As the Dubai and the UAE are preparing to adapt and work on introducing the different systems relating to Industry 4.0, it is vital to view the existing infrastructure, platform and programs (EIPP) within Dubai. The EIPP are a mix of start-up and SME incubators, public – private accelerators and collaborative spaces that are designed with the goal of fostering collaboration efforts and partnership with both SMEs and the public sector in a seamless manner. With that in mind, below is a list of the EIPPs that are based in the emirate of Dubai, with their respective descriptions and other such details:
? Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA): An initiative of the Dubai Future Founcation (DFF), facilitates partnerships between entrepreneurs, private sector organizations and government entities to co-create solutions. DFA was launched in 2016 by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Future Foundation under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai. DFA’s mission is to imagine, design and co-create the future. The accelerator pairs forward-thinking public and private sector organizations and start-ups using the city of Dubai as a living testbed to co-create solutions for global and local challenges of tomorrow. The structure of the DFA is based on a 9-week program that is structured into 8 stages facilitating the collaboration between government entities and companies. In parallel, DFA organizes a series of workshops, office hours with mentors and cultural activities. The 8 stages are mentioned below accordingly:
1. Companies meet one another and the government partners during an opening ceremony, and learn more about the program and its aims during orientation.
2. Government partners introduce companies to key personnel and provide site tours of their
facilities. Both begin discussing areas of opportunity and brainstorming ideas; companies provide proof of their core technologies.
3. Companies and government partners explore specific ideas for pilot project proposals. Government partners ensure companies have access to relevant expertise and data in order to fully develop their proposals.
4. Having jointly prepared a pilot project proposal, companies pitch their proposal to the relevant stakeholders and decision makers within the government partners.
5. Government partners provide constructive feedback to the companies within seven days. Both work together to iterate and improve the proposal, discussing and negotiating scope and cost.
6. Government partners agree or decline to proceed with an MOU (or other commercial agreement) by the end of week 7 at the latest.
7. Government entities and companies work together to draft an agreement (defining required
resources, timelines and key deliverables).
8. Government partners and companies attend a closing ceremony where agreements are signed. Next steps for contracting and delivery of the proposal are discussed and agreed.
? Area 2071: Located in Emirates Towers, Area 2071 encompasses the boulevard area that is located between the office and hotels towers of Emirates Towers. According the Area 2071’s website, “AREA 2071 is a flexible, enriching environment for residents and visitors. The design nourishes a wide variety of experiences, from common resources and private work spaces to inspirational shared activities.”. Which means that Area 2071 is an interdependent ecosystem designed to unlock people’s potential so that they can begin solving important human challenges at scale. The space focuses on 8 different target audiences to attract into its space for collaboration and they are the following:
1. Startups: Idea-stage or early-stage startups that show promise in developing an innovative business.
2. Corporations (Ventures and X-Labs): Major businesses, from across key sectors, funding and shaping challenges within AREA 2071 in return for investment in disruptive outputs.
3. Accelerators: Organizations supporting high-potential startups through fixed-term programs.
4. Venture Capital Firms: Engaged investors seeking to expand their presence in the global startup ecosystem.
5. UAE Government: UAE official support to help others navigate local legislation and relationships.
6. Creatives-in-Residence: Artists, provocateurs, and experimentalists invited to inspire the ecosystem.
7. Freelancers: A global and local community ready to support startups with talent and services.
8. The Public: Anyone interested in creative innovation, solving the problems of tomorrow and seeking community.
? Astrolabs: Is a co-working space and learning academy for digital technology companies. Its mission is to create a thriving technology ecosystem in the MENA region. Astrolabs is divided into two categories, the first is Astrolabs Dubai, which serves as a launch pad for the highest potential technology companies to establish a presence in Dubai and scale up globally. It is an existing community of entrepreneurs representing over 80 startups building a variety of innovative technologies. The second is Astrolabs Academy, which delivers specialized courses on topics in digital business including digital marketing, coding, analytics ; big data, UX design, and business development. They regularly run open classes available to the public as well as develop and deliver custom-made curricula for corporate clients and incubators/accelerators across the region.
