Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, to support the expansion of entrepreneurs innovating in Abu Dhabi.
Following the MOU signing, Etihad will become the official airline partner of Hub71 which will offer more than 100 global startups within its tech community special rates and access to a dedicated booking platform to simplify their travel needs.
Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer of Etihad Aviation Group said: “Etihad is looking forward to collaborating with Hub71, a flagship initiative of Ghadan 21, Abu Dhabi’s accelerator programme. Together, both entities will play a vital role in supporting the Emirate’s development by investing in business, innovation and people. The MOU will support the government’s efforts in diversifying the economy by rewarding businesses who choose to develop innovative technologies in Abu Dhabi.”
Through the partnership, Etihad will tap into Hub71’s dynamic, fast-growing community and global network of partners to engage with its startup founders and entrepreneurs to launch innovation-driven activities. The airline will also explore mentorship opportunities, workshops, and community events.
“Technology and innovation play a key role in supporting the restart of the aviation industry during the Covid pandemic. Etihad looks forward to working with Hub71’s global pool of innovators to actively source, support and enable the rapid trial and production of promising solutions for the aviation industry,” added Al Bulooki.
Hanan Al Yafei, Chief Executive Officer of Hub71, said: “As the world prepares to open up, global connectivity will be vital for our growing community of startup founders to be in a position to export their innovative products and services to new markets.
“Our strategic partnership with Etihad Airways reflects the value we place in unlocking global opportunities from Abu Dhabi, and together we will help grow technology-driven businesses that can sustain the aviation industry with bold new ideas and innovations.”
The MOU was signed by Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer of Etihad Aviation Group, and Hanan Harhara Al Yafei, Chief Executive Officer of Hub71.
Hub71’s tech community expanded from 35 startups to 102 in under two years, representing 191 per cent growth, and raised AED 185 million ($50.4 million) for startups in 2020. Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem now includes startups from Israel, South Korea, Czech Republic and Nigeria, which joined in December 2020.