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District 2020 to host 85 start-ups as part of its Scale2Dubai initiative – Khaleej Times

Thursday, Apr 14, 2022 | Ramadan 13, 1443
Published: Wed 13 Apr 2022, 5:02 PM
District 2020, the legacy site of Expo 2020 Dubai, will welcome 85 start-ups and small businesses when it opens to its first business tenants in the fourth quarter of this year after the mega trade fair concluded on March 31, 2022.
The start-ups are being taken on-board as part of District 2020’s global entrepreneurship programme called Scale2Dubai.
District 2020 looks to enable regional and global start-ups to scale up within Dubai. It will provide an ideal platform and gateway to access the MENA region. By doing so, District 2020 will build on Expo 2020’s efforts to fund and empower innovative businesses to create long-term economic and social impacts.
Up to 80 per cent of the structures on the 4.38-square-kilometre Expo 2020 Dubai site will be reworked to create a mixed-use development and a hub for global tech innovation. It will be home to government institutions, Fortune 500 companies and venture capital firms, among others.
Economic diversification strategy
The UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, has taken various steps to encourage entrepreneurship and boost innovation under its economic diversification strategy.
About 95 per cent of the country’s firms are SMEs or start-ups, employing 42 per cent of the UAE workers and accounting for more than 40 per cent of its gross domestic product.
Last year, the country unveiled the Entrepreneurial Nation initiative, the goal of which is to make the Emirates home to 20 unicorns — a term referring to start-ups valued at more than $1 billion — by 2031, as well as to attract and expand small and medium enterprises.
Scale2Dubai initiative
The first 85 businesses chosen to be a part of the Scale2Dubai programme are from 27 countries and were selected from 628 shortlisted applications, according to the statement. Overall, the programme received 3,200 applications from 129 countries.
“Only 50 per cent of start-ups make it to their fifth year, so we are proud to have designed a programme that supports them on this journey and eagerly look forward to welcoming Cohort 1 to District 2020 during the fourth quarter of this year,” Tala Al Ansari, director of the Innovation Ecosystem and Scale2Dubai, said.
“We plan to host a new cohort every year at District 2020 and look forward to our second cohort moving in by April 2023,” he said.
Anchor tenants
District 2020’s anchor tenants DP World, China’s Terminus Technologies, Siemens and Siemens Energy will also collaborate with the enterprises that will come through Scale2Dubai, the statement said.
Pratik Rawal, Managing Partner, Ascent Partners, said the government will offer rent-free space to start-ups and small business at District 2020 to widens its search to bring in the best global talents to Dubai.
“The two-year rent-free office space will be offered to only those companies which will be chosen under Scale2Dubai, otherwise rest of the start-ups and businesses will be treated as a regular tenant,” Rawal said.
“The potential start-ups should be in green energy, smart city innovations, smart mobility, or technologies that support these concepts. And they have to be pretty well-established in their own countries,” he added.
Scale your business in Dubai
With the enormous success of Expo 2020 Dubai, the Emirate has yet again proven its place in the business world. Dubai has also introduced multiple benefits to help businesses thrive and grow. This and many more factors make Dubai a great place to set up your next venture. This is where Ascent Partners steps in.
Ascent Partners is a business setup consultant that provides bespoke solutions to help you strategise, start-up and scale your business in Dubai.
With a collective experience of 70+ years, the consultancy provide services ranging from choosing the right company type for your business and selecting the right licence for your chosen business activity to helping you strategize to build your next venture in one of the world’s biggest business hubs.
Key takeaways
• The legacy site of Expo 2020 Dubai will open to its first business tenants in the fourth quarter of this year
• The start-ups are being taken on-board as part of District 2020’s global entrepreneurship programme called Scale2Dubai
District 2020 looks to enable regional and global start-ups to scale up within Dubai
• The new district will build on Expo 2020’s efforts to fund and empower innovative businesses to create long-term economic and social impacts
• The premier district will be home to government institutions, Fortune 500 companies and venture capital firms, among others
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