Fikra Labs, defined as an Acceleration Programme for entrepreneurs, was launched by a group of key departments and institution in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Believing that R&D can contribute to employment creation, national development, tourist promotion and economic growth, the concept of the Fikra Labs Acceleration Programme is being jointly supported by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, DCT Abu Dhabi, Miral, the Etihad Aviation Group and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, ADNEC, supported by Abu Dhabi Global Market, ADGM, in partnership with Wamda, an entrepreneurship empowerment platform, according to a report in WAM.
According to the report, the thought-process behind the programme being set up was the fact that as countries compete to achieve higher levels of development, all resources need to be effectively utilised. The most important resources will be technology and innovation, which can serve as makers of change in the community and in the country as a whole, reported WAM.
Fikra Labs programme presents a new concept to nurture and incubate start-ups and drive innovation within Abu Dhabi’s travel and tourism sector.
It provides unparalleled mentorship opportunities and the chance to win a potential $100,000 investment along with the opportunity to structure start-up businesses in the capital’s international financial centre, Abu Dhabi Global Market, said the report.
Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, said, “We are excited to identify the best talent who will drive innovation and help further transform Abu Dhabi into the leading global hub for travel and tourism, so that we can continue to provide visitors with the best experiences. The programme reflects the Department’s commitment to supporting the sustainable economic growth of the capital, in line with the government’s vision.”
In his role as Chairman of Miral, Al Mubarak added, “Miral continues to work closely with the different partners and organisations in Abu Dhabi to support the growth of the capital’s tourism sector. As one of the catalysts for Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification, we are very excited to be part of this partnership that will help nurture talent and provide them with the tools and opportunities to build creative and innovative capabilities to establish projects that will benefit the future of the tourism sector in our country.”
Experts in the field believe the initiative will offer entrepreneurs opportunity to build their ideas and receive insightful feedback to help make them a reality.
Ahead of the official launch of the programme, Saif Saeed Ghobash, director general of DCT Abu Dhabi, said to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, that the idea offers a unique platform that “demonstrates how efficiently different state departments in Abu Dhabi are working in unison to harness technological solutions to achieve our national objectives.
He explained that those interested in taking part should apply via the Fikra website before 5th March. “The applications received will go through an initial screening process by the partners’ screening committee. Applicants with the highest scores will be invited to a 30-minute interview to check if they have the required technical and leadership skills, the motivation, the commitment, and the needed resilience to make their start-ups successful. A total of 32 shortlisted start-ups will join a two-day boot camp.”
He added, “This will be designed as an intensive workshop to help participants develop their business idea and become pitch-ready.”
Participants at the boot camp will present their business ideas to the screening committee, which will then select 12 start-ups.
“Three for each challenge, to go through a 4-week acceleration programme to help refine and test their solutions through an extensive programme consisting of workshops, mentorship sessions, prototyping and testing, field visits, subject matter expert discussions and more,” said Ghobash. “Each start-up will pitch their final solutions. A winner for each challenge will be then selected by the relevant partner and will be awarded $100,000.”