The new studio will lead startups from the idea to the company and position them to drive the digital transformation of the country forward.
The Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) has launched its most recent program, Sharjah Startup Studio (S3), to build lasting businesses that will accelerate the region’s digital transformation and help the UAE’s non-oil economy grow.
This model provides founders with $ 30,000 in pre-seed funding and allows them to focus on building a quality product, achieving sustainable growth and profitability, while making impact.
The first government-sponsored startup studio in the United Arab Emirates will go beyond the traditional method of education-based programs and take a more hands-on approach to business building. S3 will deploy a team of experienced experts to work with founders and actively and operationally participate in the joint founding of their startups.
The studio model lays the foundation for one’s own entrepreneurial success by working with founders from the start to validate their idea and decide whether it should be brought to market.
In addition to extensive market research, this includes participation and feedback from relevant S3 partners from companies and authorities to ensure that relevant problems are solved and to evaluate the proposed solution.
Concepts that are deemed feasible receive technical and financial resources from the S3 ecosystem to develop the product and bring it to market. The deep commitment to startups continues beyond graduation. S3 uses its extensive market access to support startups with customer acquisition and to support them with the integration into local and global supply chains.
In line with Sheraa’s “founder-first” philosophy, S3 is the first startup studio in the region to use a revenue-sharing model, with founders retaining full ownership of their businesses.
Startups in S3 receive a number of benefits, including setting up a business in Sharjah and access to a state-of-the-art coworking space in the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP). Founders also have the option of obtaining follow-up financing through Sheraa’s investment partners after completing their studies.
S3 was developed by Sheraa based on the challenges and difficulties startups in the UAE and region have encountered over many years, including the obstacles they faced during the pandemic last year. S3 is expected to make an important contribution to structural economic reforms in the region to stimulate non-oil growth. According to a study published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in late 2020, providing funding options to startups is one of the key measures recommended to achieve long-term private sector growth as part of a broader recovery plan following the COVID .
“The launch of Sharjah Startup Studio is a turning point not just for Sheraa but for the entire ecosystem,” said Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sheraa. “It marks a turning point in the role accelerators must play to support startups. Not only are they making sure they give founders the best possible foundation to start their business, but they’re building it with them.”
She continued, “S3 marks an essentially transformative era for the startup community in the region, particularly amid an unstable funding ecosystem that continues the founders and their ability to access critical resources to launch their startups impaired. Through our startup studio we can now help founders to build and start sustainable, successful and profitable companies. “
“With all of the lessons we’ve learned over the past five years, including the turbulent challenges of the pandemic last year, S3 is the answer to how a founder can finally take full advantage of being a key stakeholder in economic growth and the Diversifying the UAE to become. ”
She added, “Our revenue-sharing model is heavily inspired by our founder-first ethos, which means that these startups will not just be ready to invest but will close with equity intact.”
“We are extremely excited to share this journey with our founders and work together to build effective, high-growth startups that have the potential to change Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates and the world.”
S3 is a synergistic convergence of Sheraa’s experience in venture building, market access and leading product development partners. Combined with a unique founder-first ethos, the program will lead to a new generation of startups that make a positive contribution to the region’s socio-economic growth.
Aspiring founders and entrepreneurs from across the Mena region are invited to apply for S3 through Sheraa’s official website.