FICCI LEAD, a technology and business incubator of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), and the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) recently inked a landmark MoU to launch the ‘India-UAE Start-Up Corridor’. The objective of the initiative is to enhance and expand the start-up ecosystem between India and the UAE. It will also further the vision of the leadership of both countries under the recently signed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
Around 10 technology-led innovative start-ups from various sectors, including financial services, education and logistics, have been shortlisted for the inauguration of the India-UAE Start-Up Corridor in Dubai. This initiative would create an ecosystem to embolden the engagement between start-ups, investors, incubators, corporations, and entrepreneurs to scale their business and strengthen their position in the global market. It will target a minimum of 50 validated start-ups based in India and the UAE over a period of five years with the vision to grow 10 of them into unicorns (start-ups valued at more than $1 billion) by 2025.
The MoU between FICCI LEAD and DIFC is a follow on to the MoU that was signed between FICCI LEAD, Indian Angel Network (IAN), Turbostart, India and MCA Management Consultants, UAE, on January 26this year at Expo 2020 Dubai, wherein a venture capital fund of $150 million was announced.
Mr Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority said, “Since DIFC’s establishment in 2004, we have demonstrated our commitment to building and maintaining sustained, long-lasting partnerships with the Indian market. Indian banks, insurers, law firms and wealth managers have already chosen DIFC as their preferred global financial centre in the region and we are delighted to be working with FICCI LEAD to build a corridor that will attract more Indian start-ups to set up here.”
Mr Ajai Chowdhry, Chairman of FICCI Start-Up Corridor & FICCI Lead said, “This landmark MOU is the beginning of an important partnership on enhancing opportunities in the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems between India and the UAE. FICCI remains committed to progressively scaling this India-UAE Start-Up Corridor in collaboration with our partner, DIFC, and help convert at least 10 start-ups into unicorns.”
Mr Ganesh Raju, Co-Chairman of FICCI Start-Up Committee & FICCI Lead, said, “The India-UAE Start-up Corridor has the potential to be a game-changer. It will bring large pools of funding as well as provide access to markets for start-ups from both countries. It is a perfect opportunity for investors to engage through this corridor and help breed the next generation of valuable companies.”
Dr Aman Puri, Consul General of India, Dubai said, “I am certain that this MOU between FICCI LEAD and DIFC will foster deeper collaboration between the start-up ecosystems of India and the UAE and bring in opportunities to further the momentum set by interactions during Expo 2020 Dubai. We are excited for the coming years that will witness the emergence of new soonicorns and unicorns in both countries and contribute to finding innovative solutions to global challenges.”
Mr S Venkatesh, Managing Partner, MCA, said, “This MOU is a significant step in enabling the Indian start-ups to have a launch pad in the UAE and widen their market reach to GCC and beyond. He added that MCA is proud to be participating in this great initiative to further economic growth.”
Mr Manoj Nayak, Founder of 6th Sense, said, “The India-UAE Start-Up Corridor has been initiated at the right time to bring more prosperity to both the countries and to the global economy. Nayak added that 6th Sense is proud to be part of this programme.”
India had launched Start-Up India, envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in January 2016 to give impetus to the indigenous ecosystem and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. India now boasts of the world’s third-largest ecosystem for start-ups. Additionally, over the past five years, India has leapfrogged in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking to 63rd position among 190 nations, from 142nd position in 2014. In 2020, India also joined the group of Top 50 countries in the Global Innovation Index (GII) of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
The UAE aims to create 20 unicorns by 2031 and already the leader in the MENA region in terms of tech transformation, digital acceleration and embracing innovative ideas.
Since 2007, FICCI has been an active player in the ecosystem and has supported 1000+ start-ups/innovators with more than Rs. 125 crores. The start-up enterprises supported by FICCI have been able to generate 140,000+ jobs and leverage more than five times capital from external market sources. More than 100 companies have been provided access to the global markets across the US, South Asia and Africa.