KU Affairs

Khalifa Innovation Center at Khalifa University Receives First “Incubator License” from Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development

April 21, 2021

Read Arabic story here.


Khalifa Innovation Center (KIC –  www.khalifainnovation.ae), a strategic partnership between Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Tawazun, Mubadala Investment Company, and Sandooq Al Watan, today announced it has received license from the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED) to operate as an incubator, thus becoming the first institution in Abu Dhabi to receive such a license.


Hosted at Khalifa University but is open to all university students and researchers in the UAE, KIC will now be able, through the DED, to issue Innovative License to entrepreneurs incubating their newly established startups in KIC . This is critical to enable startups to validate new technologies and business models while remaining independent and engaging in business traction activities such as attracting investors or engaging with collaborators to scale up and grow their businesses. Startups in KIC can now engage in business acceleration activities with minimum financial and legal risks, beginning their initial journey in the innovation business.


Moreover, this “Incubator License” will support KIC’s efforts to accelerate validation and introduction of technology-based startups into the Abu Dhabi market and industry. Most importantly, it will encourage more young scientists and entrepreneurs in the UAE to apply and take part in the KIC programs to get their ideas and inventions moving from concept stage to impactful business opportunities.


Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, said: “This incubation license is a great milestone in the journey of KIC, especially with the operation and management of its startup portfolio which are mostly founded on research discoveries. KIC plays a pivotal role in embedding and incubating scientific research outputs within entrepreneurial business settings, producing promising startups and new companies. This is a new paradigm in the overall knowledge-based ecosystem in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, and therefore, it requires a new approach for including incubators like KIC within the economic fabric in order to achieve maximum economic and innovation potentials.”


Mouza Al Nasri, Acting CEO, Khalifa Fund, said: “At Khalifa Fund, we’re constantly searching for new opportunities and identifying best practices to enhance the UAE’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. That’s why we’re extremely proud to contribute towards this strategic partnership that enables the Khalifa Innovation Center (KIC) to deliver imperative services to our startups and SMEs.


KIC’s new capability to issue incubation licenses is a monumental step that will cement Abu Dhabi’s position as an entrepreneurial hot-spot. The licensing process will provide UAE entrepreneurs with a multitude of integral operational benefits, that will accelerate their validation process and thus empower them to elevated innovation levels and optimal performance.


She added: “I’d like to thank Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Tawazun, Mubadala Investment Company, and Sandooq Al Watan for sharing Khalifa Fund’s dedicated efforts towards enhancing the UAE’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development for helping to create this important milestone.”


Dr. Yehya Al Marzouqi, Advisor to the CEO of  the Tawazun Economic Council, Board Member of Khalifa Innovation Center said: “KIC’s incubation licenses would contribute to strengthening the ecosystem and would instill innovation and creativity especially for projects that are based on technical and advanced technology.


 “Tawazun Economic Council would continue supporting KIC in its effective contributions to the development of a sustainable ecosystem through cooperating with strategic partners to empower the Center and strengthen its role in embracing innovative technology projects. The Center offers many exclusive services like training the creative youth and empowering them to transform the ideas of their projects into real practical models and develop them further to ensure alignment with the market requirements taking into consideration the possibility of promoting each.”, he added.


Al Marzooqi expects a positive impact to this approach in creating  various innovative projects that would feed to the benefit of the national economy and lead to strengthening Abu Dhabi’s position as a global destination in the field of technical and advanced technological industries and projects that can be employed in various sectors in future.


The first incubator license for KIC also reflects a recognition that KIC fulfilled all standard requirements for an incubator to conduct its operations efficiently. This includes available space for inventors and entrepreneurs to receive appropriate training, as well as the ability to provide office spaces for newly established startups where they can run their businesses and develop their technologies. In addition, inventors and entrepreneurs can have access to technical expertise and scientific laboratories to validate their technologies and prototypes.


All of these services are part of KIC’s offerings to entrepreneurs. Moreover, KIC provides financial support and funds to startups and entrepreneurs who successfully engage in its bootcamp, incubation and acceleration programs. Such a fund is targeted towards developing prototypes, validating business models or any other activities that can help entrepreneurs scale up their ideas.


Dr. Sami Bashir, Interim Director, KIC, said: “This incubator license means KIC has the required technical and expertise resources to support and mentor inventors, entrepreneurs and their startups to go through robust and successful innovation programs that are tailored to push technologies from labs to the market. Moreover, the nature of the technologies and discoveries incubated within the KIC fit with the overall innovation strategy in areas such as advanced materials, health sciences, artificial intelligence, security and agriculture.”


Clarence Michael
English Editor Specialist
21 April 2021