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DIFC and Accenture launch regions first fintech accelerator

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a financial institution for the Middle East, Africa, and South Asian region, and global professional service company Accenture have announced the region’s first Fintech Accelerator in Dubai.

‘Fintech Hive at DIFC’, the accelerator is set to launch in the first quarter of 2017 and aims in transforming DIFC into a global fintech innovation hub and empowering entrepreneurs to innovate, the release stated.

The accelerator program will last for 12 weeks and will bring cutting-edge fintechs to the region while, providing a platform that brings together financial services and fintech firms. Fintech Hive at DIFC will see next generation leaders and entrepreneurs competing and addressing the region’s growing needs of financial services industry including trade finance, alternative finance like P2P payments, Sharia-based services, using innovative technology solutions.

“We are proud to be launching FinTech Hive at DIFC following the recent announcement of the world’s first government accelerator programs by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai. The UAE National Innovation Strategy and Dubai Plan 2021 steer us to be among the smartest cities in the world.  With our founding Membership in the Global Blockchain Council and today’s launch, DIFC is pioneering innovative developments in the MEASA’s financial services sector, while taking our economies to new horizons,” His Excellency Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC and Chairman of DIFC Authority Board of Directors, said.

The goal of the fintech accelerator is to increase the access and improve customer experience and thus drive operational efficiencies in the financial services sector. The DIFC Accelerator creates a platform that drives innovation and showcases success by identifying leading tech entrepreneurs and companies through a competitive process. It also offers them the opportunity to develop, test and modify their innovations in partnering with top executives from DIFC and regional financial institutions.

Due to the expertise in building and running fintech innovation labs, Accenture has been chosen to set up and operate the DIFC Accelerator. Accenture launched first fintech lab in New York, second in London and opened two others in Hong Kong and Dublin.

“DIFC is uniquely positioned to become the regional hub for FinTech. By putting together local banks and FinTech firms to ideate, collaborate and partner, DIFC is helping both sectors be at the forefront of the financial services industry. The accelerator program will identify the best entrepreneurs within the financial services industry and grant them invaluable access to, and feedback from, potential customers and funders,” Sushil Saluja, senior managing director of Financial Services in Europe, Africa, and Latin America at Accenture, said.

The accelerator will see local financial institutions Emirates NBD and Mashreq coming aboard, while HSBC and VISA will be the first international financial services providers to join.

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