Sharjah24: More than 750 individual and company start-ups from around the world have joined the Sharjah Advanced Industry Accelerator 2.0 (SAIA), organised by the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI Park).
The second edition of the accelerator programme is line with Industry 4.0 and the UAE’s industrial strategy ‘Operation 300bn’, a 10-year comprehensive policy aimed at empowering and expanding the industrial sector to become the driving force of a sustainable national economy, by increasing its contribution to the GDP from the current Dh133 billion to Dh300 billion in 2031.
SAIA 2.0 comes at an opportune time when the world is reeling from the pandemic and innovative companies searching for stable places to grow. SRTI Park’s accelerator programme will likewise transform the UAE, and Sharjah in particular, as a strong hub of advanced technologies in research, AI, additive manufacturing, robotics, petrochemicals, agro-industries, healthcare, biotechnology, as well as clean and renewable energy.
“SAIA 2.0 was launched as a platform for start-ups to introduce their products and innovations to global markets while they forge on establishing local and regional partnerships,” noted Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTI Park.
Vision of Sheikh Sultan
Al Mahmoudi said SAIA 2.0 reflects the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to boost the innovative sector in the emirate by attracting creators from all over the world.
“SAIA is also in line with UAE’s Unified Industrial Brand Identity, ‘Make It in the Emirates’, an integrated industrial system that leverages advanced technologies and Fourth Industrial Revolution solutions to contribute to building a sustainable, knowledge-based economy,” he added.
The UAE is ranked first in the Arab world and 31st globally in the classification of the “most friendly countries” for start-ups, according to the annual global assessment of countries' competitiveness and capabilities of economies based on science and technology.
Home to innovation`
According to a report by Magnet, a provider of specialised data, research and analysis on emerging venture investment markets across Middle East and North Africa, the UAE accounts for the largest share of venture capital investment in the region.
Bold investment in the MENA region recorded $3.47 billion during the first half of 2021 and the UAE has accounted for the largest share of deals, with a share of 26 per cent of total valued at $755 million, primarily due to the availability of more mature investment environments. SRTI Park is one of the main players in attracting this type of investment in the country, which encourages investors in this sector to go to this emerging technology incubator.
Al Mahmoudi noted: “SRTI Park is already home to more than 160 emerging companies specialising in advanced innovative technologies, working various sectors. They have chosen the techno hub to practice their activities; and a substantial number of them have concluded investment deals with a number of local companies under the umbrella of the Sharjah Angel Investors Network (SAIN).”
“The SRTI Park ecosystem is thriving with lots of success stories that work in a distinctive creative environment. We are aspiring to further promote innovation by providing start-ups with a wide spectrum of support, founded on innovation,” he added.
$450,000 prize pool
SAIA 2.0 was launched in May with a total prize pool worth $450,000. Eight start-ups will be selected to participate in the virtual accelerator and will benefit from local incubation support and venture scaling beyond the accelerator program.
The most innovative winner start-up will win the grand prize worth $100,000. Start-ups operating in Advanced Industries, Manufacturing Tech, Smart Cities, Sustainable Design, Construction Tech, Smart Materials, Drone and Robotics, Artificial Intelligence applied to the SAIA programme.
Applications to SAIA 2.0 were done online. The specialisations of these companies include advanced industries such as manufacturing technology, innovative agriculture, design of smart cities, cutting-edge construction technology, smart materials, drones, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI).
August 16, 2021 / 4:20 PM
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