Sandooq Al Watan, a national initiative launched by prominent Emirati businessmen to support research projects in the UAE, has announced a new initiative titled ‘Our Future’.
The initiative aims 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 for the UAE.
It is hoped that through a comprehensive three-stage programme that brings together academia, industry and entrepreneurs, Our Future will help create an Emirati Google or Tesla by 2071.
“The Our Future initiative is a foundation upon which we can create a knowledge economy by supporting innovative ideas and start-ups 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 will be implemented in three phases, the first of which is the ‘ideation phase’. Here, the fund will source ground breaking and game changing ideas from the UAE’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 Dh30 million being distributed to support 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 one. This will be done through the establishment of innovation centres across the UAE that will provide key services such as training, mentorship, free working space, and pre-seed funding. The first centre is set 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 two with a network of venture capitalists, consumers and experts that will facilitate growth through financing and purchases.