The UAE Ministry of Economy in partnership with the Minister of State for Government Development and the future has commenced application for the top 100 future enterprises including blockchain startups.

The initiative which was launched in December 2022 aims to accelerate the growth of promising UAE ‘Future Economy’ SMEs, encourage investment in ‘Future Economy’ companies in the UAE, strengthen UAE’s position as the start-up and scale-up nation and support the continued sustainable growth of the ‘Future Economy’ ecosystem.

100 startups based out of the UAE and utilizing technologies such as Blockchain, AI, Web3, robotics, IoT, 3D printing, working in sectors such as renewable energy, agritech, space, advance manufacturing, biotech, creative industries, sustainability, healthtech and cybersecurity will be able to participate in the competitionad be awarded Future 100 Label with various perks and benefits.

The chosen startups will have fast Access to Investors, Regulators And Business Community, support – Funding, Legal, Commercial, and Capacity Building

Applicants for the Future 100 will be evaluated on the basis of their creative capacity, market potential, and environmental, social and corporate governance impact.

Startups andSMEs  that have offices or operations in the UAE that are eligible to apply can submit an online application on the Future 100 website.

Saudi Arabian unified national platform for government services recently carried out an interesting survey on twitter. It posted a general consultation request by the Ministry of telecom, Space and IT with regards to which emerging technology would citizens of Saudi Arabia like to see implemented in KSA.

People were asked to choose between IoT (internet of things), Blockchain, 3D printing and VR/AR/XR. 7895 votes were casted with 49 percent of them choosing IoT, with 10 percent choosing blockchain, 16 percent choosing 3D printing and 24 percent choosing VR/AR/XR.

This is interesting and shows that Internet of things and AR are the most popular emerging technologies among those who voted. In addition it seems that the Saudi government is interested in these four technologies.

This comes at a time when the Saudi Central Bank is moving forward to CBDCs, digital assets, and more. In addition recently many blockchain use cases have been launched in KSA.

But more eye opening is the recent news about UAE government and IOT Blockchain platform IoTa. Could this mean IOT and Blockchain will be the next use cases both in UAE and KSA?

The recent YouGov Survey in the UAE on the opinions of UAE residents about 16 emerging technologies had some very interesting findings. The survey highlighted the responses of those surveyed on their opinions about the future and impact of these technologies on society. Interestingly awareness about a technology did not necessarily correlate with acceptance or feeling this technology was important or should be invested in.

So while crypto took top spot in terms of awareness, it didn’t continue to take the lead when it came to which technologies would become widespread or which technologies are good or which technologies should governments invest in.

Cryptocurrency as a term topped the list of technologies that UAE residents have heard about. 50 percent of the 1005 residents surveyed have heard a lot about crypto, 36 percent have heard about it a little and only 14 percent have not heard about it at all. This of course is not surprising given all the recent endeavors the UAE government has taken when it comes towards crypto, virtual assets and blockchain. The most recent of which is the inauguration of VARA (Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority) out of Dubai World trade center.

Following cryptocurrency came virtual reality, self-driving cars, 3D Printing, and AI ( Artificial Intelligence),  between 43-47 percent having heard a lot about them.

Interestingly Blockchain came up just after AI with a total of 70 percent having heard of it a lot and a little.

The terms metaverse and even NFTs, came in after with only 29 percent and 27 percent having heard about them a lot. This shows that while UAE was positioned as a leader in terms of NFT purchases in 2021, it seems only a small portion of the population were aware and experimenting with NFTs.

The least technology that UAE respondents are aware of is Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO) with only 15 percent of respondents hearing a lot about them.

When residents were asked which technologies they believe would eventually become widespread, the list changed. Cryptocurrency dropped to 4th place. The top technology respondents felt would become widespread was 3D Printing, Self Driving cars and Artificial Intelligence. Blockchain and metaverse came in 6th and 7th place respectively. While NFTs and DAOs came in 9th and 10th place.

In terms of which technologies would be good for society once again the list changed. 83 percent noted that 3D printing would bring the most good to society, followed by 66 percent who thought AI would be good. Once again cryptocurrency at 5th place and blockchain at 7th, and metaverse and NFTs came in 11th and 12th place. This could illustrate the need for more education and information on the metaverse and NFTs. Most discussion on NFTs has been about art, videos, while not much has been discussed on NFTs in real estate, healthcare, and financial sector.

Finally when asked where should government invest in, once again 3D Printing took first place with over 52 percent believing it was very important, followed by AI at 52% , self-driving cars, at 46%, virtual reality at 40%, artificial organs and cryptocurrency both at 38% followed closely by Blockchain at 37%