As part of its efforts to drive innovation, payments technology leader Mastercard has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Hub71 – a tech ecosystem based in Abu Dhabi Global Market Square that incubates global fintech startups and leading technology companies.
Hub71 is a flagship initiative of the AED50 billion ($13.6 billion) Ghadan 21 program established to accelerate the existing economic agenda of Abu Dhabi, as well as to create an environment where entrepreneurs can thrive. In line with Hub71’s mission to accelerate innovation through partnerships, the MoU provides startups an opportunity to work together, leveraging each other’s strengths. The partnership with Hub71 will identify relevant companies for Mastercard’s startup engagement program, Start Path, opening up market access for Hub71’s startups and Start Path companies – for mutual benefit.
According to Ministry of Economy, the SMEs sector in the UAE represents more than 94 per cent of the total number of companies operating in the country and provides jobs for more than 86 per cent of the private sector’s workforce. Mastercard is working closely with banks and governments to unlock economic opportunities for small to medium enterprises through a range of initiatives, positively affecting inclusivity, driving education and creating opportunities across the region.
Gaurang Shah, senior vice-president of digital payments & labs at Mastercard Middle East and Africa, said: “At Mastercard, innovation runs in the DNA of our company. We are constantly seeking new ways to reinforce technology and through this collaboration we can establish some of the unique solutions these fintech startups have to offer. The Start Path program is our global initiative that engages with the best and brightest later stage startups. Mastercard is keen to work with Hub71’s global community of innovators, to support them early on and throughout their journey.”
Shah added: “A digital economy is the key to creating greater parity across the world and collaboration is the way to achieve this. We are looking forward to supporting the UAE government’s vision of a knowledge-based economy and through our expertise we can nurture these companies to accelerate their growth.”
Commenting on the partnership, Ibrahim Ajami, Interim CEO of Hub71 and Head of Ventures, Mubadala Investment Company, said: “We are thrilled to welcome leading global payments and technology company Mastercard to our Hub71 community of global corporates, venture capitalists, accelerators and startups. We will develop a unique mentorship program for Hub71’s fintech startups that helps them tap into both regional and global market opportunities, as well as technical and industry insights. This partnership highlights the evolution of Abu Dhabi’s tech ecosystem for innovative startups.”
Start Path is Mastercard’s award-winning startup engagement program that brings together a network of innovators from across the globe to shape the future of commerce together. Startups benefit from the knowledge of a global network of Mastercard experts, technologies and channels. Currently, over 200 technology startups are part of the program and have collectively raised $2.6 billion in post program investment.