Dubai Next, a government-backed digital crowdfunding platform for entrepreneurs and start-ups, has 82 campaigns running that involve 2,044 applicants and 750 contributors, with strong interest in its first year of operation.
Dubai Next, launched in May 2021, is managed by the Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for Small and Medium Enterprise Development (Dubai SME), an agency of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET).
During its first year, the platform enabled 17 start-ups from across very different sectors to raise the funds they required, DET said in a statement on Wednesday.
Anyone, including school pupils as young as 12, can pitch their ideas on Dubai Next and run a fund-raising campaign.
“Dubai Next has provided a competitive and convenient solution to the funding challenges faced by those seeking to transform their ideas into viable projects,” Abdul Al Janahi, chief executive of Dubai SME, said.
“It’s not only a valuable addition to the business start-up ecosystem in Dubai but also a critical enabler of the emirate’s strategy to be a global hub of entrepreneurship and a digital economy,” Mr Al Janahi said.
Dubai is home to a number of global tech start-ups drawn to its business friendly legislations.
Campaigns currently on the platform are being run by businesses, investors and campaign owners’ friends and family, DET said.
They cover sectors including technology, education, health, food, sports, fashion, art, tourism, gaming and publishing.
Campaign owners include citizens of the UAE, the US, Canada, Egypt, India, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia and Grenada.
Dubai Next is also working on a new Project Startup initiative to equip its target audience with the necessary entrepreneurial skills through a mix of services, such as training, mentorship and licensing.
The programme is designed to assist companies in gaining momentum and accelerating their growth, the statement said.
The platform is also seeking to reach nearly 10,000 students through capacity development programmes — including training workshops, consultations and project financing — under its 2022-2024 road map.
Projects it has supported so far include Sustainable Builder, a mobile app idea for managing construction waste that was developed by a group of students at UAE University, and Ubuntu, a platform developed by pupils at the Gems Modern Academy Dubai that is designed to reduce food waste.
“Dubai Next offered me the platform to present my project to my family, investors and the community, attracting those interested,” said Ghaith Al Bustanli, founder of energy technology start-up Solaris Solutions.