Sheraa unveils first govt-backed startup studio in the UAE

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
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The Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (Sheraa) has launched its new initiative, the Sharjah Startup Studio (S3), designed to develop sustainable enterprises to accelerate the digital transformation of the region and contribute to the growth of the UAE’s non-oil economy.

Beyond the conventional method of education-based projects, UAE’s first government-backed startup studio will take a more hands-on approach to venture building, and it is the first startup studio in the region to use a revenue-sharing model, with founders retaining full ownership of their businesses.

This model will offer $30,000 in pre-seed capital to entrepreneurs and enables them to concentrate on developing a high-quality product, achieving sustainable growth and profitability, while also generating impact.

The studio model sets the foundation for home-grown entrepreneurial success by collaborating with founders from the earliest stages of their startup journey, assisting them to validate their idea and decide whether to take it to market. Further, S3 will arrange a team of seasoned professionals to collaborate with entrepreneurs and will actively and operationally engage in the co-creation of their start-ups.

Najla Al Midfa
Najla Al Midfa
CEO – Sheraa

“The launch of Sharjah Startup Studio is a watershed moment not just for Sheraa, but for the ecosystem as a whole. It represents a turning point in the role accelerators must play to support startups, not only ensuring they provide founders with the best possible foundation to launch their business, but also build it alongside them. S3 marks an essentially transformative era for the startup community in the region, especially amid an unstable funding ecosystem that continues to affect founders and their abilities to gain access to key resources to jumpstart their startups. Through our startup studio, we can now help founders build and launch sustainable, successful, and profitable businesses.”

Startups in S3 will benefit from a range of advantages, including business incorporation in Sharjah and access to a state-of-the-art co-working space at the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP). Furthermore, founders will also have opportunities to obtain follow-on funding, via Sheraa’s investment partners, after graduating from the studio. “Our revenue-share model is deeply inspired by our founder-first ethos, which means that these startups will graduate not just investment-ready, but with their full equity intact,” she added.

“By taking all the lessons we have learned over the last five years, including the turbulent challenges of the pandemic last year, S3 is the answer to how a founder can finally harness the full opportunity of becoming a key stakeholder to UAE’s economic growth and diversification,” Ms. Al Midfa concluded.

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