Located adjacent to the entrepreneurial hotbed of Dubai, Sharjah is in the midst of its own startup spring. This city, which is the third-largest in the UAE, was once primarily known for its arts and culture scene. However, the recent launch of programs such as UAE Innovation Month and the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (also known as Sheraa) has made entrepreneurship a part of Sharjah’s international reputation as well.
Fueling the growth of this environment are the numerous startups that call Sharjah home. From Arab-centric e-commerce sites to food services companies, here are a few Sharjah-based startups that you should keep on your radar:
For patients, managing prescriptions can be a hassle. Between picking them up from the pharmacy and remembering exactly when to take them, it is not always easy to follow every step of this process. To address these issues, the team behind My Prescriptor has developed an innovative mobile application that helps users manage their prescription medications.
Using My Prescriptor, patients can organize all of their medications with a press of a button. By entering the information about their prescriptions, they can ensure that they are taking the right dosages of the correct pills. Moreover, My Prescriptor allows them to schedule reminders so that they never miss a dose. The app can even notify patients’ family members if they fail to take their medications.
To make prescription management even easier for users, My Prescriptor allows patients to photograph their medications and upload the images to the app. The startup then facilitates a delivery system through which users can automatically order refills before they run out.
In recent years, Western attire has spread throughout the Middle East. In response to this growing trend, entrepreneur Ghizlan Guenez established The Modist to provide fashionable, yet modest clothing options for women who prefer to dress this way. A pioneering e-commerce retailer, the startup offers luxury fashion brands in a variety of styles and publishes an online magazine that features beautiful photography, interviews with designers and prominent figures, and other content to inspire readers.
The Modist sources items from dozens of local and international designers. From clothing and shoes to bags and jewelry, the startup curates a diverse inventory of stylish, fashion-forward products. With offices in both the UAE and the United Kingdom, The Modist serves customers in more than 100 countries.
Seeking to provide an alternative to junk food, the team at Slices delivers healthier food options to schoolchildren in the UAE. Looking to encourage young children to eat nutritious food, the startup operates an innovative food program at local schools. Each day, Slices sends chefs to the schools, where they prepare meals for students in on-campus kitchens. In the development of its recipes, the startup works with a pediatric nutrition expert to ensure that the children receive the nourishment they need.
Outside of its catering program, Slices also runs an initiative through which it teaches schoolchildren about nutrition. Students take visits to local farms to learn about agriculture and how their food is produced. Slices also teaches parents how to encourage good eating habits at home.
StolenAndFound is the first website of its kind to help users put an end to theft and fraud in their communities. To this end, the startup has created a worldwide database through which individuals can determine whether the items they are planning to buy online are authentic or stolen. Whether they are looking to buy electronics or a new car, they can verify the purchase against StolenAndFound’s product data.
Not only does the system help prevent additional crimes, but it also helps property owners recover the items they lost. These users can register their valuables, report lost products, and find recovered items directly through the StolenAndFound website.
Meet the Locals
The UAE is renowned for its hospitality, and the team behind the startup Meet the Locals is looking to extend this welcoming spirit to expats and travelers. The startup has enlisted the help of Emirati tour guides and other locals to help expats and visitors better understand the nation’s culture through engaging activities and educational conversation.
During these experiences, visitors have the opportunity to learn about the UAE through all of their five senses. Guides from Meet the Locals take expats out for food tastings, sightseeing excursions, musical performances, and other activities that give them an authentic look at Emirati life.
Meet the Locals allows people to select from a number of pre-arranged activities that will allow them to further connect with local culture. For example, expats and travelers can attend one of the startup’s homemade breakfast experiences at the home of an Emirati resident. After their meal, they might get to explore a nearby souq—a traditional marketplace. Meet the Locals also facilitates lunch activities at traditional Emirati eateries in Dubai.
Expats and visitors can also experience Emirati culture through Meet the Locals’ “Qahwa” (coffee) etiquette sessions. Under the guidance of local hosts, participants review the fascinating history of Arabic coffee and learn how to enjoy it in the traditional Emirati way. In addition, expats and visitors can participate in one of Meet the Locals’ regular Arabic language lessons.
In addition to a wide array of other regular events, Meet the Locals allows individuals to create experiences of their own. These tours allow participants to explore any questions and interests that they may have about the UAE and its rich culture.