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Mon 25 Mar 2019 11:09 AM

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Abu Dhabi's new tech start-up hub complements Dubai, says Hub71 CEO

Hub71 head Mahmoud Adi said one of its challenges will be to identify ways in which entrepreneurs can have easier access to the wider GCC and Middle East region's markets

Abu Dhabi's new tech start-up hub complements Dubai, says Hub71 CEO
Mahmoud Adi said that one of Hub71 and the greater ecosystem’s challenges will be to identify ways in which entrepreneurs can have easier access to the wider GCC and Middle East region’s markets.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai are not in competition when it comes to start-up hubs and instead complement each other in a wider ecosystem, according to Mahmoud Adi, the head of Abu Dhabi’s new Hub71.

Hub71, which was launched on Sunday, is a new hub for tech start-ups on conjunction with Japan’s SoftBank Group.

Speaking to Arabian Business on the sidelines of the Hub71 launch event on Sunday, Adi said that he believes that “venture capital start-ups are all about collaboration, rather than competition.”

As an example, he said that Abu Dhabi’s efforts to encourage start-ups complement those of Dubai and university programmes such as StartAD at New York University – Abu Dhabi.

“We need more market participants,” Adi said. “Each market participant has their own strength and as we continue to serve the entrepreneurs, I think everyone benefits.”

Easier access

In the future, Adi said that one of Hub71 and the greater ecosystem’s challenges will be to identify ways in which entrepreneurs can have easier access to the wider GCC and Middle East region’s markets.

“It’s all about engagement. We know that our neighbour countries and the wider MENA region are interested in similar ecosystems,” he added. “It’s for the benefit of everyone if we can figure out a way for companies that are getting into certain countries to operate across the region.”

“We need to engage and figure out how to make that easier,” he said. “It’s a value creation for the entire MENA region.”

Additionally, Adi said that he believes that the entire UAE’s start-up ecosystem has made significant strides over the last several years, even if more work needs to be done.

”Seven years ago, the ecosystem and the mindset weren’t there. It’s all coming up very rapidly, and we [should] continue to do what everyone is good at and double down,” he said. “But at the end of the day, the region’s effort to date has been sort of humble and I think more efforts are required.”