Regional digital incubator and accelerator Afkar.me has received over 150 applications for its second round intake in Dubai. Applications were received from 29 countries from as far afield as Brazil, China and Sudan. Egyptian entrepreneurs submitted the highest number of ideas, followed by those from the UAE and Bahrain.
Afkar.me, which is currently incubating two e-commerce startups, TheDressRoom.com and TheCurve-me.com, was developed by regional digital agency Intigral to support the growth of MENA’s digital ecosystem by sourcing, incubating and taking-to-market, innovative digital business ideas.
Juan Jose De La Torre, VP of digital at Intigral, says: “MENA’s digital startup sector is in a growth phase, and receiving over 150 quality applicants for Afkar.me’s second intake is testament to that. We truly believe that this region has the ability to produce digital products that will not only take off in the region, but gain global recognition. Afkar.me is one step on the journey for entrepreneurs, providing everything they need to turn their ideas into a viable product or business, including access to market. Through this process, alongside other incubators and positive government initiatives, we can attract a bigger interest in the region from angel investors, with the core aim of achieving a mature startup-to-IPO [initial public offering] ecosystem in MENA.”
Afkar.me’s team will now assess the entries, inviting ten hopefuls to a special Bootcamp weekend, during which the entrepreneurs will receive expert mentorship to develop their idea and business case, culminating in an elevator pitch to the panel of judges. Up to three winners will be chosen for incubation in Intigral’s Dubai offices, each receiving a $20,000 seed fund; a dedicated business lead who will drive the incubation, setting milestones to ensure a viable product is created; office space within Intigral’s offices and access to its skill set; expert mentorship from both within the incubator and via a network of external mentors on product development, design, marketing and PR, business development, legal support, access to MENA market, and exchange programs with leading international incubators.