Dubai is home to well over 200 nationalities, many of them successful entrepreneurs in diverse sectors. The entrepreneurial culture in Dubai, as well as its competitive start-up ecosystem developed by the government and private sector, remains a magnet for the ambitious and enterprising all over the world.
Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai Economy (Department of Economic Development – Government of Dubai) focuses on programmes and initiatives that firmly position Dubai as a regional and international hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Scale2Dubai is District 2020’s dedicated global entrepreneurship programme that will enable start-ups and small businesses with a proven track record to scale-up in Dubai and gain access to new markets. Businesses that align with District 2020’s focus industries and technologies will have the opportunity to gain access to its curated innovation ecosystem, where they’ll collaborate and ideate with diverse stakeholders including academia, government entities, and Fortune 500 companies. District 2020 will also actively facilitate access to accelerator and incubator programmes, funding opportunities, deal flow, funding, talent, banking services, IT infrastructure, and more. Evolving as a human-centric future city from Expo 2020 Dubai, District 2020 will provide a balanced environment where professionals and residents will live and work in balance. Scale2Dubai is developing partnerships with regional and global entities who will provide the programme with a pipeline of high-potential and eligible start-ups and small businesses from across markets.
The programme is currently accepting applications at: www.district2020.ae/scale2dubai. Following a process of evaluation and judging by a panel of experts, the first two cohorts of successful applicants will be announced towards the end of Expo 2020 Dubai, in March 2022. The first cohort of 80-100 businesses will be able to move into their work space at District 2020 by October 2022.
The Hamdan Innovation Incubator (HI2)
The Hamdan Innovation Incubator (Hi2) in Dubai SME provides a complete support environment for innovative entrepreneurial projects. Currently, HI2 has a portfolio of 600 innovative start-ups and it has also succeeded in attracting more than 200 innovative projects.
A major milestone for HI2 is the Innovation Attraction Programme – www.smeiap.com – which enables innovators around world to test-bed their innovations in designated locations in Dubai, thus bringing the local industry in direct contact with future business leaders who will show the way in improving productivity and efficiencies.
Business Incubators and Accelerators
Dubai SME launched a programme to accredit business incubators and accelerators in Dubai. The programme aims to regulate business incubators and accelerators invested in fourth generation technologies in the emirate and make sure that they provide the best tools for young entrepreneurs from all over the world to implement their creative projects.
The accreditation programme presents vast opportunities for the public and private sectors, academic institutions and investors to channel their expertise and resources into creating co-working spaces that promote knowledge sharing and sustain innovations. Incubators and accelerators are being created across various commercial districts, free zones and specialised industry clusters as well as schools and universities in Dubai.
The accredited incubators and accelerators will also be part of a Dubai Business Incubator Network (DBIN) providing varied services, membership packages, workshops, training courses, and co-working spaces at competitive prices for entrepreneurs, in addition to services that emerging projects need during the various stages of their life cycle. accelerators.
Following are some of the incubators and accelerators certified by Dubai SME:
- Re-Urban Studio.
- The Co-Dubai.
- The Higher College of Technology-Dubai Men’s Campus.
- Business Incubator - Gems Modern Academy Schools.
- British Centers for Business.
- Amity University Dubai.
- TALG Incubator.
Creating opportunities for business development
Supporting start-ups to successfully navigate early challenges and enabling them to emerge into regionally and globally competitive enterprises is also a priority for Dubai SME.
Start-ups that are members of Dubai SME are encouraged to be key suppliers and facilitators of ambitious initiatives, such as the Expo 2020 Dubai, and the government procurement programme (GPP) in Dubai. The GPP requires Government agencies, institutions, and entities in which the government holds 25% or more in equity to allocate 10% of their purchases to Emirati companies that are members of Dubai SME. Moreover 20% of Dubai Government tenders also go to Dubai SME member firms.
Two smart dashboards have also been created for local start-ups to benefit optimally from GPP -one for ‘Supporting Dubai Government Entities and Institutions,’ and the other as a ‘Supplier Dashboard for Dubai SME Members. The two dashboards enable procurers and suppliers to stay connected and updated on an innovative technology platform.
Dubai Entrepreneurship Academy
The Dubai Entrepreneurship Academy -www.dea.ae – is the educational arm of Dubai SME, empowering entrepreneurial talent and equipping entrepreneurs and start-ups with the necessary knowledge and skills to become successful.
The Academy offers various levels of academic programmes, training and workshops in various disciplines of start-up launch and growth, including project management, operations and business development.