4th SAIA is shaking up UAE’s VC landscape

Dubai: The 4th Edition Sharjah Advanced Industry Accelerator (SAIA) is creating waves in the UAE’s venture capital (VC) landscape. This is reflected in the phenomenal figure of 3,536 applications it received from over 40 countries in just two months.The highest number of applications was from India, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Mexico, United Kingdom and France. Interestingly, there has been a significant increase in interest from women-led startups compared to last year. Another unique aspect is that there has been a rise in applications from sustainable tech startups.Mr. Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTIP, said: “We are thrilled by the unprecedented response to our Accelerator program from startups from different parts of the world. This is a reflection of the growing importance of the MENA region, and high ranking of the UAE when it comes to funding of startups due to progressive economic policies and supportive innovation ecosystems.“At SRTIP we are happy to play the role of providing the right environment and framework for startups to grow and scale. The SAIA program, now in its fourth year, is proud of the pivotal role it is playing in nurturing startups.”The unique Acceleration program will run from September to Nov 2023, closing with an Investor & Demo Day on Nov 27, running up to COP28 in Dubai, where some of the cohort startups will be able to showcase their innovations and leverage the many opportunities that COP presents. The final day for submitting applications is May 23.The strong response to SAIA 2023 comes at a time when the region is witnessing unprecedented flow of venture capital, promising a thriving future for startups.Total financing from venture capital funds in the Middle East surged 132 per cent to almost $2 billion last year, with the total number of deals up 5 per cent to 410, according to Magnitt.Startups in the MENA region raised $3.94 billion in 2022 across 795 deals, a rise of 24 per cent in investment value when compared to 2021. The UAE stood on top, fetching the most investments to the tune of $1.85 billion across 250 deals, a rise of 5 per cent in terms of investment value, the Magnitt report revealed.The UAE aims to become home to 20 unicorns – startups worth above $1 billion each -- by 2031, in its push to become a regional centre for innovation and entrepreneurship. Last year, the country launched the Entrepreneurial Nation initiative, which aims to offer support through a series of public-private partnerships that help entrepreneurs to set up operations in the Emirates, expand their businesses, export products and tap into online sales.Hosted by the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP), SAIA presents startups and innovative companies a gateway to funds, networking, expertise, resources, projects and a thriving ecosystem conducive to innovation.

7 startups from 4 countries handpicked for SRTI Park’s 3rd edition SAIA program

7 startups from Egypt, India, Poland, and the UAE have been selected for the 3rd Sharjah Advanced Industry Accelerator (SAIA) programme that offers global startups an opportunity to join the SRTI Park ecosystem, embedding them in a thriving ecosystem brimming with possibilities and complete with relevant industry linkages.Announcing this year’s finalists, the Sharjah Research, Technology, and Innovation Park (SRTIP) said it was tough to select from the huge number of entries that offered solutions to more sustainable living.This year’s SAIA programme finalists are:REBOOZ (UAE), which has developed a patent-granted hydrogen technology for combustion engine rejuvenation which reduces emissions as per government regulations for a sustainable future.Inovatica AGV (Poland), which produces autonomous forklifts that were developed by two graduates of Lodz University of Technology, Poland.Unitruder (UAE), which creates fully personalized footwear for masses while delivering full benefits of sustainable digital manufacturing using 3D technology.Efika (Egypt) which designs and manufactures solar robots that clean solar plants in a faster and cheaper way.Fuse (UAE), which drives e-mobility by making it accessible to all by retrofitting existing vehicles from petrol to electric.Dreamaerospace (India), which has developed a green propulsion system that provides customized solutions to each peculiar setback, helping make space exploration safer.3DMechX (UAE), which specializes in additive and subtractive manufacturing technology through smart use of 3D printing.Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of the SRTI Park, commented: “We were delighted with the flood of outstanding innovations from different parts of the globe, and we congratulate the selected finalists and all the participants. The seven we selected are just a sample of what startups are capable of doing. The SAIA finalists will benefit from networking opportunities, low-cost office space, funding, professional training and contact with other entrepreneurs. Above that, SAIA has a strong focus on empowering startups and driving inclusive innovation within the advanced industry economy.”Additional to providing the most attractive environment for startups, SRTIP will be holding an Investor Day on November 8, 2022, to showcase the finalists’ innovations to prospective investors and corporates with the goal of providing access to follow-on funding through its investor network.The startups will be engaged in a number of activities to help them advance their innovations to the next level. The mentoring workshops will feed into the entrepreneurial initiatives which in turn will support rapid technology development.The program has developed significant offerings and competencies over the past two cohorts to deliver a value chain of support to its beneficiaries. SAIA will play an important role in helping these fledgling businesses ascertain whether there really is a market for the product or service on offer. SAIA will help validate assumptions quickly and cost effectively, and if needed, help the start-ups pivot to meet a market need. They will also receive assistance to test and launch minimal viable products, so as to solicit early feedback, analyze and correct forecasting of their business's trajectory.SAIA will support and facilitate partnerships and collaborations by leveraging its relationship with industry partners. Mentors and Advisors for the selected startups for this cohort have been drawn from its corporate partners Google, Intel, Amazon AWS, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Ministry of Advanced Industry, as well as Sheraa, Ruwad, Shell Energy, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), General Motors, Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), Legal Circle, Kaplan, and more to come.SAIA participants will also be supported by other SRTI Park programs, with the added benefit of having identified suitable development capabilities to enhance and scale their businesses.SRTI Park celebrates these startups that are contributing to the economy through the positive impact their novel innovations have on the quality of life, transforming our communities and strengthening the economy.The SAIA 2022 programme attracted applicants from India, the UAE, Brazil, Egypt, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Netherlands, Russia, the United States, Bangladesh, Poland, Germany, and a number of Arab countries such as Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, etc.