By Dany Farha
On Wednesday the 23rd of October, we signed a landmark agreement in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, to be a founding partner of the Area 2071. Located in the Emirates Towers, and as the name suggests, Area 2071 will bring people from the entire spectrum of “innovation” — early stage entrepreneurs, investors, government and private sector stakeholders, R&D and thinkers, to all come together to bring the future forward today in solving global challenges. This is the clearest statement and action from His Highness that Dubai will participate in leading the world in global innovation. As His Highness so elegantly put it at the signing ceremony video, “we look for problems, in order to solve them”.
Why is this of such significance and particularly to us at BECO?
The mere fact that A2071 is housed in a building that is the pride and joy of His Highness and where he spends much of his working hours, is testament to how serious he is in making A2071 a success. It is right under his eyes, in the heart of the Emirates Towers. This tells the UAE government and private sector community that investing in global innovations and leading it is a top priority. People take note!
Our vision at BECO is to improve the region through technology entrepreneurship and innovation. We have emboldened and upgraded our vision to improve the world, not just the region, after the creation of A2071 and His Highness leading this initiative personally. This is a huge deal. The fact that we can be emboldened to have even more ambitious goals demonstrates the significance of A2071. We are 12 founding partners who have a renewed vision in what is possible out of Dubai and the UAE, and this list will only grow as we start working with each other, making progress, and taking the first bold steps towards this vision as others join the mission.
To create a vibrant ecosystem, we need “density”. Density is the number of people in a city that are working on a similar set of problems, be they entrepreneurs, lawyers, investors, thinkers, researchers, academics, mediums etc. Almost 15 years later, Dubai Internet City (DIC) can lay claim to paving the way for the current regional technology boom being led by Dubai, where the likes of Bayt, Propertfyfinder, Souq, Careem, and a whole host of technology titans, were born and continue to operate. DIC created the density that was required to create a vibrant tech entrepreneurship ecosystem. A2071 will create the same density that an innovation hub requires. This is really exciting to us as it perfectly completes our vision to work on tech entrepreneurship and innovation challenges out of Dubai, that serve the world.
Finally, to me personally, A2071 means an immense amount. I was born in 1971, and bred in Dubai, and very much a product of this amazing city and country. 1971 is the same year as the birth of this great nation, the Union or Etihad was initially consummated in 1971. So essentially me and the UAE will both be 100 years old in 2071. I hope I can live to 100 to see the output of our dreams of investing in the future and Dubai leading the world as a global hub of innovation and prosperity.