“Abu Dhabi — and the UAE as a whole — is ripe for disruption, primarily because it’s an untapped market,” says Ashlene Ramadan, the director of operations and communications for Abu Dhabi-based venture capital (VC) company Plug and Play.
Plug and Play first launched in Silicon Valley in 2003, and has since opened offices around the world, including in Abu Dhabi, where it partnered with the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).
The company connects the world’s best technology startups with the world’s largest corporations, creating mutually beneficial relationships.
“Our work is two-fold,” says Ramadan. “We’re the most active VC company in the world by number of investments. Our accelerator programme invests in 250 new fintech and tourism start-ups every year. Secondly, our innovation platform works alongside the corporates to help them achieve their innovation KPIs.”
Plug and Play’s vision is greater than just bridging the gap between Abu Dhabi and the rest of the world; the company also aims to set the bar high for local entrepreneurs, and in doing so establish a fertile ground for the aspiring young business leaders of tomorrow, who will continue building the local start-up and entrepreneurship ecosystem.
“It’s the perfect place for startups because we have corporations and government entities that accept and embrace innovation, and who are willing to engage with startups,” says Ramadan.
Abu Dhabi’s flexible regulatory environment and generous incentive packages make it fertile ground for SMEs and startups.
Hub71 is an AED 1 billion incubator and accelerator that brings promising tech startups and innovators, as well as global companies together in a vibrant tech ecosystem. Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM) is Abu Dhabi’s thriving financial centre, which provides businesses large and small with growth opportunities in a favourable business environment.