Dubai is an entrepreneurial hub and anyone with a unique business idea will find plenty of spaces, coaching programmes and financing initiatives to help kick-start a great start-up. Benita Adesuyan rounds up just a few.
Starting a business isn’t easy. You might have a great idea, but you will need some help getting it off the ground, making sure you are aware of any legal loopholes. Thankfully, there’s a community of business-minded people in Dubai who can help you become your own boss.
Impact Hub This is a global concept that has already been in established in 63 cities across five continents including London, Johannesburg, Rio, Amsterdam and Mumbai. The Dubai hub provides a community through which entrepreneurs can accelerate their ideas, meet contacts in a creative space and get advice and training to help further their fledgling business plans. It hosts regular events including workshops on finances and balance sheets, speed networking and talks with local experts about business trends and opportunities. Young companies can also rent office spaces here and benefit from a variety of packages including ‘Hub Connect’ basic membership for Dhs145 per month through to ‘Org Solo’ membership for Dhs2,000 per month, which includes 24-hour access to office space, invitations to exclusive events and access to online networking. From Dhs145 per month. Open Sun-Thu 9am-6pm; 24-hour access, seven days a week (Org 200 and Hub Solo members). Impact Hub Dubai, Saaha Offices, Downtown Dubai, www.impacthub.ae (04 375 4444).
Startup Grind Dubai This community aims to inspire, connect and assist start-ups. It has a presence in 65 countries and believes in connecting entrepreneurs and encouraging a positive way of doing business. Unlike the Wall Street approach of ‘greed is good’ Startup Grind believes in ‘making friends, not contacts; in giving, not taking; in helping others before helping yourself’. The Dubai chapter hosts monthly talks with inspirational speakers as well as an annual conference that provides opportunities to tap into a strong support network. To attend talks RSVP on the group’s Meetup page: www.meetup.com/startup-grind-dubai. From Dhs11 to attend monthly talks. www.startupgrind.com/dubai (no number).
Beehive Every business large or small, start-up or multinational needs money, but many banks are cautious to fund entrepreneurs. Beehive, a marketplace for peer-to-peer finance, has launched its SME Invoice Financing product to help small- to medium-sized enterprises in the country with cash flow. The scheme allows businesses to receive cash advances from investors within 24 to 48 hours, closing the gap between the moment a business issues an invoice and when it receives the actual payment. To register for the financing product or for more information email firstname.lastname@example.org. www.beehive.ae (04 550 6700).
in5 This Innovation Centre is dedicated to helping start-ups in the digital media and communications sector. So if your big idea is a revolutionary app, smart device, or the next big thing in social media, in5 could help turn it into a tangible business. In5 offers services that help digital media companies gain trade operating licences within the TECOM Freezone and can help you meet the people who might invest capital into your venture. The scheme operates as an incubator and applicants enter a three-month programme. If selected, the teams will be helped with taking their idea through to prototype stage. Apply online to get involved. in5 Innovation Centre, Boutique Villa 7, Dubai Knowledge Village, www.in5.ae (04 451 1555).
Turn8 This incubator has helped innovative local companies get off the ground. Founded by DP World, an international marine logistics company, creative apps such as Plex, designed to help conference attendees know who’s who, or InGlove the interactive glove that enables people to feel virtual objects, have been launched in Dubai. The aim of Turn8 is to get your idea to market in 120 days. The programme is highly competitive and entrepreneurs can attend a pitching day or submit proposals online. Concepts that the panel think can be refined and marketed are put through a ‘rapid fire’ business modelling and prototyping accelerator programmes where ideas and products worthy of securing a backer at its Investor Demo Day are made. To apply email email@example.com. Free to apply. Applications are being accepted for Turn8 Seed Accelerator Fall 2015, which begins in August. Apply by April 30 at www.f6s.com/turn8seedaccelerator#/apply. The Cribb, Football Center, Mezzanine floor, 15a Al Manara Street, Al Quoz, www.turn8.co (04 319 7645).