Sandooq Al Watan, a national initiative launched by prominent Emirati businessmen to support research projects, aims to create the an Emirati Google or Tesla by 2071.
The “Our Future” initiative hopes to prepare the UAE for a post-oil era by supporting the establishment of world-class Emirati start-ups and growing them into global companies that generate massive economic and social returns to the country.
The fund said in a statement that it plans to support 20 key-sector start-ups by 2020.
“The Our Future initiative is a foundation upon which we can create a knowledge economy by supporting innovative ideas and startups that propose solutions to the challenges of the future and growing them into a global phenomenon,” said Mohamed Tajeddine Al Qadhi, director general of Sandooq Al Watan.
“The initiative is unique because it supports the projects from inception all the way to growing the company into local and global leader.”
Sandooq Al Watan said it will be implementing the initiative in three phases, the first of which is the “Ideation Phase”.
Here, the fund will source ground breaking and game changing ideas from the country’s brightest individuals. This includes incentivising researchers to generate bold ideas and increase patents in vital sectors – such as aviation, space, water, and genetics – in collaboration with the private sector.
The ideation phase will see close to AED30 million distributed to supporting research in key sectors over the course of three years.
In its second phase called “Commercialisation”, the initiative will begin incubating and accelerating ground-breaking ideas identified in phase 1. This will be done through the establishment of innovation centres across the UAE, with the first centre to be inaugurated in early 2018 in Abu Dhabi.
The third and final phase called “Growth” will see the fund create a platform that connects established start-ups from phase 2 with a network of venture capitalists, consumers and experts that would facilitate growth through financing and purchases.
“'Our Future' signifies Sandooq Al Watan’s commitment to support the government efforts in diversifying our economy and to provide young Emiratis with the opportunity to pursue their ideas and shape the future,” said Al Qadhi.
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