Entrepreneur Diaries: six incubators for tech start-ups
American entrepreneur Tamara Clarke compiles a list of the region’s leading incubators
August 29, 2013 5:05 by kippreport
Sometimes execution is the only difference between a good idea and a great one. Entrepreneurs, particularly those in tech, should consider using an incubator to get their businesses flying in the right direction.
Incubators are programmes designed to support the development of entrepreneurial businesses. With a growing emphasis being placed on technological advancements throughout the Mena region, incubators have become an important part of the tech start-up scene, providing entrepreneurs with mentorship, networking opportunities, access to capital and a variety of other benefits.
However, not all incubators are created equal; business models differ and so do the perks of being accepted, so choosing one requires research and an understanding of your particular business needs.
If you want to apply for an incubator, but don’t know where to start, I’ve compiled the following list of the region’s leading incubators to help you decide.
Flat6Labs provides seed funding, strategic mentorship, a creative workspace, various perks, entrepreneurship-focused business training and direct support for start-ups through an expansive network of partner entities, mentors and investors.
Model: Y-Combinator based/Invests US$10-15K in seed funding in every start-up selected in exchange for minor equity in the company (usually around 10 to 15 per cent).
Locations: Cairo, Egypt and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Oasis500 is a leading early stage and seed investment company, the first of its kind in Jordan and the Mena region. The programme includes entrepreneurship training, mentorship guidance, business incubation and additional follow-up investment and funding if required. It turns new business ideas into start-ups and helps existing entrepreneurs grow their companies through their angel investor and mentor networks.
It focuses on creative ideas in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), mobile and digital media, transforming them into start-up companies.
Model: After completing an intense boot camp, start-ups can pitch for initial seed investment of US$31K (JD 22k). Once selected, Oasis500 is then a 20 per cent shareholder. Incubation period is from three to six months. Within that period start-ups have the opportunity for an additional round of funding.
Locations: Amman, Jordan
Model: Provides access to state-of-the-art facilities, set-up support (including licenses, visas and office space), mentoring, training, networking opportunities and access to funding. Applicants are encouraged to register on an individual or company basis, a committee made up of industry experts will then assess their eligibility for inclusion in the three-month programme. Selected start-ups are required to be based in Dubai and will be provided with the legal framework for company incorporation and visas. The hub is open to entrepreneurs of all nationalities wishing to start-up in the areas of ICT, mobile and digital media.
Locations: Dubai, UAE
BerryTech is the first technological pole in Lebanon to provide an environment conducive to the creation and development of start-ups, through incubation, business support, counseling, funding, networking and company hosting.
Model: Allows project holders and young start-ups to benefit from business counseling while being physically hosted on the premises. Start-ups work closely with a mentor for the duration of their incubation period, throughout which they will benefit from management and budget follow up.
Locations: Beirut, Lebanon
Tenmou is Bahrain’s first Business Angels Company, which provides both mentorship and capital to high-potential, innovative Bahraini entrepreneurs from the seed stage. Through the support and mentorship provided by angel shareholders new entrepreneurs are given the greatest chance of success.
Model: Looks for innovative companies with high growth potential. Programme lasts three months. Entrepreneurs must have vision and the ability to scale products beyond Bahrain. Prefers companies comprising two to four people, but will consider those with more partners. On average, it funds projects with approximately US$53,000 (BD 20K). Some companies may be eligible for additional rounds of funding.
SeedStartup is an international accelerator and seed venture fund with global focus and an emphasis on diversity.
Model: Invests in web and mobile projects. Accelerated venture development in a structured three-month mentorship programme. Ten top tier mentors, investors and domain experts per project. US$20-25K investment (US$20K if the team consists of 2 co-founders, US$25 if three or more co-founders) for ten per cent stake and access to follow-on funding.
Tamara Clarke is an American inventor and entrepreneur enjoying life in the UAE. One of her recent projects include The Global Gazette, a blog covering expat life and tech in the MENA region. In her spare time Tamara codes the Peeker app. You can follow her tweets at @GlobalGazette.