Dubai Future Accelerators Program Invests US$33m In Pilot Projects Including Blockchain

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Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) announced a $33.5M US deal between government entities and their first round of startups. Over 65 per cent of startups in the program struck a deal between the seven government entities to create a prototype or pilot program of their technology in Dubai.

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The academy will also offer a range of minor courses in subjects related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as Blockchain, artificial intelligence, deep learning, biotechnology, etc.

The program, which began in September paired 30 companies from across the word with seven of Dubai’s founding entities: Health, Energy, Knowledge, Municipality, Police, Transport and the investment portfolio Dubai Holding.

Less than 2 per cent of the 2274 companies from 73 countries on all 7 continents who applied were chosen to join the inaugural program. The companies, which range from Fortune 100 multinational Honeywell to adventurous startups like Hyperloop One, were chosen primarily on their ability to execute on their visions for the future.

Fourteen international companies taking part in the program have relocated their headquarters to Dubai. This proves the UAE’s newfound attractiveness among technology companies, which, until recently, opted to set up within established innovative environments elsewhere, such as Europe or Silicon Valley.

Round One of the program increased Dubai’s total spend on research and development by 6 per cent in just three months. This, in turn, boosts the emirate’s competitiveness, and signals its transition to an innovation-led economy.

His Excellency Mohammed Al-Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future, and Vice Chairman of the Dubai Future Accelerators said:

“The UAE has become the foremost global platform for turning the future into reality. It is the ideal destination to materialize innovative ideas into tangible projects that have a significant impact on the economy and society – projects that can create better lives for us and for future generations.”

The second round of the DFA will see five additional government and private entities join the program – namely, the Department of Economic Development, Dubai Smart Office, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, Etisalat, and du – bringing the total to 13 entities.  

The second round of the Dubai Future Accelerators program is set to begin in Q1 2017 with applications opening on Monday, December 12, 2016.

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About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com, and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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