startAD, the Abu Dhabi based global accelerator powered by Tamkeen and anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED), has opened applications for Ibtikari 5.0. It is an intensive five-month incubation programme aimed at helping UAE nationals advance their technology start-ups. The deadline to apply is September 5, 2019.
The programme will commence on September 22, 2019 and conclude during UAE Innovation Month in February 2020. Six finalists will receive grants from KFED worth AED10,000, whereas one team will win a grant of AED25,000. Start-ups will also potentially be considered for further funding by KFED and startAD.
To qualify, start-ups must be technology-enabled and have early traction in the market with existing customers, pilot projects or partnerships with stakeholders. In addition, the founding team should have at least one UAE national and a minimum of two fully committed team members.
Ibtikari will train participants to scale their businesses, secure pilot projects with local corporations and become investment-ready. The programme will include a five-day bootcamp in September and a two-day bootcamp in November.
Six out of the twelve teams will then be accepted into the incubation programme, which will comprise a series of customised training sessions, workshops and one-on-one meetings with Ibtikari mentors. The programme will also facilitate introductions to key corporate partners, prospective clients and experts in the industry locally and globally to help start-ups expand their networks and advance their businesses.
Commenting on the initiatives, Mouza Al Nasri, acting CEO of Khalifa Fund, said, “Ibtikari was launched to foster an entrepreneurial spirit among our nationals, build a thriving entrepreneurial environment in the UAE and fast-track the country’s economic diversification efforts. Since its launch, it has helped nurture the dreams of our many aspiring local entrepreneurs and has paved the way for the enhancement of various innovative business projects. We are proud of the past accomplishments of Ibtikari, and we hope to continue its outstanding success this year. With excitement, we look forward to meeting our next batch of participants and hearing how their contemporary business ideas can bolster the nation’s socio-economic development in today’s digital age.”
“Nations that nurture a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship have seen a rapid growth in job creation, technological advancement and wealth. We have designed Ibtikari to support Emirati entrepreneurs to launch and scale businesses that will have local and global impact. Successful technology start-ups founded by UAE nationals will help accelerate the growth of the economy into an entrepreneurial one and strengthen the UAE’s role in the future of the global economy,” added Ramesh Jagannathan, vice provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at NYUAD and managing director of startAD.