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DAFZA is Premium Sponsor of first-ever EXPO 2015 Innovation Challenge

Freezone’s case study on food industry innovation part of competition on advanced solutions to global food challenges

As part of its full support for Dubai’s ‘smart’ transformation, the Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) will participate in the upcoming EXPO 2015 Innovation Challenge taking place from October 9 to 11, 2015 as part of EXPO Milan 2015.

DAFZA will be the Premium Sponsor of the inaugural edition of the Innovation Challenge which will gather talented and innovative developers, designers and entrepreneurs from around the world to create purpose-driven technologies for solving various global challenges.

Participants in the competition will work on a real-life case study related to innovation within the food industry value chain especially prepared by DAFZA for the event. They will also join skill sessions related to coding, design thinking, pitching and inspirational sessions delivered by industry experts and will develop, then pitch technology-driven solutions related to EXPO Milan’s theme of ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’.

High-impact and scalable solutions must be built in less than 72 hours. The winning team will be awarded up to EUR 20,000 and then undergo incubation and mentorship provided by top European incubation hubs for six months. Participation in the competition is free.

The high-profile role of DAFZA in EXPO Milan 2015 forms part of its efforts to support the Dubai Vision 2021 development plan which includes the emirate’s ‘smart’ transformation among its key priorities. In 2014, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, launched the National Innovation Strategy to set clear directions for adopting innovation as a tool for local and national development. The strategy aims to place the UAE among the world’s most innovative nations by 2021.

As the Premium Sponsor of the EXPO 2015 Innovation Challenge, DAFZA will also have the opportunity to create a link between this year’s World EXPO and the 2020 edition which Dubai will host. DAFZA will discuss its crucial role in attracting foreign investments and energizing Dubai’s economy as well as Dubai’s numerous business and investment advantages such as a strategic geographic location, business-friendly regulations, entrepreneurship incubation, and support for start-ups.

Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director General, DAFZA said “Our key participation at the EXPO 2015 Innovation Challenge will enable us to directly support global efforts towards innovation, particularly those that positively impact the global food supply chain in keeping with the expo’s theme of ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.’ We will also be able to strategically position our organization within the international innovation ecosystem and actively participate in our region’s efforts to find the best solutions to our food security issues.”

“Moreover, EXPO Milan 2015 overall is an ideal platform for us to share DAFZA’s contributions to Dubai’s growth, the benefits we offer to investors and entrepreneurs, and Dubai’s status as a technology-empowered global commercial hub. Finally, this year’s World EXPO will provide us with insights and ideas on how to better prepare for Expo 2020 which Dubai will host,” he added.

DAFZA is recognized as one of the most advanced free zones in the world. With Innovation as one of its main six core Corporate Values, DAFZA constantly encourages its team to be creative and deliver innovative solutions.

The EXPO 2015 Innovation Challenge is powered by “The Sandbox, The D. Company”, an international youth start-up working with open innovation. The Sandbox brings together talented members from our diverse community and organizations from the public and the private sectors to tackle challenges, collaborate on ideas, learn and share new tools and co-create tangible solutions.