District 2020 has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UK-based innovation accelerator, Connected Places Catapult — the UK’s innovation agency for cities, transport and places — working with Innovate UK, a non-departmental public body operating close to the Government as part of the United Kingdom Research and Innovation organisation.
The agreement between Connected Places Catapult and District 2020 will allow mutual areas of interest to develop urban solutions in the areas of smart cities and mobility, within District 2020 – the future of Expo 2020 Dubai, that will be integral to the Dubai Government’s “Vision 2040” city-wide urban development plan. As the future of Expo 2020, District 2020 has been designated as the 5th Urban Centre of the city of Dubai, which will support the city’s economic growth, sustainable urban development and the goal of making it the most desirable city in the world to live in.
The alliance with Connected Places Catapult will contribute to the curation of District 2020’s innovation ecosystem and strengthen opportunities for cooperation and knowledge exchange between leading global innovation-driven businesses in the transport, smart mobility and autonomous vehicle fields.
As a human-centric smart city that will evolve from Expo 2020 Dubai, District 2020 will continue to drive forward the World Fair's ambition of international collaboration to create a more sustainable future. In order to achieve towards this, District 2020 will cultivate an environment that embraces technology and innovation to advance smart city development and smart mobility and logistics to answer tomorrow’s most pressing urban challenges.
By connecting businesses and public sector leaders to cutting-edge research that sparks innovation, Connected Places Catapult helps businesses to grow using innovations in mobility services and the built environment that enable new levels of physical, digital and social connectedness.
Having already established key partnerships in the Emirate with local entities such as the RTA and Smart Dubai, District 2020 is the first urban district to have signed a partnership agreement with Connected Places Catapult in the United Arab Emirates. Connected Places Catapult will support the running of technology demonstrations and small business accelerators to enable scaling of new solutions that drive growth and eliminate carbon emissions while contributing to wider economic growth in the UAE.
The agreement between District 2020 and Connected Places Catapult promises scope for further areas of cooperation. This includes providing District 2020 with a stream of high potential start-ups who stand to benefit from access to its thriving innovation ecosystem and human-centric smart community as well as its unrivalled physical and digital infrastructure. Not only will these organisations gain set-up support in launching themselves in Dubai but will also acquire unmatched access to markets across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA).
Nadimeh Mehra, Vice President, District 2020, said “We see significant potential to work together on driving purposeful technology innovation that will help people and urban communities to adapt and thrive in our ever-changing world. As an established expert in technology innovation, Connected Places Catapult will help spur research and catalyse solutions in sectors crucial to sustainable growth, focusing on the built environment and mobility. We look forward to working together to realise the potential of District 2020’s global innovation ecosystem and help to identify and support promising UK enterprises to enter and scale in the UAE and new markets”.
Nicola Yates OBE, CEO of Connected Places Catapult, said: “We are pleased to announce this Memorandum of Understanding with District 2020. This agreement will further increase our efforts to develop markets and partnerships for innovative UK companies in Dubai, the UAE as a whole, and across the Middle East, as well as giving these companies the opportunity to benefit from being part of a world-class innovation hub.”
District 2020’s commitment to curate a global innovation ecosystem is further underlined by its other major anchor tenants to be based at District 2020, including: German giant Siemens; Shanghai-based Terminus Technologies; and DP World.
District 2020 has also been forming partnerships with start-up enabling local and international entities that will support the development of its innovation ecosystem through its global entrepreneurship programme Scale2Dubai, including Dubai SME, MBRIF and others.