? In5: Is a platform for entrepreneurs and startups, fostering innovation and helping new ideas reach the marketplace. Launched by TECOM Group, in5 offers five key benefits, which comprise a robust business set-up framework, training and mentorship, networking, investment opportunities, and cutting-edge prototyping labs, studios and creative workspaces. in5’s three specialized innovation centers, tailored to Tech, Design and Media, provide aspiring students, entrepreneurs and startups with access to a community of creative minds, facilitating the constant exchange of knowledge and exposing members to best practices and latest thinking in running successful businesses. In5’s mandate to help inventive companies grow locally, so they make a tangible difference globally, by providing an enabling environment across the full lifecycle of the business. Below are descriptions of the 3 innovation centers of In5:
1. Tech Innovation Center: Launched in 2013, in5 was created to enable opportunities for entrepreneurs in the technology sector in the UAE and the region. Since then, it has engaged with 4,000 technopreneurs that have secured over AED 58 million in funding. in5 offers startups state of the art workspaces, training and meeting rooms, unparalleled exposure to local, regional and international investors as well as a constant stream of mentorship and sustainability focused activities such as seminars, training sessions and workshops. The innovation centers are designed to offer 5 key benefits to support the growing number of students, entrepreneurs and start-ups seeking to get new ideas off the ground in Dubai’s competitive markets.
2. Design Innovation Center: Launching in January, 2017, in5 has evolved to support the design and fashion talent landscape, offering students, entrepreneurs and startups an opportunity to transform their disruptive ideas into commercial successes. Based in the heart of a thriving design community, in5 is located in Hai d3 in Dubai Design District (d3), and is home to a one-of-its-kind prototyping lab. In addition to industry specialized training and workshops, in5 will also provide members with dynamic co-working spaces, offices and community areas that are designed to inspire creativity. In addition, it is a home to a prototyping lab that will include the latest equipment, including 3D printers, electronics and modern machinery for designers working with metals, wood, plastic and textiles. Members also have access to a dedicated library of raw materials and design workstations to develop their ideas into prototypes with the support of mentors and experts in the field of design equipping them with the latest skill-set to thrive.
3. Media Innovation Center: Launching in 2017, the third in5 innovation center located in Dubai Production City is the perfect hub offering media enthusiasts, freelancers and entrepreneurs an opportunity to work collectively on media-related endeavors and participate in elevating the status of the media entrepreneurial community. It will also provide a comprehensive value proposition, from industry leading facilities to technical support, to empower startups and accelerate the development of their content. Focusing on digital content creation to complement the recent shift in the media industry, in5 will offer an educational program that will include both international as well as in-house training programs and workshops to empower its members with the latest skills and knowledge to grow and excel. The innovation centers are designed to offer 5 key benefits to support the growing number of students, entrepreneurs and start-ups seeking to get new ideas off the ground in Dubai’s competitive markets.
? FinTech HIVE: In January 2017, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading financial hub in the Middle East and North Africa, established a first-of-its-kind accelerator in the region. Fintech Hive was created to bring cutting-edge financial services technology to these markets through its platform that brings financial and technology firms together. Today, Fintech Hive has built an ecosystem of more than 60 partner entities, united in their common goal towards fostering innovation in the region. Fintech Hive also offers cost-effective licensing solutions for fintechs, supportive regulation through its Innovative Testing License, flexible co-working spaces and access to a financial community of more than 22,000 professionals working across over 1,850 firms, and offering that is unmatched in the region. FinTech HIVE Accelerator program islaunched in partnership with Accenture, is built on the previous cohort’s success by providing a platform for the world’s most innovative start-ups the opportunity to test, develop and adapt their solutions to meet the evolving needs of the region’s financial services and insurance industries. The selected finalists will undergo a 12-week program under the guidance and mentorship of the leading financial institutions and insurance companies from the Middle East and across the globe. This year’s program will once again focus on all areas of FinTech, including Islamic FinTech and RegTech, with a dedicated stream for InsurTech.
? DTEC: The largest technology innovation hub in the MENA region, the 5,000 sqm creatively designed space hosts an integrated ecosystem, home to hundreds of startups, SMEs and technopreneurs from around the world. According the DTEC’s website, “Everything you need is under one roof”. DTEC coworking space encourages collaboration, their accelerator programs and funding arm gives young businesses a “head start”, and networking events ensure you get your name out there and stay on top of industry trends. An initiative of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, DTEC is designed for business convenience. From 100% business ownership, visa processing, 24/7 access, high speed wifi, a range of creative meeting and events spaces. Dtec’s Accelerator programs offer intense, rapid, and immersive education aimed at accelerating the life cycle of young innovative companies, compressing years’ worth of learning-by-doing into just a few months. They also give entrepreneurs access to a network of mentors, advisers and educators, to get them rapidly ready to pitch to potential investors. To give early-stage entrepreneurs a head start in creating future change, Dtec offers two industry acceleration program – the Dubai Smart City Accelerator and Intelak.
