innovaMENA was responsible for creating the first 6 Emirate space-tech startups with the UAE Space Agency. Anas Zeineddine, Founder and Mohamed Zainal, Managing Director, share an overview of how innovaMENA supports entrepreneurs across their journey.
innovaMENA is a UAE-based innovation enabler that aims to unleash the potential of MENA’s entrepreneurs and startups to create a better future for the next generations. It supports startups in meeting global challenges by providing tailor-made programs for every stage of the entrepreneurial journey, in addition to access to funding and innovaMENA’s ever-growing network.
Although innovaMENA was only recently launched, the team has been working in the UAE innovation ecosystem for over 5 years, and incubated many local and international startups. It created the first 6 Emirate space-tech startups with the UAE Space Agency and completed a 3-year global drone challenge culminating in drones developing commercial technology that was non-existent in the commercial market. It has brought international EdTech startups and supported them in their setup in the UAE and in receiving various funding and grants.
innovaMENA offers business incubation and acceleration programs; startup competitions and challenges; soft-landing programs; corporate innovation programs; startup ecosystem development programs; and entrepreneurship training programs.
innovaMENA provides innovation and entrepreneurship awareness and programs to local universities and governmental entities, empowering over 1000 university students through entrepreneurship awareness training since its start. It also helps governments and corporations to build sustainable startup ecosystems that accelerate the growth of their economies.
The Abu Dhabi ecosystem is still considered in its early stages, although it has accelerated its growth and is maturing extensively over the past few years thanks to strong governmental initiatives aiming to transform Abu Dhabi into a global innovation hub.
innovaMENA has contributed to this ecosystem growth primarily through its:
Entrepreneurs should mainly focus on how they can capitalize on what the Abu Dhabi innovation ecosystem has to offer (innovation programs, access to capital and funding, use of co-work spaces, partnerships with other startups and local entities). Over the coming years, we expect there will be more international startups that can conduct R&D in Abu Dhabi as there are appropriate initiatives on offer, so that startups can actually do their work here as opposed to only having a minimal presence.