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A special session with Novak Djokovic, the world’s No. 1 ranked men’s tennis player. Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation, and the follow-up of Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE, the Dubai Future District Fund (DFDF) held its first annual general meeting at the Museum of the Future in Dubai.

The meeting reviewed the DFDF’s achievements to date and discussed ways to support technology companies in the early stage of their growth, facilitate their future public listing on the Dubai stock market and help them leverage investment opportunities to boost their future projects.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: “Driven by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai has become an international gateway for ambitious investment opportunities, a hub for future-driven project funding and a global testbed for tomorrow's technology and digital economy applications. The emirate provides the ideal environment for technology ventures to develop the highest standards of agility and transparency and create opportunities for individuals, organisations and societies.”

Sheikh Hamdan highlighted the importance of enhancing the involvement of Dubai government entities in achieving the DFDF’s objectives, expanding its future-oriented venture capital and further consolidating Dubai’s position as a world-leading hub for entrepreneurship.

“As part of Dubai’s aim to transform itself into one of the world’s top digital economies, we continue to provide world-class regulatory frameworks and infrastructure designed to empower technology entrepreneurs and catalyse innovative smart projects, particularly those related to fintech and smart financing solutions. Thanks to these efforts, Dubai has become an attractive destination for startups, experts, tech giants, coders and digital nomads, as well as fintech companies seeking to list on Dubai’s stock market,” said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed stated that Dubai’s model for designing and shaping a sustainable future is focused on accelerating the adoption of new technologies in different sectors. This model is central to Dubai’s efforts to boost economic growth and implement national initiatives and strategies and plays a vital role in advancing UAE’s rankings in economic, digital, legislative, and future growth indicators, he added.

“The Dubai Future District Fund embodies our commitment to support futurists, entrepreneurs, innovators, startups, and technology companies. It creates opportunities for businesses based in Dubai to grow and expand locally, regionally and globally by taking advantage of Dubai’s integrated systems, future-driven regulations and technological advancement,” added Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed.

Key achievements

The first Annual General Meeting of the Fund highlighted its key achievements and role in implementing Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s directives to establish an initial fund of Dhs1 billion to support entrepreneurs and startups. The meeting explored ways in which other Dubai entities can support and participate in the Fund, which will facilitate the growth of its capital base in line with the vision to make Dubai the world’s leading startup city.

DFDF’s investment portfolio currently includes 16 entrepreneurial startups and investment funds operating in future technology, stock management solutions, the metaverse, digital content, banking, payments, real estate, healthcare, and artificial intelligence. The value of these investments is expected to reach $1.7 billion by 2025.

The meeting, attended by ministers, business leaders, CEOs, investors, experts, celebrities, and senior officials in the UAE, provided an opportunity to explore potential collaborations and review the DFDF’s plans to support the digital economy and contribute to the Dubai Economic Agenda D33’s objectives to double the size of Dubai's economy and consolidate its position as one of the world’s top three cities over the next decade.

The meeting also included several panel discussions featuring experts from the government and private sectors, in addition to special sessions with Jessica Smith, the Australian Paralympic swimmer and motivational speaker who has a robotic arm, and Novak Djokovic, the world’s No. 1 ranked men’s tennis player.

Funding the future

Chaired by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, DFDF is a development initiative launched by Dubai’s Securities and Exchange Higher Committee. A collaboration between the Dubai Future Foundation and the Dubai International Financial Centre, the Fund aims to support innovative ideas and projects, and develop new solutions, products and services out of Dubai. The Fund is focused on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, data analysis, cloud computing, Internet of Things, augmented reality, fifth-generation communication networks, cybersecurity, and blockchain technology.

DFDF provides financing facilities for emerging technology companies and funds in Dubai and the region. It aims to support their growth and expansion in new markets, invest in local and regional portfolios, attract investment capital, and increase the contribution of future economy companies to Dubai’s GDP. The DFDF also seeks to create jobs for specialised talent and support private sector and foreign investments in Dubai’s future economy companies