Chalhoub Group launches The Greenhouse

RetailME Bureau

Middle East’s luxury retailer, Chalhoub Group is a third of the way through its 900-day timeline set to implement the digital and cultural transformation across the Group. The core elements of the Group’s transformation are the Greenhouse accelerator programme and ‘Ibtikar’, the internal incubator.

The Greenhouse is a unique retail tech-accelerator programme focused on accelerating technology-driven solutions catered towards fast growing retail start-ups. The Greenhouse welcomed the first cohort of start-ups at the end of September. Each of the five selected start-ups – StoreDNA, SizeMe, Phygitalmind, EuroPass and Brandquad – received a $20,000 grant for a three-month, equity-free accelerator programme, offering them market access and retail expertise through the Group’s partnerships with over 300 brands, more than 600 retail outlets and in-depth regional coverage of 14 countries.

Ibtikar, Chalhoub Group’s internal incubator under the Greenhouse offers an opportunity to any employee to lead and develop a business idea related to the Group’s North Star Vision. Ibtikar is already into its second group of intrapreneurs. Through dedicated time and funding to test and prove their ideas, tailored training programmes and mentorship, Chalhoub employees are encouraged to adopt more agile ways of working.

The Greenhouse is located in Dubai Design District (d3), which forms part of the Group’s investment into the d3 community with its unique position in the heart of Dubai. The Greenhouse opened a dedicated workspace for start-ups of the accelerator programme and Ibtikar in October – alongside a dynamic and rigorous events programme. The events will feature founder stories, workshops, hackathons and training sessions for Chalhoub team members and selected partners across the community. Through the exposure and interaction with start-ups, this entrepreneurial culture will infuse beyond The Greenhouse, accelerating the Group’s digital and cultural transformation.

“The Greenhouse will be a tangible element of the transformation; embodying principles of starting small, failing fast or scaling fast. It will also help us stay on top of all the latest retail-tech trends, positioning the Group as a magnet for innovative start-ups as well as attracting high potential talent,” says Dina Sidani, head of The Greenhouse.

“At Chalhoub Group, we consider start-ups as our allies and we want to offer them a working space, mentorship and a ground to scale-up their ideas. The Greenhouse is a unique opportunity for tech companies and start-ups from all over the world to implement and test their solutions with the leading retailer of luxury in the Middle East. I am a strong believer that it’s our responsibility to support the next generation of entrepreneurs, to help them succeed and contribute to the economy. The Greenhouse is an exceptional programme to accelerate the right solutions in building a future proof Group,” adds Patrick Chalhoub, co-CEO of Chalhoub Group.

The incoming cohort of start-ups will be working closely with brands and business units to enhance the in-store experience, optimising backend operations and improving in-store analytics with real-time performance.