22 Nov 2023

AI-focused businesses of any size will be able to begin operations in Masdar City with a tailored package that includes licensing and office space starting at 12,000 AED per year. Students and faculty of MBZUAI who wish to open an AI company within the Masdar City Free Zone will receive a 50 percent discount for the first two years of operations. The program is an outcome of a Memorandum of Understanding signed at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week between the Masdar City-based university, Masdar City, and The Catalyst, Masdar City’s venture arm, which invests in clean tech start-ups.

“The Masdar City Free Zone is dedicated to innovation,” said Amier Al Awadhi, the acting director of the Masdar City Free Zone. “This new package will help us harness the potential of AI to transform the tech industry through automation, adaptation, and personalization. We’re working with Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence to grow and scale even more leading-edge businesses and projects that will further position the UAE as a global technology hub.”

The school – the first in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City, the world’s first zero-carbon, zero-waste, car-free city – is purpose-built using cutting-edge materials and technology and incorporating clever architectural elements to substantially lower its carbon footprint, conserve resources and minimise waste.

“In line with MBZUAI's visionary mission to support Abu Dhabi’s efforts in becoming a hub for AI start-ups and towards a knowledge-based economy, our commitment is to nurture a talent pipeline rich in advanced AI expertise. We aim to cultivate a vibrant ecosystem where cutting-edge research fuels start-ups with the potential to transform industries and shape a brighter future for society,” said Sultan Al Hajji, the vice president of public affairs and alumni relations at MBZUAI.

In addition to 100 percent foreign ownership, 100 percent income tax exemptions, comprehensive set-up support through the One-Stop Shop, and other perks, the Masdar City Free Zone offers an environment designed to help AI and other tech companies thrive.

“Masdar City was created to foster tech and AI innovation,” said Steve Severance, Masdar City’s director of growth. “Companies can benefit from state-of-the-art, highly sustainable office, research, and educational facilities. They also have access to a thriving tech ecosystem and investors as well as top-tier talent. We’re already seeing AI support some ground-breaking work in Masdar City, and we’re excited to see the solutions our new companies will create.”

The Masdar City Free Zone currently hosts over 1,000 businesses, from start-ups to multinationals, in dozens of sectors, including technology, health care, sustainability, mobility, clean energy, and space. Key tenants include Siemens Energy, Masdar, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Technological Innovation Institute, the UAE Space Agency, Insilico Medicine, and G42.

The Masdar City Free Zone is offering 50 percent off on registration, licensing, and leasing fees in honor of COP28. For more information on this and other business opportunities, visit the new

Matthew Burfield, Senior Vice President – Education at GEMS Education and Executive Principal/CEO of GEMS Founders School – Dubai, said: “As the GEMS Founders family of schools evolves and expands, it remains a beacon of innovation, collaboration, and excellence. We are proud to bring the Founders brand to Abu Dhabi in such a sustainable form, in line with the green vision of both the UAE and Masdar City.

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