Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Accenture have jointly announced the region's first FinTech accelerator dubbed "FinTech Hive at DIFC".
The FinTech Hive at DIFC, which is set to launch in Q1 2017, aims to offer financial services technologies to the MESEA markets, whilst providing a platform that brings financial and technology firms together, as well as improve customer experience and drive operational efficiencies.
The DIFC Accelerator intends to bridge the gap by creating a platform that drives innovation and showcases success by identifying technology entrepreneurs and companies through a competitive process and then offering them the opportunity to develop, test and modify their innovations in collaboration with executives from DIFC and regional financial institutions.
His Excellency Essa Kazim, governor of Dubai International Financial Centre and Chairman of DIFC Authority Board of Directors, said: "We are proud to be launching Fintech Hive at DIFC following the recent announcement of the world's first government accelerator programmes by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai.
"The UAE National Innovation Strategy and Dubai Plan 2021 steer us to be among the smartest cities in the world. With our founding Membership in the Global Blockchain Council and today's launch, DIFC is pioneering innovative developments in the MEASA's financial services sector, while taking our economies to new horizons."
Sushil Saluja, Accenture's senior managing director for Financial Services in the company's Europe, Africa, Middle East and Latin America region, added: "DIFC is uniquely positioned to become the regional hub for FinTech. By putting together local banks and FinTech firms to ideate, collaborate and partner, DIFC is helping both sectors be at the forefront of the financial services industry. The accelerator programme will identify the best entrepreneurs within the financial services industry and grant them invaluable access to and feedback from potential customers and funders."
FinTech Hive at DIFC will start with a 12 week ‘accelerator programme', which will bring together the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs to compete and address the growing needs of the region's financial services industry, using innovative technology solutions. It intends to catalyse the growth and efficiency in a variety of areas including trade finance, alternative finance such as P2P payments, and Sharia based services.
Emirates NBD and Mashreq will be the first local financial institutions to join the accelerator programme, while HSBC and VISA are the first international financial services providers.