Press Releases United Arab Emirates

MBRIF and AzurX Forge Strategic Partnership to Propel Innovation in the Space Sector

  • MBRIF to harness AzurX’s space sector expertise and worldwide network of space companies to support the growth of its Innovation Accelerator Program
  • MBRIF and AzurX to collaborate on initiatives aimed at enhancing MBRIF’s space vertical, boosting startup capabilities, and amplifying global visibility within the space and strategic technologies sector
Shaker Zainal, Chief Business Officer EDB and Head of MBRIF & Anna Hazlett, CEO, AzurX at the signing ceremony.

Dubai, UAE – May 30th, 2024 – Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF), an initiative launched by the UAE Ministry of Finance to support innovation in the UAE, has announced a strategic partnership with AzurX, a leading private space and satellite professional services and investment firm in the Middle East.

The collaboration aims to fortify innovation in the space and strategic technologies sector, offering tangible benefits to startups and SMEs seeking acceleration and growth. By forging this partnership, MBRIF will gain access to high-potential space startups worldwide, attracting them to the UAE’s thriving innovation ecosystem. MBRIF’s goal is to accelerate the growth of these startups by seamlessly connecting them with the UAE’s ambitious space programs and providing the necessary resources for their success.

This collaboration serves as a cornerstone in MBRIF’s efforts to reinforce its position as a regional and global leader in space innovation, aligning closely with the UAE National Innovation Strategy. The partnership will also seek to leverage existing collaborations of both entities with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and the UAE Space Agency.

Commenting on the announcement, Fatima Yousif Alnaqbi, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for Support Services Sector, Chief Innovation Officer at the UAE Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry’s representative at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund, said: “At MBRIF, we believe partnerships are crucial to the development of the innovation ecosystem. Our collaboration with AzurX is a strategic move to enhance the impact and reach of innovative endeavors within the space sector. Through such initiatives, we aim to create a dynamic ecosystem that accelerates the growth of startups and contributes significantly to the industry’s evolution.”

Anna Hazlett, CEO at AzurX added“ AzurX has actively worked to attract and support space and satellite technology companies, along with research and development (R&D), to the UAE since 2019. A flourishing UAE space sector, encompassing a vibrant startup and venture ecosystem, offers numerous strategic, economic, and diplomatic advantages. We are looking forward to working with MBRIF to contribute to their accelerator program for space startups, enabling the expansion of the private space ecosystem in the UAE.”

MBRIF and AzurX will actively work to attract startups from around the world to come to the UAE and accelerate their growth through a customized 6-month accelerator program. The program is designed to support promising innovators within the seven sectors of the National Innovation Strategy, which includes space as one of the pivotal sectors. It aims to cater to startups at various stages of business maturity providing tailored solutions, expert mentorship, and other key resources. These include assisting them in securing funding and providing access to various stakeholders in the UAE.

A notable success story from the program’s involvement in the space sector is Farmin, an Emirati-based remote-sensing platform that leverages satellite imagery processed using Artificial Intelligence (AI). With the support of MBRIF, Farmin has forged partnerships with entities such as the MBRSC, Abu Dhabi Maritime Academy (ADMA), and Abu Dhabi Ports, securing over AED 1.1 million across various projects.

The MBRIF Innovation Accelerator Program, launched in 2018, aims to foster innovation by providing startups and scaleups with world-class business resources, mentorship, and support. The seventh cohort of the program, selected from over 230 applicants spanning 41 countries, represents a diverse range of innovators focusing on sectors such as health, clean energy, technology, space, transportation, renewable energy, and water. Participants in the program stand to gain access to tailored services, mentorship, and resources aimed at accelerating growth, enhancing capabilities, unlocking value, and achieving scalability.

The partnership signifies a robust alliance between MBRIF and AzurX, poised to catalyze innovation, drive visibility, and create a conducive environment for startups in the space and strategic technologies sector in the UAE.