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Emirates NBD, Microsoft Partner for Metaverse Accelerator

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The joint programme aims to support startups amid the city’s plans for building the Metaverse

Emirates NBD, one of the largest lenders in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region, announced on Wednesday it had opened an accelerator programme for startups seeking to promote customer experiences in the Metaverse.

The ten-week-long programme will help startups create value, gain experience, and expand the region’s metaverse tech stacks, with a demo set to take place at GITEX for shortlisted entrants.

The leading bank is seeking startups and emerging technologists to develop the financial hotspots’ metaverse ambitions with three ambitions:

  • building technologies to facilitate a move to 3D, immersive technologies
  • creating immersive worlds to improve customer experiences
  • monetising digital assets and services with decentralised finance (DeFi) infrastructure

Partnering with the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) Fintech Hive and US tech giant Microsoft, the programme aims to back Dubai’s Metaverse Strategy, which includes reaching the top ten metaverse hubs worldwide and support for roughly 40,000 virtual and tech jobs by 2030.

The Strategy hopes to attract 4 billion USD to Dubai’s economy in five years’ time, using Web3 to increase its digital footprint while also building better experiences for its clients.

Comments on FinTech Push

Raja Al Mazrouei, Executive Vice President of DIFC FinTech Hive, said in a statement his company was “pleased” to work with Emirates NBD to develop the accelerator, which was “growing rapidly and witnessing increasing interest from around the world.”

He continued, stating,

“This step reaffirms our commitment to support Dubai’s ambition to be among the top ten metaverse economies in the world. At DIFC FinTech Hive, we continue to adopt latest technologies to keep pace with the rising momentum in the global digital space”

Naim Yazbeck, General Manager at Microsoft UAE, echoed Mazrouei’s statements, adding the Metaverse offered an “exciting opportunity to create transformative solutions” to revolutionise consumer journeys and experiences.

Concluding, he said,

“Innovative tech start-ups play a crucial role in this reimagining, bringing creative, unique viewpoints to the design of an entirely new world. We recognize the impact that startups can deliver when they are armed with next-generation technologies that bring their ideas to life, and we look forward to working with these innovators and helping them to realize this potential over the course of the programme”

Dubai Invests in the Metaverse for Future Success

The news comes as Dubai begins fuelling its Metaverse Strategy, which will foster a novel ecosystem for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality (VR/AR/MR) systems, blockchain, 5G, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and many other emerging technologies.

Other areas of interest include national tourism, healthcare, education, the legal system, and remote work, among others, as well as building global standards for creating interoperability for the Metaverse.

Microsoft has been a longstanding partner of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), namely after it opened sales of its HoloLens 2 MR headsets along with its Azure cloud computing platform to clients and enterprises in July this year.

Dubai’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) also launched a metaverse platform at an exhibition to liaise with citizens in a bid to expand healthcare access to remotely housed individuals.

Visitors can attend the virtual space to speak with real doctors, learn information, pay medical fees, upload documents, and perform other remote services.


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