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Mon 8 Sep 2014 02:02 PM

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Dubai free zone to launch Google for Entrepreneurs tech hub

DMCC says it is partnering with AstroLabs to launch platform for technology startups early next year

Dubai free zone to launch Google for Entrepreneurs tech hub
Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman of the DMCC.

DMCC, the global gateway for commodity trade and enterprise in Dubai, said on Monday it will host the Middle East's first Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub.

The AstroLabs Dubai initiative will be launched in partnership with entrepreneurship platform, AstroLabs, it was announced at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco.

With the opening of the facility planned for early next year, AstroLabs Dubai will welcome tech entrepreneurs from across the globe seeking to access high-growth emerging markets, a statement said.

The new AstroLabs Dubai hub will feature an advanced mobile device development lab, co-designed with Google for Entrepreneurs, to enable startups to build apps for the highest smartphone penetration markets globally.

The 6,500 square foot facility will also offer a large training space, and a café.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman of the DMCC, said: "We welcome Dubai's first tech hub to the DMCC Free Zone. Dubai is a city built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs inspired by the strength and vision of the leadership of the Emirate, and projects like the AstroLabs Dubai launch reflect the calibre of startups that make this vision a reality.

"As these startups grow and flourish we hope to see them join the future powerhouses of large corporates and multinationals destined to see DMCC's Burj 2020 District as their new business address."

Bridgette Beam, senior manager at Google for Entrepreneurs, said: "The AstroLabs founders are experienced entrepreneurs who know how to accelerate the growth of early stage companies. We see enormous potential for them to help startups across MENA take their ideas to the global stage."

AstroLabs has already successfully built one of the largest networks of high-growth startups in the MENA region, amplifying the potential impact of the new tech hub.

In the last year alone, AstroLabs said its flagship Scaling Online Startups acceleration programme trained the founders of over 100 startups in cities across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon.

Gautam Sashittal, CEO, DMCC, said: "At DMCC we are constantly enhancing our Free Zone offering to support startups, SMEs and large corporates alike. Bringing the first Google for Entrepreneurs and AstroLabs Dubai collaboration to Dubai and the DMCC Free Zone is exciting and the next natural step in enabling startups to innovate and grow."

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