The Humanitarian Accelerators is a first of its kind initiative in the Arab World connecting start-ups and established companies from around the world with the UAE’s humanitarian sector to tackle social, cultural and environmental challenges in the Arab region.
Applications for our inaugural program, starting October 1st, are now open.
Similar to the core Dubai Future Accelerators Program, the Humanitarian Accelerators is a unique opportunity for technology companies to gain unparalleled access to staff, resources and expertise of Dubai’s humanitarian sector, with our partner Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, as well as a host of NGOs, Development Organizations and Government Coordination Bodies in the UAE. The program will rapidly develop and deploy initiatives in line with the UAE Giving Strategy, creating breakthrough solutions that will serve as a testbed with local, regional and even global impact.
This isn’t a traditional accelerator - we won’t teach you how to write a business plan or build an MVP, what we will accelerate is the relationship between companies and government. Instead of taking months to access relevant stakeholders, expect to develop a positive relationship with the government of Dubai in days.
The aim of the program is to provide a dynamic environment where companies, NGOs, Development Organizations and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives can explore new opportunities to deliver transformative technologies and services, culminating in companies receiving an MOU (or other commercial agreement) to deliver a funded pilot project after the program ends.
Building a social impact business requires almost exactly the same process, strategic thinking and planning for a for profit businesses. In this case we’re optimizing for two outputs- impact and financial sustainability, and not just profit. You can be a for profit, or a non profit organization, but must be able to demonstrate a social model within your business. Although technology remains a core tenant in our selection, the business model is just as important as technical expertise.
While we consider applicants on a case-by-case basis, companies should have already built and launched their core technology, and be able to demonstrate traction and/or substantial use cases. Experience in the region, and within the challenge sector, is also preferred.
Volunteer organizations, social groups and services or any initiatives that do not include technology. While we encourage companies to approach the program with an open mind, we are not ideally open to startups that are still at the ideation stage. While DFA offers an exciting and unrivaled opportunity, it’s important that a company has the resource to commit to the program, without it being a concern for founders or investors.
Core program tenant include engagement with key government entities and other leading figures in the humanitarian and social impact sector, mentorship, business development, sessions and activities on entrepreneurship and on the region’s social impact and humanitarian sector. Program structure and key benefits remain identical to the main DFA program with the exception of flights and visas, which will not be provided by DFA. Accommodation for participants will be provided for.
Like the core DFA program, we don’t receive or expect any equity in return for your company’s participation.
The program is taking place from October 1st to November 29th in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Applications close on August 19th.
We need commitment from two participants per company to attend full-time for 9 weeks. Business development, project management and the ability to rapidly prototype ideas (through software development, design and use of our dedicated maker spaces) are key skills required.
Other team members are welcome to attend several days or weeks of the program as required, however we won’t be able to cover accommodation.
Since participants will likely be working away from their regular place of work, companies should look to cover living expenses, travel and visa expenses.
Companies must arrange comprehensive medical insurance for all participants - this is a strict condition of attendance, and participants may be asked for proof of cover before traveling to the program.
Finally, every participating company will be required to demonstrate its core technologies in the early weeks of the program. This means that a hardware company should bring some form of their hardware with so it can be tested. If your product is software, participants should be able to not only demonstrate it, but explain it in technical detail.
Similar to the core DFA program, we are looking for technology companies to help solve challenges.
Factors we will look at include, but are not limited to: Technology; Background Data; Elevator Pitch; Business Model; Market Analysis; Sales & Marketing Strategy; Risk Assessment; Team Profile; Short Video; Investor Deck.
The IP of any new technologies or processes developed in association with Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives belong to your company. However, like any commercial agreement, IP and licensing may be a point of negotiation if Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives offers to fund a pilot project.
The purpose of the program is for technology companies and government to explore opportunities and collaborate. In the first and second DFA programs, over 70% of companies signed an agreement (an MOU or contract) with a government partner by the end of the program. Many companies also developed a significant network of customers and contacts in the region by participating in the program.
The program doesn’t directly invest in participating companies. However, Dubai Future Foundation - DFA’s parent organization - has an investment fund which might invest in a small number of companies that participate in the program.