Several major entrepreneurship hubs in the Middle East continue grow. Perhaps the biggest hub is Dubai, where innovators have access to a wide number of resources, including accelerators and incubators. Recently, in an effort to coordinate these resources and make the city even more appealing to entrepreneurs, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry launched the online resource DubaiStartupHub as part of the Dubai Smart City initiative. DubaiStartupHub, which is the result of partnership between the chamber and IBM, offers a search portal with a comprehensive database of startups and investors based in Dubai, as well as other key features.
DubaiStartupHub runs on the IBM Cloud online platform and seeks to connect entrepreneurs and developers with venture capitalists, students, and other key players in the Dubai startup ecosystem. Through the platform, users can form new partnerships that will accelerate innovation in the city and continue to stimulate the local economy. The Middle Eastern entrepreneurship community has long experienced a lack of cohesion, and few initiatives have successfully addressed this issue. Most solutions involve physical locations where meetings can take place, but DubaiStartupHub makes it even easier to connect with other innovators by offering a digital space for collaboration.
As a product of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and IBM, DubaiStartupHub is a great example of how public and private interests can work together to create environments that are more conducive to entrepreneurial success. In addition to the search portal, local startups can use DubaiStartupHub to access the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program, which features development tools and other cloud resources available through IBM Cloud, as well as direct mentorship and support.
The Benefits of DubaiStartupHub for Dubai Entrepreneurs
Through the DubaiStartupHub, users can instantly learn about new job opportunities as they become available, as well as general technology news concerning local startups. The service is a great way for individuals to keep their finger on the pulse of the ecosystem and learn about new chances for networking. Entrepreneurs can use the network to connect with other highly motivated people and find the best employees for their companies.
Visitors can search for area events and sign up for them directly on the website, which also contains information about formal and informal meetups, as well as classes. A digital map of all startups operating in Dubai also helps people learn about new office locations and potential workspaces.
DubaiStartupHub features a section for breaking news stories and archives all information so that users can easily search for past events or find information about current entrepreneurs and investors through the portal. Over time, as the IBM Cloud becomes even more robust, the site could also incorporate new features to make the site an even better resource for entrepreneurs, whether they are already involved with the Dubai startup ecosystem or have yet to decide whether they want to start or expand a business in the area.
The new network provides a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to market their businesses to investors, potential employees, and even customers. For example, the DubaiStartupHub Facebook page features a look at some of the interesting startups in Dubai. Recently, the site highlighted el Grocer, a new app that allows individuals to shop for groceries from home and have them delivered right to their doorstep. The site also facilitates important conversations about issues that impact all Dubai entrepreneurs, such as lending practices among Emirati banks that offer business loans.
Individuals interested in DubaiStartupHub can visit DubaiStartupHub.ae to begin using its search portal to look for area events or explore the real-time map of current area startups. People can also connect to DubaiStartupHub on Facebook and through other social media sites to take full advantage of the network.
Other Dubai Chamber of Commerce Programs
Last year, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce undertook a comprehensive initiative called Dubai Smart City to support entrepreneurship and business development in the city. DubaiStartupHub is only one of the many programs that have grown out of this initiative. Another program that entrepreneurs are already taking advantage of is Tejar Dubai, a development program that helps Emirati entrepreneurs develop their most promising ideas into successful businesses.
Smart Dubai and the chamber also recently collaborated to launch the Dubai Smartpreneur Competition, which had its inaugural season in spring 2016. Local entrepreneurs were able to submit business ideas to the competition provided that they directly related to the goals of Dubai Smart City. These goals include establishing a more robust economy, providing opportunities for more efficiency living, and improving local transportation. The initiative also focuses on developing its local employee pool, protecting the local environment, and strengthening local governance.
The three winners that will emerge from the program will receive a cash prize and have the chance to participate in Tejar Dubai to make their ideas a reality. This sort of competition makes great strides toward bringing entrepreneurship into the public discourse and clearly demonstrating the potential of startups to change fundamentally the experience of living in the Middle East.