Dubai Next emerges as catalyst for startup ideas

Dubai Next had 2,044 applicants in its first year, and 17 successful campaigns.



Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME.
Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME.
by

A Staff Reporter

Published: Wed 5 Oct 2022, 6:06 PM

Last updated: Wed 5 Oct 2022, 6:07 PM

Dubai Next, the first digital government crowdfunding platform for startups, is supporting innovative ideas and projects by providing them with valuable opportunities to raise the funding required to grow into sustainable businesses across multiple sectors in the emirate.

The digital platform is set to evolve into an effective tool for implementing the directive of the leadership to enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Dubai, and achieve the vision of making the emirate the best city to live, work and invest.

Dubai Next was launched in May 2021 by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, and has since been managed by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Small and Medium Enterprise Development (Dubai SME), an agency of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET). The platform serves as the window to entrepreneurial creativity and an accelerator for innovative enterprise.

According to Abdullah Abbasi, founder of Brinzo, Dubai Next has helped him achieve many of his goals, played a key role in enabling him to raise the necessary funding to start his project, and contributed to supporting his company’s marketing strategy.

“I received great support from the platform, and the interest seen was beyond my expectations, resulting in a really great journey for me. The team at Dubai Next were always the first to contact me to complete the launch of my project, and today, I launched my company, Brinzo, through which I make toys for all ages. The main principle of our business is to bring the family together around one table, away from phone screens or computers.”

Technical expert Ahmed Al-Zarouni said: “Through the crowdfunding strategy of the Dubai Next platform, we were able to publish the English version of the book ‘Technical Thinking,’ and I believe this is the first time in the Middle East that a book has been printed with this method of funding. Dubai Next is a unique platform, and I was impressed by its potential as well as the structure its organisers followed. Reaching my funding goal reflects the success and confidence of the platform and the growing interaction of the community with ​​social cooperation to create something new and special.”

Ghaith Al Bustanli, Founder of Solaris Solutions, said: “Dubai Next offered me the platform to present ​​my project to my family, investors and the community, successfully attracting those interested. We were able to fully collect the funding required to launch Solaris, a technology start-up that provides innovative products and services in the energy field. I encourage every entrepreneur and innovator to visit this platform to realise their ideas.”

The objectives of the Dubai Next platform are aligned with the DET strategy to support the establishment and development of SMEs, facilitate start-up growth and provide services that promote innovation and digital technologies.

Developing and enhancing the platform’s programmes for 2022-2024

Dubai Next will develop and enhance its existing programmes to meet the needs of young and innovative students and entrepreneurs. One of the goals set in the 2022-2024 roadmap of Dubai Next is to reach out to 10,000 students through capacity development programmes, including training workshops, consultations, and project financing. The platform is also working on the ‘Project Startup’ programme, which is an integrated development tool designed to empower target audiences with the necessary entrepreneurial skills by providing a unique mix of services, such as training, mentorship, and licensing. It additionally introduces entrepreneurs to Dubai Next and provides ongoing support throughout the start-up journey. The programme is designed to assist companies in gaining momentum and accelerating their growth.

Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, said the aim is to attract more ideas, contributors and partners aligned with the emirate’s focus on new technologies and sectors.

“Dubai Next has provided a competitive and convenient solution to the funding challenges faced by those seeking to transform their ideas into viable projects. It’s not only a valuable addition to the business start-up ecosystem in Dubai but also a critical enabler of the emirate’s strategy to be a global hub of entrepreneurship and a digital economy,” Al Janahi added.

During its first year, Dubai Next enabled 17 start-up ideas in diverse sectors to raise their required funds. Anyone, including students as young as 12, can pitch their ideas on Dubai Next and run a campaign to seek funds from contributors.

Currently, Dubai Next has 82 campaigns running from 2,044 applicants and 750 contributors, including businesses, investors, and campaign owners’ friends and family. The campaigns cover a variety of sectors, such as technology, education, health, food, sports, fashion, art, tourism, gaming and publishing. Campaign owners include citizens of the UAE, the USA, Canada, Egypt, India, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia and Grenada, representing the diversity of innovators utilising Dubai as a launchpad for their projects.

Dubai Next has also enabled the community to fund a variety of other projects, including Sustainable Builder, a mobile app idea for managing construction waste developed by a group of students at UAE University, and Ubuntu, a hyperconnected platform developed by students at the GEMS Modern Academy Dubai to reduce food wastage.

Recently, Dubai Next participated for the second year in the ‘Careers UAE’ from 20 to 22 September 2022, with ‘The Next You’ competition organized in partnership between Ru’ya Careers to support the next generation of innovators and emerging across schools and universities and provide them with the essential skills to become successful entrepreneurs.

The competition received about 150 ideas, 40 of which were shortlisted for the final stage. The finalists were students aged 16 to 22 from 14 educational institutions. Ultimately, 11 winning ideas were selected and the best three were presented on stage on the final day of the exhibition. The winners are eligible for cash prizes and access to the services of the Hamdan Innovation Incubator (Hi2) in Dubai SME.

In view of the vital role of tourism in the emirate’s economy, Dubai Next, in partnership with the Dubai College of Tourism (DCT), supported a start-up to raise the required funds as part of the ‘Medyaf’ initiative aimed to promote Emirati entrepreneurship in the tourism sector.

Dubai Next also attended Gitex and the World Conference on Creative Economy held in Dubai in 2021, enabling 500 students and the youth to learn about start-ups and financing. Zoho, one of the leading global technology companies, has also been enlisted as a partner in the platform to support start-ups to achieve growth and competitiveness.

business@khaleejtimes.com


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