The Masdar City Free Zone has introduced a new licensing package for start-ups and businesses focused on artificial intelligence (AI). The package is part of a collaboration between Masdar City and Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), designed to accelerate the region's AI growth.

AI-focused businesses of any size will be able to begin operations in Masdar City with a tailored package that includes licensing and office space starting at AED12,000 per year. Students and faculty of MBZUAI who wish to open an AI company within the Masdar City Free Zone will receive a 50 percent discount for the first two years of operations.

The programme is an outcome of a Memorandum of Understanding signed at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week between the Masdar City-based university, Masdar City, and The Catalyst, Masdar City's venture arm, which invests in clean tech start-ups.

"The Masdar City Free Zone is dedicated to innovation," said Amier Al Awadhi, Acting Director of the Masdar City Free Zone. "This new package will help us harness the potential of AI to transform the tech industry through automation, adaptation, and personalisation. We're working with Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence to grow and scale even more leading-edge businesses and projects that will further position the UAE as a global technology hub."

"In line with MBZUAI's visionary mission to support Abu Dhabi's efforts in becoming a hub for AI start-ups and towards a knowledge-based economy, our commitment is to nurture a talent pipeline rich in advanced AI expertise. We aim to cultivate a vibrant ecosystem where cutting-edge research fuels start-ups with the potential to transform industries and shape a brighter future for society," said Sultan Al Hajji, Vice President of Public Affairs and Alumni Relations at MBZUAI.

In addition to 100 percent foreign ownership, 100 percent income tax exemptions, comprehensive set-up support through the One-Stop Shop, and other perks, the Masdar City Free Zone offers an environment designed to help AI and other tech companies thrive.

The Masdar City Free Zone currently hosts over 1,000 businesses, from start-ups to multinationals, in dozens of sectors, including technology, health care, sustainability, mobility, clean energy, and space. The Zone is offering 50 percent off on registration, licensing, and leasing fees in honour of COP28.