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How is Dubai Planning to Use the Expo Site?

As the biggest grand event is coming to an end there is curiosity in the mind of everyone about the future of the Expo 2020 site and how Dubai will use it post March 31, 2022. Being a frontrunner in business, the Dubai government has well-thought plans to use every component of the Expo site for the greater good of Dubai and the UAE. 

The UAE government is in the process of converting the Expo site into a city for the next generation of entrepreneurs.  It is working on developing a strategic innovation policy to offer a wide gamut of Free Zone incentives and attract the best talent from across the globe to start a business. Commenting on the future of Expo site, Tala Al Ansari, Director, and Head – Innovation ecosystem & Scale2Dubai, Expo 2020 said – it offers entrepreneurs and start-ups a platform for ease of set up and scale. Its pro-business regulatory environment and global logistics power mean entrepreneurs can go from licensing to launch, at pace with a strong network of incubators and accelerators ready to support.”

Let’s find out how Dubai is planning to use each component of the Expo site post-March 31, 2022:

1. ‘Temporary Pavilions’ to be transformed into Word-class Infrastructure

There are two types of pavilions at Expo 2020 – Temporary pavilions and Legacy pavilions. A large number of countries like the US, Russia, and China have temporary pavilions at Expo 2020. Temporary pavilions are the pavilions created by those nations who have leased them on an ad-hoc basis. Post-completion of Expo on March 31, 2022, the government will tear them down and use the space to develop – District 2020 – an area studded with world-class & unconventional offices, commercial complexes, and residential properties. 

2. The Legacy of the ‘Legacy Pavilions’ Will Last for Long

The lifetime of the Legacy pavilions will be extended post-completion of the Expo. According to Anoosha Al Marzouqi, Director at the Opportunity Pavilion – “Nearly 80% of what the Expo has built will remain in legacy,”. The ownership of Legacy pavilions will either be in the hands of the nations who have established them or with the Expo 2020 organizers. Legacy pavilions will always have a place on the Expo site even as a new satellite township begins taking shape. Some of the popular Legacy pavilions at Expo 2020 include – The Mobility, Sustainability, and Opportunity pavilion. Countries which have legacy pavilions include – the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and India.

3. Legacy Structures

Legacy structures are buildings different from pavilions and were constructed to fulfill the utility and commercial requirements of the Expo. The government has plans to make them serve as a way for the new offices and homes. Some of the popular legacy structures which will stay permanently include – Saudi Arabia’s pavilion and Al Wasl Dome. To meet the entertainment requirements, AR Rahman’s brand-new musical project in Dubai, the Firdaus Studio will continue to remain the legacy structure. Expo’s Rove Hotel will cater to the hospitality needs of the area post-completion of Expo 2020.  One of the biggest tourist attractions of the Expo 2020 – ‘Gardens in the Sky’ will also continue to remain as a legacy structure.

4. Construction of ‘District 2020’ to Boost Employment

District 2020 is referred to as ‘the future of Expo 2020 site’. This ‘one-of-its-kind’ area will be developed to support the future of working and living and facilitate connection and collaboration. District 2020’s master plan reveals the plans to build a vibrant urban environment with 100s of residential areas, co-working hubs, and green spaces to accommodate over 145,000 people at full capacity.

District 2020 will be the home to Fortune 500s, SMEs, start-ups, entrepreneurs, and innovators. It will play a decisive role in supporting businesses of all kinds. Around 80 % of the Expo-built structures at the 4.38 sq km site will be repurposed to transform it into a 15-minute futuristic, human-centric city where people can work, live and explore. While District 2020 is the name of the Expo site, it will be transformed into a residential and commercial community called the 15-minute city’.

According to Tala Al Ansari we have received over 3200 applications for startups from 129 countries around the world. 628 (companies) have been shortlisted, and the first cohort of 85 scaleups from 27 countries around the world will join us at District 2020,”  She further said – ‘These 85 startups will receive a soft landing at District 2020 and will become part of our innovation ecosystem,” 

District 2020 will be a boon in supporting Dubai’s current and future growth ambitions and has been identified as the fifth urban center in the Dubai 2040 Urban Masterplan. As of now, District 2020 has already attracted some of the world’s leading industrial, tech and logistics giants, including Siemens, Siemens Energy, Terminus Technologies, and DP World.

5. ‘Scale2Dubai’ Initiative to Accelerate the Growth of District 2020

Scale2Dubai initiative is launched to provide an incredible opportunity to start-ups & small businesses from across the globe to expand within the District 2020’s ecosystem. It is a beguiling opportunity for the companies to scale their business in Dubai by capitalizing on the partnerships formed during the six-month Expo 2020 Dubai. 

Scale2Dubai is launched to carry forward the Expo 2020 vision of gathering global minds and promoting diversity, innovation, and knowledge-sharing within District 2020. This programme is focused on attracting startups or businesses in the early stages of growth from key industries such as: Travel & tourism, transport & logistics, education, and construction.

Focus on Technological Development

Scale2Dubai programme will lay special emphasis on the technological development of Dubai and target businesses focused on disruptive technologies like – the Internet of Things (IoT), Big data, 3D printing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Blockchain, and any other advanced technologies to ensure Dubai thrive in the area of technology & innovation. Scale2Dubai initiative will focus on key sectors like – Smart Cities, Smart logistics, Smart mobility, and Industry 4.0.

‘Scale2Dubai’: Key highlights

  1. Two years Free Workspace
  2. Two years visa
  3. Business Set-up
  4. Community Lifestyle
  5. Two years of subsidized urban living
  6. Access to special rates for service providers
  7. Equity free programme
  8. Opportunity to attend Social & Networking events
  9. Opportunity for small businesses to connect with big corporations operating in District 2020 who can assist them in their growth and lead their business