As part of their mission to turn Abu Dhabi into a world class tourist destination and global innovation hub, four leading organisations Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company (ADNEC), Etihad Aviation Group, Miral and The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi - have come together to launch FIKRA Labs, a three –month startup accelerator and equity investment programme.Fikra, which means idea in Arabic, focuses on driving innovation and fostering entrepreneurship in the Abu Dhabi travel and tourism sector, and will invite startups from across the MENA region to tackle specific challenges set by the aforementioned partners.
The programme’s one month application process begins in February 2018, during which time interested startups have the opportunity to apply by completing an online application, in which they provide details on the challenge they want to solve, their proposed solution and its potential value, key milestones etc.
The acceleration programme then follows a series of subsequent stages, the first of which is application shortlisting, during which time a screening and selection committee will review the submitted applications, conduct applicant interviews and, based on key metrics and criteria, eventually select 32 startups that will join a mini-bootcamp.
During this two-day bootcamp, intensive workshops will help participants to develop their business ideas in preparation for pitching to a Jury Committee, who will select 12 finalists to take part in a 4 week acceleration programme in Abu Dhabi.
During this acceleration phase, startups will be mentored on their ideas, refine their business plans, and develop prototypes in partnership with industry experts. Finally, a jury will select four startups – one for each organisation - as the winners, who will then go on to work directly with their partner organisation, with the potential of securing US$ 100,000 equity investment.
Looking long term, Fikra Labs’ broader goal is to graduate a new generation of startups, and help develop a sustainable innovation ecosystem in the Abu Dhabi leisure, entertainment and tourism space. Such programmes help to encourage and support future entrepreneurs in the making of a new smart city, offering better experiences to its guests and citizens.
The video above was taken during a press conference announcing the launch of Fikra Labs. The event was held in Manarit Al Saadiyat on February 5.
Startups interested in participating in the Fikra Labs acceleration programme can access the online application here before March 5th, 2018.