1. Dubai Smart City Accelerator: With the vision to support Dubai’s 2021 strategy of becoming the smartest city in the world, the MENA region’s first Dubai Smart City Accelerator was launched in May 2017 by Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO). The Dubai Smart City Accelerator is a product of DSO’s collaboration with six strategic partners – Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du), Smart Dubai Office, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Rochester Institute of Technology New York, Orange Business Services and Visa — altogether investing a total of Dh18.4 million into setting up the program. Operated by Startupbootcamp, the global network of industry-focused startup accelerators, the program targets startups that are developing innovative solutions to help make cities smarter and overcome significant challenges due to congestion, waste, and energy to improve the quality of people’s lives. It will focus on projects that provide solutions to everyday challenges, built around smart buildings, transportation, intelligent logistics, smart lifestyles and smart planning & maintenance.
? Scope of Dubai Smart Accelerator: The accelerator’s intensive 3+3 month program provides selected Smart City companies with hands-on mentorship from over 100 industry experts, office space in Dubai, seed funding, and access to a global network of investors and corporate partners from across the Smart City industry. Startups that get selected for the program will be given Startupbootcamp’s acceleration package benefits including office space in Dtec, consultation and advisory support, as well as access to Startupbootcamp and its partner organizations and $20,000 (Dh73,460) in cash. Once completed, the startups will join Startupbootcamp’s global alumni network consisting of some 400 enterprises from more than 50 countries worldwide.
2. Intelak Acceleration Program: Aviation and travel are two of the biggest drivers of the UAE economy, contributing to the making the Middle East one of the fastest growing regions in passenger traffic. With the country’s aim to ensure the highest global standards for services, systems, and experiences in aviation, the idea of a hub to strengthen promising technology ideas and redefine the travel experience has led to the creation Intelak. Launched in September 2016, Intelak is the UAE’s first ever aviation-oriented incubator for entrepreneurs and innovators wanting to disrupt the travel sector. It is founded by three global organizations: the Emirates Group, General Electric and Etisalat Digital. At the heart of the program is Dtec, serving as a centre for collaboration, ideation, and the growth of new technologies. The environment and network provided by Dtec serves to support the ecosystems in a way that extends far beyond physical space. Together, these organizations work towards the goal of ensuring an integrated and inclusive program, to explore what tomorrow can hold for UAE’s travel and aviation sector.
? Scope of Intelak Program: The program aims to nurture ideas that will re-imagine and innovate any of the 12 pre-defined travel moments (from home to airport to the skies). Teams of up to 5 members can submit their idea, which if selected, will gain them exclusive access to a 4-day pre-incubation bootcamp. In the bootcamp, they will work with mentors to validate their idea, build their pitch deck. and present to the management of the Intelak’s Co-founders. Teams winning a place in the Intelak’s intensive 3-month program will receive 50,000 Emirati dirhams (US$13,600) each to develop their ideas. The program culminates with a Demo Day — an opportunity to pitch their startups to industry experts, investors and VCs.
? TURN8: Is a venture fund comprised of a growth accelerator program complemented by a follow-on investment fund. Startup teams in TURN8 are fueled with investment, mentorship, training and year-long business development support. Follow-on investment helps them scale and grow globally. With that in mind, TURN8 has funded over 70 technology startups to date.
1. Growth Accelerator Program: TURN8 growth accelerator offers several rounds per year focused on startups with minimum viable product innovations (MVPs) and immediate product-to-market fit in the MENA region. They inject investment, develop talent and provide mentorship and business development support for all of our startups. The Fall Round begins in September and Spring Round begins in February of each year. Rounds last for 4-5 months. The following are the 3 stages of this accelerator program:
a. During the early months of the accelerator program, we like to think of it as warm-up laps on a race track. Everything is tested and analyzed: the team, business model, solution, etc. Startups also receive training in leadership instruction, scale-oriented business models, customer validation and adoption, product development roadmaps and building internal teams.
b. The technology continues to be developed as information about the market is gained. Turn8 helps manage this process with a growth scorecard, we support business development and marketing efforts while seeking the perfect product-to-market fit. Startups gain insight, make improvements and see early traction.
c. Concluding the round, startups demonstrate their success through a private demo day pitch event for local and international investors from our network. After the demo-day event, teams are supported with business development, fundraising and mentorship for 12 months.
2. Turn8 Fund: A Seed and Series A follow-on fund to fill in the funding gap startups often experience after an accelerator. A later startup-stage investment ensures the startup is able to reach the scale and traction VCs are expecting. A strategy of the fund is to provide capital and global support to TURN8 graduates primarily. Turn8 assess the startup’s management team development, product scalability and evidence of customer traction to measure strength and its ability to continue. Their co-investment model empowers startups to attract additional investors under a shared risk equation.