In May 2020, global innovation platform Plug and Play and the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulatory body of the healthcare sector at the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, formed a partnership to establish a healthcare startup accelerator (“Health Plug and Play MENA”) at the heart of Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, Hub71, to support their growth into the region, and improve the quality of healthcare through the implementation of technology solutions.
With the second cohort of the Abu Dhabi Healthtech Accelerator Program set to kick off in April 2021, Plug and Play has announced a suite of new partnerships to create greater focus and lasting impact to digital transformation and real business value for exceptional technology startups meeting real market needs.
Cohort 2: “New Partnerships”
As part of Plug and Play’s renewed commitment to maintain and scale it’s GCC HQ in Abu Dhabi for another three years in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), they are eager to set a new standard for tech ecosystem development through industry-focused partnerships, with a wider Emirate-level alignment.
At the grassroots level, a newly formed Abu Dhabi Health Innovation Board constituted by major players in the healthcare sector such as DoH, National Health Insurance Company – Daman, Etisalat, UEMedical and Philips, are defining the most pressing tech focus areas for 2021 to enable Plug and Play to find and accelerate tech startups with the most likelihood to scale and make real impact on the quality and access to healthcare in the MENA region. Once the Board is finalized by early 2021, these industry innovators will jointly explore new and better ways to bring digital health transformation and startup collaborations to life through roundtable discussions and dedicated working groups that will aim to tackle the challenges standing in the way of innovation and address them.
At the Emirate-level, Plug and Play will leverage its new Strategic Partnership with ADIO to define and align synergies across sectors such as healthcare, and work alongside key industry leaders to further develop Abu Dhabi as a global and regional hub for innovation. As part of its mandate to support private sector investment in Abu Dhabi, ADIO supports innovative companies across high-growth sectors, including those in the healthcare and biopharma sector.
Cohort 1: “Building on a strong foundation”
Last year, the first cohort of accelerated startups were supported to test and deploy cutting-edge technology solutions to support the community and address the COVID-19 challenges from telemedicine to e-triage, remote monitoring, and innovative diagnostics solutions. The accelerator provided these selected innovators a soft-landing and accessible platform to explore collaborations with local hospitals, health insurers, and industry players to help them develop and scale their solutions.
The results of this accelerator program branded as the “Alliance to Fight COVID-19” were significant as startups had the opportunity to have over 45 meetings with key stakeholders that led to the execution of over 20 pilot projects with corporations and government entities. Five of these pilots led to commercialization, such as the one between Austria-based digital health startup, Medicus AI, and ETIHAD Airways to provide a COVID-19 assessment tool that was used by over 22,000 passengers.
This year's program will continue to provide support to key players across the healthcare value chain to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.
DOH - Impact of COVID-19 & vision for 2021 & beyond
H.E Dr. Jamal Mohammed Al Kaabi, Undersecretary of the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, commented: “The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unparalleled demands on the global healthcare system. However, the Abu Dhabi healthcare system has vividly demonstrated its resilience and ability to adapt to these unprecedented challenges bring innovations to life, and accelerate their availability in the local market in record time. This was evident through the “Alliance to Fight COVID-19”, which [has] risen to the challenge and brought together some of the best start-ups from across the globe to collaborate in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic across the region. As the challenge remains, further strengthening the capabilities of the innovation system in the sector is an essential element in facing the pandemic and preparing for a better future.”
His Excellency added: “Start-ups have a vital role to play in making a positive impact in Abu Dhabi by finding creative solutions to complex issues. We look forward to working together with Plug and Play and key players in the sector in this years’ program to identify and accelerate innovations and take the healthcare sector to new heights.”
If you are interested to discover cutting-edge technology solutions in the healthcare industry and network with like-minded organizations, please reach out to Plug and Play’s Regional HealthTech Program Manager, Louiza Chitour at email@example.com.