- More than 3,000 applications received to date for the market-leading DIFC FinTech Hive Accelerator program
- Between January and September 2022, DIFC-based FinTech firms secured more than AED 2 billion (USD 559 million) of funding, according to DIFC FinTech Hive’s 2022 FinTech Report
Dubai, UAE: Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), the leading global financial center in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, today announced that during the first nine months of 2022, the number of FinTech and innovation firms joining DIFC exceeded the total that established operations during the whole of 2021.
Amongst that number are graduating start-ups from this year’s DIFC FinTech Hive program cohort. The first and largest FinTech accelerator program in the region has now attracted more than 3,000 applications from all over the world, which have been whittled down to 200 participants, based on their ideas and ability to generate revenue. The program has delivered more than 100 proof of concepts with the support of over 65 partners.
DIFC is currently seeing elevated levels of interest from FinTechs in Singapore, Southeast Asian and Asia-Pacific markets. As FinTech and innovation firms mature in these locations, they are seeking new opportunities to scale beyond their regional borders and into new economies with demand for their products and services. Dubai has become their bridge to expand reach and capture opportunities in our emerging geographies, providing a familiarity that aligns with their sophisticated multinational environments.
The UAE and Dubai’s globally recognized management of the pandemic, strategic investment and business-friendly structural reforms, long-term residency schemes, and innovation-enabling regulatory environment have drawn entrepreneurial talent from every corner of the world.
Initiatives, such as the new long-term Golden Visa options and incentives for tech entrepreneurs and professionals to develop the country’s technology sector and the five-year Green Visa for freelance professionals are helping attract international talent in the sector.
The UAE is a stable, thriving and globally ranked talent hub. The nation ranked number one in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and 22 globally in the 2020 INSEAD Global Talent Competitiveness index. The country holds the top spot for ease of doing business in MENA, while filling the time-zone gap between the East and West, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 Report. Dubai also ranks amongst the top three cities for expats to live in globally, along with Miami and Lisbon.
DIFC’s comprehensive FinTech and innovation proposition has created unparalleled opportunities for success for start-ups, global players and unicorns. The continually growing platform includes access to education, entrepreneurship, and accelerator programs, mentoring and networking, operating and regulatory licensing, and funding and expertise through venture studios – all under one cost-effective roof – that presents the ultimate platform to innovate and scale.
Reflecting the continued importance of the FinTech and innovation sector, DIFC has appointed Mohammad AlBlooshi as the Vice President and Head of DIFC Innovation Hub. Mohammad, at UAE National who has gained extensive experience at the Centre, will provide leadership for the DIFC Innovation Hub, which will incorporate FinTech Hive, Venture Studio Launchpad, Dubai FinTech Summit and new initiatives that will launch in 2023.
Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, said: “In recent years, DIFC has remained at the forefront of innovation, attracting more than 600 start-ups, growth stage companies and unicorns to Dubai. These businesses are now making a sizeable contribution to our economy. To continue building momentum, it is the right time for us to strengthen our offerings by bringing more innovation proposals together under a new leader.”
Mohammad AlBlooshi, Head of DIFC Innovation Hub and FinTech Hive, added: “I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to own and develop one of DIFC’s strategic growth priorities. At DIFC, we are committed to helping FinTech and innovation companies based in the Centre. We will continue to develop initiatives that will see us welcoming an influx of innovation and talent into our region.”
DIFC’s progressive business-friendly and innovation-enabling regulatory regime, along with Dubai’s general openness and encouragement for innovation, is most appreciated by disruptors. This approach means that they can engage in meaningful dialogue with regulators directly and look at ways to collaboratively consult on new models that may define the future of finance.
As a global capital for financial services and leading hub for financial technology and innovation, the Center is also a space with significant access to sources of capital that have a greater appetite for risk, and innovative and inclusive business models.
Between January and September 2022, DIFC-based FinTech firms secured more than AED 2 billion (USD 559 million) of funding, according to DIFC FinTech Hive’s 2022 FinTech Report. Funding activity for FinTech nearly doubled in 2021 and start-ups in MENA raised USD 998 million in 2021, a 78 per cent increase from 2020.
About Dubai International Financial Center
Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) is one of the world’s most advanced financial centres, and the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), which comprises 72 countries with an approximate population of 3 billion and an estimated GDP of USD 8 trillion.
With a close to 20-year track record of facilitating trade and investment flows across the MEASA region, the Center connects these fast-growing markets with the economies of Asia, Europe and the Americas through Dubai.
DIFC is home to an internationally recognised, independent regulator and a proven judicial system with an English common law framework, as well as the region’s largest financial ecosystem of almost 30,000 professionals working across over 4,000 active registered companies – making up the largest and most diverse pool of industry talent in the region.
The Centre’s vision is to drive the future of finance through cutting-edge technology, innovation, and partnerships. Today, it is the global future of finance and innovation hub offering one of the region’s most comprehensive FinTech and venture capital environments, including cost-effective licensing solutions, fit-for-purpose regulation, innovative accelerator programs, and funding for growth-stage start -ups.
Comprising a variety of world-renowned retail and dining venues, a dynamic art and culture scene, residential apartments, hotels and public spaces, DIFC continues to be one of Dubai’s most sought-after business and lifestyle destinations.
For further information, please visit our website: difc.ae, or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @DIFC.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Rasha Mezher | Dubai International Financial Center Authority
Consultant, Marketing & Corporate Communications