Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has contracted with Accenture to set up and operate a fintech accelerator for regional and international startups.
Accenture won the gig with the Middle East financial hub owing to its past experience in running its own accelerator programmes in London, New York and Hong Kong. DIFC says it expects the facility to morph into a global fintech innovation hub linking the US, European and Middle East, African and South Asian markets.
The global fintech sector has attracted more than $50 billion in investment since 2010, but currently the Middle East and North Africa only attract around 1 percent of that investment.
Dubbed FinTech Hive, the project will invite startups to compete for entry into a 12-week accelerator programme, offering the winners the opportunity to develop, test and modify their innovations in collaboration with top executives from DIFC and regional financial institutions.
Emirates NBD and Mashreq will be the first local financial institutions to join the accelerator programme, while HSBC and Visa have been lined up as the first international financial services providers.
Arif Amiri, DIFC Authority chief, says: "DIFC is fast becoming a pivotal hub in the global economy, with over 1,500 firms and 21,000 employees - most of whom are exploring fintech solutions to tap into the world’s fastest growing economies. We are committed to providing a diverse and forward-thinking ecosystem to support fintech innovation.”