Dubai AI Retreat 2024: Launch of Joint Business Incubator Programme by DFF and Meta

A futuristic business incubator setting in Dubai with AI elements. The background features the iconic skyline of Dubai with the Burj Khalifa and other

Recently organized by the Dubai Center for Artificial Intelligence (DCAI) in collaboration with the National Program for Artificial Intelligence, the AI Retreat 2024 marked the unveiling of a joint business incubator programme by the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) and Meta. This new initiative aims to harness Large Language Models (LLMs) to drive product and service innovation across various industries, encouraging the development of impactful AI use-cases using Meta’s open-source AI stack to address real-world problems, unlock economic value, and promote economic growth.

The programme, which features Meta’s AI model “LLAMA 3,” received an enthusiastic response from participants, including industry leaders, experts, and global companies attending the AI Retreat in Dubai. It particularly appealed to creative thinkers, technology entrepreneurs, and founders of AI-focused startups and established companies.

Aligned with the goals of the Dubai Universal Blueprint for Artificial Intelligence (DUB.AI), the programme supports Dubai’s economic agenda (D33) by aiming to contribute AED 100 billion through digital transformation and increasing economic productivity by 50% through innovation and digital solutions. It seeks to accelerate these goals by positioning Dubai as a nurturing environment for AI companies and global talents, a city already home to eight global tech unicorns.

The business incubator programme will promote collaboration, knowledge exchange, and expertise in AI product development. It aims to enhance innovation, improve the competitiveness of entrepreneurial projects, and develop new opportunities and talents. Additionally, it will support creative initiatives that expand the digital economy, projected to reach $780 billion by 2030.

Abdulaziz AlJaziri, Deputy CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, highlighted the significance of global partnerships in fostering an AI entrepreneurship ecosystem, stating, “Through such programmes, we aim to create new opportunities and provide fertile soil for startups’ rapid growth. This will support the overall innovation system and bring innovative AI solutions and applications to life for the betterment of humanity. It also establishes Dubai’s position as a global testbed and a vibrant environment for AI-based innovation and service development across vital future sectors.”

Joelle Awwad, Head of Policy Programs, Africa Middle East, and Turkiye at Meta, commented, “At Meta, we believe that the future of AI development lies in openness and collaboration. Our commitment to working closely with regional partners like Dubai Future Foundation reflects our dedication to building awareness, enhancing capacities, and fostering practical innovation within the ecosystem. Together, we can unlock the true value of AI for both businesses and society.”

Strategic Collaboration

The DFF plays a pivotal role as a strategic partner in the business incubator programme. It offers sector-specific consultancy, leverages existing networks and partnerships between the public and private sectors to empower startups, provides open spaces for talent exploration, potential development, and capacity building, and highlights promising projects. This initiative is part of Meta’s regional effort to leverage its open-source AI suite to foster innovative solutions and activate economic opportunities that contribute to inclusive economic growth in Dubai and the region.

A Comprehensive Programme

The programme focuses on five key sectors: energy, transportation, aviation, tourism, and retail. It includes four main stages: defining corporate design challenges that can be addressed using LLMs, engaging relevant AI startups, scale-ups, and established companies, hosting these startups in a six-week journey at DFF focused on design thinking and rapid prototyping, and announcing AI-based innovative solutions, exploring product development, and discussing investment opportunities.

A Unique Model

The joint business incubator programme by Meta and DFF is based on the unique open-source “LLAMA 3” model, facilitating the development of beneficial AI applications across various sectors. The programme’s flexible approach in AI application development brings together different stakeholders, including innovators, creative thinkers, technology entrepreneurs, and founders of emerging and global tech companies. The objective is to create exceptional solutions applicable on a global scale to enhance quality of life and expand digital economy opportunities.

AI Retreat

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation, the AI Retreat gathered over 2,500 decision-makers, experts, and industry leaders from government and private sectors, as well as global tech giants. The retreat addressed significant transformations in AI, including policies, legislation, governance, talent ecosystem, digital infrastructure, and developing data centre capabilities for AI uses.

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