Business Incubators in the UAE

What are they and are they right for you?

About the Author

Mariben Christine Eustaquio

Mariben is the Founder and Managing Director of EZONE. Being an entrepreneur herself, she understands the challenges of starting and maintaining a business and is an advocate of entrepreneurship for all. She encourages new entrepreneurs and supports existing entrepreneurs throughout their business journey.

The entrepreneurial spirit is extremely vibrant in the UAE with Small to medium sized businesses, within Dubai these companies contribute a total of 46% towards Dubai’s gross domestic product. With figures like these, it would be in the government’s best interest to foster a constructive environment for companies to Incorporate, test, scale and succeed.

 

Therefore the concept of the business incubators were launched, but what exactly are they? And more importantly how do they benefit your business? Through mentorship a business incubator can guide entrepreneurs from the early stages of product development, through to the accelerator programmes supporting the start up and establishing stages. The incubators provide entrepreneurs with access to networking opportunities, investor introductions, research and development and much more.

 

However as an entrepreneur you will need to know which incubator best suits your business idea and goals, the incubators are not a one stop shop and instead focus on specific sectors, below is a breakdown of some of the top Incubators across the UAE.


Dubai Internet City – In5

In5 was launched by the TECOM group, focusing on Design, Technology and Media. Providing startups with five key frameworks, training, networking, investment opportunities research and development and mentorship.

The In5 application process is straightforward and involves you as the entrepreneur pitching your company to the In5 committee. In5 provides amazing support, helping entrepreneurs design their pitch and business plan to ensure it is aligned with the In5 requirements.

The In5 license is provided at a subsidised pricing, embodying the true support structure of an incubator. In5 state that it is their mandate to help inventive companies grow locally. Following the framework that In5 has in place assists companies through their lifecycle to make a substantial difference globally.

 

Duration:  

In5 provides subsidised pricing for these 3 years. After which, a full license fee of AED.15,000 is applicable after three years

 

Visa Allocation:

A start-up team of over 4 members. Visa validity is 3 years.

 

Pricing:

In5 Subsidized Pricing

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

License

AED       1,000.00

AED       1,000.00

AED       1,000.00

Co-working Desk

AED     12,000.00

AED     15,000.00

AED     18,000.00

Dedicated Office 

AED     30,000.00

AED     35,000.00

AED     40,000.00



Dubai Multi Commodities Center – Astro Labs

Astro Labs defines themselves as a capability building company. AstroLabs offers support to entrepreneurs and individuals across several walks of life. Astro Labs also provides the opportunity for companies to expand into The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Astro Labs offers much more than just licensing. Astro Labs Academy, offering courses related to digital marketing, coding, analytics and UX design. Astro Labs corporate training, providing companies a full scope of support, company structuring and management alongside its growth, talent services, Incubator and accelerator programs and finally linking to a network of highly skilled Technology companies to help you overcome any issues you may face. Finally AstroLabs has strategic partnerships with UAE universities, providing courses and mentorship for talented students, seamlessly providing companies with promising upcoming talent.

Astro Labs provides a 360 Incubator approach, teaching training and providing a network of limitless opportunities.

 

Pricing:

Similar to In5, AstroLabs understands that cash flow management can be tough as a start up, offering amazing pricing.

Obtain your DMCC license and Astro labs membership starting at 2,500 AED per month, allowing entrepreneurs to have access to 2 visas and access to Astro Labs co working space.



Abu Dhabi Global Markets – Hub 71

Hub 71 is a technology incubator based in Abu Dhabi, Hub 71 has several important strategic partners, such as Mubadala and SoftBank, to name a few. 

Similar to all incubators in the UAE, Hub 71 focuses on a specific sector, technology. Providing mentorship and potential Investment opportunities. Hub 71 states that they create a symbiotic environment between startups, corporates, governments and investors.

Due to the popularity of Hub 71, applications have to be submitted within a specific timeframe, once this timeframe closes, all applicants will have to wait until the next cohort to apply. 

Hub71 companies are often successful and we have seen in a few cases Hub71 companies being the first companies in the region to acquire specific approvals or licenses. A few Hub 71 companies that are prominent Include Bayzat, Bitoasis, and Denarii Cash.

 

Pricing & Duration:

Hub 71 is slightly different and the pricing is relative to your company’s stage.

Seed stage: the annual license cost is 700 USD and lasts 12 months and can be renewed annually at the same price for two years. 

Emergent stage this license is also valid for 12 months, however the fee is 4,000 USD, if after the 12 months, the company still meets the emergent criteria the license can be renewed for a maximum of 2 years at the same price.

Mature stage, this license cost is 10,000 USD and is applicable following the emergent stage.

 

Visa Allocation: 

At the discretion of the authorities and depends on the business model. 


Dubai International Financial Center – Innovation Hub

The DIFC Innovation Hub is an important pillar of the new Dubai Future District, located in Gate Avenue and elevates DIFC’s contribution to the UAE Innovation Strategy and Dubai Plan 2021. It is home to the largest innovation ecosystem in the region and paves the way for early stage start-ups, growth stage start-ups, unicorns and big Tech firms to accelerate success.

With DIFC’s dynamic ecosystem and its world-class regulatory and legal framework, every start-up innovator and entrepreneur will be connected to a diversified community of banks, financial institutions and service providers.

The DIFC Innovation License serves as a launch pad for relevant and cutting-edge technology, in the tech start-up and entrepreneurship sector, and enables you to tap into tech innovations across the MEASA region.

They also have the DIFC Fintech Hive Accelerator 2021 Initiative program which connects entrepreneurs with a fast track access to investors and over 17 global fintech hubs, alongside workshops and support from more than 60 ecosystem partners. Fintech Hive ensures that companies within their incubator are partnered with industry experts who can help define their solution and launch the companies successfully. 

 

Duration:

Three years for DIFC Innovation License

 

Pricing:

The license cost will be 1,500 USD per year, a flexi desk will cost 6,000 USD or 500USD/month.

 

Visa Allocation:

Access to 4 visas per desk.



Dubai Silicon Oasis – DTEC

DTEC brands itself as an integrated entrepreneurial ecosystem. With a focus on technology, they achieve just that. Not only providing the support structure all startups truly need, entrepreneurs will also have access to venture capital, and a vast global network of entrepreneurs to assist you on your journey.

DTEC corporate, connecting multi national corporations to tech startups, granting entrepreneurs an audience they may not have usually been able to.

DTEC events and learning, prior to Covid-19 and in a post Covid-19 world, DTEC will continue to host events and conferences, providing consistent networking, developing your business and business ideas around like minded entrepreneurs.

 

Duration:

The incubation/acceleration period lasts for three years.

 

Pricing:

DTEC pricing starts at 18,370AED providing entrepreneurs with a flexi desk and two visa eligibility.



Standard requirements for Incubators: 

  • Business plan
  • Company organisation chart
  • Financial projections
  • Product/service overview
  • Brief marketing plan

 

Joining an incubator can provide your business with a powerful start. However, it is very essential that your business idea be in line with the incubator’s mandate. As a startup, you will have to apply to the screening process and be accepted into the program. 

The benefits of being part of an incubator program can be endless, with the biggest one giving you access to all the benefits of subsidized pricing, mentorship, and even access to capital/fund raising. More than that, you will be a part of a community of like minded individuals that you can exchange ideas and network with to further your startup and achieve your business goals. 

If you believe your future business could benefit from an ecosystem like this, please do not hesitate to get in touch with EZONE – because Your Business Matters.

 

Contact one of our Business Setup Consultants now at setup@e.zone to know more 

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