Following the launch of DIFC Innovation Hub, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has successfully concluded a full month dedicated to innovation which ran until 22 June 2021. The Innovation Month at DIFC brought together industry players to discuss trends, opportunities and challenges, and provided a platform for companies to launch new products and initiatives. As the region’s leading FinTech-focused ecosystem, DIFC is today home to over 350 FinTech and innovation firms and became a major part of the Dubai Future District in 2020.
The Innovation Month at DIFC helped connected like-minded people to discuss ideas, explore new technologies and learn the latest on industry trends. The core themes covered, Future of Finance, Regulation and Legal, Growth and Funding, Technologies of Tomorrow and Sustainability and Future Skills.
DIFC Innovation Hub is home to start-ups such as YAP, Sarwa, Baraka, StashAway, Ebury, Adyen and Mamo as well as Thunderbird School of Global Management, which is part of Arizona State University and recognised as the most innovative college in the US for the sixth year running and has chosen to set up its Global Innovation Centre in DIFC. Other established tech companies including Amazon Payment Services, Flybits/Mastercard, Ernst & Young, S&P, Huawei, HSBC and Standard Chartered hosted events during the Innovation Month at DIFC.
Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, said: “With the launch and expansion of the DIFC Innovation Hub, we are further accelerating the FinTech start-up environment of Dubai, and supporting innovative ventures by entrepreneurs from around the world. The Innovation Month at DIFC catalysed discussions around innovation, incubation and growing fresh ideas by listening to experts and like-minded entrepreneurs. We are confident that the initiative will encourage more people to explore opportunities in fintech through pioneering ventures, products and services, further establishing Dubai as the innovation capital of the region.”
DIFC has been recognised as a top global centre for FinTech, and the Innovation Hub is at the heart of driving collaboration across early-stage and growth start-ups, tech unicorns and big tech firms to accelerate success. They benefit from being part of the largest and deepest ecosystem of financial services related companies in the region that are shaping the future of the industry using the DIFC platform.
Omar Sudodi, Managing Director at Amazon’s PayFort, said: “The Amazon Fintech Lab will bring like-minded innovators, disruptors and entrepreneurs together with new and existing business partners to foster exciting new ideas and concepts in the fintech and digital services arena. As part of our outreach, we look forward to re-imagining payments and the future of fintech together through the Innovation hub by setting up productive discussions and intelligence on new products and services to the addressable market. We also look forward to engaging with merchants, vendors and start-ups to facilitate conversations on topics surrounding the payments realm regionally and globally.”
Adam Xiao, Managing Director of Huawei Mobile Services in the Middle East and Africa, Huawei Consumer Business Group, commented: “We are honoured to participate at the Innovation Month at DIFC Innovation Hub and launch our first of its kind one-stop-shop for startups, developers and entrepreneurs in the region. Through this initiative, we aim to foster innovation and empower startups as they scale from conception to maturity by leveraging Huawei’s advanced capabilities and enabling technologies to bring digital to every person and organisation for a fully connected, intelligent world.”
Sanjeev Khagram, Director General and Dean of Thunderbird, said: “Our new home in Dubai’s financial nerve center will allow Thunderbird and ASU to do what we do best—spark innovation and build collaborative knowledge networks across sectors and disciplines—in one of the business world’s key locations. With the expertise of our partners at DIFC, Thunderbird will use this perfect location as a launchpad to drive regional transformation and export cutting-edge management mastery around planet Earth. We’re expanding our worldwide network of Thunderbird Centers of Excellence in major commercial hubs like Dubai, and this beautiful space, DIFC Innovation Hub within Gate Avenue at DIFC will leverage the latest technology to link up with our offices in other cities as well as our new state-of-the-art Thunderbird Global Headquarters in Phoenix, opening this fall as part of our 75th Anniversary celebrations.”
The DIFC Innovation Hub brings together the community in a state-of-the-art facility within Gate Avenue and will further strengthen the ecosystem significantly by providing fintechs at all stages of their evolution with access to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and experts.
Across DIFC, fintech and innovation businesses can connect and collaborate with many of the world’s top financial institutions. Following 2020’s record performance, more than 2,919 businesses, of which 915 financial and innovation firms are active in the Centre. Such collaboration will play a vital role in successfully driving innovation opportunities for start-ups in the emirate and beyond.