Dubai Launches New Initiative to Attract Innovators

  • HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum launches initiative to attract innovators to Dubai
  • Targets 25,000 startups worldwide that are looking at Dubai as a growth opportunity
  • IAP accelerates the transition to a future-ready economy: HE Sami Al Qamzi
    Programme will focus on promoting disruptive solutions in 6 key sectors

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman & CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, today unveiled the ‘Innovation Attraction Programme (IAP),’ an ambitious initiative that will position Dubai as a global hub of disruptive technologies as well as solutions, and also see innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from Dubai expand internationally.

His Highness announced the initiative at the ‘StartUp Night’ hosted recently by Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai Economy mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, bringing together innovative startups in the UAE and 60 disruptive enterprises from 15 countries in a dialogue on successful entrepreneurship and the future of business.

Designed and implemented by Dubai SME, the programme ( seeks to reach out to over 25,000 startups worldwide that are looking at Dubai as a new market for their innovative solutions and facilitate their entry to Dubai.

Dubai SME developed IAP on its ‘Start Alliance’ platform, a partnership of SME enablers and facilitators from 15 countries, including Germany, Singapore, and Japan. The partnership exposes disruptive foreign SMEs to Dubai’s business ecosystem while also introducing SME innovations in Dubai to markets overseas.

The IAP will focus on disruptive solutions in six key sectors worldwide – aerospace; transport & mobility; energy efficiency; medical & health; education, and information technology – in line with Dubai’s strategic focus on these sectors as enablers of innovation, industrialisation and sustainable development.

Speaking at the event, His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of Dubai Economy, said: “The ‘Innovation Attraction Programme represents an action plan to translate the vision and strategies guiding Dubai and the UAE into tangible outcomes and accelerate the knowledge economy journey. Dubai already has a unique advantage as an entrepreneurial hub and our startups when empowered with the right resources can usher in innovative solutions and help accelerate our transition to a future-ready economy.”

Al Qamzi added that the programme will contribute significantly towards achieving the goals of the Dubai SME 2021 Plan to boost entrepreneurial activity, enhance SME competitiveness through innovation, and achieve stronger SME integration with high-growth economic opportunities.

HE Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, commented: “Our experience has convinced us that there is a clear need for innovation-focused collaborative linkages in our startup ecosystem. The Innovation Attraction Programme links local SMEs to a global ecosystem and addresses the challenges of establishing and growing in a new market. Furthermore, it is a two-way street – it lays down the path for our SMEs to go global while also guiding the most outstanding innovators worldwide to new markets through Dubai.”

Al Janahi said the disruptive SMEs identified under IAP will be offered a suite of services to support their Soft Landing in Dubai, Market Access for international growth, and Funding for growth. The programme will thus reinforce Dubai as the preferred hub for innovative enterprises to grow and expand worldwide.

Dubai SME also hosted an Innovation Week recently to showcase technologies disrupting business models and services in Dubai and the UAE, along with public and private sector entities and initiatives including the Mohamed bin Rashid Space Centre, Dubai Tourism, Dubai Municipality, Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund, The Sustainable City, Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE), Ministry of Health & Prevention, and Al Jalila Foundation.


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