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Intigral launches incubator for digital start-ups
US$20,000 of seed funding as well as mentorship and support to be offered within the incubation programme.
September 5, 2013 3:37 by kippreport
Digital media solutions provider Intigral has launched a start-up incubator for the MENA region. Afkar.me is open to entrepreneurs – both locally and internationally – with digital product ideas such as apps, content development, websites and e-commerce.
The incubator involves two three-month programmes each at Intigral’s Dubai and Riyadh offices, during which it will provide seed funding of US$20,000, office space as well as mentorship and support to create an environment for entrepreneurs to develop a minimum viable proposition.
Each programme will accommodate three start-ups, and the applications for the first round are open till November 10.
Juan Jose de la Torre, vice president for strategy and corporate development at Intigral, says the company noticed a serious gap in support services provided to entrepreneurs and start-ups. “There were a lot of initiatives running in the Middle East – some governmental initiatives more tailored towards creating a development infrastructure in certain areas, private initiatives more focused on funding, and other private initiatives more focused on mentoring or accelerating. But what was really lacking was a 360 degrees initiative that can cover all the needs that an entrepreneur has at a very early stage of an idea.”
The story of Afkar.me dates back to a year ago, de la Torre explains: “It started as a research project done by Intigral to understand how we can source innovation, and how we can attract innovation to complete our product portfolio. [Through the initiative we will] engage with these entrepreneurs to help them target and develop the best digital products. It was in our interest and the interests of our clients for us to source innovation from different parts of the world and from the region, adapt that innovation to the Arab World and help the [entrepreneurs] throughout.”
At the end of the programme, viable products will stand to be integrated into Intigral’s portfolio. However, a demo day at the end will give entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their business in front of investors to operate as an independent entity, he adds.
Each programme will incubate three teams. Applicants can submit their business ideas on the website and after an initial screening process shortlisted teams will be interviewed via Skype. Ten start-ups will then be invited for a weekend boot camp. “During the weekend, we are going to work with them on fine-tuning ideas, helping them on how to pitch and defining their value proposition properly. After that, they will pitch the idea to a panel of experts [including] our partners, mentors and Intigral [representatives] who will select the final three.”
The programme will involve the teams working towards developing a minimum viable proposition with the support of a dedicated Intigral mentor, and advice from other mentors and partners on areas such as product development, design, marketing & PR, legal and business development.
Published on sister publication SMEinfo