The Co- Dubai – an incubator and co-working space certified by Dubai SME – has launched the Retail Accelerator Programme, an affordable programme that reduces barriers for retail and e-commerce entrepreneurs through a shared trade licence, payment gateway set-up and ongoing mentoring.
Despite continued growth on the horizon, barriers still exist for aspiring retail and e-commerce entrepreneurs. Commenting on how The Co- Dubai seeks to address this issue, Shahzad Bhatti, founder and owner of The Co- Dubai said, “The strategy is sure to boost the sector as a whole, and in particular medium to large-sized firms. Small and micro-sized retail and e-commerce businesses, however, still need a lot of support navigating the establishment process and getting to a point where they can trade; this is where the Retail Accelerator Programme comes in.”
The new programme allows entrepreneurs to test products and commence trading online or offline with a low commitment owing to a shared general trade licence. Among other benefits, the programme offers an online payment gateway to connect with retailers’ websites, access to The Co- Dubai’s Downtown coworking space, monthly mentoring, access to educational programmes and advice on building an online store.
“A trade licence is a significant investment for a micro-entrepreneur or a small business that has yet to or does not want to seek funding,” added Bhatti. “The Retail Accelerator Programme not only gives retail and e-commerce entrepreneurs the framework to operate, but also mentoring and guidance in other matters across technology, legal and marketing aspects. Entrepreneurs under the programme are also able to test out their concepts and products with a relatively low risk before they invest further or seek funding.”
To ensure the success of businesses enrolled in the programme, a limited number of placements are available monthly. Those currently enrolled represent a variety of new retail and e-commerce concepts representing fashion, floral, gifts and eco-friendly categories. Currently the concepts include fashion brand Tanga; floral brand Boho Rose; party e-tailer Fab-Rika; and eco-friendly product portal TurtleFeet.