Dubai launches incubator to boost ethical Islamic start-up firms

Dubai Airport Freezone Authority announces the launch of Goodforce Labs
Exhibitors and visitors attend the Halal Expo dedicated to the growing halal food industry in Dubai in September 2017. (GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)
By Staff writer
Fri 09 Mar 2018 10:37 AM

Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) has announced the launch of Goodforce Labs, a startup incubator focused on transforming ethical startups in the fields of Islamic economy and Halal industries into global success stories.

The incubator will select a group of startups and small and medium enterprises and support them towards a $50 million in annual revenues and measurable social impact.

The new incubator was launched with support from DAFZA, Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre and Technolera, a statement said.

More than 400 startups have focused on the ethical Islamic Lifestyle Economy proposition that was launched five years ago. Since then, an ecosystem of more than 2,500 companies has been established within this field. 

Most Islamic economy startups, which are part of this wider ethical market, face many problems and struggle to grow and survive, with the absence of growth in income being chief among the difficulties and challenges facing them.   

Nasser Al Madani, assistant director general of DAFZA, said: “Hosting Goodforce Labs confirms our pivotal role as an essential and active partner in bolstering Dubai’s position as a capital of Islamic economy and enhancing its position as a global hub and a reference point for best criteria and innovations in all its sectors. 

"This incubator will be pivotal in supporting Islamic industries, developing the Halal sector, and spreading the Islamic lifestyle which encompasses culture, arts, and family tourism around the world.”

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, added: “The Goodforce Labs initiative complements our strategic efforts in supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and emerging companies with a view to leveraging the growth potential of investments in the Islamic economy.

“The success of Islamic economy stems from its capacity to attract emerging companies and entrepreneurs that specialize in responsible production, knowledge, science and modern technologies. Their prosperity reflects positively on the Islamic lifestyle sector, drives sustainable development and helps accelerate Dubai's journey to become the capital of Islamic economy.”

The work of Goodforce Labs covers an assortment of active global ethical economy sectors, mainly from food, finance, education and lifestyle sectors.

A number of startups have joined the incubator in order to achieve growth, increase their capital, and improve productivity, including Growmada, an e-platform for selling handicrafts from developing countries, Waqf 2.0, a cloud-based platform for managing Awqaf, Zileej, a company specializing in disciplined entertainment products and Rabia Z, which designs modest women’s clothing.

A report on the state of the Islamic economy issued recently by Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre in cooperation with Thomson Reuters and DinarStandard showed and overall consumer spending market size of $2.1 trillion in 2016 covering Halal food, modest fashion, family-friendly tourism, Halal Pharma and cosmetics and media and recreation.

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Last Updated: Fri 09 Mar 2018 09:51 AM GST

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