DUBAI-Dubai SME, the agency of the Department for Economic Development in Dubai mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ‘Oasis 500,’ the Entrepreneurial and Investment Projects Company of Jordan, to identify and foster SMEs capable of driving innovation and enhancing Dubai’s profile ahead of the Expo 2020.
Amman-based Oasis 500 anchored by the King Abdullah II Fund for Development focuses on investments and acceleration programmes for technology-based start-ups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, providing them with training, coaching and mentorship.
The MoU will see Dubai SME and OASIS500 combining their respective resources to invest in 500 companies by 2018 with additional capital, mentoring and incubation provided for the next 24 months leading to Expo 2020.
A major enabler of the joint initiative will be the Business Incubation Centre of Dubai SME, which has substantial expertise in guiding start-ups through their early stages till they evolve into full-fledged businesses. OASIS500 on its part is a leading technology accelerator in the region with a vast mentor network and access to seed as well as follow-on investment capital.
Abdul Baset Al Janahi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai SME commented: “Since its inception in 2002 the Business Incubation Centre at Dubai SME has assisted a number of entrepreneurs in translating their business ideas into viable enterprises. Today the Centre has vast resources and competencies, which entrepreneurs and SMEs in the region can leverage for growth.”
Al Janahi added that Dubai hosting the Expo 2020 is a valuable opportunity for entrepreneurs across the region from across the world to showcase their capabilities on a global stage. “Dubai and the UAE are unique examples of SME-driven economic dynamism and innovation. The Expo 2020 will be a unique opportunity to demonstrate these strengths before a global audience and we are delighted to partner with SME enablers elsewhere towards this end.”
The business ideas chosen under the MoU will be developed and implemented with assistance from the ‘Idea Lab’ of Dubai SME. The Idea Lab helps supports new business ideas to navigate the early stages for three years, till it reaches the customer acquisition phase and breaks even.
Yousef Hamidaddin, Oasis500 CEO commented “Glad to announce the partnership of Oasis 500 and Dubai SME with the event Expo 2020 to be held in Dubai. This partnership places our accelerator within an accelerator Expo 2020 is a valuable opportunity for Entrepreneurs in the Middle East not only to expose their innovative and novel ideas, yet to find themselves supported by two key catalysts that in themselves are accelerators – the city of Dubai, & Expo 2020. Our combined approach will create global winners. Oasis 500 and Dubai SME will jointly work to provide ideas, and the people behind them seed level investments, strategic input on to how to grow, and a global eco system to make their journey exciting with a network of mentors, investors and incubation, to support the objectives of their partnership, which will aid and prepare them before entering the global market scale”
Dubai SME and OASIS500 will form a joint management committee to oversee the implementation of their MoU. Both the organisations will also provide each other with access to their network of mentors, investors and incubation to support the objectives of their partnership.