American University Dubai
American University Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai Economy mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, in association with the American University in Dubai (AUD), has added a new business incubator to its expanding network of certified business incubators and accelerators. The new incubator at AUD embodies the vision laid down in the 50 Year Charter of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to establish free economic and creative zones across universities in Dubai, to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among students.

Dubai SME launched the initiative to accredit business incubators and accelerators to promote a stimulating environment for creative entrepreneurs and ensure the required support for then to turn their innovative ideas into pioneering projects. The university incubators provide an educational environment that incubate ideas and instill competencies that will contribute to successful project management and growth in industries and vital sectors in the UAE.

“Business incubators in universities will strengthen youth orientation towards entrepreneurship and support them in launching entrepreneurial projects in varied sectors,” said Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME. “Eventually, these incubators will produce a generation well aware of the techniques and tools needed for the sustainable development process in the UAE and the future economy in Dubai.”

“Such initiatives are critical to enabling younger generations and entrepreneurs to achieve professional competencies and emerge as business leaders of the future.”

Business incubators in Dubai

The certified incubator in AUD joins similar facilities launched earlier in the Higher Colleges of Technology and the Amity University in Dubai and these incubators serve a number of specialized sectors, including digital technology and robotics, design, and innovations in sustainability of energy, water, building materials, transportation and waste treatment. Specialised business incubators are being certified in schools in Dubai too.

The business incubators in universities will focus on the best practices followed globally to encourage the spirit of innovation while students can benefit from varied facilities including common work spaces and incentives to launch their projects.

Dubai SME is not only authorised to accredit business incubators and accelerators in Dubai but also plays a major role in streamlining the functions of incubators and accelerators invested in fourth generation technologies. Al Janahi said “Dubai SME, with its vast experience in various disciplines of entrepreneurship development, is confident that the accreditation programme will provide students with the best tools to develop their projects.”

Dr. David A. Schmidt, President of The American University in Dubai, said: "By incubating these projects and providing the appropriate environment, we ensure the building of a new generation of creative graduates who are cognitively and innovatively qualified to create and anticipate the future. We are graduating entrepreneurs and knowledge ambassadors instead of just job seekers.”

Dubai Business Incubator Network

Dubai SME has also established a Business Incubator Network (DBIN) of its accredited business incubators and accelerators, which provides varied services, membership packages, workshops, training courses, and co-working spaces at competitive prices for entrepreneurs, in addition to a number of packages and services that emerging projects need during the various stages of their life cycle. DBIN will act as a reference and catalyst for business incubation programmes in the country, as well as motivate and support the private sector to invest in business incubators and accelerators.