Since its launched at the end of May, Halal economy-focused government-supported crowdfunding platform, Dubai Next, has received over 500 funding campaign requests and it has successfully funded its first entrepreneurial initiative.
Launched in May 2021 by Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Dubai Next is a Dubai SME-operated digital non-profit specially designed to support Halal businesses. By June, the crowdfunding platform received 543 campaigns, out of which 44 have been live on the platform. The projects range from a variety of sectors including business, food, technology, education, design, gaming, health, film as well as the arts, with total funding requested exceeding AED27.7 million (US$7.54 million).
The platform confirmed that a couple of start-ups have closed their funding rounds through Dubai Next. The first being sports start-up Padel 26 which raised AED100,000 (US$27,221) from the public and also secured financing from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Fund. Vemudra, is another campaign which crowdfunded 100% of the funds it required on Dubai Next. Vemudra, an aggregator website assisting students to develop extracurricular talents, was founded by two 16 year-olds.
“We encourage students of all age groups too, especially graduates who seek funding for their graduation projects, to use Dubai Next as an opportunity to turn their ideas into reality. The 50-Year Charter of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, seeks to transform universities into free and creative economic zones, and Dubai Next is aligned to His Highness’s vision,” said Abdul Based Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME. SMEs contribute some 40% of the emirate’s GDP, making up almost 95% of all companies in Dubai and employing 42% of the workforce, Dubai SME noted. Yet, SMEs, particularly start-ups, struggle to access financing through conventional means. Dubai Next is one of several measures by government agency Dubai SME to enhancing access to financing for start-ups in line with the government’s focus on driving entrepreneurship development strategies in Dubai and the UAE.