Dubai’s Fincasa and IMT Business School join forces to support start-ups

The investment advisory firm will invest in promising ideas of students from the business school

Sayed Varis, chief executive of Fincasa, aims to help in developing scores of start-ups from IMT Business School. Antonie Robertson / The National
Sayed Varis, chief executive of Fincasa, aims to help in developing scores of start-ups from IMT Business School. Antonie Robertson / The National

Fincasa, an investment advisory firm, has teamed up with IMT Business School of Dubai to support start-ups and boost the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the UAE.

Under the agreement, Fincasa will fund business ideas by IMT Business School students and provide mentoring to turn them into successful start-ups. The initiative will “breed new businesses, create employment and help the UAE economy grow”, the entities said in a joint statement on Sunday.

“We get a lot of funding requests … a difficult choice indeed is to select the worthiest ones,” Sayed Varis, chief executive of Fincasa, said.

“If things go as planned, we could see scores of start-ups being created through our collaborative efforts. Instead of becoming job-seekers, we will see IMT Business School produce job-creators through the start-ups.”

Mr Varis did not disclose the amount that Fincasa will invest in the start-ups.

Venture capital investments in early-stage start-ups are growing in Middle East and North Africa as companies tap into post-pandemic opportunities, especially within the technology sector.

Despite the pandemic-related challenges, Mena start-ups secured $1.03 billion in funding last year, up 13 per cent compared to 2019, according to data platform Magnitt.

However, the total deal count was down by 13 per cent to 496 transactions. FinTech and e-commerce retained the top spots by number of deals and together accounted for 24 per cent of all deals, according to Magnitt.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt– the Arab world’s three biggest economies – accounted for 68 per cent of the total deals disclosed last year.

The UAE has introduced various measures, including more business-friendly legislation and attractive visas over the last year to help start-ups.

The Emirates ranked first in the region and fourth globally in the latest Global Entrepreneurship Index, outperforming major global economies such as the US, the UK, Australia, some EU countries, China, Japan and South Korea.

The UAE also placed second in an index of national governments' response to Covid-19 and its impact on the entrepreneurial sector, according to the Ministry of Economy.

“The UAE ecosystem for the start-up has never been better, but you still need the right skills and knowledge to be successful. This collaboration has the potential to revolutionise the start-up scenario in [the] UAE,” Subhajyoti Ray, director of IMT Business School, said.

Established in 2006, IMT Business School offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Business Administration.

Published: May 16, 2021 01:26 PM

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