This week we had the privilege of catching up with Mia Jafari, Incubator Manager at Intelak in Dubai. We talked Dubai and entrepreneurship. Read on to find out more!
IL: How would you describe the Dubai business ecosystem?
MJ: Dubai has one of the most welcoming business environments in the world. And the government is constantly striving to make the country more welcoming to new businesses. Dubai is known for its strategic location, serving as a gateway to the growing markets in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Dubai also offers a great deal of security and stability, making the city the prime ecosystem for startups.
IL: Why are many talented young people heading to Dubai right now?
MJ: The capacity of government leaders and private organisations to spend on technology has positioned Dubai at the forefront of the region’s digital transformation. There is an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country, consisting of a growing number of co-working spaces, incubators, accelerators, training programs, events, and networking opportunities for local and international companies which draws many young and talented innovators.
IL: What is the Emirates Group and Dubai Tourism’s Intelak and what is the vision?
MJ: Our vision is to continuously contribute to developing home-grown innovations, create a sizeable impact on the industry, and support our startups to be sustainable entities. Dubai is in a prime position to support these up-and-coming, future pioneers in the aviation, travel and tourism space by nurturing the entrepreneurial mind set of the next generation of innovators. Intelak is well equipped to contribute tangibly, by providing startups with the knowledge and network that allow them to scale.
IL: How do you see the travel sector changing in the next five to ten years?
MJ: The Travel and tourism industry has changed from being a service industry offering you a flight, a room and some food etc to offering experiences and this sets to get more prominent. By experience economy I mean access to other people’s cultures, ways of life, food and environments. I believe these things are only possible when local people buy into this idea, and benefit fairly from tourism. This trend explains why Airbnb is keen to try to position itself as being about ‘belonging’ and experiencing a place ‘like a local’. We see many startups come to us with this value proposition and this sets to only get bigger in the next five to ten years.
IL: For innovative thinkers who are looking to be part of that change, or to make waves in another sector, what are your top tips for entrepreneurship success?
- Don’t fall in love with your product but rather your users/customers needs
- Product and pivot your ideas early on with your users/customers
- Build a lean product
- Make sure you have the team to execute the vision
- Have a solid financial model behind your idea
We are very excited to announce the launch of our exclusive discovery and innovation programme in Dubai. Our programme features in-depth session with the brightest stars of the Dubai business eco-system. Get in touch now via firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more!