MENA startups will use technology to solve key challenges facing Abu Dhabi's travel and tourism sector
During a one-month registration period that ended in March, hundreds of MENA startups signed up for the Fikra Labs acceleration programme, which was launched in February as part of the UAE Innovation Month, and aims to encourage entrepreneurship in Abu Dhabi’s travel and tourism sector.
The programme is led by the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, Miral, Etihad Aviation Group and Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), as well as Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and Wamda.
The selected start ups, which have started the four-week incubation programme, will receive mentorship, the chance to win a potential investment prise of $100,000 and an opportunity to structure their business in financial centre Abu Dhabi Global Market.
The shortlisted applicants were asked to use technology to pitch creative solutions that tackle the different partners’ business challenges, such as enhancing visitors’ experiences from the time they book their tickets to the moment they arrive at Abu Dhabi.
Once the programme is over, aach partner will select one winner to work with directly.
“We have high expectations from all applicants as their ideas will play a pivotal role in driving the government’s vision forward, fueling more growth within the travel and tourism segment, and raising the emirate’s profile on the world map of leading tourism destinations,” said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi.
Tony Douglas, group CEO, Etihad Aviation Group, said Fikra Labs highlights the need for collaboration to address the industry’s challenges head-on.
“It is gratifying for us all to see so much focus placed on the support and development of our local talent, on entrepreneurship, and on nurturing the disruptive potential available in this creative pool, building a more holistic value chain representing the travel and tourism sector across the emirate,” he said.
The final step of the programme will be a one-day event that sees the finalists attend workshops with the Wamda team and industry experts to finalise their prototype, pitches and presentation decks.
They will then pitch their ideas to the jury and participate in a Q&A session, before the winners are chosen the next day at an awards ceremony.