Dubai – The UK Lebanon Tech Hub (UKLTH), a joint initiative by Banque du Liban (Lebanon’s Central Bank) and the UK Government, announced the signing of a partnership agreement with 1776, a Washington, DC-based public benefit corporation and the first international technology incubator to set up a direct presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Leveraging 1776’s newly opened Dubai campus, the partnership is aimed at supporting Lebanon’s fastest-growing tech startups and help them break into new international markets such as the UAE and the neighboring Gulf countries. According to a recent report by UKLTH, Lebanon is looking to create 25,000 new ICT jobs and a US $7 billion boost to its GDP by 2025.
Startup companies will be jointly selected by UKLTH and 1776 for an acceleration program in Dubai based on: a scalable business model; sectorial focus such as EdTech, FinTech, digital health, and smart cities; socio-economic impact; and readiness to enter international markets. They represent the next generation of tech stars with the potential to become world-leading companies.
Colm Reilly, CEO of the UK Lebanon Tech Hub, said: “Startups wanting to scale and expand their business to new MENA markets should be able to understand those markets and be connected to networks that will help them in their continuous growth. For those reasons, we are basing some of our best startups in Dubai for a three months period, working with the 1776 team to help bring those networks and create that growth.”
Commenting on the partnership, Evan Burfield, cofounder and CEO of 1776 said: “We are looking to collaborate with incubators and accelerators from across the MENA region and are pleased to have signed the first formal partnership with UKLTH. 1776 Dubai will be a first point of entry into the UAE and GCC markets for its ‘scale-up’ startups, in addition to enabling them to establish connections with targeted customers, investors and regional and international media based in Dubai.”
The partnership provides UKLTH startups with access to 1776’s global digital platform Union, which was launched at the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit and includes learning resources and a global network of mentors and investors; a branded working space at the 1776 Dubai campus alongside the Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) in the prestigious Emirates Towers with access to all campus programming; UKLTH exclusive activities on campus; in addition to active participation during the annual 1776 Challenge Cup global startup competition.
The first batch of UKLHT startups to be based at 1776 Dubai includes Kamkalima, a web-based platform that helps teachers create engaging assignments in Arabic, Riego, a maker of smart, solar-powered irrigation devices, and Artscoops, an exclusive online auction and sale channel for art buyers worldwide.