Dubai aims to become a Global Innovation Powerhouse in 5 years

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Sheikh Mohammed’s AED4.5 billion vision for Dubai’s Internet City and Media City will create a global innovation powerhouse, according to Dubai Holding’s Chairman, Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi.

Dubai - A Global Innovation Powerhouse in the making
Dubai Media City. Dubai has announced its plans to become a global innovation powerhouse by further expanding Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City, with $1.23 billion investments to foster innovation.

Al Gergawi has confirmed that new projects representing an AED 4.5 billion investment for Dubai’s Internet City and Dubai Media City will be completed within five years and will establish a global powerhouse for innovation, media and content.

Al Gergawi made his comments at a ceremony to mark the 15th anniversary of Dubai Internet City, and in response to the announcement made by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minster of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai of a new vision for these business parks.

The projects announced include 10 million sq. ft. of space for innovation complexes, technology laboratories and smart buildings. Such advanced infrastructure seeks to attract top global talent and create an environment that will nurture and support what will become the most productive and innovative environment in the world.

“His Highness had an insight. He foresaw the internet revolution in its earliest days, and it was that vision, which put our national economy on the path to become a globally recognised knowledge economy,” Al Gergawi said.

“He chose a large site in, what was then just an empty desert space because he understood the scale of the technological revolution that would take place, and how much space it would need to grow.”

In choosing the location for Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City, Sheikh Mohammed was mindful of relics showing it had actually been inhabited more than 3,500 years ago. Reflecting on a conversation with the Ruler at the time, Gergawi highlighted the words of His Highness: “This area has ancient history. Now we will write a new chapter for it.”

Al Gergawi also discussed the rapid pace of development over the last 15 years. These business zones have since grown from 100 companies to 4,500 companies, from a few hundred employees to more than 70,000 knowledge workers, and from a few thousand square feet to 6 million sq. ft. Al Gergawi praised Sheikh Mohammed’s decision to locate the internet and media industries together and to treat them as a single economic sector.

This helped establish the UAE as number one in the region’s content industry, surpassing the traditional domination of the ancient Arab capitals.

Sheikh Mohammed’s new vision for Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City focuses on integrating these industries within the UAE’s national innovation strategy. This will be achieved through pioneering projects including business innovation incubators, new dedicated funds and smart laboratories.

These projects will also benefit other sectors that in turn add value to the UAE economy under Dubai Holding’s remit, such as ICT, Media, Education, Sciences, and Design. Al Gergawi said that 10 million square feet would be added to support the main innovation infrastructure in the coming years, which will make Dubai an international innovation destination across all of its sectors.

Sheikh Mohammed’s vision for Dubai Media City is to enhance its position as an international centre for both conventional media, content generation and social media. “The media zone will attract the best talent in this field and develop new tools and applications by establishing an innovation culture,” Al Gergawi said.

“We will add real value to our national economy by developing education and knowledge across the content industry, as well as by supporting research that makes a real difference to people’s lives,” the Dubai Holding Chairman stressed.

Al Gergawi announced a range of immediate initiatives that are designed to speed up the transformation towards this new vision. A new fund will be established to support innovation-led projects, creativity and entrepreneurial ideas. Ten innovation incubators will be created across all of Dubai Holding’s relevant portfolio, including those related to the ICT, media, education, sciences and design industries.

Two further new projects will play vital roles in supporting the new vision.

The first, called “Innovation Hub” will function as an enabler for innovation, located in the middle of three business zones: Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Dubai Knowledge Village. Innovation Hub will incorporate five smart buildings with pioneering platforms, and aims to provide an encouraging environment that can grow and enhance an innovative culture. This will create a platform for individuals and companies to launch new ideas and technologies that can have a positive knock on effect on wider economy.

The second –d3’s Creativity Community, located within Dubai Design District has a goal to inspire and encourage talent across various design fields. The Creative Community will provide unique facilities including showrooms, creative workshops, spaces for events and relevant service facilities.

He closed his statement by turning to the future. “Today, Dubai Internet City has realised the dream of a visionary leader, which was set out 15 years ago. In the future, it will realise the dreams of tens of thousands of creative and innovative pioneers. As we realize this new phase of HH Sheikh Mohammed’s vision, we will step into a new age of innovation,” Al Gergawi said.


Photo courtesy- M Khalil/500px

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