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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

DIFC’s FinTech Hive expands accelerator programme

Insurance, Islamic finance and regtech services to be included

The DIFC's FinTech Hive broadens accelerator program to include insurance, Islamic finance and regtech. Jeffrey Biteng / The National
The DIFC's FinTech Hive broadens accelerator program to include insurance, Islamic finance and regtech. Jeffrey Biteng / The National

The Dubai International Financial Centre’s FinTech hive is expanding its accelerator programme for start-ups to include insurance, Islamic finance and regulatory technological services.

“As the UAE continues to move towards an innovation and knowledge-based economy, it is now more critical than ever that we support local and regional talent by giving them the tools and platforms they need to flourish,” said Raja Al Mazrouei, executive vice president of FinTech Hive at DIFC.

The financial centre, in partnership with the business management consultancy Accenture, last year launched its first accelerator programme which saw 11 FinTech companies out of over 200 applicants being accepted into DIFC's mentorship.

The programme gives FinTech companies with a proven track record advice and makes connections for them with financial services firms looking for technological solutions to bring about greater operational nimbleness. The hive also helps them find investors.

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DIFC is making FinTech a priority, especially as the industry fits into the emirate's longstanding efforts to encourage the growth of small- and medium-sized businesses. So far, over a dozen banks and financial services firms have partnered with the financial centre to get connected with FinTech companies to seek technology and artificial intelligence. These technologies include so-called robo-advisory for wealth management investment decisions and distributed ledger technology that speeds the time it takes to make a transfer.

The DIFC in November established a $100 million fund to invest in FinTech start-ups to help further cement its position as a leading hub for the fledgling industry at a time when it is attracting greater interest from investors.

“Since 2010, roughly $100 billion has been invested globally into the FinTech industry, clearly demonstrating that there is an immense appetite for this sector’s development,” said Amr Elsaadani, managing director and financial services lead for Accenture in the Middle East and Turkey.

“The exceptional quality of the proposals we received last year is a testament to the bright ideas and immense talent this region has to offer. As we move into the second year of the programme, the expansion of FinTech hive at DIFC into new disciplines will lead to the discovery of new solutions that are uniquely tailored to the Middle East and Africa.”