Dubai's growing sphere of opportunity encompasses the fast-growing Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) markets, which are experiencing significant demographic shifts and have younger, more technologically savvy populations.
The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) plays an integral role in providing to these emerging markets. It has continued to develop its services and capabilities since its inception in 2004.
The centre, similar in stature to Canary Wharf in London and Marina Bay in Singapore, has become the gateway to MEASA. It offers a robust regulatory platform, a UK common-law framework, a tax-friendly regime and a thriving community of almost 22,000 professionals working across more than 1,700 companies.
This year, the centre has been inviting game-changing financial technology companies to explore opportunities in the MEASA region, with the launch of FinTech Hive at DIFC. The first-of-its-kind accelerator in the region connects cutting-edge technology firms from around the globe with leading regional and international financial institutions.
After beginning the inaugural cycle of its 12-week accelerator programme in August, FinTech Hive at DIFC has already received a positive response from the start-up and investment community alike.
The accelerator programme opened with a series of speed meetings, where 11 select start-ups met with partnering financial institutions, including Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Citi, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates Islamic, Emirates NBD, HSBC, Mashreq, Network International, RAKBANK, Standard Chartered and Visa to discuss their products and solutions.
The consecutive weeks involved developing their projects, participating in workshops and receiving mentoring sessions from the financial institutions. On 12 November, they pitched their concepts to an audience of potential investors and partners at the FinTech Hive Investor Day.
Raja Al Mazrouei, acting executive vice-president of FinTech Hive at DIFC, shares her views on the opportunities for growth in the MEASA markets and the need for a clear vision to successfully benefit from them.