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Dubai, January 23, 2020
The Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF), an initiative launched by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Finance to support innovation in this country, has announced the addition of 11 new members to the MBRIF Accelerator program.
Representing businesses from four countries, the Winter Cohort joins 28 businesses from around the world previously selected for the program, bringing the total number of MBRIF Accelerator members to 39 since its launch in December 2018.
Eight of the new MBRIF Accelerator program members are UAE-based businesses: Arnab (Transport sector); Englease.com (Education sector); Farmin (Technology sector); Food-ATM (Technology sector); HoloGuide (Technology sector); ProvenMed (Health sector), RIZEK (Technology sector) and Shiftling (Technology sector).
International members are South Africa-based Excel@Uni (Education sector); JustChain (Technology sector) from the United States and Toucan Toco (Technology sector) from France.
A press release from MBRIF said several of the Winter Cohort members have already achieved notable successes. Local company Farmin, which uses artificial intelligence to improve farming profitability, won the GeoTech Innovation Program hosted by the UAE Space Agency. Food-ATM, a UAE-based solution that enables blue-collar workers to eat for free using a smart card topped by corporations as part of their CSR budget, was recognized as a finalist in the GITEX Future Stars competition held last October. HoloGuide, a mobile app that provides a multilingual augmented reality (AR) guide for tourists and residents, was an Angelhack Dubai Winner in July 2019, and a top 10 finalist in the Ideas Track at the MIT Arab Startup Competition in 2019. RIZEK, a tech startup aimed at creating more jobs across MENA, raised US$1.5 million in seed funding in 2019 – the same year it was launched. France-based Toucan Toco, a data storytelling platform launched in 2014, has raised €12 million in 2019, won GITEX Future Stars Creative Economy Startup in 2019, and has a client list that includes more than 100+ Fortune 500 companies.
The Winter Cohort was selected to join the MBRIF Accelerator as part of the GITEX Special Edition application process, with the ambition to attract the most innovative startups that attended the annual technology event. In just two weeks, 96 applications were received from 28 countries across five continents, covering seven priority sectors that align with the UAE National Innovation Strategy: Technology, Health, Space, Water, Clean Energy, Transport and Education.
Fatima Alnaqbi, Chief Innovation Officer MBRIF and representative of the Ministry of Finance, said: “We are pleased to welcome such a strong cohort of promising businesses into the growing MBRIF Accelerator program. These new members have demonstrated the power of entrepreneurship that is rooted in making a positive change. In turn, they have our country’s commitment to help their businesses flourish. Furthermore, the strong presence of local UAE businesses in the Winter Cohort reflects the ever-growing entrepreneurial spirit present in our country.”
Launched in December 2018, the MBRIF Accelerator aims to enhance growth potential of innovative startups shaping the future of the UAE’s economy. The MBRIF Accelerator offers members access to world-class services and coaching through an ecosystem of global experts and partners to accelerate their innovations, elevate capabilities, unlock value and achieve scale. Businesses applying to the program can be based locally or globally, as long as they seek to operate and grow in the UAE.
The new members will benefit from MBRIF Accelerators’ tailored program offering five groups of services: Articulating Strategic Direction, Articulating and Validating Business Model, Access to Markets and Clients, Access to Funding and Finance and Defining a People Strategy.
Since the program started, members of the MBRIF Accelerator have achieved significant progress and growth. Supported by the program’s ecosystem of experts, several members have scaled operations, expanded footprint and revenue, while others have received funding and won prestigious industry recognition. Since its inception, the MBRIF Accelerator program has been committed to the success of its members, in support of their innovative solutions, and continues to attract the interest of innovative businesses looking to accelerate their growth, the release added.