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Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund selects businesses for accelerator program

Staff Report/Dubai
Filed on January 23, 2020

(KT file photo)

The Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF), an initiative launched by the UAE Ministry of Finance to support innovation in the UAE, has announced the addition of 11 new members to the MBRIF Accelerator program.

Representing businesses from four countries, the Winter Cohort joins 28 businesses from around the world previously selected for the program, bringing the total number of MBRIF Accelerator members to 39 since its launch in December 2018. Eight of the new MBRIF Accelerator program members are UAE-based businesses: Arnab in the transport sector; Englease.com in the education sector; Farmin in the technology sector; Food-ATM in the technology sector; HoloGuide in the technology sector; ProvenMed in the health sector, RIZEK in the technology sector; and Shiftling in the technology sector. International members are South Africa-based Excel@Uni in the education sector; JustChain in the technology sector from the United States and Toucan Toco in the technology sector from France.

Several of the Winter Cohort members have already achieved notable successes. Local company Farmin, which uses artificial intelligence to improve farming profitability, won the GeoTech Innovation Program hosted by the UAE Space Agency. Food-ATM, a UAE-based solution that enables blue-collar workers to eat for free using a smart card topped by corporations as part of their CSR budget, was recognised as a finalist in the Gitex Future Stars competition held last October. HoloGuide, a mobile app that provides a multilingual augmented reality (AR) guide for tourists and residents, was an Angelhack Dubai Winner in July 2019, and a top 10 finalist in the Ideas Track at the MIT Arab Startup Competition in 2019. RIZEK, a tech startup aimed at creating more jobs across Mena, raised US$1.5 million in seed funding in 2019 - the same year it was launched. France-based Toucan Toco, a data storytelling platform launched in 2014, has raised ?12 million in 2019, won Gitex Future Stars Creative Economy Startup in 2019, and has a client list that includes more than 100+ Fortune 500 companies.

The Winter Cohort was selected to join the MBRIF Accelerator as part of the Gitex Special Edition application process, with the ambition to attract the most innovative startups that attended the annual technology event. In just two weeks, 96 applications were received from 28 countries across five continents, covering seven priority sectors that align with the UAE National Innovation Strategy: Technology, Health, Space, Water, Clean Energy, Transport, and Education.

Fatima Alnaqbi, chief innovation officer MBRIF and a representative of the Ministry of Finance, said: "We are pleased to welcome such a strong cohort of promising businesses into the growing MBRIF Accelerator program. These new members have demonstrated the power of entrepreneurship that is rooted in making a positive change. In turn, they have our country's commitment to help their businesses flourish. Furthermore, the strong presence of local UAE businesses in the Winter Cohort reflects the ever-growing entrepreneurial spirit present in our country."

Launched in December 2018, the MBRIF Accelerator aims to enhance growth potential of innovative startups shaping the future of the UAE's economy. The MBRIF Accelerator offers members access to world-class services and coaching through an ecosystem of global experts and partners to accelerate their innovations, elevate capabilities, unlock value and achieve scale. Businesses applying to the program can be based locally or globally, as long as they seek to operate and grow in the UAE. The new members will benefit from MBRIF Accelerators' tailored program offering five groups of services: Articulating Strategic Direction, Articulating and Validating Business Model, Access to Markets and Clients, Access to Funding and Finance, and Defining a People Strategy.

- business@khaleejtimes.com


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