The Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund Accelerator invites businesses for the first time to pitch innovations that could shape the future of the UAE

Dubai, UAE 28 March 2019 – The Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) Accelerator hosted yesterday its first Pitch Day to showcase innovations that could help shape the future of the UAE economy.

Out of 159 applications worldwide, the first 16 shortlisted businesses were invited to present innovative solutions in technology, health, education, clean energy and transport to an independent Advisory Decision Committee (ADC) consisting of leaders in government and private institutions.

The selected innovators, who will be announced in April, will join the MBRIF Accelerator’s Spring Cohort, entering a program that provides a broad range of services designed to give innovators access to world-class services and coaching to accelerate their innovations, elevate capabilities, unlock value and achieve scale.

At the event, H.E. Younis Al Khoori, the Ministry of Finance’s Under Secretary said: “By seeding innovation into the very fabric of the UAE and creating an ecosystem that can identify, support, and nurture innovations, the UAE will continue to push the boundaries of progress across our great nation.”

The event is the culmination of months spent reviewing applications from innovators in the UAE and around the world aiming to join the MBRIF Accelerator, with 159 applications from 29 countries across 5 continents reviewed. Applicants underwent a rigorous three-step process starting with an eligibility screening, a qualification assessment and final evaluation before the top applicants were shortlisted.

Applications included innovations in all seven priority sectors under the UAE’s Innovation Strategy: Technology, Health, Space, Water, Clean Energy, Transport and Education.

The ADC consists of senior executives from leading government and private institutions with expertise in various areas, including venture capital, technology, education and health. ADC members were selected based on their sector expertise within the seven sectors under the UAE’s Innovation Strategy as well as their involvement in innovation initiatives.

H.E. said: “For our program to truly select the best and brightest innovators, it has to be based on a process that culminates in an unbiased, objective, and independent selection by our ADC. We take great pride in having them as part of this important national program, as they represent the brightest minds in their respective sectors with a collective pool of experience spanning the globe. The ADC’s role today has been to learn about the innovators pitching and decide if they have the potential to deliver tangible impact.”

A number of applications are still being reviewed for a chance to pitch in the second Pitch Day of the year, expected to be held in May 2019.

About the MBRIF and MBRIF Accelerator

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) is an initiative conceived by the Ministry of Finance. Since its launch in 2015, the MBRIF has supported innovators through its first program, the Guarantee Scheme, which is operated by Emirates Development Bank.

The MBRIF’s second program, the MBRIF Accelerator, was launched in December 2018. Aligned with the UAE National Innovation Strategy, the initiative aims to enhance growth potential of innovative businesses shaping the future of UAE’s economy and is operated by EY (Ernst & Young). The MBRIF Accelerator will offer world-class services and coaching to member companies to accelerate their businesses, elevate capabilities, unlock value and achieve scale. The accelerator focuses on the seven sectors of the National Innovation Strategy: Technology, Health, Education, Transport, Clean Energy, Water and Space.

Additionally, the MBRIF partnerships with the public and private sector will help facilitate growth, provide support, create opportunities and pave the way to success for its member companies in the UAE. Partners include, but will not be limited to, academics, entrepreneurs, local and multinational corporations. The platform is non-profit and does not mandate equity stake or success and membership fees.

List of Advisory Decision Committee (ADC) Members

Fahim Al Qassimi (Partner at AQ&P), Eddy Skaf (Chief Strategy Officer at Du), Vidya Gugnani (Director and Lead of Co-Innovation Lab at SAP), Michael Gernon (Chief Education Innovation Officer of GEMS Education), Rakesh Suri (Chief Executive Officer at Cleveland Clinic), Walid Mansour (Co-founder & Chief Investment Officer at MEVP), Sara Falaknaz (Chief Financial Advisor at Falaknaz General Enterprises), Mark Esposito (Founder of Nexus FrontierTech), Adnan Al Rais (Deputy Project Manager of UAE Mars Mission at MBRSC), Lamis Harib (Co-Founding Partner of Ecabiotec Middle East), Mark Leppard (Headmaster at The British School Al Khubairat in Abu Dhabi) and Fadi Marouf (Managing Director at ABG Advisory).

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