India-UAE corridor launched to boost start-up ecosystem between two countries

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An initiative to enhance and expand the start-up ecosystem between India and the UAE has been announced, which will further the vision of the leadership of both countries under the recently signed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

A landmark MOU to launch the ‘India-UAE Start-Up Corridor’ has been signed between FICCI LEAD, a technology and business incubator of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), and the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

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Around 10 technology-led innovative start-ups from various sectors, including financial services, education and logistics, have been shortlisted for the inauguration of the India-UAE Start-Up Corridor in Dubai.

This initiative between the two would create an ecosystem to embolden the engagement between start-ups, investors, incubators, corporations, and entrepreneurs to scale their business and strengthen their position in the global market.

It will target a minimum of 50 validated start-ups based in India and the UAE over a period of five years with the vision to grow 10 of them into unicorns (start-ups valued at more than $1 billion) by 2025.

This MOU between FICCI LEAD and DIFC is a follow on to the MOU that was signed between FICCI LEAD, Indian Angel Network (IAN), Turbostart, India, and MCA Management Consultants, UAE, on January 26 this year at Expo 2020 Dubai, wherein a venture capital fund of $150 million was announced.

Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, said: “Since DIFC’s establishment in 2004, we have demonstrated our commitment to building and maintaining sustained, long-lasting partnerships with the Indian market. Indian banks, insurers, law firms and wealth managers have already chosen DIFC as their preferred global financial centre in the region and we are delighted to be working with FICCI LEAD to build a corridor that will attract more Indian start-ups to set up here.”

Ajai Chowdhry, Chairman of FICCI Start-Up Corridor & FICCI Lead, said: “This landmark MOU is the beginning of an important partnership on enhancing opportunities in the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems between India and the UAE. FICCI remains committed to progressively scaling this India-UAE Start-Up Corridor in collaboration with our partner, DIFC, and help convert at least 10 start-ups into unicorns.”

India now boasts of the world’s third-largest ecosystem for start-ups. Additionally, over the past five years, India has leapfrogged in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking to 63rd position among 190 nations, from 142nd position in 2014.

In 2020, India also joined the group of Top 50 countries in the Global Innovation Index (GII) of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

The UAE aims to create 20 unicorns by 2031 and is already the leader in the MENA region in terms of tech transformation, digital acceleration, and embracing innovative ideas.

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