UAE start-ups beat off international competition winning $20,000 each and entering Afkar.me’s first intake
Afkar.me the region’s first full spectrum digital oriented start-up incubator run by Intigral, has today announced the start-ups that will benefit from the scheme’s first intake and three month incubation. The three teams; Thecurve-me, Bite Sized and TheDressRoom.com were selected from a group of 10 shortlisted entrants following a two day boot camp in Dubai last weekend. The boot camp involved mentoring and development of the hopeful’s ideas, business cases and pitches from Afkar.me’s partners, and finished with a series of elevator pitches to the judging panel.
Juan Jose Del La Torre (J.J.), VP of Digital at Intigral and lead judge commented, “We were very pleased with the overall quality of entries for Afkar.me’s first intake. It was not easy to pick just three from the final 10 shortlisted start-ups, but we are confident that each idea will not only positively benefit from both the cash injection and incubation at our offices, but bring a true market led innovation to the region benefiting the wider digital ecosystem.”
Sitting on the judging panel with J.J. were: Alexander-Matthews Williams, Director of Strategy at DubaiSME and Yousef Tuqan, Chief innovation officer at Leo Bernett MENA.
Stage of development: Idea
An e-commerce idea offering customers a simple way to subscribe to fun and interesting healthy snack boxes. The idea fulfils a need in the MENA region to provide snack alternatives that promote and support a healthy lifestyle
We see strong growth potential in the health food market, and Bite Sized has a good idea with a passionate team. We believe Afkar.me can turn Bite Sized’s concept into a reality supporting everything from business planning, monetization and brand development to create a go to market solution.
Stage of development: Established, ready for growth
An e-Commerce solution to provide an extensive online selection of designer evening gowns and dresses ladies based in MENA.
Judges’ comments: TheDressRoom.com is on the frontier of e-commerce in the region. There is a definite need for this type of service and product in the GCC, especially KSA. The concept is already proven with some good results, and we believe this company has great growth potential.
Stage of development: Proof of concept
An online platform allowing consumers to explore new hobbies in an easy and efficient way. Connecting people seeking new experiences, culture or learning with providers.
Judges’ comments: E-learning is an identified growth sector globally and in the MENA region. TheCurve-me is at proof of concept stage, with incredible potential to really take leadership in adult learning.
AFKAR.me sits at the core of Intigral’s commitment to grow the region’s digital ecosystem and is open to applications both from the region and globally, the initiative offers anyone with a great idea the unique opportunity to receive support from Intigral’s expertise, and an unparalleled access to the Middle East market.
The six vital areas of support that will be provided for winning entrepreneurs and start-ups to turn their ideas into valuable products are:
1. A seed fund of 20,000 USD per team
2. Dedicated Intigral management support as well as external mentor support to guide the team through every step of the process
3. Free office space at Intigral’s Dubai and Riyadh offices
4. Advice and support from experts in the field – both within Intigral and with partners including
a. Product development
c. Marketing & PR
d. Business development
e. Legal support
5. Access to MENA market with a special focus on KSA
6. A fun and creative experience surrounded by talented people