Etihad hops aboard Abu Dhabi’s startup hub to create launch-pad for innovators


The Emirates has taken off towards the future propelled by its enthusiasm for roping in innovative tech to enhance public services. Apart from policy decisions aimed at creating a supportive environment for a digital transition, UAE has eyes on a future where homegrown firms and local talent will create smart solutions to power up the regional tech oasis.

Emirati capital Abu Dhabi is home to a an ecosystem Hub71, where upcoming startups can find backing via funds, tech support and guidance for business growth. To lift the prospects for companies seeking growth through Hub71, UAE-based carrier Etihad has flown in to boost global connectivity for entrepreneurs via traveling services.

With seamless access to its booking portal, the airline will offer special rates to about 100 startups, for cost-effective and efficient business-related travel. Going beyond aligning its offerings with Abu Dhabi’s policy of rewarding unconventional ideas, Etihad will also collaborate with firms for innovative initiatives.

The regime-backed aviation giant may also step in as a mentor for the hub, which boasts of tech biggies like Microsoft as strategic partners. Abu Dhabi’s tech venture accelerator has gone from supporting 35 startups to creating a community of over a 100 firms within a couple of years, and now seeks to take their products to the world with easy connectivity.

As part of yet another program for Emirati talent, Abu Dhabi’s investment body has tied up with Microsoft to provide tech tools and business development knowhow, along with capital and tech tools for digital businesses. The city is also developing a hub for startups which focus on developing games in the Middle East, following a rise in demand for online gaming during the pandemic.

The UAE’s focus on capturing opportunities to shape the future of tech are also reflected in academic initiatives including the world’s first AI university. Another Emirate Sharjah has also launched its own startup studio to nurture and promote innovative ideas.

Abu Dhabi has also unlocked its research institute for development of futuristic tech including the high-speed hyperloop commute, within the UAE.

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