UAE: First Space Economic Zone set to come up in Abu Dhabi

Spacetech hub offers package of benefits, including office space, mentorship, networking, investment opportunities, access to government contracts and more.

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Nandini Sircar

Published: Thu 20 Jan 2022, 6:56 PM

Last updated: Thu 20 Jan 2022, 10:38 PM

The UAE’s first Space Economic Zone is set to come up in Masdar City. It will create an integrated business ecosystem to boost startups and SMEs in the space sector.

As per a recent announcement, the UAE Space Agency and Masdar will collaborate on establishing a Space Tech hub that will be a pioneer in sustainability, a hub for research and development and propel entrepreneurship in the space sector.

This is part of the country’s efforts to create a competitive private sector, facilitate public-private partnerships, boost the national space industry, and contribute to the UAE’s economic growth for the next 50 years.

Businesses will be offered an integrated package of benefits including incubation, office space, mentorship, networking, investment opportunities, priority access to government contracts and closer cooperation with leading global research centres.

Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, opined, “Space is the next frontier of business growth set to propel the national economy for the next 50 years. The Space Economic Zone in Masdar City is an exciting milestone in our strategy to create a competitive private sector, build national capabilities, promote public-private partnerships, boost R&D and encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship.

She adds, “This programme is a game-changer that will take our flourishing space industry to the next level whilst simultaneously building on the UAE’s established position as a global hub for talent, investment and innovation. We are pleased to enter into this strategic agreement with Masdar City and look forward to working closely in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation as we create a globally competitive space industry.”

The Space Economic Zone will support the establishment of home-grown startups and accelerate their growth.

Experts concur that the UAE’s space ecosystem is rife for private players, and it is imperative to broaden horizons to sustain existing capabilities and meet user demands.

Salem Butti Salem Al Qubaisi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, avers, “Capacity-building is vital to advance the UAE’s knowledge-driven economy and the Space Economic Zone is a major step forward. It will provide a business-friendly ecosystem with world-class infrastructure and competitive services to support the establishment of new Space Tech firms. Our agreement with Masdar City is the first of many and we intend to move forward quickly to set up more startup hubs nationwide and turn early-stage ideas into commercially viable ventures.”

The strategic agreement between the UAE Space Agency and Masdar was signed at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2022.

The Space Economic Zone's programme has four key pillars that include the Space Economy Accelerator Group, Space Labs, Space Government Services, and Work Space.

Mohamed Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, highlights, “Masdar City has built a unique ecosystem where innovation and business thrive together. Already home to UAE Space Agency, our partnership to launch the first Space Economic Zone extends the exceptional offerings provided by Masdar City’s Free Zone to a new and exciting frontier.”

“Our aim is not only to drive entrepreneurship and economic development within the fast-growing space sector, but to attract and foster the most talented professionals from across the region and beyond. We look forward to working with the UAE Space Agency to take the Space Economic Zone, and Masdar City, to ever greater heights,” adds Ramahi.


What the Space Economic Zone offers:

>> The Space Economy Accelerator Group: It’s a body to promote coordination between various public and private sector entities and startups to ensure alignment on, and facilitation of, strategic initiatives. It will also produce solutions to address challenges facing space Tech startups.

>> Space Labs: It will offer Space Economic Zone startups access to world-class space laboratories, research centres and facilities to utilize existing infrastructure and provide access to technical, consultancy mentorship and support services.

>> Space Government Services: It is a dedicated webpage on the UAE Space Agency’s website to provide services including licensing, mentorship, and incubation opportunities.

>> Work Space: It will offer services at competitive rates across the UAE’s leading business and innovation free zones. They will benefit from world-class infrastructure and office space to ensure companies hit the ground running.

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