The phenomenal rise of the FinTech sector has been a major positive that came out of the otherwise depressing pandemic period. The sector enabled the smooth acceleration of digital transformation in the UAE as the country already had a supporting ecosystem for FinTech. The presence of free zones such as the Dubai Financial Center ( DIFC) made the process of business setup in Dubai easier for FinTech firms.
DIFC is widely known as the leading global centre for FinTech, and its Innovation Hub is touted as a perfect ecosystem for FinTech startups. The Innovation Hub acts as a driving force facilitating collaboration between early-stage and growth start-ups, tech unicorns and big tech firms to boost business success. By choosing Innovation Hub for company formation in Dubai, the FinTech startups are entitled to all the benefits of DIFC free zone, including the Innovation License, FinTech Hive, FinTech Accelerator etc.
To know more about being part of the DIFC Innovation hub, consult with business setup consultants in Dubai. Meanwhile, this blog will serve as a brief introduction to it. Read ahead.
What is DIFC Innovation Hub?
The innovation hub is a business setup facility located within the DIFC free zone that houses innovative FinTech startups. The hub is now home to 350 innovation firms, recording a 29% increase in the number of companies in the last six months. Around 80,000 sq. ft. space is available at the hub for entrepreneurs to incorporate FinTech companies.
Further, the government has approved the four-fold expansion of the DIFC Innovation Hub to increase its size to over 315,000 sq. ft. The buildings at Innovation Hub have the capacity to accommodate up to 1,000 businesses, with facilities like fitted offices, co-working spaces and light F&B outlets in the concourse and fine dining outlets at the rooftop level. Business setup consultants in Dubai will help entrepreneurs to set up their business in Innovation Hub.
Access to DIFC Innovation License
Tech startups joining the Innovation Hub can apply for an Innovation License in DIFC. The DIFC Innovation License package offers entrepreneurs a subsidised commercial license for up to four years, which will enable a quick and fully digital business setup for non-regulated FinTech and Innovation companies.
The DIFC Innovation License starts at a cost of USD1,500 per year. The tech startups will also gain access to DIFC co-working space at affordable rates. Innovation firms can secure up to four visas when renting desk space as well as a 50% subsidy on additional visas.
Apply for DFSA’s Innovation Testing License
Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is an independent authority that regulates and controls the financial businesses operating in DIFC. DFSA provides an Innovation Testing License Programme for FinTech startups that help companies to test innovative solutions and concepts. The Innovation Testing License is designed as a licensed sandbox that enables the license holders to test new and innovative financial products, services, and business models.
Access to the DIFC FinTech Hive
DIFC has developed several important initiatives to boost innovative concepts in the FinTech sector. Led by the DIFC FinTech Hive, this programme includes its FinTech Accelerator, which provides its participants access to potential partners and investors, as well as workshops, events and co-working spaces within the new Innovation Hub.
Another major initiative is called the ‘AccelerateHer’, a mentoring program that supports gender diversity within the FinTech industry. Female entrepreneurs who set up a business in DIFC Innovation Hub get access to hands-on mentoring and career development programs.
Funding Programmes for Startups
The difficulty in finding access to funding is the greatest challenge faced by startups across the world. However, p funding opportunities are aplenty for startups when it comes to initiating business setup in Dubai. For instance, entrepreneurs who start a business in DIFC Innovation Hub can connect with a lot of commercial partners for funding. Apart from that DIFC also actively delivers financial initiatives to provide funding.
DIFC has its own USD 100 million FinTech Fund, which is aimed to bridge the funding gap for growth stage start-ups in the region. Well-known FinTech startups such as Sarwa, Beehive, NOW Money, FlexxPay, Rise, Rain and Clara started their operations with DIFC Funding. DIFC also provides greater access to funding from VC firms which are encouraged to join the Centre through its tailored framework for streamlined setup. FinTech firms based in DIFC have now raised more than AED 1.1 billion.
Mentorship Opportunities by DIFC Academy
Entrepreneurs who incorporate a company in DIFC Innovation Hub can nurture their knowledge and talents with training programs designed by DIFC Academy. The DIFC Academy has launched the Future Campus, a knowledge platform that provides more than 400 online degree programmes, practical skills-based training courses and educational opportunities to entrepreneurs irrespective of their nationality. The Future Campus can train up to 25,000 students a year and offers programmes that focus on skills and knowledge for the future.
How Can Jitendra Business Setup Consultants Help You?
If you are an entrepreneur with an innovative FinTech concept, DIFC Innovation Hub should be your No 1 choice. The Innovation Hub has unique licenses, facilities, funding and mentorship programs that will make the process of business setup in Dubai much easier for you. In case you feel alien to the country’s business landscape, laws and immigration process it is better to consult with the best business setup consultants in Dubai such as Jitendra Business Consultants (JBC).
Our business setup consultants are the best in the best region who will make the process of company formation in Dubai hassle-free for you. JBC serves as a guiding light for entrepreneurs by providing bespoke services including visa processing, bank account opening, drafting of documents like MOA etc.