How Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi is stoking creativity in the UAE

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Select mentors featured as part of Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi's intensive program.

The newly launched Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi, helmed by Managing Director (and Wamda alumna) Nina Curley, will be welcoming applicants to its first batch for another 10 days. The new deadline for Batch 1 at the digital-focused accelerator, with a particular emphasis on media startups, is January 29th.

Applicants, who so far represent the UAE and the Arab region, as well as India, Pakistan, Eastern Europe, East Africa, Russia, will benefit from the three main things which Curley says set Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi apart from other regional accelerators. These are:

1)   Its network, especially the group of over 80 mentors that Curley and her team has assembled. “I’m excited about all our mentors,” says the managing director.

2)   The Flat6Labs collective experience running regional accelerators – there are also Flat6Labs accelerators in Jeddah and Cairo – and a “focused bootcamp that cultivates a data-focused mindset,” says Curley.

3)   The startup friendly culture of both the accelerator and Abu Dhabi in general. Among other concessions, the emirate recently launched a special entrepreneur visa, whereby foreigners looking to start businesses can do so without the expense of physical office space.

In the few months since launch, the international entrepreneurship community, and the Abu Dhabi and Emirati communities, have come together to welcome and help the fledgling accelerator get its wings. “The response from the community has been amazing,” says Curley. “People have come forward from all sectors to offer help in a variety of ways.” These include mentors, leading entrepreneurs and investors, and international media tech startup experts.

The accelerator will bend the talents of these luminaries to the task of providing intensive program for its startups of testing and validating ideas. “I think the startups in the UAE could use more support with the customer validation process,” says Curley. “We’re working to provide the framework for them to test and validate their ideas.”

“I think there’s a lot of latent creativity in the UAE; a lot of people are testing ideas alongside their jobs who are in the position to solve local and regional problems,” says the MD.

“It’s a unique time in the UAE. There’s a lot of energy in Abu Dhabi, and we look forward to translating that into companies.”

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