Middle East’s first FinTech accelerator launched in Dubai
In a move that would bring about groundbreaking changes in the Middle East’s financial services sector, the region’s first FinTech accelerator was announced in Dubai on Tuesday.
Named FinTech Hive, the new ecosystem for the fast emerging financial technology is expected to be set up at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a major regional financial services hub, in the first quarter of this year in partnership with leading global professional services company Accenture.
DIFC officials said that the accelerator will bring cutting-edge financial services technology to the Middle East, Africa and South Asian (MEASA) markets and will provide a platform to bring financial services and technology firms together.
The global FinTech sector has attracted more than $50 billion in investments since 2010, but the region has seen only around one per cent of the total investments. The accelerator was aimed at bridging this gap, DIFC has said.
FinTech Hive will start with a 12 week ‘accelerator programme’ and seven to ten start-ups will be enrolled in the first year for the opportunity to develop, test and modify their innovations.
During the programme, FinTech Hive will provide mentorship to the select startups with the assistance and guidance from its local and international partners such as Emirates NBD, Mashreq Bank, HSBC and Visa.
It will also help the entrepreneurs to understand the market and to identify the problems facing the financial technology industry.
DIFC said the new accelerator was announced in line with Dubai Plan 2021 and the DIFC 2024 Strategy and it goal is to increase access to, and improve customer experience and drive operational efficiencies in, the financial services sector.
“We are proud to be launching FinTech Hive at DIFC following the recent announcement of the world’s first government accelerator programmes by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai. The UAE National Innovation Strategy and Dubai Plan 2021 steer us to be among the smartest cities in the world,” said Essa Kazim, Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre.
Sushil Saluja, senior managing director of Financial Services in Europe, Africa and Latin America at Accenture, said “the accelerator programme will identify the best entrepreneurs within the financial services industry and grant them invaluable access to, and feedback from, potential customers and funders.”
“DIFC is uniquely positioned to become the regional hub for FinTech. By putting together local banks and FinTech firms to ideate, collaborate and partner, DIFC is helping both sectors be at the forefront of the financial services industry,” Saluja added.
The Dublin-based firm already has FinTech labs in New York, London, Hong Kong and in its home city.