Emirates NBD and partners announce second edition of ‘National Digital Talent Incubator’ program

Program aims to continue to boost UAE talent and promote the expansion of entrepreneurship within the FinTech and digital innovation space

Following the success of the first edition of its bespoke National Digital Talent Incubator (NDTI) program, has announced the second cohort of the program, supported by its strategic partner DIFC Innovation Hub, and a network of world-class industry partners including Visa, Microsoft and Dell Technologies. The program was launched with the objective of nurturing the future generation of UAE global founders and creating opportunities for them to prosper in the UAE, and beyond.

Facilitated by DIFC Innovation Hub, the second cohort of the program will run for six weeks and will be hosted at DIFC’s newly opened Innovation One building. The upcoming cohort will consist of four FinTech start-ups led by UAE national founders or co-founders. Participants will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the comprehensive program and acquire valuable insights focused on venture-building and innovation, provided by experts from Emirates NBD and its partners.

They will engage directly with senior leaders from Emirates NBD and experience specialised immersion days with Visa, Microsoft, and Dell Technologies. Additionally, participants will benefit from mentorship and coaching, as well as advantages including extensive networking opportunities. This will connect start-ups with a vibrant community of innovators, established corporations, and potential investors.

The UAE FinTech market is expected to reach USD 3.16bn in 2024 and grow at a CAGR of 12.56 per cent to reach USD 5.71bn by 2029, according to market intelligence firm Mordor Intelligence. Capitalising on this potential, the program endeavours to establish the UAE as a FinTech hub and propel progress in technology and innovation, both essential for shaping the future of banking and finance.

Eman Abdulrazzaq, Group Chief Operating Officer at Emirates NBD said: “At Emirates NBD, innovation forms the cornerstone of all our initiatives. We are delighted by the remarkable outcomes achieved in the first cohort of our National Digital Talent Incubator program and eagerly anticipate the positive results from the upcoming second edition. As a leading national bank, we are committed to fostering innovation through partnerships with the broader ecosystem, including FinTechs, start-ups, academic institutions, and aspiring innovative talent, both regionally and globally.”

She added, “We take great pride in the program’s innovative achievements in fostering entrepreneurial talent among UAE Nationals in the FinTech sector, and its contribution to UAE’s aspirations to grow the national digital economy.”

Mohammad Alblooshi, Chief Executive Officer at DIFC Innovation Hub said: “DIFC Innovation Hub is committed to nurturing local talent and fostering their development within Dubai’s thriving FinTech ecosystem. By providing access to mentorship, funding and market opportunities, we hope to empower aspiring entrepreneurs to realise their full potential and contribute to the growth and innovation of the financial services industry in the region.”

As a highlight of the first cohort of the program launched in October 2023, the Bank organised a unique two-day trek to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Emirati start-up founders. This immersive experience was designed to inspire and provide additional value to the founders by exposing them to alternative digital ecosystems for start-ups. Further to this, the program has already initiated discussions with Emirates NBD teams, with three proof of values (POVs) currently under discussion in the UAE and KSA.

Applications for the second cohort of the National Digital Talent Incubator program are now open and interested participants can learn more and apply for the program here.