TBY talks to Ammar Al Malik, Director of Dubai Internet City (DIC), on DIC's community and how it caters to both multinational companies as well as SMEs and start-ups.

Ammar Al Malik
Ammar Al Malik is the Director of Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource City, a role to which he was appointed in 2016 following his time as Business Development Director at the same organizations. His leadership and in-depth knowledge of the ICT sector has enabled companies at Dubai Internet City to continue to break new ground in developing technologies that support Dubai’s vision of transforming itself into one of the world’s smartest and innovative cities. He holds an MBA from Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan.

Can you give us a short introduction to the history and background of DIC? How many companies and workers are currently based here?

HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum founded DIC in 1999, and since then, we have been committed to developing specialized, smart, and integrated cities. Our business ecosystem is designed to support the growth of ICT start-ups, SMEs, and large businesses, many of which have chosen DIC as the location for their regional headquarters. As a result, today the DIC is a leading tech business community where the ideas of tomorrow are born. Fostering a diverse ecosystem, conducive to ideation and exchange of knowledge and best practice, DIC facilitates thought leadership through industry events and white papers that contribute to the development of sector expertise and the growth of the regional ICT industry. DIC hosts various ICT companies, including software, digital and cloud technology, multimedia, networking telecommunications, and IT services. Over 1,600 companies, from entrepreneurs and start-ups to multinationals, call DIC home. Over 24,000 professionals from all over the world benefit from the wider DIC ecosystem, which is a catalyst for innovation and business growth by giving professionals a platform to share and exchange knowledge within a vibrant and diverse community.

Multinational companies invest heavily to become part of the DIC hub. What makes DIC so attractive and unique for telecoms companies all over the world?

DIC is one of the key driving forces behind transforming Dubai's Strategy for Innovation into reality, and our specialized, enabling ecosystem plays a critical role in this process. Some of the leading companies such as SAP, Oracle, Dell, Microsoft, IBM, Samsung, Accenture, Facebook, Snapchat, Careem,, and Huawei have chosen to be part of the larger DIC technology and business ecosystem. DIC provides its partners with support and services that allow for the smooth set up and functioning of their businesses as well as a platform for our diverse professionals to connect and exchange ideas.

What role does DIC play in empowering SMEs and fostering innovative start-ups?

In line with the Dubai Strategy for Innovation, which seeks to encourage and promote innovation and creativity, DIC is committed to inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. Over 60% of our partners are SMEs, which benefit enormously from our formal and informal networking and knowledge exchanges, including complementary seminars and workshops around a number of SME-focused topics. Many of these sessions are cohosted by IBM, Facebook, Microsoft, SAP, and other partners, creating an environment for SMEs to learn directly from market leaders. Many multinational companies are establishing their own centers for innovation, including SAP and its Cloud Data Center as well as Accenture's 8th Digital Acceleration Center to showcase next-generation software and hardware technologies that are blurring the lines between the digital and physical worlds. These are redefining the user experience, and include advanced analytics, wearable technology, network systems, robotics and the Internet of Things. With regard to organizational support, businesses of all sizes can access a rich ecosystem of knowledgeable workers, nimble service providers, and expertise from all over the world through DIC's Business Center. Additional benefits include a simplified incorporation process facilitated by axs, the smart gateway for government and corporate services provided by TECOM Group to its business communities. A first platform of its kind, axs aims to simplify the administration of essential business services in a seamless and timely manner, while providing partners with an unrivaled user experience when compared to nonintegrated approaches. We have also created in5, which is the enabling platform for entrepreneurs and start-ups to be incubated and nurtured to their next phase of growth. in5 offers entrepreneurs and start-ups five key benefits: a robust start-up business framework, training and mentorship, opportunities to network, access to investors, and cutting-edge creative spaces that include offices, smart labs, and studios.