• Michael Hijazi

DAFZA launches innovative tech start-up program




The Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) officially launched a one-of-a-kind innovative start-up program called Scality, which is set to attract local, regional and global tech start-ups and enable them to establish and grow their businesses in the region.


Scality offers start-ups the opportunity to set up and operate their businesses with flexibility and convenience through a commercially effective way. It provides a subscription-based program that covers lease and licensing fees, as well as space that start-ups require for their operations. Scality enables start-ups to pay per employee per month through a pay as you grow model, which enables them to scale their teams flexibly and efficiently.


Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director General of DAFZA, said: "The emirate of Dubai has always been at the forefront in introducing new and innovative customized business programs that support local, regional and global investors to establish and grow their businesses in the region. These initiatives aim to strengthen Dubai’s position as a preferred destination for entrepreneurs and enhance its workforce through attracting innovative thinkers and talent to the emirate.


"DAFZA reaffirms its commitment to providing an ideal environment for innovative technology companies in the fields of advanced technology including medical technology and agricultural technology among others. DAFZA has appointed a young leadership team for Scality to drive innovation and growth. This falls in line with DAFZA’s commitment to providing young business leaders the opportunity to take forward new initiatives with cutting-edge ideas and approaches," Al Zarooni concluded.


The MENA region is witnessing significant growth in the technology sector including developments in fintech, e-commerce, health tech, deep technology industries, smart cities solutions among others. For example, e-commerce sales in Dubai are projected to jump 23 percent to reach $27 billion in 2022, driven by the COVID-led digital shift and changing consumer demands.[1] Scality aims to ease access to the MENA region by creating more opportunities for start-ups on their entrepreneurship journey.


Amna Lootah, Assistant Director-General, DAFZA said: "Our role at DAFZA as a growth enabler for start-ups is to help them thrive and build strong strategic relationships with partners. DAFZA aims through Scality to provide entrepreneurs with integrated solutions and services to help ease some of the challenges they may face while establishing their businesses. These challenges include upfront costs and set-up funds, access to talent as well as the ability to scale up sales. We offer cost effective and flexible setup solutions, as well as access to a network ecosystem to allow them to showcase their cutting-edge services and explore potential partnerships."


The program will be led by Chairman Hassan Waheed, Senior Investment Advisor at DAFZA. Since joining DAFZA in 2018, Waheed has played an influential role in establishing and managing relationships with various financial institutions and providing financial consultancy to various projects and investments within the free zone.


The start-up program sponsored the STEP conference, the leading tech festival for emerging markets entitled this year as STEP Anywhere 2021, which will take place virtually from 29 until 31 March 2021. The state-of-the-art solutions Scality provides to tech start-ups will be showcased at the conference through a series of speeches, panel discussions and one-on-one meetings.


Start-ups will also be able to interact and network with Scality’s team to learn more about the program, its benefits and how Scality can help them set up and scale their operations. Some benefits that Scality will provide include members’ access to a suite of best-in-class partnerships across key pillars such as tax, legal, talent, banking, cloud solutions, payment gateways amongst others.