In5 start-up incubator launched in UAE
Incubator project will aim to support regional start-ups
A new business incubator aims to provide better support and services to drive the region's start-up sector.
The Majid Bin Mohammed Innovation Center in5, launched under the direction of His Highness Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Arts and Culture Authority, will provide a full range of services to entrepreneurs that want to launch ICT start ups in the region.
The in5 incubator, which is located in Dubai Internet City, will offer set-up and logistics, seed funding, coaching and training, mentoring and network opportunities. Individuals that meet a set of criteria, including presenting a business plan, will be able to access the services, which include physical office space, as they require, with the aim of taking ideas and turning them into viable, functioning businesses.
Malek Al Malek, managing director of DIC and board member of in5 said: "This project has come out of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum, and we believe this innovation centre will be another milestone in ICT development in this region.
"The vision for the innovation centre is very clear for us, we don't want another centre that helps technology companies, we want to become the premier destination for ICT start-ups and entrepreneurs, within this region. The mission is to foster and drive the development of ICT start-ups and innovation by extending the right environment an the right products for those entrepreneurs," he added.
According to figures from the US, said Al Malek, for every dollar of public funding invested in business incubators, thirty dollars of local tax revenue is generated, and that incubators created over 500,000 jobs in the US between 1980 and 2007.
In5 aims to be operating fully by Q1 next year, and will be able to cater to around 80 start-ups per year.
The incubator has appointed a board to provide guidance on long term strategies and other industry synergies. Ahmad Julfar, group CEO of Etisalat will chair the board, and other members include Al Malek, Mohammad Gawdat, managing director Google SEEMEA, Charbel Fakhoury, vice president Microsoft MEA, Nasser Al Rafi, CEO of Emaar Malls Group, and Daniel A Rivetti, associate professor of Finance at the University of San Diego.
"It is great to be part of this initiative, and we are very excited to support this milestone in DIC. It is a great time, to take the youth of the region, and prioritize the acceleration of skilled development and innovation, that will define the next economic development for our region," said Fakhoury.
Mohammad Gawdat of Google said that project should aim to show would-be entrepreneurs that they can succeed, and guide them around common problems.
"This region is not short of funding, I think what entrepreneurs need most in this region is hope and hindsight. The difference between this part of the world and other parts of the world, is the limited number of examples of role models. If you grew up in the US, and you are 30 years old, you have lived the Bill Gates legend, you have seen Larry Page and Sergy Brin build Google, you don't have that here, you have very few stories and they are not publicized correctly. I had a very interesting conversation with Malek around how we can build those flagships, and show the youth that there is an alternative," he said.
"The reality is that most start-ups suffer from small mistakes that run them out of resources just a few steps away from success. With hindsight, if you have seen those projects happen before, we have quite a few people in the project that have experience, and I think that just helps people to save those resources, to make that jump to success.