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District 2020’s global entrepreneurship programme – “Scale2Dubai” calls for applicants

District 2020’s ecosystem has been specifically designed to accelerate innovation by putting people at the heart of its design and cultivating a community from which collaboration across high growth sectors will grow exponentially. Key focus sectors for the future-city include smart logistics, smart mobility, smart manufacturing (Industry 4.0) and smart cities, its future-ready strategies will be a particular attraction for those working in AI, 3D printing, Blockchain, and Internet of Things (IoT).

Having set its sights on becoming the region’s first living lab for testing innovative solutions and future technologies, District 2020 has announced the opening of submissions for its dedicated global entrepreneurship programme, Scale2Dubai. 

Scale2Dubai is looking to attract start-ups and small businesses, mainly those in Series A or Seed stage, that align to District 2020’s sectors of focus. Through its multi-stakeholder innovation ecosystem and community, District 2020’s human-centric future city is being curated as a ‘living lab’ that encourages co-creation and connections between startups, SMEs, residents, governments, academia, and MNCs. 

As an integral part of its ecosystem, Scale2Dubai is currently accepting applications and offers startups and small businesses the best opportunities for success through a series of unique benefits that help those accepted into the community with a ‘soft landing’ in Dubai. Each year, the equity-free programme will support between 80 to 100 of these businesses, with the first group due to be selected during the final weeks of Expo 2020 Dubai. 

The programme will offer successful applicants two years of free workspace, business setup support and guidance needed to scale up, while also providing access to funding, deal flow, networking opportunities and connections with big-name global players. 

Evolving from the six-month mega event, District 2020 will be a global hub that attracts diverse stakeholders and organisations, facilitates cross-industry collaboration, and drives regulation that accelerates business and supports innovation will be an immediate benefit and accelerator of success for startup businesses. Among other things, this will be achieved through open regulations, incentives, international partnerships, and connecting industry leaders with policymakers to support their needs, enable agility, and advance growth. 

Speaking ahead of District 2020’s Scale2Dubai applications opening, Tala Al Ansari, Director, Innovation Ecosystem & Scale2Dubai, said:  

“Startups and small businesses from Scale2Dubai will have the opportunity to collaborate with large corporations, government entities, accelerators and, universities at District 2020. They will also have access to venture capitalists and funding entities to support their growth plans.  

I encourage startups to join our community and to benefit from a living lab environment that will enable them to showcase their existing solutions, attract deal flow and co-create new solutions alongside our community to address global challenges and create impact.” 

With industry leaders such as Siemens, Terminus, and DP World amongst the anchor stakeholders already set to be located at District 2020, the environment provided to these businesses could not be more favorable. 

To attract the best global talent for Scale2Dubai, District2020 is working closely with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), for its first and second cohorts.  It is also leveraging a pool of 13 global partners and SME-enabling entities across markets to attract applications from different continents. 

By early January 2022, shortlist applications will be evaluated by a panel of 50 international judges who are technical experts from various fields. The first cohort will be announced before the end of the Expo, where 80-100 businesses across markets will move into their spaces by October 2022.  

The Scale2Dubai programme is currently accepting applications from local, regional and international start-ups and small businesses through the District 2020 website:


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