech entrepreneurs.
The Catalyst, which is based in Masdar City and is also collaborating with the Masdar Institute, part of the Khalifa University of Science and Technology, claims to be the region’s first accelerator targeted at sustainability-focused startups and is aiming to select 12 businesses for hands-on support in 2018.
Successful applicants will be those developing innovative products and solutions that are potentially patentable, with priority given to UAE-based startups. The Catalyst says it is also prioritising businesses at the commercialisation stage and offers not just funding but training, mentoring and office space.
The Catalyst programme will be split into two: a three-month phase for scouting up to 50 applicants followed by four months involves choosing startups from the shortlist and then allocating the funding and delivering the hands-on training and support.
To raise awareness and attract interest, the Catalyst is participating in the Climate Innovation Exchange (CLIX) during ADSW, a platform endorsed by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment connecting youth, entrepreneurs and innovators with investors to promote climate change solutions.
“The Catalyst completes our comprehensive portfolio of services catering to businesses of all sizes, from large corporations to startups and individual entrepreneurs,” says Mohamed Al Fardan, director of Masdar Free Zone. “With homegrown clean-tech businesses now emerging in the UAE, now is the time to relaunch the Catalyst to further incentivise the business ecosystem in sustainability taking root in the Middle East and international markets.”
“Our vision is to help build a robust startup ecosystem focused on sustainability in Abu Dhabi that is aligned with the UAE’s overall innovation mandate,” said Cinar Kurra, Chief Executive Officer of the Catalyst. “The track record of Masdar as a global renewable energy leader, the experience of BP as one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies, as well as the access to clean-tech partnerships provided by the Masdar Institute and the support of the Masdar free zone are distinct advantages of the Catalyst’s business model.”
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