Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Web 3 Innovations FZE (trading as AYA), the Dubai entity of Enjinstarter, a leading Web3 launchpad and advisory company, today announced that it has been granted a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) licence from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) to provide Virtual Asset Management and Investment Services. The licence remains non-operational until the company fully satisfies all remaining conditions and select localisation requirements defined by VARA, following which it will be able to commence operations, subject to regulatory reverification and approval.
“This is a great day for AYA and a huge milestone for us. The VASP licence process demonstrates our compliance with the VARA process as we leverage Web3 to help bridge the climate financing gap,” said Prakash Somosundram, co-founder and CEO of Enjinstarter and AYA Foundation. “We are thankful to VARA for taking a collaborative approach towards understanding our business and working closely with us throughout the application process. We are now poised to leverage the licence approval and accelerate operational set-up to deliver impact as soon as we conclude the outstanding regulatory pre-requisites.”
Enjinstarter will soon commence operationalising its climate-focused launchpad, AYA, which aims to support the next generation of sustainability innovation. Acting as a green financing bridge, AYA will connect retail investors, high-net-worth individuals, and institutional investors with startups working in areas such as reforestation, nature credits, mangrove conservation, and sustainable agriculture. It will also provide startups with access to innovative technologies and incubation services. AYA’s pipeline already includes UCO Network, a platform to optimise the collection, processing, and trading of used cooking oil while rewarding responsible actions, and other nature-based projects looking to leverage blockchain and Web3 for climate action.
As one of its first initiatives, AYA is collaborating with UAE-based The Storey Group on a campaign to plant mangroves in Dubai. Everyone who joins the AYA community will have a mangrove tree planted in their name and will receive a digital certificate with the exact coordinates of the tree.
“AYA’s main contribution to the fight against climate change is as a platform to scale the pace of climate innovation and action,” said Vasseh Ahmed, managing director of Enjinstarter MENA. “We are looking to work with founders and projects that have a unique proposition within our key focus areas by helping them build their product narrative, raise capital, and launch their projects. We already have projects in the pipeline and look forward to working with them.”
This announcement comes as Enjinstarter is playing a key role at COP28 in Dubai. Somosundram, at the invitation of the government of Palau, was present in the blue zone for the first round of climate negotiations. He gave a keynote speech at the CC Forum alongside member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, HRH Sheikh Tahnoon bin Saeed bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, the president of Palau, Surangel Whipps, and the president of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu. Ahmed participated in two panel discussions: one on UAE-based sustainable startups moderated by SustainUAE and one on financing SMEs and fintech as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week’s special edition at COP28.
Somosundram also gave a keynote speech at The Convergence, a COP28 event experience hosted in the Slovenia pavilion in the Green Zone. The event featured the premiere of a short film entitled “The Ripple” by local filmmaker Jamshad Ali. Ali received a grant from AYA, myco, and the Dubai Film Society to produce the film on sustainability and impact. Enjinstarter is also collaborating with The Convergence and the Palau government on a documentary about the island nation’s fight against climate change.
AYA will have a dedicated booth in the Green Zone from December 8th-12th. “It’s an honour to be participating at the world’s most influential climate conference and adding our voice to the collective climate change conversation,” added Somosundram. “Groundbreaking ideas and agreements have already come out of this year’s edition, especially with respect to climate financing, and we expect more great work to be done during the second week. As we move into 2024, VARA licence in hand, we will be ready and able to do our part in the fight against climate change.”