- Over 600 innovative projects incubated at HI2, and seven specialised business accelerators accredited
- 200 projects in varied sectors brought to Dubai under the Innovation Attraction Programme
- Dubai has the first business incubator in a school and the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT)
Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai Economy mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector in Dubai, has taken major strides in positioning the emirate as an attractive hub and launch-pad for innovation and enterprise. The Hamdan Innovation Incubator (HI2) in Dubai SME and its pioneering Innovation Attraction Programme - smeiap.com - have become magnets for creative entrepreneurs and innovative enterprise in various new and emerging sectors.
Launched in 2014 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, HI2 has a portfolio of 600 innovative start-ups. It has succeeded in attracting more than 200 innovative projects in addition to developing concepts and prototypes through various stages, and expediting their launch as projects in collaboration with partner entities as well as local and federal authorities.
“The Hamdan Innovation Incubator aims to enhance the global leadership of Dubai in creating innovative concepts, by working with Emirati and international start-ups with emphasis on improved efficiencies and productivity. The Innovation Attraction Programme is also enabling future pioneers to test-bed their innovations in designated locations in Dubai,” said Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME.
Al Janahi added that the Innovation Attraction Programme is a key initiative of Hi2 that enables Dubai SME to connect to future business leaders and contribute to making Dubai a global capital of the new economy.
A services portfolio that continuously evolves in alignment with the vision and strategy of the government as well as the needs of the entrepreneurs have been the cornerstone of the success achieved by HI2. An accelerator and incubator by itself for innovative ideas and projects, the facility is supporting local enterprises to grow regionally and internationally, thus contributing to the UAE economy, as envisioned by the leadership.
In addition, seven specialised business incubators have also been launched by Dubai SME in co-operation with the private sector and academic institutions in Dubai. This comes at a time when universities in Dubai are being transformed into free economic and creative zones to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, in line with 50-Year Charter of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. These incubators serve a number of specialised sectors, including:
Digital technology and robotics sector
Business incubators in this sector focus on establishing and developing enterprises in digital technology, particularly for young entrepreneurs. They also provide training on basic skills in the digital industry related areas, such as digital marketing, programming, big data, programme design, and business development. Accredited business incubators in this sector in Dubai include Co-Dubai, Astrolabs, Forward, and HCT.
Business incubators in the design sector are the first integrated platform in Dubai for creators, designers, and entrepreneurs. They provide specialised services and programmes for developing business ideas in architecture, interior design, graphic design, furniture and product design, and other related areas, such as imaging, 3D printing, and animation. Re:Urban Studio in the Dubai Design District is the first approved business incubator in this sector.
Sustainability in energy, water, construction, transportation, and waste management
Dubai is home to the first fully operational sustainability complex in the Middle East, providing a smart ecosystem for creative entrepreneurs who believe in making cities more livaeble and sustainable. ‘Bedayat,’ the incubator located in The Sustainable City, will enhance the participation of SMEs in Dubai in sustainable development, and enable then to test-bed green initiatives in its premises.
Business incubators in schools
Hi2 launched the school business incubators initiative to support innovative ideas of students, inspired by the outcomes of the Young Entrepreneur Competition (YEC) of Dubai SME over the past 15 years. The school incubators will present societal or institutional challenges before students and motivate them to find innovative solutions. Moreover, the schools will conduct competitions throughout the year to select exemplary projects and then nominate them to YEC. GEMS Modern Academy - Nad Al Sheba has the first accredited business incubators among schools in the UAE.
Accredited business incubators in Dubai
Dubai SME is also expanding its partnership with innovative organisations and companies around the world to firmly position Dubai as a source for pioneering and quality initiatives as well as a global centre for the future industry, said Al Janahi. The Innovation Attraction Programme itself was launchedon the Start Alliance platform, which is a partnership of institutions that support innovative projects in 15 countries around the world, including Germany, Singapore, and Japan.
The Innovation Attraction Programme supports innovative solutions in six main sectors including space, transportation, energy efficiency, medicine, health, and education and information technology, in line with the strategic focus of Dubai on these sectors as the main enablers of innovation, industrialisation, and sustainable development.
Al Janahi stressed that innovative SMEs can leverage the Innovation Attraction Programme for their smooth and rapid relocation to Dubai, and grow as well as expand to new markets with easy access to necessary financing.