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Tue 14 Jan 2020 08:08 PM

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Revealed: Dubai's plan to create the world's largest innovation district

Sheikh Mohammed launches plan for Dubai Future District and a $272m fund to support entrepreneurs who make it their base

Revealed: Dubai's plan to create the world's largest innovation district

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday announced plans for a new project called Dubai Future District.

The Dubai Future District will see Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), Emirates Towers and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) directly connected via a bridge, making it the largest innovation area in the world, a statement said.

Sheikh Mohammed also announced the launch of an AED1 billion ($272 million) fund to support companies who will operate out of Dubai Future District, enhancing the emirate's position as a preferred destination for global talents and entrepreneurs.

The new district, along with the new fund, will provide unprecedented financing and legislative facilities and options for businesses, the statement added.

He also announced a new AED2 trillion target for the volume of Dubai's foreign trade by 2025, which will be supported by establishing 50 offices around the world, each tasked with promoting Dubai’s trade, tourism and investment offerings.

While presiding over the second meeting of the Dubai Council, Sheikh Mohammed added: "Dubai will become the world’s capital of the new economy. The new economy will be a major focus on the 50 goals agenda that we seek to achieve in the next five years. The Dubai Council will focus on opening new economic sectors for the emirate and transform its existing sectors.

"We aim for a major shift in Dubai’s foreign trade through stimulation and revitalisation with continuous development of all its logistical, legislative and service tools, in addition to building new international partnerships.

"The new Dubai offices for trade and tourism promotion will be based around the world, and the unification of external efforts will carry better results for the Dubai economy," Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid explained, adding, "I asked that messages be sent to all directors of public departments and public figures in the emirate to submit development proposals to me directly to achieve positive transformations in our path."

The Dubai Ruler's directives included setting a new goal to increase the volume of non-oil foreign trade to AED2 trillion in the next five years and handed Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO of DP World, the responsibility of leading the initiative.

A committee will be formed to manage these responsibilities and achieve the desired goals and is tasked with presenting a plan within 30 days.

Ten initiatives will be launched in the coming period to support the economy of the future with the first being the AED1 billion Dubai Future Economy Fund.

The Office of Future Economy Companies is the second initiative, in which an office for future economy companies will be established and tasked with issuing special five-year residency visas to future entrepreneurs.

The third initiative is the Legislative Licence to innovate and experiment the technologies of the future economy. Under this initiative, future economic entrepreneurs will be able to obtain licences to test their innovations in designated areas.

Fourth on the list is reduced housing prices for future economy pioneers. Under this initiative, entrepreneurs can take advantage of available housing options at a unit price of less than AED3,000 per month.

For this purpose, District 2071 will partner with real estate developers to provide housing options at the targeted price.

The fifth initiative will see a unified platform for financing and consulting future economy entrepreneurs while the sixth, under the umbrella of DIFC, will be a stock exchange allocated for future economy companies that will allow them to obtain financing and raise capital in a more flexible system.

The seventh initiative will see the formation of the largest space for future economy companies’ incubators and accelerators while the Future Economy Research Centre - the eighth initiative - will contribute to the design of applied research through several specialised laboratories.

The ninth initiative be a programme aimed at consolidating the culture of entrepreneurship and will support innovative students by allocating workspaces, providing mentoring and guidance, providing educational materials, as well as providing opportunities to obtain grants and funding from government and private agencies.

Lastly, international conferences on the economy and companies of the future will be held in Dubai Future District.

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