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Meydan One, SME District launch joint programme to support budding entrepreneurs

28/04/19

Meydan One, a next-generation lifestyle and retail destination, today announced its partnership with SMEDistrict, the Dubai-based incubation platform, that aims to bring to life a comprehensive start-up development programme focused on the retail and F&B sectors.

The initiative aligns with Meydan One’s strategic priority to offer unmatched opportunities for up-and-coming entrepreneurs in fashion, beauty and F&B to establish and grow their brands. SMEDistrict will oversee the new incubation programme that begins receiving applications for monthly or annual memberships from Q4 2019. 

Participating entrepreneurs will be able to rent retail space at premium locations in Meydan One at extremely competitive commercial terms. In addition, the start-ups will have access to a range of support services and benefits across four stages of the programme, including:

  • Mentoring – offering guidance on brand image and positioning as well as the overall sales and marketing strategy. The incubation programme committee will also share market insights to enhance operational performance and inform business decisions.
  • Evaluation – providing quarterly benchmarking on key performance indicators and areas of improvement. The incubation programme committee will consult each start-up to prime it for growth.
  • Evolution – helping the brands transition from limited retail space to a larger pop-up format or even a dedicated store, based on their performance during the programme. 
  • Graduation – leading the successfully incubated businesses to the next phase of development as a fully operational retail or F&B concept, assisting them with technology adoption, franchising plans and strategic partnerships for expansion. 

Speaking on the benefits of the incubation programme, Fahad Abdulrahim Kazim, Vice President of Meydan Malls at Meydan Group, said: “Dubai is spearheading the region’s innovation drive and attracting some of the best start-up talent from around the world. Meydan One is committed to supporting this wave of entrepreneurship, especially in the retail and F&B segments, which are largely overlooked in the local start-up incubation ecosystem.”

He added: “Our partnership with the incubation expert SMEDistrict allows us to tap into the right expertise to enable talented local entrepreneurs to realise the full potential of their businesses. Through offering affordable retail space right at the outset of the programme, we seek to encourage participants to gain real-world experience while they evolve their business models. We envision Meydan One as a place for everyone and a launchpad for homegrown brands that can make an impact in the region and the rest of the world.”

For her part, Aynour Hussein, founder and CEO of SMEDistrict, said: “We are pleased to collaborate with Meydan One on this exciting new incubation programme. The initiative levels the playing field through providing start-ups with a tangible platform to position their brands. In other words, it allows them to skip the line on entrepreneurial hurdles, such as accessible infrastructure and guidance, that can prevent great business concepts from becoming a reality.”

The incubation programme will encompass a fully enabled plug-and-play package, including marketing, fit-out, space rental, business development, workshops and business education, as well as business acceleration opportunities to connect with established private sector organisations and government entities. As part of the Meydan One tenant community, the start-ups will also feature in the destination’s events and have the chance to showcase their offerings at prominent entrepreneurship festivals across the UAE. 

Meydan One seeks to be a place for any and every business to establish itself and thrive, with no conditions attached. Through a seamless set-up process, businesses within Meydan One’s Free Zone Program will be able to enjoy the benefits of operating as part of the Meydan Free Zone. This includes 100% ownership, and the ease of doing business in an enabling environment, with high footfalls and a multinational customer base.

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