Abu Dhabi Global Market Introduces New Tech Startups License And Professional Support Program

Eligible enterprises can receive a full operational license at an annual cost of US$700 (approximately AED 2,570).

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With an eye on supporting economic diversification and encouraging innovation in the UAE, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has launched a new commercial license framework for technology startups across sectors, wherein eligible enterprises can receive a full operational license at an annual cost of US$700 (approximately AED2,570). ADGM believes that with the new license, emerging tech ventures in the region can enjoy “globally recognized international operating standards” that other ADGM-associated entities currently benefit from, giving the startups an ideal environment for growing alongside established enterprises.

The ADGM building in Abu Dhabi.

According to ADGM, if you are a technology-powered entity with a business concept that has the potential to scale, that promotes innovation, can contribute to the UAE’s development, and has current traction or a live prototype, you may meet the organization’s criteria to apply for the license. Further, once you submit your business plan and other details to ADGM, the application will be assessed for factors such as clarity of concept, experience of the team, relevance for target market, and readiness to execute. 

In addition to the new tech startups license, ADGM also announced the introduction of a Professional Services Support Program- a partnership program wherein local and global advisers help entrepreneurs build business development skills, and enhance scalability of their ventures, covering areas such as legal, compliance, finance, accounting and VAT etc.

Commenting on the launch of the two programs, Dhaher Bin Dhaher Al Mheiri, CEO, ADGM Registration Authority said: “The Tech Startup License and the Professional Services Support Program provide tangible solutions to address set-up costs, access to funding, and business support. They are only two of the many ADGM initiatives designed to help this important sector. Together with the many excellent support initiatives from Abu Dhabi government and the greater entrepreneurship ecosystem, they will serve to make Abu Dhabi an even more attractive base for new businesses and ultimately promote economic diversification, foster growth and stimulate the region’s innovation environment."

Omeed Mehrinfar, Managing Partner of Plug and Play (a Silicon Valley-based accelerator that has partnered with ADGM in the UAE to set up its own signature fintech innovation program) added: "Plug and Play sees ADGM as the ideal platform to host startups from across our international locations that are looking to expand in the GCC, and larger Middle-East region. With the new license and Professional Services Support Program, startups will be able to leverage ADGM’s top-tier ecosystem of investors, advisors and corporate partners and operate their businesses at scale.”

Related: How ADGM's Proposed Regulatory Framework For Private Financing Platforms Can Bolster UAE Startups