In the spirit of giving and on the Year of Zayed, Entrepreneurs join hands to launch StartUPSchool.me the region’s first free incubator!
Platform helps fellow entrepreneurs turn powerful new ideas into market successes
“The best way to celebrate the Year of Zayed would be by spreading Zayed’s glorious human and cultural legacy via all the people of the UAE, to continue his inspirational and noble values, and introduce these ideals to new generations.” – Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
A collective of UAE entrepreneurs has launched StartUpSchool.me, a free incubation initiative that gives back to the community by helping entrepreneurs fast-track new ideas into business success. The platform supports the UAE’s startup ecosystem by making it easier for people to tap into expertise, capital and mentorship to launch their own ventures.
StartUpSchool.me is the brainchild of successful entrepreneurs, business leaders and thinkers with an established track record of success. The founding team includes fashion designer and entrepreneur H.E. Sara Al-Madani; entrepreneur and CEO/co-founder of SellAnyHome.com Omar Chihane, Paz Marketing founder and CEO Zeina Akkawi; speaker, author and thinker Omar Al Busaidi; MENA Speakers founder Saana Azzam; and the CFO and co-founder of Binghatti Holdings Ahmed Binghatti.
“Given the UAE’s emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurial culture, and the importance of SMEs to the nation’s economy, StartUpSchool.me wants to help boost the creation of successful new businesses. The idea is to create a free yet powerful platform where entrepreneurs, or anyone with a good idea, can tap the expertise and connections of industry leaders with proven track records. We believe that doing good is good for business and are keen to give back to the community that’s given so much to us” said Omar Chihane, Co-Founder and Mentor at StartUpSchool.me
The incubator and mentorship platform operates a three-step model of Selection, Incubation and Exposure.
The selection phase is simple:
1- Aspiring UAE based entrepreneurs submit their business idea to StartupSchool.me for initial screening
2- Successful ideas get to participate in a 2-day hackathon whereby they receive on-site coaching pending a final presentation
3- 3 winning ideas will be selected to enter the incubation phase which is expected to last between 3-6 months.
During the Incubation phase mentors will help refine strategy, help move the idea along to execution, and deliver workspaces and legal framework for entrepreneurs to operate.
Finally, the Exposure phase amplifies the new business by creating brand awareness across social and media channels, and conducting outreach towards investors, partners and suppliers. The best part is that StartUpSchool.me will not charge for its services directly or by way of equity. It’s absolutely free for anyone interested!
“We are very excited about StartUpSchool.me! The idea is to create a free and inclusive space where anyone, irrespective of age, will find support in taking good ideas to market success. We want to inspire people to start a company as a way of positively impacting the world, and build a community of entrepreneurs who can support and encourage each other,” said Zeina Akkawi, Co-Founder and Mentor at StartUpSchool.me
StartUpSchool.me will formally launch its first pitching round on June 21 & 22 at the Youth Hub; located at Emirates Towers Hotel Boulevard; an event that is expected to draw a fair bit of attention from aspiring entrepreneurs.
“We realise that the best ideas still need a little bit of luck and momentum. But there are some things an entrepreneur can do to maximise their chances of success. First, it’s a good idea to not just understand the UAE’s vision for the future but to try and align with it, and participate in making it happen. Blueprints such as the UAE Vision 2021, Dubai Plan 2021 and Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 serve as a guiding principle for upcoming polices and can offer massive opportunities for up and coming entrepreneurs. Second, always localise by tailoring your idea to accommodate the unique cultural, linguistic and market nuances of the UAE. Localised ideas resonate more, and gain traction faster,” said Her Excellency Sara al Madani – Co-Founder and Mentor at StartUPSchool.