. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Entrepreneurs from across the country can pitch for business start-up support worth Dh100,000, a UAE trade licence and a number of other business set-up benefits from Startup X Accelerator programme from Creative Zone. Four start-ups will be fully accelerated in the first year of the programme.

The contest is spread over three stages, beginning with a one-minute pitch video summarising the business concept and the entrepreneur behind it. Ten entries will be shortlisted against criteria such as feasibility, pitch delivery, financial viability, scalability, and sustainability. Candidates who want to continue will be invited to a formal Startup X Demo Day event, where they must present their business plan to and field questions from a jury of UAE business leaders.

What’s the prize?

The four best business plans will be offered a bundle of business set-up and support services worth Dh100,000.

Winners will receive a year’s free trade licence and company set-up advice from Creative Zone, a year-long mentoring programme with workshops, seminars and dedicated coaches, a year’s office space at My Office, free banking, tax and accounting advice, discounted insurance coverage for the winner, digital marketing and human resources support, as well as $1,800 (Dh6,610) wallet credits from online office suite Zoho CRM.

The primary value to the entrepreneur is derived from the mentoring, connections, and the recognition of being chosen to be a part of the accelerator, a spokesperson of Creative Zone told Gulf News.

Who can apply?

Anyone can apply to the contest. In particular, contest organisers want to see applications from aspiring founders with great business ideas that can make an impact, those who want help with complex business set-up procedures, and entrepreneurs looking for coaching, mentoring or access to investors and funding institutes to take their business to the next level.

The jury features several prominent business leaders from across the UAE, including Muhamed Al Banna, Group CEO and Managing Director, Lead Ventures, Lorenzo Jooris, CEO of Creative Zone, Nadine Halabi, Business Development Manager at Dubai Business Women Council, Reg Athwal, Founder, Chairman and MD of RTS Global, Spencer Lodge, Founder, Make It Happen University, and Andreea Danila, Founding General Partner of Global Millennial Capital.

Supporting partners include the Dubai Business Women Council, Microsoft, Capital Club Dubai, Global Millennial Capital as well as several financial institutions and universities.

Support for start-ups

Startup X is part of a series of initiatives aimed at strengthening the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Creative Zone team
Meet the team at Creative Zone Image Credit: Supplied

Previous Creative Zone efforts include SheLeads, a women-centric 12-week-long accelerator programme that supported over 350 women entrepreneurs over the course of the pandemic.

The success of SheLeads prompted the launch of Startup X, in order to take Creative Zone’s accelerator’s initiatives to the next level, the spokesperson said.

Over the last 10 years, some 44,000 entrepreneurs have set up and scaled their business at Creative Zone. The company was founded in 2010 to serve as a one-stop shop for company founders. It offers a plug-and-play set of solutions that include company registration with flexible payment plans and value-added services to help SMEs sustain and grow their businesses.