New incubator for design in Dubai

TECOM Group, part of Dubai Holding and the developer behind several of Dubai’s functional areas, will site the third in5 innovation centre and business incubator in its d3 development.

The strategic goal is obviously to foster start-ups and develop talent to produce more dynamic business communities in the future, which makes a lot of sense. New enterprises need commercial space, and successful businesses need more space; building and renting out space is TECOM’s core business.

The in5 Design centre will provide access to specialised facilities, industry-focused training and mentorship, co-working spaces and offices, a materials library, and “community areas that are designed to inspire creativity”. Notably, there will be a prototyping lab with facilities like 3D printers and workstations for designers working with metals, wood, plastic and textiles.

Malek Al Malek (right), CEO of TECOM Business Parks, and Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, COO of Dubai Design District, at the announcement of in5 Design
Malek Al Malek (right), CEO of TECOM Business Parks, and Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, COO of Dubai Design District, at the announcement of in5 Design

Malek Al Malek, CEO of TECOM Business Parks, said: “in5 was first launched as we recognised a gap in industry resources catering to the specific needs of entrepreneurs setting up their businesses in Dubai to create impact across our region. Having started with technology, in5 has evolved to supporting start-ups in the media sector and now with our entry into design, we will aid in setting a new benchmark in creativity.

“in5’s innovation centres will enable us to remain at the forefront of economic progress and Dubai’s future transformation into a destination for economic growth.”

The in5 incubation platform launched in 2013 with in5 Tech in Internet City, offering a mix of workspaces and training plus – crucially – access to investors. Tecom says it incubated over 160 companies that have secured over AED 58 million in funding.

in5 Media was the second to be announced, though it doesn’t start till Q1 2017. Located in Dubai Production City, it’s targeted at digital and video content (which is quite ironic, since a lot of the tenants of Production City are old-style dead-tree-media producers).

in5 Design is the third to be announced but it will open in January, before in5 Media. As with the other in5 centres, the incubator has a standard application process – you submit an online application, present your idea if you get through to the next stage, enter the incubator if you make it that far, and graduate when your idea is ready for prime time.

You will find the link for applications here. There’s also a little more information on this link, though not much more – there’s nothing about eligibility, or what criteria the selection panel will be using to decide who gets the nod. Hopefully that will be fleshed out soon, because this is such a strong idea it’s sure to be oversubscribed quickly.

TECOM says it wants tenfold growth for the in5 network of innovation centres by 2017, with expansion into new sectors as well as more startups for the existing trio.

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