Startup incubators in the UAE are an integral part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Even for the most experienced of campaigners, building a business from scratch is an enormous task. Today, with more youth flocking to the ecosystem in the UAE, a helping hand is not only useful but necessary.
Startup incubators have many proven advantages. They act as a platform for the most innovative ideas to be spun into successful businesses. Such platforms often provide tertiary services that support a business under their membership. Thus they free up entrepreneurs to focus on fine-tuning their ideas.
They also act as learning hubs, fostering creative & tech minds under the same roof. Conversely, incubators act as tools for private investors & governments to find vetted startups that are ready to hatch. Startup incubators in the UAE provide a well-established network & infrastructure to carry forward businesses. Such support can be crucial to startups in different industries.
Here I take a look at six startup incubators in the UAE.
At its heart, Astrolabs is a co-working space that brings together digital technology companies. Its partnership with the Dubai Metals & Commodities Centre (DMCC) sets it apart.
Membership comes with a DMCC Free Zone Trade License, fast-track company setup, five residential visas and more. Their community spans businesses across the technology spectrum.
Robo advisors, custom earphone makers, tech concierge solutions and more under one roof. If you are a startup under the digital tech sector, this startup incubator is the right place for you.
Located at Silicon Oasis, DTEC is home to over 100 startups from more than 60 different countries. It is also home to the Dubai Smart City Accelerator, the first of its kind in the MENA region. Startup incubators are key to Dubai’s strategy of becoming the smartest city in the world by 2021.
DTEC actively looks for accelerator candidates within its ecosystem and has six global strategic partners. Its key focus is on IoT, AI, sustainability, urban automation and similar fields.
It is also host to the ‘Intelak’ aviation & travel incubator. If you have disruptive ideas that redefine the travel experience, this incubator is looking for you.
In5 describes itself as “An enabling platform for entrepreneurs & start-ups”. It has 3 different innovation centres, for tech, media, and design for focused growth.
This startup incubator regularly hosts workshops and takes pride in its mentorship program. With top advisors from across the UAE & GCC on board, In5 provides a great capital of network to its startups.
They have partnerships with The Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI), The Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC) and more. In5 is a great choice to groom ideas into businesses. It is an especially attractive destination for FinTech startups, with Remmitr being a featured member.
This UAE startup incubator was set up by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in January 2017. As the name suggests, it has a clear focus on supporting startups in the FinTech sector.
Its unique selling point is the seamless amalgamation of global businesses & innovative startups. Working towards its 2024 growth strategy, DIFC aims to take innovation from UAE truly global. An umbrella of partners comprising almost every global financial institution underlines the DIFC’s commitment.
Some of UAE’s most promising FinTech startups are alumni of this incubator, with Bridg at the forefront. FinTech Hive is the place to be for ideas that can transform the way the world interacts with their finances.
With its 7-year history in the UAE, Turn8 is a startup incubator with an impressive list of alumni. It has invested in over 60 startups at the pre-seed level. Its network of VCs have raised over US $4 million as co-investment.
As the above facts suggest, Turn8 focuses on nourishing startups from seed phase to the scale phase. Their extensive list of global mentors adds tremendous value and experience.
Turn8’s focus areas include some innovative niche sectors. The fields of 3D printing, nano technology, storage solutions, etc. are waiting for your big idea!
As a fresh entrant to the UAE, it is Techstars’ global success that puts it on this list. Over its 12-year history, Techstars has grown to a scale of 30+ programs across the world.
It practices an inclusive & diverse philosophy, adding to a wealth of business experience. It enters Dubai in partnership with GINCO, the leading construction engineering conglomerate.
Regulatory Reforms Speeding Up
Techstars’ ‘Startup digest’, ‘Startup weekend’ & ‘Startup week’ programs are household names. So are many of their alumni, thanks to their extensive network and support. I am eager to see how they contribute to the UAE’s entrepreneurial growth.
In recent years, regulatory reforms have paved the way for robust growth among startups in the UAE. As mentioned above, there are several governmental bodies deeply connected with these startup incubators. Today, if you are an innovator who is looking for the perfect place to grow your idea, the perfect place is looking for you in UAE.
I am very fond of entrepreneurial spirit and would love to be of any help if I may. Please feel free to connect with me or share your thoughts below.
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