Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), a fully-government-owned free zone, has launched a new program called SANDBOX, the region’s first-of-its-kind initiative to support early-stage technology startups to scale and raise funds.
The one year program aligns with the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which positions the free zone as a science, technology and knowledge hub that drives innovation, digital economy development and talent generation.
The SANDBOX is open to startups that only have a minimum viable product to those in the seed stage and will have a rolling application process. Entrepreneurs will follow a structured curriculum, which will consist of theoretical and practical workshops, mentorship sessions and networking opportunities.
Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Campus (Dtec) is a wholly-owned unit of DSOA that offers co-working spaces, business accelerators and R&D facilities to startups. It will also have a dedicated funding purse to invest in promising companies enrolled in the program.
“Dubai Silicon Oasis, and its wholly-owned Dtec, have extensive experience as a tech hub and an incubator for entrepreneurs and startups, supporting them in transforming their innovative ideas into reality and empowering them in securing financing. The program is the first of its kind in the region, founder-centric, addressing a gap in early-stage initiatives. It will help position Dubai and the wider UAE as a global destination for promising entrepreneurs and innovators, as well as investors.”
The latest initiative by DSOA will give each participant access to venture capital funds and broad services provided by its partners worth more than $149,737.20. The startups that are part of SANDBOX will also be eligible for company setup rates, equivalent to $2586.30, DSOA said in its statement.
The SANDBOX is built on six key pillars, including product development, traction, scaling, financial diagnostics, wellbeing and legal support. It also adopts KPI-driven sprints with founders being highly accountable while creating a vibrant community for emerging entrepreneurs and hosting expert speakers and professionals.
The startups enrolled in the program will benefit from more than 200 hours of practical workshops and over 100 hours of one-on-one mentorship from practitioners and field experts. Entrepreneurs will also have access to a full suite of diagnostic tools for financial efficiency and legal compliance, ensuring they maintain a strong position that allows them to attract necessary funds.