Dubai's New Future District
One of the hallmarks of Dubai’s economic policy is its firm bet on ease of doing business and fostering innovation. While we know that they are working on promoting a new business district in Dubai South to take over a portion of the Expo 2020 Dubai facilities, a new development recently announced demonstrates its plans to be a global leader in innovation. What methods does Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum have for this initiative? Here’s what we know about the recently-launched Dubai Future District.
So, what is the Dubai Future District?
The Dubai Future District is a plan to create a space to support the economy of the future. News broke in the middle of January when Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, announced the projects during the second Dubai Council session. The Dubai Future District has several components. First, it will use a bridge to connect Emirates Towers, the Dubai International Financial Centre and the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) to form the world’s largest area for innovation. Plus, its location behind the Museum of the Future will give it a prized position to support “new economy” entities that Dubai deems imperative to supporting tech startups. However, there’s a lot more to this new district than having multiple business centres acquiesce around it with the Emirates Towers district strategically in the middle. These initiatives in the city are a further reflection of the UAE's efforts to diversify its economy away from oil.
How else does Dubai want to support the Dubai Future District?
Along with the establishment of the new dedicated district, they announced the launch of a new fund that aims to support entrepreneurs operating out of the area at a value of AED 1 billion (or USD 272 million) called the Dubai Future Economy Fund. The fund is the first in a series of ten initiatives coming out of the Dubai government to support the economy of the future. These initiatives are all meant to help support Sheikh Mohammed’s goal of increasing Dubai’s total non-oil trade volume to AED 2 trillion by 2025. Dubai will also open up 50 offices around the world for trade and tourism promotion. They will seek to attract more trade partners to meet this objective, as well as for marketing and tourism purposes.
This new fund is by no means the emirate’s first foray into fostering entrepreneurship. The Dubai government announced an improved funding plan for small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as they play a critical role in the Emirati economy at large. At the same time, the SME fund is different because it’s allowing SMEs to list shares on the DIFC exchange. Still, ultimately, the Dubai government is seeking to foster entrepreneurship and open up funding options.
The other nine initiatives that follow the establishment of the Dubai Future District project are all meant to create a full innovation ecosystem surrounding it. The second is the Office of Future Economy Companies that will be in charge of incorporating enterprises in the sector and issue five-year residency visas for entrepreneurs. These enterprises will then have the chance to test their solutions in designated spaces through the Legislative Licence.
Among the other programmes that stand out most are a stock exchange under the auspices of the DIFC to offer future economy entrepreneurs more flexible funding options. There’s also going to be a Future Economy Research Centre that will house specialised laboratories to foster research in the sphere, as well as space to house accelerators and incubators for these enterprises. The area will also serve as a destination for conferences on future economy topics by connecting the sector and all its stakeholders.
Would you like to set up your business in Dubai and be part of the innovation?
If you’re interested in setting up your business with a head office in Dubai, we at Europe Emirates Group have a long, established track record in building businesses in both Free Zones and other offshore entities. If you would like to get started on your Dubai business setup journey, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.
Darrach Campbell ACSI
Senior Executive, Quality Management Services