Mohammed Alzarooni, Executive Chairman of Dubai Integrated Economic Zone (DIEZ Authority) has announced the launch of an AED 500,000,000 ($136.1m) venture capital fund targeting startups in the Middle East and Africa.
The announcement was made at the ongoing Dubai Business Forum, which was held at the Madinat Jumeirah Hotel. The VC fund launch is part of Dubai’s economic agenda which is to make Dubai the fastest, safest and most connected city in the world by 2033. This is known as the D33.
Read also: Dubai launches $136.1m venture capital fund
The Dubai Business Forum is a transformative global event powered by Dubai Chambers, commenced today with insightful discussions on the future of globalisation and foreign direct investment. Hosted under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the forum welcomed a stellar lineup of distinguished guest speakers.
Oraseya Capital Venture Fund, as the VC fund is called, is part of efforts by the UAE government to spread its technological influence across emerging markets. Alzarooni said the objective is to foster innovation and drive the growth of startups in the UAE and beyond.
“Today’s launch is a testament to DIEZ’s commitment to contribute to achieving Dubai’s economic agenda D33 and elevate Dubai’s rank as a regional and global investment hub across all sectors,” said Alzarooni.
The UAE has the highest percentage of internet users globally, with 99 percent of the population connected to the internet, according to the Digital UAE – Factsheet report, released by the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA).
In recent times, the government has made efforts to increase its global technological influence. This was very evident in the 2023 edition of GITEX, a global tech show organised by and held in the UAE. The event attracted over 170,000 participants, with 33 percent from the Middle East, 21 percent from Africa, 20 percent from Asia, 18 percent from Europe, and 8 percent from the Americas.
Helal Saeed Al-Marri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, said the launch of the fund came as a result of the new developments the city of Dubai has seen in the technology space, such as clean tech, agritech, virtual assets, which is a testament of the modern and evolving regulatory environment.
According to Al-Marri, companies across sectors are looking for environments where they can harness talents, with regulatory certainty, where they can have a clear path to the future, and where they are not exposed to incessant political upheavals.
“We see a lot of companies that have been here maybe 5-6 years really deepening their presence, but we also see new companies attracted from across the world,” said Al-Marri.
He also notes that the advantage of Dubai is the ability to attract top talents from across the world.
“Today, when you look at different industries and sectors, and you look at, for example, families and family wealth, you will see that many of the leading thinkers and families are moving their hubs to Dubai, or they are moving to Dubai in some way. That obviously gives Dubai a great advantage because for businesses or an economy to thrive, it will rely on the top global talent,” Al-Marri said.
In the next 10 years, we have over 65,000 UAE nationals who come out of school and university, who will join the workforce and are really focused on the sort of cutting-edge degrees that are relevant for the jobs of the future.