The UAE Space Agency and Masdar have teamed up to establish the country’s first Space Economic Zone in Masdar City to create an integrated business ecosystem to propel startups and SMEs.
The strategic agreement between the UAE Space Agency and Masdar was signed at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2022 by Salem Butti Salem Al Qubaisi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, and Mohamed Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar. Under the deal, the Masdar City Free Zone will tailor-made business licenses for space-related companies across the launch sector, satellite communication, logistics, data analysis, science, technology, engineering, and much more.
It is the first of many spacetech hubs the UAE Space Agency will launch to create a competitive private sector, build national capabilities and contribute to the UAE’s economic growth for the next 50 years.
The new zone will create an integrated business ecosystem to further the growth of space industry. It will create a competitive private sector, build national capabilities and contribute to the country’s economic growth, the entities said in a joint statement. Businesses will be offered an integrated package of benefits including incubation, office space, mentorship, networking, investment opportunities, priority access to government contracts and closer cooperation with leading global research centres.
The Space Economy Zone programme aims to create a sustainable and effective framework to facilitate public-private partnerships; build an integrated business environment for local and global companies; support the growth of national space technologies and services; stimulate innovation and adopt advanced technologies; and support the establishment of homegrown startups and accelerate their growth.
Speaking about the new venture, Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, said: “Space is the next frontier of business growth set to propel the national economy for the next 50 years. The Space Economic Zone in Masdar City is an exciting milestone in our strategy to create a competitive private sector, build national capabilities, promote public-private partnerships, boost R&D and encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship. This programme is a game-changer that will take our flourishing space industry to the next level whilst simultaneously building on the UAE’s established position as a global hub for talent, investment and innovation. We are pleased to enter into this strategic agreement with Masdar City and look forward to working closely in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation as we create a globally competitive space industry.”
Salem Al Qubaisi added: “Capacity-building is vital to advance the UAE’s knowledge-driven economy and the Space Economic Zone is a major step forward. It will provide a business-friendly ecosystem with world-class infrastructure and competitive services to support the establishment of new spacetech firms. Our agreement with Masdar City is the first of many and we intend to move forward quickly to set up more startup hubs nationwide and turn early-stage ideas into commercially viable ventures. It underpins our high-impact strategy to enhance the competitiveness of the private sector and stimulates innovation. We are excited about this new stage of growth for the space industry which will power the UAE during our next 50 years of human progress.”
Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, stated: “Masdar City has built a unique ecosystem where innovation and business thrive together. Already home to UAE Space Agency, our partnership to launch the first Space Economic Zone extends the exceptional offerings provided by Masdar City’s Free Zone to a new and exciting frontier. Our aim is not only to drive entrepreneurship and economic development within the fast-growing space sector, but to attract and foster the most talented professionals from across the region and beyond. We look forward to working with the UAE Space Agency to take the Space Economic Zone, and Masdar City, to ever greater heights.”
Masdar City is home to several education, strategic research centres, businesses and serves as the headquarters of the UAE Space Agency and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
The UAE Space Agency’s Space Economic Zones programme has four key pillars: the Space Economy Accelerator Group, Space Labs, Space Government Services, and Work Space.
The Space Economic Zones programme is part of the UAE Space Agency’s new strategy which has six key pillars: increase the competitiveness of the private sector; empower the space services sector and its applications, expand scientific and technical capabilities and attract and retain the best talent; raise the efficiency of technical infrastructure; create a robust and agile regulatory environment; and strengthen international partnerships to facilitate the transfer of knowledge for the benefit of humankind.