300 entrepreneurs expected in first year of Meydan One, SME District incubation programme

Meydan One, SME District incubation programme will allow participating entrepreneurs to rent retail space at premium locations at competitive commercial terms
300 entrepreneurs expected in first year of Meydan One, SME District incubation programme
Participants will benefit from 60 to 80 percent reductions on operating costs to display and sell their brands in Meydan One, as well as from Meydan One’s status as a free zone.
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Thu 02 May 2019 09:19 AM

A new partnership between Meydan One and SME District to develop start-ups working in fashion, beauty and F&B expects as many as 300 entrepreneurs to participate in its first year, according to officials involved in the programme.

The partnership, signed earlier this week, will allow participating entrepreneurs to rent retail space at premium locations at Meydan One at competitive commercial terms, and will give start-ups a number of support services including mentorship, evaluation, evolution from limited retail space to larger formats and ‘graduation’, in which the companies will be helped with technology adoption, strategic partnership and expansion.

“We’re expecting nearly 300 entrepreneurs to get involved in the first year,” Aynour Hussein, the founder and CEO of SME District told Arabian Business. “The programme is tailored for both local and international entrepreneurs looking to realise their full potential.”

Hussein added that participants will benefit from 60 to 80 percent reductions on operating costs to display and sell their brands in Meydan One, as well as from Meydan One’s status as a free zone.

“[That] speaks for itself. There’s the 100 percent ownership regardless of nationality, 100 percent tax exemptions, repatriation of profits and zero import and export duties,” he said.

“Plus, you’ve got the benefits of increased football and a multinational customer base as free zones. Simply, it’s a setting that you want to be in if you’re looking to grow your business presence in the region.”

Reciprocal framework

Fahad Abdulrahim Kazim, the vice president of Meydan Malls at Meydan Group, said that the venture is designed to be a “reciprocal framework” for SMEs, start-ups and entrepreneurs to use Meydan One to leverage their brand and businesses.

“For us, the benefit lies in being able to give back to the UAE economy and the nation’s bustling business scene,” he said. “The long and short of it is, if these businesses succeed, then so do we.

“Like anything in business, there’s a strategic aspect to every stakeholder’s involvement. The trick is in finding the right balance in the model where everyone stands to benefit from a robust and profitable modus operandi. In this instance, we can answer Cicero’s refrain of ‘Cui Bono’ [who benefits?] with ‘everyone’,” Kazim added.

The programme will begin receiving applications for monthly or annual memberships from the fourth quarter of 2019.

“The vision is for Meydan One to be a springboard for both homegrown and international brands, where they can thrive, flourish and make a positive impact in the region and globally, with no conditions or strings attached,” Hussein added.

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