Slowly but surely, the start-up movement is shaping a new entrepreneurial economy in the Middle East with an ecosystem of its own. Here are the latest tech hubs, business incubators and start-up accelerators propelling innovators to the top of their game.
1. Turn 8 is a program powered by i360accelerator, a UAE-based “rapid fire” incubator that turns ideas into investor grade prototypes by injecting entrepreneurial know-how. The program held its first demo day in mid-January.
2. The GrEEK campus: This Egyptian tech hub blossomed at Cairo’s Rise Up Summit last November, aiming to establish a mini-Silicon Valley in central Cairo. It offers space to start-ups, accelerators, investors, and multinationals alike.
3. Fast Forward: Palestine’s first start-up accelerator not only offers seed funding for business ideas, but also boasts a network of mentors, coaches and co-working spaces. The hub just announced its second class of start-ups this January.
4. Emerge ventures: Focused on tech start-ups at their early stage, this VC helps companies scale by becoming “true partners with the entrepreneurs”.
5. BDL C331 Fund: At over $400 million, this Lebanese fund is the largest of its kind in the Arab World. Launched by the Central Bank of Lebanon, it seeks the perfect match between start-ups and investors.
6. Arabreneur: The Palestinian platform connects entrepreneurs with Angel investors and mentors while offering Soft-landing services to support start-ups from inception through growth. Last January, it announced an investment of $440,000 in four Palestinian start-ups.
7. Innoventures: “Not just another incubator”, their key is innovation. Early start-ups focused on clean tech, ICT, electronics, media, market intelligence and inclusive business can get a six-month incubation program or join the “Start-up Circus“.