BP, Masdar and Masdar Institute have launched The Catalyst, the region’s first technology startup accelerator focused on sustainability and clean tech.
The Catalyst, which is supported by US$5 million in funding from British oil giant BP, will help startups accelerate their business through funding, training and mentorship.
Launched on the first day of Innovation Week with a high-level panel session attended by Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar HE Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Abdulkarim Almazmi, President and General Manager for BP UAE and Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost of Masdar Institute.
Dr Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar, said: “In the nine years since our inception, Masdar has transformed from a bold idea into a commercially-viable renewable energy company. We want to leverage our own experience – as well as our unique infrastructure and assets at Masdar City -- to create a platform for start-ups with similarly bold visions for sustainable technologies and turn their ideas into commercial realities.”
Catalyst will support fledgling innovators from the UAE and beyond in the fields of energy, water and clean tech with seed funding, training, mentoring, and work space. It will accept applications from start-ups that are one to five years from commercialisation and that have a potential patentable technology. Successful applicants will receive up to $50,000 funding and up to 6 months of support, training and advice to help grow their business.
Almazmi said, “BP is a corporation anchored in technological innovation. Our business relies on the ability of our brightest minds to innovate, so we are proud to support a programme that will develop innovative capacity in the UAE through training, mentorship and access to industry experts. BP is pleased to bring its proven capabilities in technology entrepreneurship to the region and help UAE developing a leading position in technology innovation.”
The goal of the accelerator is to turn a start-up idea into a minimal viable product with commercialisation potential. These new businesses will grow into a network of innovators in sustainability that will become the future driving force behind innovation in Abu Dhabi and across the region.