Masdar News

First Startup Accelerator in Middle East Focused on Sustainability and Clean Tech Launched by Masdar

21 Nov 2015

22 November, 2015 – Abu Dhabi: Today, as part of Masdar’s Innovation Week activities, Masdar, BP and Masdar Institute launched The Catalyst, the region’s first technology startup accelerator focused on sustainability and clean tech. The Catalyst, which is supported by USD 5 million in funding from 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, The Catalyst promotes innovation, entrepreneurship and the development of a knowledge-based economy in Masdar City and Abu Dhabi, in line with the UAE’s National Innovation Strategy.

Highlighting the unique positioning of The Catalyst, 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. We are pleased to partner with BP and Masdar Institute to catalyse innovation in line with the call to action by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the UAE leadership.”

The Catalyst will be differentiated from the other start-up accelerators in the region by its unique focus on sustainable technologies and through its highly targeted recruitment process. The 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.

“Masdar Institute and its Institute Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (iInnovation) work to enable technology transfer to startups and commercialization of the technologies developed through our research projects. We look forward to lending our expertise and sharing our innovation infrastructure with The Catalyst as it joins us in our shared mission of supporting the development of the UAE’s innovation ecosystem,” said Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost of Masdar Institute.

Mr. Abdulkarim Almazmi, President and General Manager for BP UAE 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.”

Interested entrepreneurs may apply to The Catalyst through its online application portal. Over the next few months, a series of hackathons and innovation boot camps will be held to determine the first cohort of participants in the programme. Accepted applicants will partake in a programme which includes education and training, investment pitch preparation, hands-on mentorship and a Demo Day. After the accelerator programme, successful applicants will enjoy post-programme support.

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.

The Catalyst is now accepting applications for Spring 2016 through its online application portal.

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Name: Quint Simon

Masdar Communications


Phone: +971 55 1266247

About Masdar

Masdar is Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company advancing the development, commercialisation and deployment of clean energy technologies and solutions. The company serves as a link between today’s fossil fuel economy and the energy economy of the future. Backed by the Mubadala Development Company PJSC, the strategic investment company of the government of Abu Dhabi, Masdar is dedicated to the Emirate’s long-term vision for the future of energy.

About BP

BP is a global energy company and has been working in the Middle East for over 100 years. BP played a significant role in the Abu Dhabi oil industry since the 1930s and was at the forefront of the discovery of oil in the Emirate in 1958. Today its interests include shareholdings in the Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (BP share 14.67%), the Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company (10%) and the Natural Gas Shipping Company (10%). BP brings global scale and expertise in giant oil fields to help maximize value for Abu Dhabi. BP also supports several community projects in Abu Dhabi. These include a partnership with the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency on the Sustainable Schools Initiative; the BP Young Adventurers training initiative that has hosted over 6000 children over the last decade; investment in future talent through support for Abu Dhabi’s Petroleum Institute; and support for the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development.

About Masdar Institute

The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (Masdar Institute) was established by the government of Abu Dhabi as a not-for-profit, private graduate university to develop indigenous R&D capacity in Abu Dhabi addressing issues of importance to the region.

In collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute has developed an academic and research platform that articulates its mission and vision according to critical energy and sustainability challenges.

An important characteristic of Masdar Institute is its focus on complex real-world problems that require a multidisciplinary approach for the development of solutions from an integrated technology, systems and policy perspective. This multi-interdisciplinary and integrated approach is supported by the structure of its academic programs and by the emphasis placed on engaging external partners from industry, government, and other academic institutions in collaborative activities.

Serving as a key pillar of innovation and human capital, Masdar Institute remains fundamental to Masdar’s core objectives of developing Abu Dhabi’s knowledge economy and finding solutions to humanity’s toughest challenges such as climate change.

Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow. With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.

Masdar Institute offers degrees in:

●MSc Engineering Systems and Management

●MSc Computing and Information Science

●MSc Materials Science and Engineering

●MSc Mechanical Engineering

●MSc Water and Environmental Engineering

●MSc Microsystems Engineering

●MSc Electrical Power Engineering

●MSc Chemical Engineering

●MSc Sustainable Critical Infrastructure

●PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering

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