|06 February, 2018

UAE Innovation Month: Start-ups accelerator launched in Abu Dhabi

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Image used for illustrative purpose. Abu Dhabi skyline

Image used for illustrative purpose. Abu Dhabi skyline

Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture/ Handout via Thomson Reuters Zawya
A number of Abu Dhabi government departments and institutions have partnered with WAMDA, a United Arab Emirates-based entrepreneurship platform, to launch an incubator for start-ups focused on travel and tourism, with a total of $400,000 in equity financing awarded to four winning innovators.

The acceleration programme, named ‘Fikra Labs’- ‘Fikra’ meaning an idea in Arabic- aims to support start-ups through mentorship and monetary investment, with a focus on driving innovation in the travel and tourism industry in the UAE capital.

The four partners include The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT), asset management firm Miral, Etihad Aviation Group and Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, with support from Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). Each partner will oversee a particular challenge, offer the winner an opportunity to work with them and invest $100,000 in their development.

“The initiative aims to connect the key priorities of DCT with innovators and to support the private sector especially in travel and tourism industry,” Saif Saeed Ghobash, the Director General of the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) told Zawya at the sidelines of the launching event held in Abu Dhabi’s Manarat Al Saadiyat as part of UAE Innovation Month.

“The participants will submit the business cases that provide answers to the challenges we proposed to the private sector. There will be a mentorship period of around four weeks, after which they submit the final business cases, and the winning participants will earn a monetary reward as well as their first contract,” he added.

Abu Dhabi Global Market will also provide a platform to register and incubate the winning start-ups as well as to offer regulatory guidance, according to Ghobash.

At the first phase, 32 start-ups will be shortlisted, then 12 and a 2-day camp will be launched, after which the winners will be announced before Ramadan this year, he added.

Abu Dhabi is aiming to increase the number of tourists and visitors from all over the world and has recently developed several cultural and touristic attractions, including the launch of the widely-anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi back in November. In an earlier interview with Zawya, Abu Dhabi tourism chief also said that several new museums are in the pipeline and set to be opened in the UAE capital soon. (Read more here).

The emirate will also see Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, set to be the world’s largest indoor theme parks, opening this summer on Yas Island. (Read more here).

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(Reporting by Nada Al Rifai; Editing by Shane McGinley)

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© ZAWYA 2018