Dubai Next, the first digital crowdfunding platform in Dubai launched earlier this year has fast evolved into a catalyst for innovative enterprise in new and emerging sectors as well as a meeting point for innovators and the wider community to share the benefits of startup financing.
The digital platform, launched in May 2021 recently recorded another success story – its third within three month of launch – when Takween, an Arabic learning programme, concluded a campaign to raise the required capital through crowdfunding successfully. Takween follows Padel 26 and Vemudra, two campaigns that had a successful run on Dubai Next earlier.
A progressive step towards bringing the benefits of startup funding and digital technology to innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and the society, Dubai Next allows entrepreneurs to create campaigns online and seek funds from contributors for turning their ideas into reality. The not-for-profit platform operated by Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai Economy mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, is open to all nationalities and age groups in the UAE.
Dubai Next has also seen an upsurge in campaigns and contributors in recent months. The platform currently has 226 contributors, up from 59 in July 2021, while the number of campaigns created on the platform has also increased more than 0% during the same period. Dubai SME is encouraging more contributors to join and support the campaigns live on the platform, which allows individuals as well as institutions to be part of innovative ventures that will have a significant impact on social development and economic diversification in the UAE.
"Dubai Next has proved to be the next big opportunity for the aspiring and ambitious startups in Dubai. As a broad platform Dubai Next has created a sustainable growth ecosystem and social network for startup financing. The digital crowdfunding platform is emerging as an engine of social and economic development and Dubai’s strategic goal of being the global hub of entrepreneurship," said Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME.
"The successful fundraising experience of Takween on Dubai Next is not only inspiring for the startup community, but also a testimony to the vast potential for creative concepts in Dubai. We are delighted to have supported Takween to evolve and enable it to be one among the innovative startups that will be part of the Expo 2020," added Al Janahi.
Created by Saudi entrepreneur Lujain Alfaraj, Takween seeks to make learning the Arabic alphabet a fun experience through using a set of modular magnetic blocks. A branding professional and designer with a special interest in the Arabic language Alfaraj came up with the innovative learning concept after her son’s refusal to attend Arabic lessons in his nursery class and chose crowdfunding over traditional funding models as she believed that her brand is firmly rooted in the community.
"As a mother and a designer, I needed to create a positive experience for my child to learn Arabic," Alfaraj said, adding that the crowdfunding campaign allowed her to get closer to her community and involve them in our journey and get support that’s far beyond financial, which wouldn’t be possible had she chosen to raise capital the traditional way.
"It is exciting to see a crowdfunding platform in our region stemming from Dubai. The fact that Dubai Next is based in Dubai and that it’s under Dubai SME gives project owners and contributors a certain level of comfort. There’s a massive need in the market for beautifully designed Arabic products. As our world becomes more and more globalised, we need to make space for Arabic and nourish it. We invite everyone to visit us at Expo and explore the beauty of Arabic," Alfaraj said.
Dubai SME is attracting creative talents from all walks of the society, including students, and potential contributors to Dubai Next through awareness-building and induction sessions.
Individuals or companies can contribute to a campaign on Dubai Next. Contributors get to choose from a variety of unique rewards offered by the campaign owner. The amount contributed can be refunded if the campaign fails to reach its target. Campaign owners keep 100% ownership of their project. The Dubai NEXT platform cannot be used to offer equity or financial returns.
News Source: Emirates News Agency