DIFC Fintech Hive, the first fintech accelerator in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, will adopt a hybrid format this year, removing the geographical barrier for conventional and Islamic fintech start-ups around the world looking to access the Middle East.
“This year, we are taking the DIFC FinTech Hive Accelerator to the next level, with a hybrid approach program designed to attract world-class innovation in finance. In seeking out the best start-ups globally — which also match our industry partners’ priorities and needs — we are focused on maximizing the accelerator’s impact and success in driving the future of finance,” said Raja Al Mazrouei, the executive vice-president of DIFC FinTech Hive. “What’s more, with two intakes, we will be able to meet the interest we see from start-ups internationally who are keen to tap into Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)’s unique fintech-focused ecosystem and use it as a launch pad for growth in our region and beyond.”
Launched in 2017, DIFC Fintech Hive has grown to become one of the most prominent fintech accelerator programs in the region, attracting thousands of applicants who want to use Dubai as a gateway into the Middle East and African markets. The program not only equips qualifying start-ups with marketing exposure and assists with partnerships and networking, but also provides access to the DIFC’s regulatory sandbox through its Innovation Testing License. Above that, participants also have the opportunity to pitch their businesses to investors including the DIFC’s own US$100 million FinTech Fund.
These benefits continue to attract over a thousand applicants a year to set up in the DIFC. In 2020, the DIFC more than doubled the number of businesses within its fintech and innovation ecosystem to 303 companies. This includes Islamic fintech start-ups, a key focus area of DIFC Fintech Hive since its inception.