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, an intensive five-month incubation program aimed at helping UAE nationals advance their tech startups. Registration is available here and the deadline to apply is September 5, 2019.
The program will commence on September 22, 2019 and conclude during UAE Innovation Month in February 2020. Six finalists will receive grants from KFED worth AED 10,000, whereas one team will win a grant of AED 25,000. Startups will also potentially be considered for further funding by KFED and startAD.
To qualify, startups 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 program 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 program, which will comprise a series of customized training sessions, workshops, and one-on-one meetings with Ibtikari mentors. The program will also facilitate introductions to key corporate partners, prospective clients, and experts in the industry locally and globally to help startups expand their networks and advance their businesses.
Acting Chief Executive Officer at Khalifa Fund Mouza Al Nasri 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.”
Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at NYUAD and Managing Director of startAD Ramesh Jagannathan commented: “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 startups 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.”
Ibtikari received over a hundred applications last year; notable alumni include Malena App, DirectSchool, Homz, and Meet the Locals.